Answer provides honest, accurate answers about sex in response to the many questions teens and adult professionals have about this complex topic. Answer has provided high-quality training to teachers and other youth-serving professionals. Answer also uses peer-to-peer communication to offer sexuality education directly to teens through the teen-written Sex, Etc. magazine and website.
To find out more about Answer, click here.
This resource featured in Families are Talking, a quarterly newsletter published by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), discusses why it is important for parents to talk about LGBTQ issues to their children and the crucial role they play in dispelling myths, challenging stereotypes, and expressing the idea that everyone deserves respect regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
Definitions of important terms such as heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual are included as well as examples of age-appropriate conversations parents can have with their children who are in different age groups. Lastly, a list of organizations, websites and contact information is included at the end for further reference.
Levine, A., Rodriguez, M., Kempner, M. and Ferko, P. Why It’s Important to Talk about Sexual Orientation. 2004. Families are Talking. Vol. 3. No. 2.
Link to PDF for “Why It’s Important to Talk About LGBTQ”
The Make it Better Project was launched in 2010 by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in order to provide youth and adults concrete tools to make schools safer for LGBT students.
“The Make it Better Project aims to educate, motivate, and unite students and adults to effectively take action to stop bullying and harassment in schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity”
The website provides ideas and information for youth to increase LGBT awareness and community at the school level and at state and national levels. There are also resources for parents, teachers and school administrators, and adult supporters who want to take a stand against bullying and advocate for LGBT youth and their rights.
There are also resources for individuals who want support or need to speak to someone in a confidential manner about LGBT issues.
You can connect with the Make it Better Project via their blog, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr.
“Resources for Families on Parent-Child Communication,” published by Advocates for Youth, provides a list of resources and materials to help parents begin talking with their children about sex. Resources are organized within the categories of web sites for parents, web sites for young people, books and videos, and organizations.
All print materials can be ordered from local bookstores or via Advocate for Youth’s website.
Link to PDF of “Resources for Families on Parent-Child Communication.”
Link to webpage listing the resources that is more computer-friendly
The American Sexual Health Association, founded in 1914, aims to communicate to the public, patients, press, providers and policy makers by developing and delivering sensitive health information about sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases/infections.
Their mission statement:
“The American Sexual Health Association promotes the sexual health of individuals, families and communities by advocating sound policies and practices and educating the public, professionals and policy makers, in order to foster healthy sexual behaviors and relationships and prevent adverse health outcomes.”
The website provides information about:
- Sexual Health (Condom use, women’s health, men’s health, FAQs…etc.)
- STDs/STIs (Statistics, Reducing Risk, Getting Tested, HPV, Chlamydia, etc.)
- Education Resources for Health Providers (Videos, Resources for Medical Students, etc.)
- Education Resources for Parents (How to Talk to Your Kids, Start the Conversation, etc.)
- Education Resources for Teachers (Comprehensive Sex Ed, STIs & Young People, etc.)
You can also get updates from the ASHA Blog and through their Youtube channel.
Advocates for Youth, established in 1980, aims to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive rights. They focus on working with young people ages 14-25 in the U.S. and abroad and treat young people as a valuable resource.
Advocate for Youth’s Rights. Respect. Respnsibility (3Rs) Core Values:
RIGHTS: Youth have the right to accurate and complete sexual health information, confidential reproductive and sexual health services, and a secure stake in the future.
RESPECT: Youth deserve respect. Valuing young people means involving them in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies that affect their health and well-being.
RESPONSIBILITY: Society has the responsibility to provide young people with the tools they need to safeguard their sexual health, and young people have the responsibility to protect themselves from too-early childbearing and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
Their website contains information such as:
They also publish a variety of publications ranging from topics such as “Peer Education” to “State Facts” and “Abstinence Only Programs.”
You can connect with Advocates for Youth via Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr
This resource, complied by Advocates for Youth, provides detailed information and resources for youth who live with physical and/or mental disabilities— including, but not limited to hearing, sight, and motor function impairments; Down syndrome; cerebral palsy; paraplegia and quadriplegia; developmental disorders; and mental health issues.
