Everyone always says that teenagers only have one thing on their mind---sex. While that's pretty demeaning, there is a bit of truth to it. Just about all high school and college students are sexually curious, even if they're not actively exploring it. But considering that most sex-ed programs emphasize abstinence and hardly ever cover LGBTQ+ (not to mention topics such as hygiene, menstruation, or consent,) I've compiled this list of diverse sex and sexual health resources that are accessible and relevant to the everyday student. It's time we put an end to the stigma and educate ourselves once and for all!
1. Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood (PP) is probably the most widely-recognizable name within sexual and reproductive health, and it's for good reason. Besides allowing the opportunity to speak with a professional in person, PP also has an extremely comprehensive sex ed section on their website. There are resources explaining safety, STDs, birth control, consent, and LGBTQ+ relationships. It offers a very direct and informational approach to these kinds of subjects and provides a solid sex education.
2. Hannah Witton
Hannah Witton is a blogger, Youtuber, and author. She is very forward about what her experiences have been like in her own relationships and if there is a topic she cannot personally attest to (such as LGBTQ+ or polyamory) she invites others to share their stories as well. Her personality shines through in her work and she never runs out of recommendations for sex toys, sex books or just her favorite video games (not sex-related, usually). Although her work is based around sex education, she also shares stories and information surrounding menstruation, birth control, feminism, body image, and disability. For a narrative that is honest and relatable when it comes to sex ed, Hannah Witton is your girl.
Sexplanations is a Youtube channel featuring, you guessed it, sex explanations. Clinical sexologist Lindsey Doe talks about all aspects of sexual health and relationships, with important topics such as hygiene, exercises, (kegels, anyone?) consent, sex myths, LGBTQ+, orgasms and even how to approach basic sex acts. She is also super upbeat and relaxed in every video, helping to de-stigmatize these kinds of conversations. Basically, if you have a question about anything relating to sex or sexual health, you're in the right place. And it always encourages you to, as Doe always says in her sign off, stay curious!
This informative and conversational website is jam-packed with tons of sex ed resources. The articles are written by several different people, giving plenty of perspective to just about any topic you can imagine. It is super conversational and focuses on validating its readers, especially in topics concerning the LGBTQ+ community (probably the most out of any on this list.) But it also covers topics that are important to people of multiple identities, such as menstruation, consent, STDs and disability (even if you aren't disabled yourself, you may end up being in a relationship with a disabled person at some point and I believe it is very important to understand the challenges of that.) I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves to explore different perspectives on these topics, as well as those who may be lacking in stories that represent themselves.
6. Signs of Sexual Behavior
"Signs of Sexual Behavior" by James Woodward is a book that is highly recommended by the deaf community. It is one of the only resources out there on sexual sign language and by far the most comprehensive. Even if you aren't currently in a relationship with a deaf person, it is always a good idea to learn what you can in case it ever does come up (either in future relationships or one-night stands.) While a book isn't necessarily the best way to learn to sign for everyone, there are very few resources about it out there, so this is very valuable. It is also up to us, the hearing community, to create the demand for it! So get a copy, share it with your friends and start a conversation (or even try signing it!).
7. Your Campus Health Center
A surprising number of students forget that the health center on their campus is more than just a place you go for appointments and counseling. They often provide a huge number of resources, free samples (usually condoms, sometimes even dental dams or lube), or even sexual health courses/seminars. Even if they don't have a gynecologist on staff, the professionals they do have will most likely be able to perform many of the same duties if you ever need anything checked out. It may feel awkward at first, but even though they work for your school does not mean they are there to stigmatize you.
Sex and sexual health isn't something that you can learn once and be done with. It's a process, with lots of learning and re-learning along the way. So even after you take a look at these resources, make sure you keep up with these kinds of topics and drive the discussion with your friends or even family. And bottom line, always trust yourself: you know your own body better than any blog or Youtube channel does, so make sure you listen to it and communicate with your partner. With that said, happy learning!