When it comes to sex, there is so much to learn. You might be wondering what sex even is, how dating and relationships work, what consent means, or how to have safe sex. Maybe you want to know more about sexual identity or gender. But whatever your sex-related question is, it can sometimes feel awkward or uncomfortable to go to a parent, friend, or teacher for answers. It’s a tough subject to navigate — especially if you aren’t getting the information you need through a sex education program at school.
Thankfully, there are plenty of scientifically-accurate, affirming resources you can turn to. With the right websites, books, and organizations you can empower yourself to learn about sex in ways that feel comfortable for you. Here are a few of O.school’s favorite sex education resources that you can explore.
Websites that will answer your intimate questions
1. Every Body Curious
Every Body Curious is a web series where leading sex educators answer questions about everything from gender expression to body image to consent. For example, the site features a video titled "How Do You Know When You're Ready?" that explains to kids and teens how to tell if you're ready to date, kiss someone, or go further. Another video titled "Consent" defines what consent actually means, and it provides viewers with some strategies to apply this life skill.
Scarleteen provides comprehensive guides, detailed fact sheets, and advice-packed articles on sex and relationships. Along with referring users to healthcare services, it also offers an online chat service if you have specific questions regarding sexual identity, relationships, gender, and everything in between. Scarleteen has been around for almost 25 years, and it continues to share reliable, scientifically-accurate information.
3. Sex, Etc.
Sex,Etc. provides a Sex Terms glossary, a blog, and many informative videos about sex. It also offers a state-by-state guide so that you can know your state’s rights to birth control, STD testing, sex ed, and more. Sex Etc.’s articles and blog posts are fact-checked by national contributors and written by teens for teens. If you have a story about sexuality or sexual health, you can even apply to be a writer for the site.
Launched by Planned Parenthood in 2019, Roo is a chatbot that answers intimate questions about sex, body, and relationships. Roo is targeted at 13 to 19 year olds, and it can feel like you’re talking to a non-judgemental friend. In conjunction with the chatbot, Planned Parenthood also released a YouTube series called Roo High School to help answer your sex ed questions. If you have any awkward questions about sex that you feel too uncomfortable ask, Roo could be a helpful resource.
Books for comprehensive sex ed guides
5. S.E.X., by Heather Corinna
In S.E.X, Corinna, the founder of Scarleteen, deals with subjects such as self-image, gender and sexual identities, reproductive choices, and much more. The book is packed with a ton of useful, shame-free information that often debunks common sex myths. S.E.X also uses affirming language, and it is LGBTQ+ inclusive.
6. Doing It, by Hannah Witton
In Doing It, Witton shares personal stories from her own experiences with sex and offers advice for readers. Doing It is accessible and hilarious, and it covers information about consent, contraception, porn, sexting, and many more topics. It’s targeted for teens, ages 14 to 18, who are looking for an easy to read, engaging sex ed book.
7. Sex Plus, by Laci Green
Sex Plus is an honest, sex-positive book about the unanswered questions we all have about sex. Green is frank and open with her readers, and she dives into topics like consent culture, sexual exploration, masturbation, and pregnancy prevention. Sex Plus also provides charts, infographics, and diagrams to break up the format. It’s a fun, comprehensive guide that you’ll be glad to have on your bookshelf.
8. Consent: The New Rules of Sex Education, by Dr. Jennifer Lang
In this book about consent and sexual safety, Dr. Lang breaks down complicated concepts, offers tools for building healthy sexual relationships, and gives readers a thorough understanding of human sexuality. Dr. Lang draws from her experience as an OB-GYN, and leaves readers with ways to set boundaries and make thoughtful choices about their bodies.
9. Changing Bodies, Changing Lives, by Ruth Bell
Changing Bodies, Changing Lives, which is directed towards readers ages 12 to 17, is filled with illustrations, checklists and resources so that readers can learn more about their bodies and sexual identities. It goes in depth on subjects like puberty, STIs, sexuality, and body image, and it also includes perspectives about adolescence from other teens.
Organizations that provide and advocate for reliable sex education
10. Advocates for Youth
Advocates for Youth works to fight for reproductive rights, access to contraception, and LGBTQ+ equality. They also have various campaigns and programs around sexual health for young activists. Its biggest program, The Youth Activist Network, focuses on peer education and youth participation.
11. Healthy Teen Network
Healthy Teen Network works to support young people who want to build coalitions and advocate for sexual and reproductive health. It offers a variety of assistance services like trainings, presentations and evidence-based programs. For example, its sex ed curriculum Power Through Choices teaches teens how to make safe choices, practice communication skills, and prevent STDs.
12. Power to Decide
Power to Decide is a campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy by providing accurate information on sexual health and contraceptive methods. You can find nearby health clinics on its site, in addition to teen blogs about sex, relationships, and birth control.
13. The Responsible Sex Education Institute (RSEI)
Founded by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, RSEI is a trusted sex education resource that empowers individuals to make informed choices about their sexual health. It offers general sexual health information and a text-and-answer program that shares reliable information about sex-related subjects.
The bottom line
A comprehensive sex education is extremely valuable. It can keep you informed, increase your sexual confidence and help you make safer choices. And no matter where your curiosity lies, there are plenty of thoughtful resources out there. Just remember that sex education is a lifelong process, and you are right on time. If you’re curious about how your parents can best support you through your sex education journey, check out our article that has resources for parents.