The resource is divided into the following sections:
- Statistics and data about disabilities among children and youth
- Myths and facts about sexuality and disability
- Why should parents be concerned about sexual education for their disabled children?
- General guidelines for parents
- General guidelines for professional sex educators
- Selected Resources for educators and other youth serving professionals–Books, Curricula
- Selected Resources for parents–Books
- Organizations/Web sites
Link to “Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally and Mentally Challenged Youth” on Advocates for Youth’s webpage
Link to PDF version
Advocates for Youth is an organization that is
Dedicated to creating programs and advocating for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.
The Science and Success (2nd ed. 2008): Sex Education and Other Programs That Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections publication highlights 26 U.S Based programs that have been proven effictive at delaying sexual initiation or reducing sexual risk taking among teens.
- 14 out of 26 of the programs demonstrated a statistically significant delay in the timing of first sex among youth.
- 14 out of 26 of the programs increased use of condoms
- 9 out of 26 demonstrated an increase of other forms of contraception
- 13 out of 26 showed a reduction in the number of sex partners and/or an increase in monogamy among participants
- 7 out of 26 assisted sexually active youth to reduce the frequency of sexual intercourse
- 10 out of 26 helped reduce the incidence of unprotected sex.
- 13 out of 26 programs showed a decline in tenn pregnancy, HIV or other STIs.
- 9 out of 26 showed a significant impact on teen pregnancy
- 4 out of 26 showed a reduced trend in STIs
- 6 programs achieved improvements in youth’s receipt of health care.
23 of the programs listed in the publication include information about absitence and contraception. The remaining three are programs for early childhood interventions and one is service learning program.
To visit Advocates For Youth’s website click HERE.
For the full publication: Programs that work 2008 full rpt
For the Summary of Programs: Programs that work 2008 Exec Sum
This fact sheet issued by ICAH reviews the recommendations for Sexual Health Education in schools by Medical and Public Health organizations such as:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Medical Association
- World Health Organization
- American Public Health Association
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- Society for Adolescent Medicine
These organizations recommend that Sexual Health Education programs should include the following topics:
- Basics of reproduction
- Human development (puberty)
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Contraceptives and other barrier methods
- Communication and behavioral skills (negotiation, refusal, etc)
- Relationships (familial, sexual, platonic)
- Information about access and/or condom availability
- Sexual orientation and gender
- Decision -making, values, and responsibility
In addition to these topics, some organizations have further recommendations or guidance on Sexual Health Education.
To view the fact sheet click HERE
For further information regarding National Education Standards for Sexual Health Education please visit Futureofsexeducation.org for PDF handouts of the standards for grades K-12.
This data brief published by the Centers for Disease Control shows data collected from teens (ages 15-19) who answered questions about formal sexual education they have received and whether or not teens talk to their parents about sex . Sex education in schools and other places, as well as received from parents, provides adolescents with information to make informed choices about sex at a crucial period of their development.
- Female teenagers were more likely than male teenagers to talk to their parents about “how to say no to sex,” methods of birth control, and where to get birth control
- Parental communication about sex education topics with their teenagers is associated with delayed sexual initiation and increased birth control method and condom use among sexually experienced teenagers
- About one-half of teenagers reported first receiving instruction on “how to say no to sex,” STDs, and how to prevent HIV/AIDS while in middle school.
Citation: Martinez, G. (2010). Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States. CDC Data Brief.
Link to “Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States”
The Curricula Assessment Tool was designed by the ICAH to serve as a guide for Teachers, Administrators, Students, Parents and Members of the community working to ensure that the sex education curriculum being taught meets high standards for content and focus.
Acting as a checklist, the form provides the items required by the state of Illinois to be included in the sex education curriculum as well as items that meet the health learning standards for the State Board of Education.
You can view and download the form below.
Curriculum Assessment Tool 2007
Plain Talk is a program developed by the Annie E Casey Foundation and was launched into five urban communities in 1993. The program is a neighborhood based initiative aimed at helping adults, parents, and community leaders develop the skills they need to communicate effectively with young people about reducing adolescent sexual risk taking. Plain Talk has been replicated in multiple communities across the United States.
The Goals of Plain talk are to:
- Create consensus among parents and adults about the need to protect sexually active youth by encouraging early and consistent use of contraceptives.
