The Talk: Helping Your Kids Navigate Sex in the Real World

Are you having a hard time talking to your kid about sex? Join the club. Alice Dreger, Ph.D., brings her unique sense of humor and refreshing directness to bear on this landmine-of-a-subject, laying out clear methods that emphasize respect, health, and happiness.

After Alice Dreger’s live-tweeting of her son’s abstinence sex ed class went viral, Dreger was asked by many parents how she had managed to raise a fourteen-year-old so comfortable talking about sex—comfortable enough even to challenge sex ed teachers when they presented misinformation. The Talk is a response to those questions. In it, Dreger explains how you can engage your children in productive conversations about sexual anatomy, sexual behaviors, sexual responsibility, and sexual pleasure, and how you can do it in a non-shaming fashion that will support not only your child’s well-being, but also your long-term relationship with your child.

Using the humor and clarity for which she is known, Dreger provides the basic information you need to understand sex development, gender identity, and erotic feelings and behaviors, while also giving you a clear method for talking with children about difficult subjects like sex. The Talk gives you examples of how to answer children’s questions, and even explains how to recover if you screw up a conversation about sex. Whether your child is a preschooler or a teenager, The Talk will help you go forward with more information and less fear.

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Read a teaser in the L.A. Times.

Read an excerpt at Pacific Standard Magazine.

Hear Alice talking about sex ed with Mark Bashore on WKAR's "Current State".

Hear Alice talking about "The Talk" with Dan Savage on the Savage Lovecast.


Alice Dreger, PhD, is an historian of medicine, science, and sexuality, and an award-winning writer. Her essays on sex have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, WIRED, Slate, The L.A. Times, The Chicago Tribune, Pacific Standard, Fathering Magazine, and Psychology Today, and she has appeared as a sex expert on dozens of broadcast programs, including Oprah, CNN International, NPR’s All Things Considered, and the Savage Lovecast. Her consultancy work includes editing a handbook for parents of children born with relatively uncommon forms of sex anatomy (intersex) and co-editing a teaching guide on LGBT patient care for the Association of American Medical Colleges. She has been on the faculty of several universities, most recently at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Her last book, Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar’s Search for Justice has been named an Editors’ Choice by The New York Times. It has received praise in The New Yorker, Salon, Forbes, and New York Magazine and has just been released in paperback with a new afterword.