Having ‘the sex talk’ with your kids can feel awkward and may even provoke some eye rolls. But having helpful resources to supplement that conversation can be a great way to ease the tension, initiate conversations, and provide you with a kind of roadmap for how to talk to kids about the birds and the bees. After all, keeping an open and honest dialogue around sex can build trust, strengthen your relationship, and ultimately help keep your kids safe and healthy.
If you’re looking to talk with your kids about safe sex, unwanted pregnancies, hookup culture, or anything in between, here are a few sex-ed resources to check out.
Websites to help answer your kids' sex-related questions
AMAZE provides free, medically-accurate, age-appropriate sexual health videos that cover a wide range of topics — everything from gender identity to pregnancy to reproduction. Many of its videos are directed for adolescents, but they have plenty of resources for parents, too. For example, AMAZE’s ‘Having the Talks’ feature educators talking about how to have conversations with kids around sex.
2. Sex Positive Families
Sex Positive Families is all about taking the shame out of conversations around sex. It provides virtual sex education workshops on a variety of subjects. For example, its Live Puberty Workshop For Families — designed for tweens ages 8-12 — helps families talk openly about puberty, consent, and gender identity. Sex Positive Families also has a database of sex positive sexual health resources, and it’s a great source to turn to if you or your kids need resources on specific sex-related topics like pornography or menstruation.
Answer is Rutgers University’s site dedicated to making comprehensive sex education accessible and available. Its Resources for Parents page provides links to helpful organizations, websites, and books that can help you feel more comfortable starting the conversation. Answer has been around for 40 years, and its platform has only continued to grow.
4. Talk With Your Kids
Talk With Your Kids gives tips and advice for how to talk with your kids openly and honestly about sex. Its FAQ section provides thorough answers to questions that parents may be afraid to ask (ex. “What should I tell my kids about condoms?”), and it has a downloadable file with reliable sexual health information that you can give to your kids. This resource can specifically help you navigate conversations around sexual health care, sex coercion, and fostering healthy relationships.
5. Kids Health
Kids Health works to give families the tools they need to make informed, safe, and healthy choices when it comes to sex. It has different sections for parents, kids, and teens, and each section is packed with medically-reviewed articles, videos, and health tools. On its Parents page, you can find detailed information on topics like teaching kids about their bodies, talking to your child about periods, and sexual development.
Books that teach the do’s and don’ts of the ‘sex talk’
6. For Goodness Sex, by Al Vernacchio
For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health uses real-life examples, exercises, and quizzes to offer a realistic approach to sex positive education. This book is for parents who want a comprehensive toolkit to develop the skills they need to talk about particular subjects around sexual health and identity (ex. gender myths, the effect of social media on teen relationships, healthy sex). If you want a taste of Vernacchio’s message, you can also check out his viral TED talk where he uses pizza as a metaphor for talking about sex.
7. The Sex Education Answer Book, by Cath Hakanson
The Sex Education Answer Book, which is directed toward parents of children ages 2-13, gives specific answers to more than 200 commonly asked questions by kids. It also discusses why it’s so important that kids ask questions about sex, and why parents need to confront those questions head-on. It includes topics on reproduction, bodies, sexual diversity, and much more.
8. Sex Positive Talks to Have With Kids, by Melissa Carnagey
Sex Positive Talks to Have With Kids: A guide to raising sexually healthy, informed, empowered young people is a shame-free, comprehensive guide that comes with reflection exercises, activities, and conversation starters, so that you can feel empowered to start intentional dialogues with your kids about sex. It’s accessible for kids at every age and parents who want to normalize sex-related conversations.
9. Talk to Me First: by Deborah Roffman
In Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids' "Go-To" Person about Sex, Roffman emphasizes the idea that talking about sex should be an ongoing conversation that parents should have early and maintain throughout their kids’ lives. It offers practical guidance and specific language tactics that can make for more comfortable, natural conversations around sex — no matter what age your kids are.
10. Beyond the Big Talk Revised Edition, by Debra Haffner
In Beyond the Big Talk: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens - From Middle School to High School and Beyond, parenting educator Haffner offers invaluable information to guide parents through the adolescent years. It explores topics like eating disorders, date rape, drug use, peer pressure, and much more. You can also find sample conversations, checklists, and ‘values exercises’ that you can use to talk to your teen.
11. Beyond Birds and Bees, by Bonnie Rough
Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids About Sex, Love, and Equality highlights the importance of normalizing human sexuality. Doing so can lead to safer, healthier decision-making. Using her own experience living in Amsterdam, Rough compares and contrasts the way American and Dutch parents perceive sex, and the consequences of sexual education in the United States. Beyond Birds and Bees also illuminates the relationship between equality, human rights, and children’s health with engaging storytelling.
The bottom line
It can be tough to navigate sex-related conversations with your kids. You may struggle with finding the ‘right’ words or feel a bit of discomfort when the subject is brought up. But confronting the dialogue can lead your kids to make healthier, more informed decisions. Turning to resources may help take some of the awkwardness out of the conversation and leave you feeling more confident about broaching specific topics. It’s important to remember that learning about sex is a process that involves ongoing conversations, and you don’t have to bring everything up at once. If you want more information on how to talk to your kids about sex, check out our article on how to explain “the birds and the bees” to children.