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Sex Ed Rescue How to talk to your kids about sex

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex:

The Definitive Guide

So you want to know how to talk to your kids about sex! For whatever reason, part of you knows that you should be able to talk about this stuff, but the other part is confused.

What do I say?    How do I say it?  Will I say too much?

Whatever your worry, let’s face facts: whether they are your own kids or someone else's, talking to kids about sex is tricky – damn tricky! It doesn't matter who you are, everyone finds it difficult.

But sex education doesn't need to be so tricky. Here you will find everything that you possibly need to know about sex education ie how to talk to your kids about sex.

Sex Ed 'One Stop Shop'

The Ultimate List of the
Web's Best Sex Education Resources

From what sex education is to how to do it, this guide has you covered!

Use the buttons below to navigate to the chapters that interest you the most. Each chapter contains the best (and most reliable) resources from around the web on how to talk to your kids about sex. 

And don't forget to join that parent group.
My FREE and private Facebook Group where you can ask your questions, get them answered and learn from other parents about how they do this sex ed ' thing'.

Don't have enough time to read through all this?
Then download a PDF instead!

Sex education

What sex education actually is (it's more than you think)

With a name like 'sex education' or 'sex ed', you can be forgiven for thinking that it is all about sex! Well guess what? It isn't!

Sex is only a very small part of what sex education actually is! It includes a whole lot of other really important stuff that you are probably already talking about!

So before you even think about how to talk to your kids about sex, you had better find out what sex education is actually all about! 

social changes during puberty

RESEARCH

Is sex education really all that important?

sex education for boys

So what is all the fuss about? Why do we need to talk to our kids about sex?

Believe it or not, but sex education is important for lots of reasons. There is plenty of really good research out there that tells us that sex education has positive outcomes for kids.

And if you don't believe me, here is some of the latest research from around the world!


child sexual development

How do kids develop sexually?

Believe it or not, but sexual behaviour starts at a very early age. As kids get older, the way they behave and express these feelings changes, and they move through different, and normal, phases of sexual development. 

By knowing what's 'normal', you can be ready for what to expect, even though it might seem a little uncomfortable at times! Also, by knowing what's normal sexual behaviour, it is easier to then spot the warning signs that something might not be quite right.

Here you will find some of my favourite 'parent friendly' resources on healthy child sexual development.

questions about puberty

  • Traffic Lights app for tablets  An app by an Australian organisation, True Relationships & Reproductive Health, that describes healthy sexual behaviours (green), concerning behaviours (orange) and harmful behaviours (red) for children aged 0-17. It also explains possible reasons for specific behaviours, suggested responses and provides case studies.
  • Traffic Lights app for mobile phone  An app by an Australian organisation, True Relationships & Reproductive Health, that describes healthy sexual behaviours (green), concerning behaviours (orange) and harmful behaviours (red) for children aged 0-17. It also explains possible reasons for specific behaviours, suggested responses and provides case studies.
  • Brook Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool  A UK adaptation of the Traffic Lights tool that is available on their website. 
  • Overview of healthy childhood sexual development  PDF from the USA by National Sexual Violence Resource Centre (NSVRC), that provides a really nice overview.
  • Child development profiles A guide to child development from Susan Laing of Creative Living with Children, that provides a very wise guide to your child's development. 
  • When to be concerned about childhood sexual behaviour An Australian article from Raising Children, about when to be concerned about child sexual behaviour.
  • Child Sexual Development A Canadian government site that has really good information on healthy child sexual development. 

younger kids

How to talk to kids from when they are babies until just before puberty

emotional changes during puberty

By younger kids, I mean the kids aged from birth to about 10 or 11 ie just before puberty.

This age group is a great age as they are very curious about the world they live in. So expect  questions about where babies come from,  the differences between the genders and lots of nudity.

Here you will find some of my favourite resources for talking about sexuality to younger kids ie  the Under 5's and the primary or elementary school age.


PARENTS

WEBSITES FOR KIDS

  • Consent video  A short video that talks about what consent means  by Blue Seat Studios. 
  • Kid's Health  An Australian state government Child and Youth Health site with information about a whole range of topics about their body.

PUBERTY & TWEENS

Puberty (it is closer than you think!)

Puberty is something that you will need to talk about with your child, possibly even sooner rather than later.

Here you will find some of my favourite resources on puberty that should help you with talking to your own child about growing up.

