Sexuality education is so much more than teaching fourteen year olds how babies are made. For one thing, it starts the minute we’re born. For another thing, it involves acceptance, tolerance, difference, similarity, pleasure, pain, relationships, abuse, joy, sorrow, belonging, rights, privileges, community, society…it is deeply connected to much of the way we live our lives. We can no more afford to ignore it than we can afford to ignore poverty or literacy.

My favorite resources:

  • Scarleteen
    — Run by Heather Corinna (whose book S.E.X.: Spelling Out All You Need to Know About Your Sexuality is a fantastic user’s guide to the body) and a team of volunteers, this has got to be one of the best available sex ed resources for the under-eighteen set. That’s not to say that adults can’t find information there, too, but it’s a participatory community designed for teens, and it serves huge numbers of people every month. Scarleteen is carefully maintained and quite accurate.
    — for the over-eighteen set (as clearly stated in a disclaimer at the bottom of the homepage), this site has clear and careful explanations of nearly anything an adult can think of doing. If everyone is too embarassed to explain it to you, find it here. From what I know, most of the site is careful, nonjudgemental, and accurate, but I cannot guarantee everything there.
    — a comprehensive guide to this critical and sometimes overlooked piece of anatomy. Includes information about the rarely-discussed clitoral adhesions
  • Go Ask Alice
    –Hosted on Columbia University’s website, this ask-anything guide archives and indexes the questions and answers from the past for quick reference. Like Scarleteen, it’s a great resource for information as well as for knowing that you’re not alone.
  • Our Whole Lives
    –OWL is the Unitarian Universalist Association and United Church of Christ’s lifespan sexuality education curriculum, designed to provide age-appropriate sexuality education at all stages of life. Teachers are specially trained and material is nonjudgemental, explicit, and accurate. I went through the predecessor to this program when I was in middle school and it was a formative experience. I highly recommend it.

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