How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

As a sex educator and researcher, one of the more common questions I get asked is when and how to talk to your kids about sex. Case in point: a reader of the blog recently asked, “At what age should parents talk about sex to their children—or at what age do children need to know about sex?”

So when should you start? And what the heck do parents need to know about navigating this discussion? Here’s a brief guide to help you get started.

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Children of Lesbian Parents are More Likely to Identify as Gay or Bisexual

Children of Lesbian Parents are More Likely to Identify as Gay or Bisexual

The idea that gay parents are more likely to have gay children has long been thought to be a myth among sexual orientation researchers. For example, a review of the literature published in 1999 emphatically stated that “the incidence of homosexuality is no higher if one is raised by a gay or lesbian parent, than if one is raised by a heterosexual parent.”  However, recent research challenges this conclusion. 

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Why Do So Many Conservative Men Wind Up In Sex Scandals With Other Men?

Why Do So Many Conservative Men Wind Up In Sex Scandals With Other Men?

If you follow the news closely, you've probably noticed that, month after month, reports emerge about politically or religiously conservative men who find themselves embroiled in scandals in which they were caught having sex with other men. These events routinely make the news because the men involved tend to be outspoken opponents of LGBT+ rights who are caught engaging in hypocrisy.

So why does this keep happening? Why do so many conservative leaders wind up in these situations? Social psychological research offers a few potential explanations. 

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10 Myths About Sexual Orientation Debunked By Science

10 Myths About Sexual Orientation Debunked By Science

In recognition of June being LGBT Pride Month, I'll be running several LGBT-themed posts on the blog over the next few weeks. To start us off, let's debunk some of the most common myths and misconceptions about sexual orientation. 

1.) Homosexuality is contagious (i.e., you can "catch the gay"). Research has failed to find support for the idea that same sex attraction is transmitted through social contact. For example, a recent, large-scale study found that same-sex attraction does not spread within adolescent peer groups. Likewise, other research has found that gay parents are no more likely to raise gay children than their heterosexual counterparts.

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10 Sexual Orientation Myths Debunked By Science

10 Sexual Orientation Myths Debunked By Science

In recognition of June being LGBT Pride Month, I'll be running several LGBT-themed posts on the blog in the coming weeks. Let's kick things off today by debunking some of the most common misconceptions and false beliefs about sexual orientation. 

1.) Homosexuality is contagious. Research has failed to find support for the idea that same sex attraction can be transmitted through social contact. For example, a recent, large-scale study found that same-sex attraction does not spread within adolescent peer groups. Likewise, other research has found that gay parents are no more likely to raise gay children than their heterosexual counterparts.

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Why Was There So Much Gay Sex At The RNC? A Social Psychologist Explains

Why Was There So Much Gay Sex At The RNC? A Social Psychologist Explains

At last week’s Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, reports are that a lot of sex was going on behind the scenes—a lot of gay sex to be precise. For example, during the convention, usage of the all-male hookup app Grindr was more than twice as high as usual in the Cleveland area. But it wasn’t just that—male escorts in the Cleveland area also reported booming business for the week.

Media outlets were quick to point out the irony, considering that this year’s Republican party platform is unabashedly anti-gay, with the Log Cabin Republicans (the gay branch of the party) going as far as to call it the “most anti-LGBT…in the Party’s 162-year history.”

While all of this is certainly interesting, what I found to be missing in all the media reports coming out was a look at why—why would so many gay and bisexual people attend a political convention for a party that formally opposes so many LGBT causes?