 Talk to your child and let them hear about the changes that will happening to them from you, so that they can turn to you for the support, guidance and information that they'll need. 

birds and bees

PARENTS

  • DIY period kit  Learn how to make up a period kit for your daughter's school bag.
  • A parent's guide to menstruation products  A guide to the many period products that are available and  what is best for a girl's first period.
  • Period care bags  Purpose made bags by Raigan J Australia that  will hold all your period things. What I love about these are that they are discrete, fold open, have zippered apartments and a j  hook so that you can hang it. They ship internationally and this is not an affiliate link - it is just a product that ticks all the boxes for what a girl needs, when it comes to all things period!
  • NRK Norway sex education videos  These Norwegian TV videos have subtitles and  take a very frank (and explicit) approach to explaining puberty. Warning - you will see real genitals and these videos take a very frank approach that may offend some!
  • Girltopia  A set of 70 full-colour cards for building conversations with girls from age 10, that can be used by counsellors, educators, social workers, health professionals, teams, managers and parents. A great way to have some meaningful conversations with the girls. 
  • Books about puberty for kids  Reviews of lots of the many books about puberty that are readily available for boys and girls from the ages of 8+.  
  • Girl Puberty: How to talk about puberty and sex with your tween girl  A straightforward common sense book for parents on how to talk about puberty and sex with their tween girl (8-13).
  • Boy Puberty: How to talk about puberty and sex with your tween boy A straightforward common sense book for parents on how to talk about puberty and sex with their tween boy (9-13).
  • How menstruation works A 4 minute video that explains what the menstrual cycle. 
  • Puberty and Sexual Development  A Canadian government site that has really good information on what puberty is all about.
  • Puberty blogposts from Sex Ed Rescue  All of the puberty related blogposts from Sex Ed Rescue listed on the one page.

WEBSITES FOR KIDS

  • The Period Blog  A blog that provides quite simple information and answers questions about periods for young girls. 
  • Amaze videos Videos for tweens and young teens that provide age-appropriate information about puberty, love, sex and relationships in short animated videos. 
  • Nearly Teens  An Aussie government site that provides some really nice simple information for kids about puberty and the changes that will be happening to them. 
  • The Hormone Factory  An Australian site by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Australia. The aim of the site is to support parents and teachers in talking to children about sexual and reproductive development, to answer the questions children often ask, and they ones they don't (but wonder about).

WORKSHOPS

Please do let me know if you know of a progam that should be included in this list.

  • Celebration Day for Girls  An international 1 day program & training developed by Jane Bennett that helps girls (and their mothers) to celebrate their journey to womanhood.
  • Rites for Girls  UK based (now international) program & training developed by Kim McCabe to celebrate your daughters growing up. 
  • The Rite Journey  Australian based program developed by Andrew Lines for young people (boys and girls)  that helps to support the development of self-aware, responsible, respectful, resilient and resourceful adults. 
  • The Making of Men  An Australian (now global) rites of passage program developed by Dr Arne Rubenstein to celebrate a boy's manhood. 
  • Great Conversations American based- workshops for parents and their kids about puberty. 

SEX & Teens

How to talk to your teen about love, sex and relationships

sex education lessons

The teens or adolescence is when sexuality starts to become sexual, as your child finally starts to see sex as something that they may just want to do (instead of just being something that is found in a textbook).

As your kids reach their teens, they will start to look elsewhere for some of their information about sex. 

Here you will find some of my favourite resources for teens that talk about all things sex related.  Sites that are factual,   but age-appropriate too! Have a look at them your self first, before  showing them to your teen. You'll also find some sites that will help you with talking to your teen about sex. 


