Making Sense of “It” by Alison Macklin is a new guide to help you navigate sex ed with your kids.
Sex is an uncomfortable topic for many and this book offers a great outline of what and how to discuss various topics surrounding sexuality with our children.
I learned about sex in school. The very basics with a little film strip in 5th grade. And health class in 9th grade—anatomy, STIs, and pregnancy – from the football coach!
Our kids have lots of questions about sex.
It’s up to me as a parent to be available to answer questions and even initiate a conversation about sex.
What about masturbation? Is it ok to have sexual fantasies? What about kissing, blowjobs, or taking The Pill? If you touch someone’s penis, can you get pregnant? If you douche after sex, you won’t get pregnant…right? Is porn ever ok?
Making Sense of “It” goes beyond the basics of the birds and the bees to give teens a realistic, no-holds barred, nonjudgmental guide on everything having to do with sex and sexuality. With this book, teens can learn about “it” all from the best contraception methods to what to expect at a clinic, even to the signs of an unhealthy relationship.
In a world where teens are bombarded with bad information on social media, are meant to feel ashamed of something so natural, Making Sense of “It” counters that with trustworthy, gender-neutral advice on how to be safe, informed, and honest about “it.”
I want my kids to have healthy relationships and that includes a healthy sexuality. We don’t buy into the evangelical purity movement. I want my kids to have real information and I have to feel comfortable talking about it and answering the hard questions. If I don’t help my kids navigate through these waters, they will Google it, ask their peers, or find the information they seek somewhere and it might not be the best answer.
This book may not be for everyone but these topics come up more and more – on social media, in classrooms, at college, in youth group, Sunday school, the playground. I want my kids to have a good, healthy foundation about their personal values before they are bombarded with uncomfortable circumstances.
I like the conversation starters at the end of each chapter. They can be used as an outright script, or as a journaling activity, or as a casual conversation.
The introduction is entitled “Dear Teen” and it is perfect.
Nineteen chapters cover most sexual topics in this 2018 climate. The last chapter offers resources for more info.
I feel this is a book that should be introduced to tweens and revisited often with teens by parents, keeping an open conversation throughout the growing years.
It’s important to discuss healthy relationships when so few of my generation had a model or knows how.
About the Book
- Go-to introductory resource on sex ed for teens, college students, parents, educators, social workers, and health professionals.
- Can be read separately or together as a family to meet everyone’s different needs.
- Includes helpful sections specifically written for parents and teens to help break the ice and foster mutual understanding.
- Conversation starters (a list of suggested questions for teens and parents) accompany each chapter to keep the conversation going and to foster connections on a more meaningful level.
- Includes “fun facts” throughout the book that delve more deeply into certain topics like average penis sizes, female ejaculation, and the need for regular STI screenings.
- Covers many different topics not often covered in health class/sex ed:
- the human brain in relation to sex and puberty,
- defining sexuality,
- the need for human touch,
- sexual identity and orientation,
- gender roles,
- feeling horny,
- various levels of “risk” in sexual behaviors, and
- signs of healthy and negative relationships.
- Also touches upon more progressive and sex-positive topics like:
- consent culture,
- sex toys, fetishes, and fantasies,
- choosing when to become sexually active,
- tactics to improve communication with sexual (current or potential) partners,
- how to get help and be an active bystander when witnessing sexual harassment and assault, and
About the Author
Alison Macklin has been with the Responsible Sex Education Institute at the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) for over fourteen years and is currently Vice President of Education and Innovation. Macklin is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader in sex education and holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver. She is a mother of two who lives in Colorado.
Praise for the Book
“Kudos to Alison Macklin for creating a book to help parents and teens talk more honestly and frequently about sex and sexuality. This fun, up to date, accurate, and easy-to-understand guide will help families to connect more about these absolutely critical issues.”
— Leslie M. Kantor, PhD, MPH, Vice President, Education, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
“Making Sense if ‘It’ is the Our Bodies, Our Selves for today: comprehensive, unbiased, medically accurate, and respectful. This should be on the bookshelf and nightstand of every household so that caregivers and youth alike can read it, discuss it, and learn from it.”
— Pat Paluzzi, DrPH, CNM, President and CEO Healthy Teen Network
“This book is a must read for all teenagers and parents of teens, about a subject that is often hard to talk about: sex. Author Alison Macklin gives great, practical, actionable advice on how to keep communication open and honest.”
— Jason Woods MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, creator of Little Patients, Big Medicine
“I loved it! Alison Macklin offers teen readers honest, engaging, and at times humorous information about puberty, sex and sexuality. The book is chock-full of useful suggestions for parents as well, providing tips to start conversations with their teens and keep the lines of communication open during the sometimes bumpy road through puberty and adolescence.”
— Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth
“This book provides excellent information about sexual health and important advice for staying healthy and having good relationships. The overview of sex and sexuality will be extremely useful for teens and parents alike.”
— Connie Newman, MD Adjunct Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and President 2018-2019 American Medical Women’s Association
“In this rapidly changing world of sexuality, gender and relationships Alison Macklin’s new book is just the resource teens need be ready for the wonderful world of sex and relationships. With her smarts, experience, and guidance, teens of all genders and orientations will get just what they need to make great choices.”
— Amy Lang, MA, founder Birds & Bees & Kids and author, Dating Smarts – What Every Teen Needs to Date, Relate or Wait!
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