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June 23, 2010 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Not quite ready for Scarleteen: good web sites for tweens about sex?

I just learned that my almost ten-year-old daughter has been googling for information about sex. Predictably, she's found some stuff that is way out of her depths, and we've had long talks today about what she saw, what she thinks about it, facts about bodies, relationships, etc, etc.

She's just curious, and I'm not freaked out--but I told her that this is something that we should talk about together and make sure that she's finding facts that are actually right (because lord knows there's a lot of misinformation out there, in addition to all the porn...)

We have several books on puberty, so she's well-versed in those facts. I've been intending for a while to get "It's Perfectly Normal" and its predecessor in the series, and they'll be in the house before nightfall. We have a good talking relationship, and I intend to keep the lines of verbal communication open as best I can, of course.

I'd also like to direct her to someplace online with tween-appropriate info about sex and sexuality, and have no idea where to start. Scarleteen is awesome but I think will be more appropriate for her in a few years. Any suggestions of where to start? (I am not normally a chicken about googling up my own answers, but after all that talking today I really don't feel like seeing what might turn up if I google "sex and tweens".)
posted by Sublimity to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I Wanna Know from the American Social Health Association and the Parents' Sex Ed Center from Advocates for Youth both have a lot of fantastic resources for parents, including suggestions for age-appropriate conversations and links to resources to increase your own knowledge. I Wanna Know also has resources aimed at teens, but the tone seems appropriate for pre-teens, too (but of course check it out and judge for yourself whether it's appropriate for your daughter).
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:23 PM on June 23, 2010

I'm not sure what level is "too much" for your particular kid. But, I have found Go Ask Alice to be pretty clinical and mature, without being intimidating.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:38 PM on June 23, 2010

Yes, seconding Go Ask Alice. I think the Planned Parenthood site has some good resources as well, although I suspect it might be slightly above the age level you're seeking.
posted by elizardbits at 4:50 PM on June 23, 2010

I'll third Go Ask Alice. I spent many an hour when I was pubescent perusing the answers there, and I don't recall it being too intimidating.
posted by thisjax at 6:14 PM on June 23, 2010

The classic book, and now a web site: Our Bodies, Ourselves.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:54 AM on June 24, 2010

I've used Planned Parenthood's Teen Talk with high schoolers. Portions of it might be out of her depth for now, but she'll know where to go as she continues to have questions. You might point her directly to the section called Body and Mind.

This site addresses Puberty.

These videos are pretty cool, but you should preview them to see if you're comfortable with their approach.
posted by RedEmma at 7:16 AM on June 24, 2010

I had the book GirlTalk at your daughter's age. What I thought was neat about it was that it was direct and included advice and information on a comprehensive set of adult responsibilities (finances, hygeinene, sex) and how each one was necessary to consider for a healthy functional life. Teh sex section as I remember it did a brief explanation of what happens (penis hardens, goes into vagina of williong partner, etc) and discussed realistically the risks of sex including common STDs, pregnancy, and emotional issues that could come up.

At 9 or 10, I remember my main intrigue around sex was the whole penis goes inside? idea. It's sort of a foreign idea at that age that a part of someone else's body goes in there and is somehow enjoyable. I couldn't fathom how 2 people would end up in some situation where those parts would come out and you'd think to put one in the other. I guess I hadn't gotten my natural humping instincts or something. I understood that masturbation felt good (thought probably didnt know the word masturbation) but at that age rubbing felt good and I didn't realize that there was an extra hole there or that this feel good sensation was so that I would eventually go spawn. Really, nothing short of hormones (at around 12-13 or so) made me really able to wrap my head around the idea that (some) people like having penises inside them.

I think your most important step is to figure out if she gets the mechanics or not. If she already gets the mechanics and is curious about trying them out, then you have to address the issue of risks, un-readyness, reasons to wait, preparedness (i.e. what to do if sex comes up in a relationship for her), etc. I bet she's still trying to grasp the mechanics and how that relates to the social aspect of sex.
posted by WeekendJen at 8:08 AM on June 24, 2010

Midwest Teen Sex Show might be what you want. Might not, too. MTSS is not afraid to talk about advanced topics like bisexuality, anal sex, toys, disease, etc. It's probably not idea intro material but might be good once she starts thinking about any real activity.
posted by chairface at 3:31 PM on June 24, 2010

Her stuff is not online, but Debbie Roffman is great--she was my sex ed teacher, and she doesn't mess around. She cuts through a lot of the bullshit associated with teaching kids about sex. Check out and, which is marketed towards younger children, but commenters point out that it is useful for much older children as well.
posted by holympus at 6:05 PM on June 24, 2010

Thanks, all. Lots of good stuff to work with here! I appreciate it.
posted by Sublimity at 6:50 PM on June 25, 2010

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