10 Books To Teach Your Kids About Sex

sex-education-books-for-kids

I found out what sex was from my friend Natalie, while waiting in line for lunch when I was in second grade. I was six. My mom was disappointed, because she wanted to tell me herself. I don’t remember thinking that the whole p-in-the-v thing was a big deal, but it probably would have been nicer to hear it from my mom rather than another kid, you know? There are all sorts of approaches to initiating children into the basic facts of life, but if you’re looking for a little help from some fun, informative printed materials, I’ve got the hook up. Here are some awesome books about bodies, babies, sex, and relationships.

For The Little Ones

What Makes A Baby by Cory Silverberg: This bright, colorful and very modern picture book is a hit amongst toddlers on up. It’s super inclusive in terms of language, so it’s great for nontraditional families.

I Said No! A Kid Guide To Keeping Your Private Parts Private by Kimberly King: This isn’t just about sex, but it’s a great resource to have on hand for teaching children about consent, appropriate touching, and more.

“Where Did I Come From?” by Peter Mayle: This book is straightforward, with cute (yet somewhat graphic!) illustrations and real talk about the mechanics of sex and bodies.

It’s Not The Stork! A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families And Friends by Robie Harris: At 64 pages, this is pretty long. But it’s really great! The illustrations are adorable and the science is on point. It’s appropriate for kids from when they start to read up until age ten or so, depending on their interests and maturity levels.

How Babies Are Made by Steven Schepp and Andrew Audry: This book is a bit of a throwback, first published in 1968. But it has simple, gorgeous illustrations and explains the processes of reproduction starting with flowers and continuing with humans.

For The Slightly Older Ones

Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Books Collective and Judy Norsigian: This is the classic! I once saw a Mommyish commenter say she wouldn’t give this to her daughter because it doesn’t have Christian values, but if that’s not a concern for you, it’s a terrific text for tween and teenage girls.

Deal With It: A Whole New Approach To Your Body, Brain And Life As A Gurl by Esther Drill, Rebecca Odes and Heather McDonald:  Ok, so this is out of print, but it’s super cheap on Amazon. I loved this book as a teen and it was created by our sister site, Gurl.com! A great resource for teenage girls on sex, bodies, and relationships.

The Body Book For Boys by Rebecca Paley, Grace Norwich and Jonathan Mar: So many books about puberty and sex are geared towards girls, but this one is specifically for boys! The cover picture kinda cracks me up, with the attractive teen boy cartoon (see above), but hey, if it works, it works.

Sex, Puberty And All That Stuff: A Guide To Growing Up by Jacqui Bailey: This book is for ages 8ish to 13ish, depending on maturity. It has drawings and such, but it covers topics like homosexual impulses and wet dreams, so it’s certainly geared towards slightly older kids.

S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College by Heather Corinna: I am a huge fan of Heather Corinna and Scarleteen, so I think S.E.X is pretty great. It’s definitely for older tweens and teens.

Photos: Amazon

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    • SusannahJoy

      Oh, books. How I love you! I will be buying my kids some of these. Obviously I plan on talking to them too, but hey, if these can answer some of the questions, awesome. Less awkwardness for me.

    • Crusty Socks

      Should probably wait till they’re at least 15 for Hustler, right?

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      I love What Makes A Baby soooooo much. We’ve been reading it to the kid since she was, oh, 3 months old. I almost cry every time because it’s just so beyond amazing to have a book that helps us tell her (completely untraditional) story, but doesn’t posit it as being ‘different’.

      The book works for every type of conception (at least every kind that I can think of, from the ‘traditional’ to adoption to surrogacy to IVF to…?) and the concepts are so simple without being dumbed down. LOVE IT.

      • Katherine Handcock

        My son LOVED What Makes A Baby, although it did result in some hilarious moments when he decided that the correct term was not “uterus” but “blue uterus” because that was the colour it was on his favourite page of the book. :-)

    • arrow2010

      Typical liberals, you just can’t leave this subject alone. God’s subject.

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        Can I ask, respectfully, why religion was dragged into this?
        I’d rather educate my stepdaughters about these things.

        Not attacking in any way, just curious how you factor “god’s subject” into it?
        Interested in hearing what you have to say.

    • Alexandra

      I read “Everything you want to know about sex, but were afraid to ask” when I spied it on my parent’s bookshelf one day in 7th grade. WOW, it was a bit too scientific and technical for me at that age but it was super fun to gross out my friends with knowledge of STDs and penises!!

