I'd like to take this opportunity to wish a very happy American Mothers' Day to all you mums out there, but especially to one in particular - my mum. If it wasn't for my mother, I most likely wouldn't be running an online sex shop, much less one of the bodysafe, award winning variety.
I came from a rather conservative pocket of an otherwise liberal state. When I was a teenager and my school was teaching us abstinence and basic human reproduction, my mum made a point of making sure that if I had any questions about sex and relationships that I knew I could come to her. And she did this by asking me questions - about boys that I liked, about how I felt about myself and about the relationships I was in. She taught me about respect and empathy for other people, and to not wait around in a relationship if that respect is not reciprocated (I had a few shitty boyfriends in high school, but didn't we all).
And while she and my dad were clearly uncomfortable with their daughter being sexually active (what parent wouldn't be icked out by that?), I always felt that I had a choice and my own agency in the matter. I was never told "No." And I was confident that I had been armed with good, up-to-date information, and that has always meant the world to me.
This is something I wish was taught more in schools, but it's so important that parents too talk to their kids about sex in an age-appropriate, comprehensive way. Here are some links to some excellent resources you can use when speaking to your sprog about sex and relationships. And remember - it should never be "The Talk"; think of it more like an ongoing conversation. I still ask my mum for relationship advice, and I'm freakin' 30!
Scarleteen.com - Probably the most vast, age-appropriate compilation of information for teenagers and young adults. Topics range in everything from contraception to gender identity to sexual politics. Scareteen is widely regarded as one of the best sex education resources on the internet.
Oh Joy Sex Toy - While you may not feel comfortable with you kids reading about sex toys just yet, have a look through Erika's Sex Ed. archive as there are loads of great educational comics throughout.
Birds & Bees & Kids - Amy Lang is a sexual health expert who has specialized in advising parents how to talk to their younger kids (2-12) about sex and sexuality. She has a great range of books and webinars for sale on her site.
Planned Parenthood - Everyone's favourite non-profit sexual health provider has articles for teens, parents and educators about contraception and sexual health.