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How Is Michigan Defending Its Gay Marriage Ban? With Pseudoscience Aplenty

How Is Michigan Defending Its Gay Marriage Ban? With Pseudoscience Aplenty

There are currently more than two dozen legal challenges to gaymarriage bans working their way through the U.S. court system. In several of those cases, state attorneys have refused to defend such bans on grounds that they represent discrimination. In cases where attorneys have continued to defend these bans, not only has the credibility of the witnesses become more questionable, but the arguments against same-sex marriage have become more tenuous. Nowhere has this been more evident than in Michigan these past few days. First, in an embarrassing blow to the Attorney General's case,it was revealed on Monday that the state’s first witness had been barred from testifying because he was a graduate student and therefore not an expert with the necessary credentials and experience to contribute to the case. So who else does Michigan have lined up to defend the ban? The most high profile remaining witness is Mark Regnerus, a sociologist from the University of Texas at Austin. Regnerus’ claim to fame is a poorly executed 2012 study previously covered on this blog that essentially concluded that same-sex couples make inept parents. However, Regnerus’ methods and conclusions were so questionable that his own academic department recently put out the following statement distancing itself from him:

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Does The Size Of A Man’s Testicles Say Anything About His Parenting?

Does The Size Of A Man’s Testicles Say Anything About His Parenting?

A new study looking at the link between men’s testicular size and their parenting qualities has been making the rounds in the media lately, with provocative headlines ranging from “Choose Dads with Smaller ‘Nads” to “Dudes with Smaller Balls are Better Parents” to “Big Testicles Indicate Rubbish Dads.” The message is pretty clear: if you’re looking for a baby daddy who’s going to stick around and take care of your kids, look for the guy with the smallest testicles you can find. However, before you go and dig out the measuring tape, it's worth taking a closer look at the details of this study.

 
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Adopted Children Do Just As Well Regardless Of Their Parents’ Sexual Orientation

Earlier this year, a study was released suggesting that children are better off when raised by heterosexual couples than by same-sex couples [1]. That study received widespread media attention, despite the fact that it was fundamentally flawed and really said next to nothing about the parenting skills of gay and lesbian parents (you can read more about my take on that study here). In contrast, a new study about adopted children just came out concluding that such kids do equally well irrespective of the sexual orientation of their parents. Although the newer study was far more academically rigorous, it was largely ignored by the mainstream media. In this post, I will review the findings of this study and discuss why the media just doesn’t seem to care about it.
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When And How Should You Talk To Your Kids About Sex In The Age Of Internet Porn?

When And How Should You Talk To Your Kids About Sex In The Age Of Internet Porn?

How are adolescent boys learning about sex these days? By pointing, clicking, and streaming through a seemingly endless supply of Internet pornography. That’s right, online porn is now the default form of sex education for a growing number of young boys because they simply are not getting the information they need elsewhere. Personally, I find this prospect kind of scary. I mean, do you really want your son to learn everything he knows about sex from watching Ron Jeremy? And do you really want him to think that the bodies that he sees in porn are “normal” for men and women, or that the sexual script that plays out in porn videos is how real life relationships actually work (i.e., plumber arrives, clothes are torn off followed by extensive oral sex, pizza deliveryman arrives followed by tag team intercourse and gratuitous money shots, etc.)? I didn’t think so. Although it’s unlikely that anything you say will prevent your son from eventually searching for porn, what you can do is teach him about sex in a responsible way so that porn does not become his “how-to” guide for sex and relationships.

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How Does Parenthood Affect The Sex Lives And Relationships Of Gay Men?

How Does Parenthood Affect The Sex Lives And Relationships Of Gay Men?
Researchers have known for years that parenthood has some predictable effects on heterosexual couples. Specifically, relationship satisfaction typically decreases [1] and sexual activity usually drops off markedly once kids enter the picture [2]. Given the significant increase in gay couples raising children through surrogacy and adoption in recent years, researchers have begun to explore whether similar effects occur among persons in same-sex relationships. Perhaps not surprisingly, the answer appears to be yes.  
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Do Straight Couples Really Make Better Parents Than Gay Couples?

Do Straight Couples Really Make Better Parents Than Gay Couples?
Every time a new study comes out comparing the outcomes of children raised by same-sex and heterosexual couples, it garners a huge amount of media attention. It doesn’t matter what the actual findings are or whether the study is even of good quality—reporters, politicians, and activists take it as an opportunity to reignite the debate over whether a couple’s sexuality affects their parenting skills. In my view, such media reports are not only inconsequential, but they are also offensive and counterproductive. Let me explain.
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