Book Review: A book that makes an idela 'first book' about sex for tweens and young teens.
The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex by Heather Anderson, Fay Angelo and Rose Stewart is what I would call a ‘first book’ for tweens and teens on how to have respectful relationships. It talks about sex but it also talks about all the other parts that make up healthy and safe relationships.
This book was first published in 2015, so it is very recent and relevant in regards to the new risks that teens face. In our day, it was HIV or AIDS, STIs (sexually transmitted infections), alcohol and unplanned pregnancy. Today we can add in a few new risks such as drugs, online porn, sexting, bullying and the online world.
The authors come from a very hands-on background. Fay comes from a teaching background, Heather is a Sexual Health Nurse/ Sex Educator and Rose is a teacher and School Psychologist. So they are dealing with this tweens & teens and sex everyday.
The authors have 3 earlier books. One for boys, Secret Boy’s Business, and one for younger girls, Secret Girl’s Business. They have then published More Secret Girls’ Business which is for older girls.
These earlier books mainly focus on puberty and are gender specific. What I love about them is that they don’t talk about sex within these books. A lot of puberty books talk about everything, trying to squeeze all the information that a child could possibly want to know, into the one book. This is great in theory, as you only have to buy the one book. In reality though, this is problematic as it includes information that most kids just aren’t ready for. So it is good to have all the sexual content that tweens and teens need to know about added into another book, like The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex.
So giving a book to a 11 year old that talks about oral sex, or anal sex or orgies and stuff just isn’t appropriate because they’re just not interested in that stuff (yet). If anything, it is going to scare them and give them the wrong messages about sex. So you want to sort of hold off with giving them too much detail and information about sex until they are a little bit older.
Once kids start to progress through puberty and the sex hormones have started to kick in all, it is only then, that they then begin to show an interest in sex. It is only now, that they finally start to see sex as something that they may actually want to do (whereas before they just saw it as textbook material/behaviour). And this happens because of the sex hormones that change the way that we think and feel about sex.
So what’s inside this book?
The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex is much bigger than the earlier puberty books with about 130 pages What I love about these books is that it is not like reading a novel which is all words. Give a novel to a 12 year old with all small words and they most probably won’t read it. This book is different in that it has lots of images, and the words are broken up into readable sections very nicely. And despite the sexual content (eg masturbation) the images are not explicit or offensive (or scary!).
The book, The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex, covers a lot of territory! In regards to relationships, it talks about what makes up a healthy friendships, Romantic feelings, sexual diversity, gender identity, emotional and physical safety.
The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex also talks about:
I think that The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex is ideal as a first sex book that kids should have because it isn’t a sex manual, like many other books for teens. As a parent, we are often reluctant to provide our kids with too much information about sex. I see this book as a halfway point as it talks about the important stuff but it doesn’t provide them with information about everything to do with sex! They can read those books when they are 14 or 15 or 16 (depending on their maturity and level of interest).
I think that The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex is a great book, a book that all tweens and early teens should have. It is a good first book on sex for this age group as it provides the information in a very age-appropriate and non-judgemental way.
The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex is ideal for children between the ages of 12 - 14 years of age.
You can buy a copy of The Secret Business of Relationships, Love and Sex by Heather Anderson, Fay Angelo and Rose Stewart from Book Depository.
You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.
My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.
Which means that inside this website, you'll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.
My Sex Education 101 page includes all of the information on sex education. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with getting started, on a wide range of different topics.
My Puberty 101 page includes all of the information on puberty. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with talking to your child about growing up.
You'll find videos about sex ed in my Sex Education Videos resource page that you can watch with your child or to learn more about sex education yourself.
You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There's even some books in there for parents!
If you're looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural converasations with your child about their body.
You'll also find some child friendly anatomically-correct cartoon illustrations of the genitals and internal reproductive organs that are appropriate for children from the age of 3 and up. Let's Look at Different Body Parts is a printable that will help take the awkward out of talking to your child about their body, so they grow up feeling educated, confident, and comfortable in their own skin.
If you're worried that talking to your child about bodies might lead to questions about sex, then you can relax. How to Talk to Kids About Sex, will help you to explain sexual intercourse to your child in a way they will understand. It breaks sex down into simple steps that take the stress out of explaining!
If you want a printed book to hold in your hands, then the The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid's ask parents about sex. Which means you don't need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands.
If you want the answers to questions about a lot more than just sex, then Sex Ed Quickies is your best option. It has answers to 300+ questions that kids commonly ask parents, including how babies are made, sexual intercourse, body parts, puberty, relationships, pregnancy, birth, masturbation, sexual diversity, gender, pornography, STIs, contraception and much more.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.