The final lesson plan is all about identifying myths about sex, relationships, and desirability that are perpetuated in the media. It includes one of my favourite activities, based on one of my favourite classic tabletop games. Five bonus points if you can guess which one!
In our house, love is shouting out sexual misinformation over microwave burritos.
Here as promised are questions you can use for the Privilege Walk activity I outlined in the video. FYI, I didn't but should have mentioned, that I didn't invent the concept of the Privilege Walk, it was developed by Rebecca Layne and Ryan Chui for a class at George Mason's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
1. If you don't have to be concerned about how elderly relatives might react to your orientation, step forward
2. If you could not marry your partner anywhere in the world, step back.
3. If there are people who believe your orientation is a phase or that you're too young to know "what you really are", step back.
4. If you've never had your sexual orientation referred to as a "lifestyle", or "agenda", step forward.
5. If people ask you to explain what your sexual orientation "means", step back.
6. If anyone has ever referred to your sexual orientation as "greedy or "not being able to choose", step back.
7. If you see characters who share your sexual orientation widely represented on TV and in movies, step forward.
8. If you have to take your sexual orientation into consideration when making travel plans, step back.
9. If you can be affectionate with your sexual/romantic partner in public without worrying about stares, or rude comments, step forward.
10. If you've never heard anyone refer to themselves as tolerant, inclusive, or an ally for treating you decently, step forward.
11. If most people have a general understanding of what you mean when you tell them your sexual orientation, step forward.
12. If there are people who think children are too young to know about your sexual orientation, step back.
Consent education is most effective when it begins at an early age. Children who learn how to assert themselves and respect boundaries with their friends and family are more likely to grow into teens and adults who can apply those same skills to their romantic and sexual relationships.=
Dag, y'all! Intermediate level students have so much to learn about puberty! Real talk, this is a subject I wish the 2015 HPE curriculum had moved to an earlier grade. The average onset age of puberty for youth born with uteruses is around 10 and a half years old. For Black and Lantinx youth, it's even younger than that. The curriculum covers puberty in Grades 4 and 5, and by that time some kids are already going through it. Ideally, I prefer that kids have information about bodily changes before they happen so that understand that it's normal. Furthermore, there's a LOT to learn about puberty: hormones, growth spurts, new and complex emotions, sexual response, periods, vaginal lubrication, erections, ejaculation, pubic hair, acne - and those are just the basics!
All of this to say that you can start talking to your kids about puberty at home before the Ontario curriculum does. If you introduce it earlier, say when they're around 8 years old, you have lots of time to introduce the information gradually over time, and over several conversations. But if you do have to teach puberty in a classroom setting, hopefully, the exercises in the video and the info sheets below will help the lessons land with your students.
Thanks once again to graphic artist Greer McNally who created a whole bunch of sexual anatomy diagrams for you to use as part the Anatomy Puzzle activity described in the video! You can download the PDFs below
If you need diagrams to do the anatomy exercise outlined in the video, you can download them here.
Our culture doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to prioritizing sexual consent. And that is, at least in part, because our culture doesn’t prioritize sexual pleasure.
“Ordinary Terrible Things” is a series of books that help kids and their families explore some of the more complex realities of life, bodies and relationships!
These posts are based on the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here. To watch the video version of this post, click here. Best practices or "etiquette" around when we should share other people's photos online is a relatively new social consideration. For many of raising kids today, the Internet wasn't even a thing when we were young, so we didn't have to deal with any of this growing up.
When I was in high school, I posted photos on my locker door. The potential audience reach was anyone who happened to wander down the drama room hallway. But when our kids post photos on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and other social media platforms, when youth share photos of other people, it's possible for those images to wind up anywhere.
One thing we can do in our conversations about online behaviour is to encourage our teens to think about the effect sharing information and images might have on others. I call it “online empathy”. When someone posts a photo online, we can share that photo anywhere, with virtually anyone. But should we?How might sharing the photo affect the other person, particularly if that photo is embarrassing or upsetting for them? How might it affect our relationship with that person? And regardless of whether we know the person or not, how might sharing their photo reflect on us and our character?
Exploring these questions is a chance for your to help your teens reflect on their own values in terms of how they want to treat others, and to think about how they want to live those values through their online behaviour.
this can be really tough to think about as a parent, but we don’t have to telegraph our concerns to our children. For the most part, we’re helping them identify people that they like and trust. In many ways, this is a positive talk.
It’s not unusual for youth at this age to have their first crushes. Your tween might have one, or they might not. Or they might have one and not want to tell you about it. Which is fine. You don’t have to push. Just the simple fact of you asking the question lets them know that you are open to talking about it
This conversation is all about your family’s values around modesty. There’s no right or wrong answer here. You get to set the dress code that works in your home. Some families are fine with total nudity around the house. Other families choose to keep their bodies covered virtually all the time.
Gender and sexual diversity is part of the human experience. If your child identifies as lesbian, gay, trans, non-binary, bisexual, pansexual or someone other than a heterosexual cisgender person, this is a chance to open up a conversation about their what their daily life is like.