- To give parents and other community adults the information and skills they need to communicate more effectively with teens about responsible behavior.
- To improve adolescent access to high-quality, age-appropriate and readily available reproductive health care, including contraception.
To find more information regarding the Plain Talk program visit The Annie E Casey Foundation and conduct a search for Plain Talk.
To view a summary of the Plain Talk Program, click the link below. Plaintalk.org is no longer a working web address for this organization.
Replicating Successful Programs- Plain Talk 2006
The San Francisco Unified School District provides support services for LGBTQ youth and guidance for schools to provide curriculum for grades K-12 on diversity. The required curriculum for SF School systems includes:
Elementary: Two lessons of family diversity per year
Middle School: Seven periods of Diversity Education and Violence Prevention
High School: Ten periods of Diversity Education and Violence Prevention
The SFUSD website provides pdf files of lessons and worksheets for all grade levels as well as video lessons for middle school and high school aged students.
To view these files click HERE.
To find the other services that SFUSD provides for the LGBTQ community in the school system in San Franscisco you can visit their main website HERE.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (NCPTUP) and Cosmogirl.com came together to explore “sexting” among teens, ages 13-19 and young adults, ages 20-26. The study, conducted by TRU, a leader in studying teens and young adults, asked participants questions about sending and receiving nude and semi-nude photos and sexually suggestive messaging via electronic devices, how these sexually suggestive images and messaging impacted their real-life, and also if it was common to share explicit material with others. The article also includes “5 tips to help parents talk to their kids about sex and technology.” A copy of the “Sex and Tech” questionnaire is also included.
Some interesting findings include:
- “51% of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images; only 18% of teen boys cited pressure from female counterparts as a reason.” (p. 4)
- “83% of young adult women and 75% of young adult men who have sent sexually suggestive content say they have sent/posted such material to a boyfriend/ girlfriend.” (p. 2)
- “75% of teens and 71% of young adults say sending sexually suggestive content “can have serious nega- tive consequences.” (p. 3)
Citation: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Sex and tech: Results from a survey of teens and young adults. Retrieved from http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/sextech/pdf/sextech_summary.pdf
Link to “Sex and Tech Survey” (PDF)
In 2002, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the U.S Department of Justice estimated that there are 1,682,900 homeless and runaway youth under eighteen years of age in the United States. Of this number, anywhere from 6 to 22% are pregnant. This means that there could potentially be almost 400,000 homeless and pregnant young women in this country.
Understanding the resources available and law applicable to young parents to assist them in finding adequate housing is one way to help address the problem of homlessness among adolescent parents in the United States today.
The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law and Healthy Teen Network collaborated to develop an overview of housing-related legal policy issues with which advocates for young families should be familiar. This is merely a guide to some of the legal and policies avenues that are available for pregnant parenting teens seeking housing supports. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice.
Some programs to obtain housing assistance include:
- Section 8
- Family Unification Program
- Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program
- Maternity Group Homes
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Transitional Housing
- Extended Support for Foster Youth
The guide provides details about each program and provides other information regarding finding housing for youth.
To view the full document click below:
Helping Pregnant and Parenting Teens Find Adequate Housing
For more resources from Health Teen Network visit their website: www.healthyteennetwork.org
This fact sheet provided by Rand Health provides information regarding teen pregnancy and exposure to sex on television.
- Nearly 1 million American women ages 15-19 become pregnant each year. And a majority of these pregnancies are unplanned.
- Rand conducted a survey to study the link between exposure to sex on TV and teen pregnancy. They found that “frequent exposure to TV sexual content was associated with a significantly greater likelihood of teen pregnancy in the following three years.”
- From the results, researchers estimated that ” teens who are likely to become pregnant or be responsible for a pregnancy in their teen years is two times greater among those who view high levels of televised sexual content than those who view low levels.
- This is the first study to demonstrate a link between TV and teen pregnancy.
These results have several practical implications:
- TV industry leaders should examine how programming can include messages to teens about the consequences of sexual activity.
- Media literacy instruction in middle and high schools can help teens think more critically about the relative absence of negative consequences of sex in TV portrayals and encourage thinking about alternative outcomes to those seen on TV.
