Where do I find reliable information about sexual health on the internet?
While there are many dubious sources for information about sexuality on the internet, there are also many great fact-based reliable resources online as well. Parents and guardians, please check out these sites before you share them with your teens. You and I know individual kids have different developmental needs and not all kids are ready for the encyclopedic scope of sexual health information available on the web. That said, most of us adults have a long way to go in order to get our facts straight!
Here are a few of the best sites to explore in order to help you be the kind of knowledgeable person your kids can talk with about the wide world of sexual health:
Sex, Etc. Two great teen driven sites with accurate information curated by experts
GenderSexualityInfo An extensive resource directory on topics involving healthy sexuality, gender and identity. Includes social support, safety and shelter, and financial help
TeenSource Sex & health & you! Find a clinic, know your rights
Everyone Is Gay Q and A for young people and their families on topics of sexual orientation and gender identity
PFLAG Los Angeles Los Angeles based support organization for friends, family and allies of LGBTQIA people
Sexplanations Dr. Lindsey Doe, Clinical Sexologist, curates and posts videos about every imaginable topic involving human sexuality
Safely Ever After Santa Monica based child safety organization founded by Pattie Fitzgerald. Resources for parents that empower kids to make safe choices
The Trevor Project 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention inclusive and sensitive to LGBTQIA youth, but available to all young people
A Thin Line MTV website contains facts, stories video and quizzes on social media topics
Love is Respect Excellent resources for promoting healthy teen and young adult relationships
Los Angeles Gender Center Counselling support & education for gender diversity
Resources Especially for Families When Puberty is Just Around the Corner
(9-12 year olds)
Highly recommended for its contemporary inclusive approach:
"Sex is a Funny Word" by Corey Silberberg –-joyful and non-clinical, the text discusses not only puberty but consent, gender identity and body norms. Part of an expanding series of titles by Siverberg that include LGBTQIA identities.
Older titles also recommended, despite their heteronormative bias:
"It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris –-is recently updated, and very thorough. Part of a series. It offers young people the factual information they need to make responsible decisions that can help them stay healthy as they approach and experience puberty and adolescence.
"Will Puberty Last My Whole Life?" by Julie Metzger, RN, MN, and Robert Lehman, MD. This flip book offers "Straightforward, age-appropriate answers to REAL questions from preteens."
"What's Happening to My Body? : Book for Boys/Girls" by Lynda Madaras, Area Madaras, and Simon Sulivan --information ranging from body hair, growth spurts, to romantic feelings. With detailed illustrations and real-life stories throughout, plus an introduction for parents and a helpful resource section.
“Period. A Girls' Guide” by JoAnn Loulan, Bonnie Worthen, Marcia Quackenbush, and Chris Wold Dyrud --this text uses diagrams to familiarize readers with the inner workings of their bodies, including what happens during menstruation, it does not discuss puberty and sexuality as thoroughly as "What's Happening to My Body".
“The Caring and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls" by Cara Natterson and Josee Masse --for kids ages 10 and older. Published by American Girl, this book discusses "the physical and emotional changes" as well as peer pressure and personal care. This book, like the other recommendations, promotes responsible education about sexuality without shame.
and newly published for boys by the same author:
“Guy Stuff, The Body Book for Boys” by Cara Natterson —finally there is a new book on puberty changes for male bodies! Thankfully American Girl publishers have recognized that boys need access to information and advice about puberty changes just as girls do.
http://kidshealth.org/ a searchable factual resource sponsored by the Nemours Foundation. Covers many puberty and sexual health topics.
https://www.girlshealth.gov another searchable public health resource. Maintained by the U.S. Government Department of Women’s Health with many topics for girls ages 10-14.
http://amaze.org/ Large collection of sexual health videos curated by Advocates For Youth. Targeting 10-14 year olds, this innovative platform allows parents to preview and select the videos they want their child to see, while blocking those that parents feel are too mature. The quality of these videos varies.
Resources Especially for Families With Teens
(13-18 year olds)
“It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens” by Dana Boyd—
"In explaining the networked realm of teens, Boyd has the insights of a sociologist, the eye of a reporter, and the savvy of a technologist. For parents puzzled about what their kids are doing online, this is an indispensable book."―Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute
“S.E.X., second edition: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties” by Heather Corinna — Heather Corinna and Scarleteen.com have been providing sex education and information for young adults, parents, and mentors for nearly ten years. Whether you're straight, gay, sexually active, or just plain curious, S.E.X. spells out everything you need to know.