It’s such a simple question, but learning to identify feelings and where those feelings come from can really help kids express themselves and their needs now, and as they grow up.
Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here. A comprehensive approach to teaching kids about sexuality includes conversations about not having sex. So today’s question is for your teens: “Why do you think some people choose to remain abstinent?”
In an earlier video I mentioned that by age 17, about two-thirds of youth have had a partnered sexual experience. Which means that by age 17, about a third of youth have never had sex with a partner. Also, not all teens try partnered sex stay remain sexually active throughout adolescence. Conclusion: there are a whole lot of teens out there who aren't having sex. I have another video on that topic and you can check it out here.
There are a lot of reasons teens choose abstinence. They may not feel ready for a sexual relationship. Or they try sex and realize that it’s not what they want at this point in their life.
Some teens want to wait until they reach a specific life milestone - prom, high school graduation, college, marriage, etc - before they have sex. Some teens have deeply held spiritual or religious beliefs that prohibit having sex.
There are teens are asexual, meaning they don’t have any desire for sex.
There are also teens who are abstinent because of circumstance. They may have an injury or an illness that makes sex difficult. They may be on medication that affects their sexual desire, or sexual functioning. Some teens would love to have sex in theory, but they don’t have a sexual partner in their life at the moment. There are teens are extremely busy with school, work, extracurricular activities and/or family responsibilities and they don’t have time for sex.
It’s okay to be abstinent Sometimes it seems like the whole world wants sex, needs sex, is having sex. But we aren’t. Abstinence normal and valid whether it’s a choice or by circumstance. We can remind teens that abstinence is that not only is abstinence common amongst teens, a lot of people have periods throughout their lives when they don't have much or any sex.
It's also valuable for teens who are or have been sexually active to know that they aren’t locked into that choice. Sex isn’t chips. Once you start, you can stop...for any reason, at any time. These conversations can help youth understand that different people have different sexual (and non-sexual) experiences. Your teen doesn’t have to make choices about their sexuality based on trying to be “normal” or what doing “everyone else” is doing. There’s no such thing as normal when it comes to sex. There’s just what works or what's happening for each person..and for many teens, what's happening is abstinence.
As I mentioned in the first post of this series, it’s useful to revisit the topic how babies are made several times throughout childhood and adolescence because it lets us add a few new details about this relatively complicated biological process each time we talk to our kids.
Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here.
Digital technology has created a reality where porn exists in abundance and access is easier than ever. Tweens are probably more likely to stumble upon porn by accident that to seek it out on purpose. Regardless, if your tweens are online you may want to give them a heads up that porn is out there.
Tech smarts, sex smarts. Many sources report that the average age of first exposure to internet porn is 11 years old. That may be an alarming statistic for many of us with kids; however, no one is quite sure where it originated. Even if we assume it’s true, it doesn’t tell us whether that allegedly early “exposure” to porn comes from trying to find it on purpose.Many a curious tween has been shocked by triple x-rated Google search results. Kids watch watching porn in early adolescence is concerning, but having questions about sex is very normal.
Navigating the Internet and curating online information, especially when it comes to sex, can be really tricky, especially for youth. When I was in early puberty, porn lived on the top shelves of the convenience store magazine shelves, the back room at the video place, and on scrambled TV channels. I literally couldn’t see it if I wasn't trying. Today phones, tablets, laptops and other internet-enabled rectangles make accidental exposure to porn is much easier for our kids. Even if your kid doesn’t have their own device - there’s a reasonable chance that they have friends, classmates or older siblings who do. The only real way to guarantee that tweens never sees porn would be to personally supervise all of their online interactions, something that's virtually impossible these days.
Porn isn't for kids...but knowledge is! If your tween has never heard of pornography, you might explain that they’re movies, pictures or stories about adults having sex. You can also emphasize that pornography is made for grown ups and it’s not for kids.
This can also be a good time to talk about some of your personal values around pornography. I’d actually like to share a few of mine right now. I’m not categorically anti-porn and I think there are positive ways for adults to enjoy it. That having been said, it isn’t something I want my kid watching. I hope they'll to wait until they've grown-up to decide whether or not it’s something they want to watch.
You can let your tween know that it’s normal to be curious about sex and sexuality... but pornography isn’t the same as real-life sex. Porn is like any other movie, fictional story or magazine shoot. They use actors and models, make-up, editing, even scripts and special effects! Everything is designed to catch an audience’s attention and show a fantasy version of sex. One of the reasons porn isn’t appropriate for kids is that it can give them a very distorted idea about what sex is like or should be like.
If you'd like more tips on how to talk to youth about porn, I have another video here.
Children being able to name their genitals properly is foundational sexual knowledge. It’s information that kids can use when they're young, and then build on as they move through their childhood and adolescence.
there’s a lot to say about STIs. It’s far easier and effective for us to put STIs on our kids’ radars early so that we have the option of discussing it over time, rather than slamming them with one massive safer sex lecture.