sex education for parents and teens that challenges traditional teaching models and instead embraces 21st century realities by promoting healthy sexuality, values, and body image in young people.
Sex education today generally falls into one of two categories: abstinence-only or abstinence-based education—both of which tend to withhold important, factual information and leave young adults ill-equipped to make safe decisions. Al Vernacchio, a high school sexuality educator who holds a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality from the University of Pennsylvania, has created a new category: sex-positive education. In For Goodness Sex, he refutes the “disaster prevention” model of sex ed, offering a progressive and realistic approach: Sexuality is a natural part of life, and healthy sexuality can only develop from a sex-positive, affirming appreciation.
Curious yet fearful of being judged, young people turn to peers, the Internet, and the media, where they receive problematic messages about sex: boys are studs, girls are sluts; real sex should be like porn; hookups are better than relationships. Without a broader understanding to offset these damaging perceptions, teenagers are dangerously unprepared intellectually and emotionally to grow and develop as sexual beings. For Goodness Sex offers the tools and insights adults need to talk young people and help them develop healthy values and safe habits. With real-life examples from the classroom, exercises and quizzes, and a wealth of sample discussions and crucial information, Vernacchio offers a guide to sex education for the twenty-first century.
“For Goodness Sex is a breath of much-needed fresh air around a very charged subject. Bravo, Al Vernacchio!” (Christiane Northrup, M.D., ob/gyn physician and author of the New York Times bestsellers: Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, and The Wisdom of Menopause)
“Al Vernacchio has written a wonderful book that includes numerous model answers and a new way to think about adolescent sexuality -- as a force for good in life rather than simply a problem to be dealt with.” (Leslie M. Kantor, MPH, Vice President of Education, Planned Parenthood Federation of America)
“At last a book that teaches parents how to talk to kids about sex in a way that is based healthily in reality and not fearfully in doom and gloom. I wish my parents had read this book!” (Lori Duron, author of Raising My Rainbow)
“An engaging, much-needed new approach to teaching children about the human sexual experience.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Al Vernacchio has masterfully accomplished what good sexuality educators have attempted for so many years: he has created a work that is both a fun, easy read as well as a thorough and thoughtful guide.” (Don Dyson, PhD, Associate Dean, School of Human Service Professions and Director, Center for Human Sexuality Studies, Widener University)
Let's talk about sex.
We do it all the time, don't we? We talk about our sex lives with friends; we gossip about celebrity hookups; we watch reality dating shows. Yet when it comes to talking to our kids—many of whom are in sexually intimate relationships—we are strangely silent.
But our kids are talking—and seeing and listening and learning—about sex every day. Unfortunately the messages they receive are often problematic: boys are studs, girls are sluts; real sex should be like porn; hookups are better than relationships. Your kids know more about sex than you think they do. But your kids don't know as much about sex as they think they do.
To make matters worse, most sexuality education in schools is either abstinence-only or abstinence-based—and both models tend to leave young people ill equipped to make fully informed decisions. Sexuality educator Al Vernacchio, a high school teacher for more than twenty years, has been an advocate of a new category: sex-positive education.
In For Goodness Sex, Vernacchio refutes the "disaster prevention" model of sex ed, offering instead a progressive and realistic approach. Without a broader understanding to offset the damaging perceptions of sex that pervade much of our culture, adolescents and teens are dangerously unprepared intellectually and emotionally to develop as sexual beings, let alone cope with today's world of sex via smartphone, cyberbullying, and the precipitous rise of high school and college sexual assault.
For Goodness Sex offers the tools and information adults and young people need in order to have important conversations about sexuality and to develop healthy values and safe habits.
About the Author
Al Vernacchio is a high school sexuality educator and English teacher at Friends' Central School in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. A human sexuality educator for more than twenty years, Al lectures and offers workshops throughout the country. His work was the feature of a 2011 New York Times Magazine cover story, and his blog, "For Goodness Sex," can be found on psychologytoday.com. Al lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.