Confession: Talking about sex makes me uncomfortable. I know, it's not very mature, and it's something I've had to get over when it comes to talking about it with my tween daughter. It is also why I welcome resources for discussing it with kids.
I've heard from many parents of boys that there just aren't the resources out there for them that there are for tween and teen girls, so when Jo Langford, a therapist, teen sex educator, dad and author, offered me a chance to check out his book, The Sex EDcyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide to Healthy Sexuality, For the Modern, Male Teen, I said sure.
When the book arrived, I opened to a random page. Turns out Chapter 20 is titled "Anal Sex" and it offers pretty specific details.
I may have gasped a bit to myself and tossed the book back on the table like I was playing a game of hot potato.
Weak, I know. And immature. And not a reaction of which I'm proud.
After giving it some thought, I realized my reaction is exactly why this book is important.
Talking about anal sex is not an easy conversation for a lot of parents and teens, but it is very likely that teens are aware that it exists and have questions about it. And those questions are going to get more detailed as kids get older.
This book goes well beyond the basic birds and bees conversation you had with your tween. Langford says that it is intended for boys ages 14-20. I would stick with those guidelines. This is for teens, not tweens.
Do you want them taking their questions about sex to their friends or the internet? Or a book that you can both use that has solid factual information with a focus on health?
I thought so. Me, too.
The book encourages kids to share good, real information with friends and partners and suggests that readers to do so in a "'spread-info-not-Chlamydia' kinds of vibe."
While aimed at teen boys, there is also a section for parents. Langford addresses parents in the book, saying it "is just as much for you as it is for the teenagers in your life."
He wisely counsels that there is no one sex talk but rather it should be a series of ongoing talks and that parents need to keep lines of communication open.
I loved the line "You'll need to discuss tough topics from time to time. . . . You don't want to think about them as sexually active creatures any more than they want to picture you as one."
Isn't that truth?
Many parents think that their kid is not sexually active, and on the cover of the book Langford notes that he intends this to be "everything a guy needs to know, whether he is sexually active or going to be someday." And yes, someday, your guy will be sexually active.
Even if your teen boy is not sexually active now, chances are he's hearing about sex from his friends and certainly from the media. You need to be a part of that information gather he's engaging in at the moment and this book will enable you to do so.
Langford suggests that, if parents can't talk with kids about certain topics that parents not ignore those areas completely and at least provide kids with reliable resources of information. I'd say this book is certainly one of those.
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own.
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