    • Aimless

      Small correction, How Babies Are Made was first published in 1968, not 1984! By today’s standards it is a little simplistic – it doesn’t get into anything beyond a very traditional heterosexual couple conceiving a baby by the standard method. However, this very simplicity makes it a good choice for very young kids, ages 3-6 or so, who just need the most rudimentary understanding of reproduction, as it is short, simple, to the point, and has really cool cut-out paper illustrations that fascinated me when I was a young child (waayyyyy before 1984)!

      • http://carrie-murphy.com/ Carrie Murphy

        Whoops! I was going from the Amazon version. Thanks! I’ll change it.

    • pixie

      Fun fact: when I was about five or six I thought that sex was giving blow jobs and therefore that’s how babies were made. One of my friends and her slightly older sister gave me that bit of information (and even showed me several pictures in a porn mag of their father’s that they found). Of course I passed that information along (minus pictures) to some other friends. When I learned how babies were REALLY made a few years later, it made a whole lot more sense to me.

      I can’t remember what the book that my mom gave to me was called (she gave up on trying to talk to me about puberty and sex and whatnot because I was embarrassed by it as a kid), but I looked through it and quickly put it down. The female (and male) body confused me and I wasn’t overly interested in it at that age (like 9 or 10). Thankfully both my public elementary and Catholic high schools had very good health/sex ed classes so I actually learned important things in a group setting that I couldn’t opt out of.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        It’s freaky how I could have written this comment, right down to the Catholic school and the mom giving up on telling me about it.

      • pixie

        Ha, yeah, I feel kind of bad about it now. She tried so hard, but I would just get up and leave the room and I don’t think she would have been ok with tying me to a chair.

    • SA

      Can’t you just leave it up to the WikiBear? Reading is so 1980.

    • Mystik Spiral

      I speak from experience when I say parents, stay away from “Where Did I Come From?”!! The book is beyond creepy, it’s sexist, and the illustrations are stupid. We had to read that book, and growing up in a Catholic household, naturally it was a sexually repressed environment. My parents gave us the book to read with an embarrassed, mumbled “let us know if you have any questions”. That was it.

      I’m sure some of the books are good ones, and it doesn’t need to be said, but TALK to your kids in addition to any reading material you may give them.

      • Plonk

        I think I had the same book ! And unfortunately, the same family too.
        There were these two chubby persons who spent most of the book frolicking without any clothes on and at some point an army of terrifying sperms, all with the man’s face. Eek !

    • AP

      When my husband was in middle school, one of his friend’s parents bought a sex/puberty book for the kid. All of the boys devoured it. They loved it SO MUCH they still quote it to this day (and they’re all pushing 30): “It’s not gay to jerk off your guy friends.”

      Moral of the story: Read the book before you give it to the kid. Otherwise, you might find out the hard way that you’ve just condoned a preteen circle jerk.

      • http://carrie-murphy.com/ Carrie Murphy

        WOW.

    • ChickenKira

      For the Australians, Kaz Cooke’s “Girl Stuff” is one of the best puberty-guides ever. It’s constantly updated as new information becomes available, and in addition to the sex and periods and boobs talk, also contains wonderful chapters on cybersafety/cyberbullying, writing a resume, job interviews, friendship problems, drugs/alcohol and why you should wait until you are an adult to get a tattoo and not let your best friend’s drunk brother do one for you.

    • medimus
    • gothicgaelicgirl

      lol, when my mam was pregnant with my little bro, she got me this deadly book called Mummy Laid an Egg! the book was banned for a while because it showed kids giving their parents sex-ed and showed “some ways mummys and daddies fit together”
      I cracked up at the space hopper.

      • pixie

        lol that’s some kinky stuff right there.

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        I kinda loved it as a kid lol.
        I do remember standing there in front of my father, hands on hips, demanding of him- “I THOUGHT YOU COULDN’T SKATEBOARD!”

      • ILoveJellybeans

        OMG that is hilarious and very unrealistic. I don’t even think Urban Dictionary has names for some of these sex moves, and they have names for all sorts of sex acts that seem like theres only a handful of people who would ever even try and do them.
        How do you have sex on a space hopper? Or while the man’s hands and feet are tied to bunches of balloons and youre flying through the mountains, like some kind of dirty magic carpet.
        I don’t think I would let my kid read it though….

    • Katherine Handcock

      Don’t know all of these, but the ones I do, I love! I also highly recommend Debra Haffner’s parenting books about teaching kids about sex/sexuality/gender/etc. “From Diapers to Dating” and “Beyond the Big Talk” (for newborns to 12, and 13 and up, respectively).

      Also, shameless plug time! The website I work with, A Mighty Girl, has a great section of books about sexuality and two blogs about talking about bodies with younger girls (http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=2006) and with tweens and teens (http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=2229).

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