Book for a male tween?
January 22, 2012 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a non-icky sex ed book for a 12-year old boy.

We are looking for a sex ed book for a tween. He understands some of the fundamentals of sex, since his neutered male cat likes to "try to make babies" with his sister's stuffed animals. We had to explain what the cat was actually doing. (His response was, "the poor stuffed bunny!")

The book should cover what is going on with his body, the fundamentals of sex and safe sex, including birth control. We don't want to freak the kid out, but he is asking a lot of questions and is growing up fast. He loves to read and I think a book would be very useful for him. Please recommend one!

(We are very liberal and not religious. We are pro-choice, but believe that no unwanted child should be conceived [therefore, we agree with contraception]). We are ok with responsible premarital sex, we are ok with same-sex sex. We believe that sex should occur between two committed people as an act of love. We do believe that children should only be born into a marriage (hetro or same sex is fine).
posted by wandering_not_lost to Education (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I recall this book being what I had. Dont remember many details, but i do recall it being good.
posted by Jacen at 6:18 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could borrow a copy of Heather Corinna's S.E.X. from the library and see if it is appropriate for your son. If it isn't now, it will be later and I think it's a perfect match for your family. It discusses sex of all kinds and in all combinations and is specifically focused on teen readiness, responsibilities and relationships. It's a fabulous book.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:25 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's Perfectly Normal is pretty well regarded among parents matching your description.
Other parents? Less so. It's a very frequently challenged library book.
posted by willpie at 6:26 PM on January 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: The book I had at that age, maybe even a little younger, is It's Perfectly Normal It regularly makes banned books lists for discussions of same-sex relationships, contraception, and how to negotiate sex, so clearly they're doing something right.
posted by ActionPopulated at 6:29 PM on January 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: We have similar sensibilities to yours, and I checked out It's Perfectly Normal from the library and later bought our own copy for our just-turned-11 y.o. I liked their approach. I showed him the book and told him I'd put it on his bookshelf for him to read if/when he wants and said I'd answer any questions. His first reaction was a bit of "Eww" about the pictures (cartoony) of naked folks and pubic hair which is, of course, perfectly normal.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:38 PM on January 22, 2012

Best answer: The writers of It's Perfectly Normal have three sex Ed books each focused on a different age group:
It's not The Stork!
it's so Amazing!
Its Perfectly Normal!

I bought each book for my girls and let them keep it in their rooms to refer to and let them know I would answer any questions.
posted by momochan at 6:42 PM on January 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I remember the book that Jacen mentioned (borrowed it from the library) - I'd recommend it. Also, good for both girls and boys is Eric Johnson, "love and sex in plain language", which we used as a textbook of sorts for the sex ed unit when I was in 8th grade at a school that actually did a decent job of these things.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:43 PM on January 22, 2012

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives.
posted by RogerB at 6:58 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing the "Perfectly Normal" books. Great content, well written, and most importantly doesn't talk down to kids.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:41 PM on January 22, 2012

In addition to books, there are some websites that are factual and not p0rn. Sorry, I don't have addresses, but it's been asked before in AskMe.

Please keep returning to the subject. An 8 year old's questions are different than a 12 year olds. When my on had questions, I started talking to him about sex, and I brought it up from time to time. He was mortified, and I was awkward, but it got easier, and he actually appreciated it, esp. when he had questions and knew he could ask.
posted by theora55 at 7:42 PM on January 22, 2012

I'm recommending Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide To Sex for its informational content -- it is exhaustive, accurate, thorough, positive and non-judgemental.

However -- have a look at a copy yourself first, because it MIGHT be something you'd feel you may want to wait a year or two for (it gets into sexual ethics, fetishes, and rape and sexual assault, and that may be a bit too much "information overload" for someone who's only twelve). It's still great stuff, and you may want to hang on to it for later.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:53 PM on January 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was too young for the book at the time (and not a boy), but I actually remember being engrossed, intrigued, and not too grossed out by Will the Nurse Make Me Take My Underwear Off?. It's written like the diary of a boy going through puberty and trying to figure out girls and sex. It was funny, but informative.
posted by kendrak at 9:11 PM on January 22, 2012

Seconding Changing Bodies, Changing Lives. This is the book that my Unitarian Church sex-ed class for 12-14 year-olds had us read and it was great. It has a mix of good information and personal stories by pre-teens and teenagers. It covers all the STD and contraception stuff but also the basics of sex (in a non-porny way) and sexual communication, decision-making, etc.

Only caveat is that it seems like the most recent edition was published in 1998, so some stuff will be out of date. And if he's anything like me at that age, pictures of kids wearing fashions from when he was an infant might make him roll his eyes and think it's totally ancient and irrelevant.
posted by lunasol at 12:29 AM on January 23, 2012

Best answer: I teach sex ed classes at the local Unitarian church, where all of your stated values would be quite normal. The class I teach is aimed at 5th graders, so somewhat younger than your son, and we use It's Perfectly Normal. The class for 8th graders, one year older than your son, uses Changing Bodies, Changing Lives, as Lunasol mentioned. So either might be appropriate, based on his level of interest and whether he'd enjoy the somewhat cartoonish illustrations in IPN.

I was going to add that you might ask at your local Planned Parenthood, UU church, or UCC church if there are options for an age-appropriate sex-ed class for him. I think the kids really get a lot out of being to ask questions, discuss complicated values issues, and generally soak in the fact that other kids have the same questions they do. But if you really live in Vanuatu, I'm not sure what resources are available to you.
posted by richyoung at 8:21 AM on January 23, 2012

Nthing Perfectly Normal and Changing Bodies, but to add that you may want to do more than just handing them over to him. Read through a section together, or ask him questions about a chapter, or use a newspaper story as a jumping-off point to pull out one of the books and look up an answer. Maybe make the books part of the public family bookshelves, not something hidden away, so it's clear that you're fine to discuss menstruation or orgasms or whatever he finds in the books.

We just had the books available at first, and then after one disastrous sex-ed talk where it was clear that they had really misunderstood some of what they'd read, took to being more active in reading them with ours.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:28 AM on January 25, 2012

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