Most of my generation joke about their experiences (or lack thereof) with having “the talk.” It was usually filled with awkward attempts at explaining “the birds and the bees”, what was happening “down there”, and being talked TO instead of talked WITH.
However, there seems to be a cultural shift happening in our approach to talking to our kids about sex. Rather than seeing it as one daunting and awkward talk, parents are seeing it as an opportunity to create an ongoing open topic of conversation. As Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers says, “It’s having 1000 one minute conversations over a child’s life.”
Because of this shift, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “what books do you recommend to teach kids about sex?” Great question right? So I’ve compiled my top 5 books that are my go-to when talking to kids about sex.
Just like you aren’t going to cover everything your kids need to know about sex and relationships in one talk, you aren’t going to cover everything your kids need to know in one book. Think of these books as your core curriculum and build your library from there based on your individual child’s needs and questions.
1 - Who Has What? (0-99 years old)
Kids (and adults) are never too young to learn the parts of their body including head, shoulders, knees, toes, and vulva! Teaching kids the anatomically correct names for their "private parts" not only helps them communicate problems, it helps them accurately report in cases of sexual abuse. Here's more about that.
2 - It's Not The Stork (4-Adult)
When it comes to talking about how babies are made, this book offers cute illustrations and straightforward explanations about how the birds and the bees actually work. You can read it straight through or simply read the parts that your child is ready for.
3 - Care and Keeping of You 1 & 2 (Tweens)
The American Girl Doll body books are a family favorite. They are relatable and written in a way that kids can understand. These books go into periods, peer pressure, body changes and more.
4 - Guy Stuff: The Body Book For Boys (Tweens)
In the American Girl Doll body books family, Guy Stuff approaches puberty and the changes in the body in an accurate and tasteful way. It talks about changes in the voice, body hair, hygiene, erections and more in a way that tweens and young teens can relate with.
5 - The Naked People In Your iPod (Tweens, Teens, and Parents and Adults)
Ok, this isn't a book but it is by far my most recommended resource when it comes to parents talking to their kids about porn. Paul Malan, writer and Dad, shares his approach to talking to his boy about pornography. Written in a non-fear based way, this article empowers kids and parents to have the language, skills, and know how to navigate sexually explicit material.
6 - For Goodness Sex (Teens and Parents)
Every parent needs to read world-renowned sex educator, Al Vernachio's, value-based approach to sexual health. It's written with the parents in mind but teens could get a lot out of it as well (if they're both readers and into non-fiction). Even if you have little kids, it's never too early to start getting a vision for your kids developing sexual health.
I know I know. Your eyes aren't seeing things there are actually 6 books that I recommend in your basic sexual health arsenal. There's nothing interesting about a top 6 list AND I just couldn't leave any one of these out. So bonus books for you!
What are your favorites? Join in on the conversation and share your go-to books for sexual health and relationships. In your parenting library. And remember...YOU are the sex expert in your home