- Training for pediatricians should include intensified efforts to teach about the effects of media exposure on children’s health.
- Parents need to monitor their teens’ TV viewing and provide education about the consequensces of sex. Tools that can help them review television content may be helpful.
To view the fact sheet: Exposure to Sex on TV may increase the Chance of Teen Pregnancy
This worksheet, compiled by Advocates for Youth, allows parents and youths to discuss and explore values around sexuality. Parents and/or youths can fill out the worksheet.
The accompanying webpage also provides instructions and teaching advice about introducing the topic of values, provides discussion questions and important advice for teachers and parents.
Link to “Talking about Sexuality and Values” Handout
Link to Handout instruction and resources
Transitions, developed by Advocates for Youth, is a newsletter devoted to raising sexually healthy youth with portions for parents and health care providers. This newsletter contains a number of articles addressing how parents should navigate conversations on topics surrounding sex and sexual health. Topics such as the positive and negative effects of communication about sex and sexual health are discussed, along with how race/ethnicity and gender affect parent-child communication in terms of sex and sexual health. Human development, in terms of physical, emotional, cognitive and sexual development is also discussed in Transitions.
Some interesting facts from this article include:
- “A major study showed that adolescents who reported feeling connected to parents and family were more likely than other teens to delay initiating sexual intercourse. Teens who said their families were warm and caring also reported less marijuana use and less emotional distress than their peers.” (Lagina, 2002, p. 3)
- “In one study, just over 54 percent of students reported discussing HIV with their parents. Percentages varied little by race/ethnicity (white, 54.1; African American, 55.7; Latino, 54.5; other, 55.5 percent) but varied significantly by gender (females, 59.7; males 49.2 percent).” (Lagina, 2002, p. 3)
- “Many parents do not provide all the information about sex that young people need. In one survey, only 38 percent of young women and 25 percent of young men said they had ever gotten a good idea from their parents that helped them talk about sexual issues with their girlfriend/boyfriend.” (Lagina, 2002, p. 4)
The article contains the following sections:
- Introduction on Rights, Respect and Responsibility
- Parent-Child Communication: Promoting Sexually Healthy Youth- The Facts
- Parenting is a Five-Piece Suit
- Sex and Sensibility: A Parent’s Take on Advice from an Expert
- Growth and Development Ages 9-12–What Parents Need to Know
- Selected Resources for Families
- Growth and Development Ages 13-17–What Parents Need to Know
- Tips for Talking with Sexually Active Teens about Contraception
- Tips for Health Care Providers: Helping Teens and Parents with Sexual Health Needs
- Are Parents and Teens Talking about Sex?
- Askable Parents Raise Sexually Responsible Children
Citation: Huberman, B., Lagina, N., Moss, T., Roffman, D.M., Alford, S., Gordon, S. (2002). Raising Sexually Healthy Youth. Transitions. Vol. 15., No. 1., 1-20
Link to “Raising Sexually Healthy Youth: Parent-Child Communication.”
This publication published by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy assesses available information on parent-teen communication in Latino families, and also pinpoints the research findings that are most useful to practitioners. It is mainly a resource for practitioners and illustrates specific characteristics that define Latino families in regards to acculturation, education, family structure, and religiosity and how each of these characteristic can affect adolescent-parent communication, especially about sexual health.
In addition, the publication gives communication tips for Latino parents on stressing cultural importance of morals, the importance of talking to both daughters and sons about sex and contraception, and knowing when the time is right to talk about these topics. Communication tips are available in both English and Spanish.
Interesting facts include:
- “A study conducted by Latina magazine and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that while 47% of Latino teens said they were sexually experienced, only 30% of Latino parents thought their teen had had sex.” (Ramos-Guilamo & Bouris, 2008, p. 11)
- “Although parents from all ethnic and racial groups find it difficult to talk to their child about sex, a number of studies have suggested that Latino parents do not talk as often about sex as do other parents.” (Ramos-Guilamo & Bouris, 2008, p. 13)
Citation: Ramos-Guilamo, V. & Bouris, A. (2008). Parent-adolescent communication about sex in latino families: A guide to practicioners. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy. p. 1-22
Link to “Parent-Adolescent Communication about Sex in Latino Families: A Guide for Practitioners “