cover of Where Did I Come From by Peter Mayle

Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle: Should you buy it?

Book Review:  A vintage sex education is still hugely popular!

Book Review

Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle is the sex education book that most of us parents grew up with. It is a bit dated but it still has some wonderful content in it!

This book is an oldie. It has been around since 1973. (Just after I was born and my mother possibly could have used this book with  me!) This is the book that a lot of us as parents grew up with. Today, 40+ years later, it is still one of the top-selling books on sex education. This is not a book that I use with my own children. Mainly because today there are better books,  that are a lot more modern with similar content.

Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

The images inside Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle are still the same old original images  from our childhood, which means that it looks a little outdated when compared to modern day books.

The story of reproduction (ie how babies are made)  is based on 'penis in vagina' sexual intercourse, with the birth at the end being a vaginal delivery. So the book does need to be updated to reflect the times -  the times have changed since 1973 when the book was first published. It  talks about a mum and a dad getting together, having sex and creating a baby. But what if your child was adopted or there was an egg or sperm donation or a surrogacy or you have got two moms. This book doesn't include these others ways that babies today can also be made.

Where Did I Come From? does need to be updated in regards to those things but this book does give the best description of sexual intercourse that is out there for children. And it is age appropriate! The author has managed to be able to also put in words what sexual feelings are like, in regards to orgasm, ie the crescendo  and the buildup towards orgasm, and the rhythmic 'in and out' movements of sexual penetration. Most kids tend to find the details about the mechanics of sex a little bizarre and they won't really understand what it all means until during puberty (when the sex hormones kick in and create romantic thoughts). Kids don't see all of the other stuff that goes with sex and they initially find it difficult to understand. Because we are talking about stuff that they have not experienced yet and they don’t understand sexual desire and arousal, because they have yet to experience it. Once the hormones start appearing, then sexual feelings will start to happen. But this book gives a nice description of sexual intercourse.

The book also talks about pregnancy and the fact that all of our body shapes are different.

I would love to see this book be updated but I don’t think it will be because they are still selling so many of them. Why would you update it when it is doing so well for itself already. I think it is a good book but there are other books that are out there that are a little bit more modern, in regards to reflecting the changes in society, technology and how babies can be made.

Should you buy it? 

No, today there are much better books out there that actually replace it.  As I have said, the content is fantastic but it does not talk about the alternative ways that babies are made (IVF, surrogacy, adoption etc). But it does give the  most detailed age-appropriate description of how sex happens, that I have ever found!

Ideal ages

Where Did I Come From? is ideal for children between the ages of 6 - 9 years of age.

Buy a copy

You can buy a copy of Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle from Amazon or  Book Depository.

You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.

Video book review


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.

About the Author Cath Hakanson

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.

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