Online Information About Sex
Wouldn't it be great if all teens came and talked to their parents about sex, instead of relying on television, movies, magazines and their friends? It would, but the fact remains that some teens don't want to or feel they can't talk to their parents about things related to sex and puberty. They'd rather turn to friends – friends who won't judge them, friends who can't punish them and more than likely, friends who don't really know the answers themselves.
If you think your teen is embarrassed, afraid or just doesn't want to talk to you about sex, here are a few places online where you can direct your teen for reliable information.
Developed by the Network for Family Life Education based at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Sex, Etc., an award-winning newsletter and Web site, is written for teens by teens. This teen-to-teen communication allows for information to be presented in a language easy for teens to understand.
If there are still questions, the glossary, which has more than 300 terms, should be lots of help. Not only does it include clinical terms, it also has listings for more commonly used words like "clit" and "woody."
Some of the topics Sex, Etc. covers are puberty, relationships, sex, teen parenting and adoption. They even have a section geared toward GLBT (gay, lesbian, trans-gendered).
Should there be something your teen can't find an answer to, there's always the "Ask the Expert" section. Here, teens can submit questions and get replies from a pool of sexuality and health experts comprised of teachers, doctors and social workers.
Though the amount of content on the site can be overwhelming, both Sex Etc.'s newsletter and Web site are punched with lots of usual information. If your teen has questions, this is definitely a site to check out.
If there's something your teen needs to know concerning puberty or sexual health issues, I Wanna Know has the answers. Operated by the American Social Health Association, the site is easy to navigate and contains a plethora of information, ranging from puberty for girls and guys to the basics of STDs.
The section devoted to frequently asked questions is quite lengthy, but it includes lots of information on topics like the symptoms of an STD, condom use and the difference between love and sex.
Beginning with Abstinence and ending with Zygote (the cell formed when a male's sperm fertilizes a female's egg), the glossary is easy to understand and includes terms some other sites don't.
If they need advice, teens can ask and receive reliable information by e-mail, or they can log onto the chat room and have discussions with other teens. Better yet, I Wanna Know has numerous scheduled chat sessions, which are hosted by trained health communications specialists, so teens can get instant advice and answers.
I Wanna Know is the way to go for teens who need to know.
Run by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Teenwire.com is an award-winning site that contains an in-depth look at issues like sexual health, relationships, body image and even family relations.
Taking the ball a little further than most others, Teenwire has articles in Spanish and celebrity interviews, where music artists, television personalities and authors weigh in on love, relationships and other topics.
Updated often, the site also contains a "Taking Action" section full of articles on teen activism and social issues that touch the lives of teens. Teens can ask the experts questions or can get and give advice in the "Hothouse" section.
Through highlighted keywords (included in every article) and a fully searchable site, teens can get definitions of both clinical and more commonly used words like "blue balls" and "douching."
If your teen is looking for a fun and interactive place where they can also learn, Teenwire.com is definitely the place to be.
Operated by Heather Corinna, an author, educator, Web publisher and editor of Scarlet Letters, Scarleteen provides "a nonjudgmental and unbiased attitude of tolerance and understanding for teens, whether they choose to be sexually active or abstain."
With the help of volunteers ranging from the age of 14 to 60, Scarleteen includes a vast amount of information on staying healthy: physically, sexually and emotionally. Some of the topics Scarleteen address are STDs, choosing abstinence, putting on a condom correctly, knowing if you're ready for sex and more. They also have a "Newswire" reel of recent sexual related news of interest to teens.
With the editor sometimes giving glimpses into her own life as a former teen, the site captures a down-to-earth vibe most other sites miss. Keeping in touch with that feeling, the site includes an "Ask the Sexpert" option and a very active forum, where teens not only ask and receive advice, but also seem to become friends.
With its bright colors and informative articles, Scarleteen is a site all teens should have book-marked.
Before you send your teen to any of these sites, you should definitely check them out yourself. Not only will this allow you to see the kind of content they provide, it'll also give you the chance to boost your own sexual knowledge. That way, if your teen should ever approach you with a question about puberty or sex, you'll be well prepared – with the right answers.