PARENTS

WEBSITES FOR TEENS

  • Scarlateen  Internationally renowned site that provides information and support to teens aged 15+.
  • Books for teens on love, sex and relationships Reviews of the best books that will help you to talk to your kids about staying love, sex and relationships.
  • BISH UK  A UK site that provides a guide to sex, love and you for everyone over 14. Age-appropriate and non-judgemental.
  • Ask Nurse Nettie An Australian state  government site that answers any questions youth may have about sex.  Good information on the site as well. 
  • Reachout  A leading Australian online mental health organisation for young people and their parents. Great information about relationships and more. 
  • Get the facts  An Australian state government site that provides age-appropriate information on a range of sex-related topics for youth. 
  • Vagina Dispatches  Information for teens about the vulva/vagina by The Guardian.
  • Sex and U  A Canadian site for teens by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), that provides factual information about sex,  same-sex attraction, STIs, contraception, pregnancy, consent and more.
  • Sexperience  A UK site by Channel 4 that provides some very graphic but educational (and entertaining) information for teens about sex. 
  • Sex, etc.  A USA site for teens that provides some fantastic information on a range of sex-related topics. 
  • It's your (sex) life  MTV's Emmy and Peabody Award-winning public information campaign to support young people in making responsible decisions about their sexual health. 
  • Minus18 An Australian site for LGBTI youth that has some great information about love, sex and relationships.  
  • In real life: Stories of sex & relationships  An Australian site by Family Planning NSW with information about the reality of being sexual, by providing the answers to sex and relationship questions that go beyond the biological and medical, normalise conversations of sex.
  • Frank. Talk. Test. Enjoy  An Australian site by Family Planning NSW  for youth that talks frankly about sex, relationships and your body. 
  • Rosie Respect An Australian site that provides a space for teenage girls to connect with the best of the web, helping them to navigate life’s tricky situations. Rosie has a range of tips, links and videos all centred around a theme of respect – for body & mind, work & study, relationships, and the world we live in.
  • Lawstuff: Know your rights  An Australian site that informs kids of their legal rights (sex stuff is included).
  • Childline A UK site that provides some fantastic information about sexuality for teens.
  • Consent is Everything  The 'cup of tea' consent video with some helpful information on what consent is all about. 

SEXTING

Sending private pictures online

The times have changed from when we were kids.

Sexting is one of those things that teens do. Is it something that you should be concerned about or it is just another rite of passage?

Here you will find some of my favourite resources on what sexting is all about and how to talk to your child about it. 

advantages of sex education

PARENTS

WEBSITES FOR KIDS

  • Sexting Information Sheet  An Australian information sheet from Lawstuff for teens that talks about what sexting is and the legalities of sending and receiving underage images.
  • Sexting and selfies tips Tips from the UK site, Brook Sexual Health, with things to think about before you press 'send' on an image. 
  • Posting pictures and videos  A UK site, Think U Know,  for ages 5-7, 8-10, 11-13 and 14+ (and parents)  that provides lots of information about sex. Sexting is talked about.
  • Childline A UK site with some really good information about sexting and what to do  if you've already shared a photo. 

Pornography

It is harder for kids to avoid pornography, than it is to find it.

teaching sex education in schools

Pornography is one of those topics that we all find difficult to talk about - regardless of how comfortable you might feel about sex.

Here you will find some of my favourite porn resources on pornography for parents and their kids to look at. These resources focus more on the 'talking to kids' aspect rather than trying to convince you that porn is harmful (something that you have probably already worked out for yourself).

And remember, the first conversation is always the hardest!


PARENTS

WEBSITES FOR KIDS & TEENS

  • Childline  - Online Porn  Age-appropriate Information from the UK for ages 12+ on  what porn is (fantasy vs reality), how porn can make you feel,  pressure to watch porn in a relationship, how to tell if you are watching too much porn, and tips on how to stop watching porn. 
  • BISH - A guide to sex love and you  A site for ages 14+ that provides  some really interesting information about porn. A UK site created by a sex educator but which is now sponsored by Durex (they make condoms). 
  • Go Ask Alice  An internationally renowned site that provides answers for teens (and even parents) about sex. Aims to provide reliable, accurate, accessible, and culturally competent information so that teens and young adults can make informed decisions  about sex.  It has lots of information about porn.
  • Pleasure vs Profit  A Scottish site that provides really good information for teens about how the porn industry manipulates a natural curiosity about sex to sell a narrow, joyless and harmful version of sexuality.
  • Think U Know A UK site for ages 5-7, 8-10, 11-13 and 14+ (and parents)  that provides lots of information about sex. Porn is talked about.
  • It's time we talked An Australian site that provides information for teens, parents, schools and community organisations on how to talk about pornography. It does have some useful information and resources. 

SEXUAL ABUSE

A tough, but necessary topic to talk about

Talking to kids about sex can be hard for most parents, but talking about sexual abuse is even harder.

It is 'totally understandable' as to why so many parents prefer to stick their head in the sand!

Protective education (or Protective Behaviours) is about teaching kids to recognise unsafe situations and to seek help immediately.

It doesn't have to be 'too hard' and there are some wonderful resources out there that make it a lot easier to do! 

sex education resources

Don't have enough time to read through all this?
Then download a PDF instead!