Feature Archive

The Sex Talk

How are your kids learning about sex?

WebMD Feature

May 29, 2000 -- Todd Melby is the editor of Contemporary Sexuality, a publication of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. You wouldn't think that he'd need any help teaching his two sons about the facts of life. But the Minneapolis dad acknowledges that he did.

"The schools concentrate on anatomy, but there's much more to sex than that," Melby says. "I wanted my kids to learn about the moral and emotional aspects as well, and I didn't want to leave it to chance."

That's why Melby attended a day-long father-son workshop sponsored by Planned Parenthood of Minnesota/South Dakota with his 12-year-old son. There, with the help of facilitators and sex educators, the 10- to 12-year-old boys learned about their sexual development. Fathers and sons took turns talking and listening to each other. Later, Melby went to a church-sponsored program on sex education with his other son, who was 14.

The Problem

Enlightened programs such as these are rare. That's unfortunate, because when it comes to sex ed, there's a big difference between what American parents say they want from schools and what the schools provide.

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