Let’s Talk About It: Comprehensive Sex Education Critical to Health and Well-Being of Youth

Books can provide a structured and safe way for kids, teens, and parents to learn about sexuality and to help facilitate positive conversations.

Developing a healthy sexuality is a core developmental milestone for child and adolescent health.

Youth need developmentally appropriate information about their sexuality and how it relates to their bodies, community, culture, society, mental health, and relationships with family, peers, and romantic partners.

At a time of national reckoning over sexual harassment and assault and an increase in bias incidents against LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people, it’s more important than ever that young people receive sex education that teaches them about healthy relationships, consent, gender diversity, sexual orientation, and their reproductive rights.

Sex education addresses many of our most deeply held rights and freedoms: the right of youth of all sexes and gender identities to be treated equitably, the right to engage in a loving relationship with the person of one’s choice, and the freedom to decide whether and when to have children. How people approach this subject and the information they provide is vitally important. But throughout the country, there have been increasing efforts to limit information about sexuality. This is censorship and runs counter to the American tradition of encouraging the free flow of ideas.

It’s happening in North Dakota, too. During the 2023 legislative session, books educating kids and teenagers about sex were making headlines as our elected lawmakers debated legislation that would prohibit libraries from offering “explicit sexual material” to their patrons.

Some said the books – like the graphic novel “Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human” and the kids’ comic book “Sex Is a Funny Word” – feature beneficial knowledge about contraceptives, body image and abusive relationships, but others said they contained information they claimed to be harmful for minors.

But books can provide a structured and safe way for kids, teens, and parents to learn about sexuality and to help facilitate positive conversations.

Join us at Sex Ed: By the Book on Thursday, May 23 at Zandbroz to learn more! 

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Comprehensive sexuality education is critical in giving young people the information and skills they need to make responsible decisions and to protect themselves. By “comprehensive sexuality education,” we mean a thorough, accurate curriculum that examines such subjects as human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior and health, and society and culture. Inclusive, affirming, and comprehensive personal health and safety and sexual health education gives young people the information and skills needed to be safe and support informed decisions about their health and well-being.