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For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  73 reviews
A progressive, effective, and responsible approach to 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 ten
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by Harper Wave (first published September 9th 2014)
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May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I saw a TED Talk by Al Vernacchio (Sex Needs a New Metaphor) and was so impressed that when I learned he also wrote a book, I didn't waste any time tracking it down. I've been doing a lot of reading about human sexuality over the last 1-1/2+ years to prepare myself as a parent for what's ahead as my child approaches her teens. And I've been really pleased by the vast majority of the books I've read, as they have been honest, informative, and helpful to me as a parent. This one is no exception, a ...more
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Very interesting read! This book is written in a pretty conversational style which makes for easy reading. I liked the structure where he introduces topics through exercises he leads his "Sexuality and Society" classes through. Coming from a very conservative orthodox faith background with sex-negative messaging ranging from clothing choices to eternal consequences for acting out of bounds, I read this to provide myself a more sex-positive paradigm to hold conversations with my five children.

I l
Morninglight Mama
I've never so much agreed with a book's guidance and advice as I did with this incredible resource for parents. Vernacchio conveys respect and candor in this guide, and his openness is refreshing, and so damn necessary. I think this is helpful reading for parents of children of all ages, and perhaps it deserves a re-read every once in a while as a reminder of how to keep communication lines open with our teens. I've never felt so validated in my parenting perspective as I did when reading this b ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book had a lot of straightforward information. I liked that it emphasized values and self-image, and urged parents to take an active role in helping their kids navigate adolescence. The addition of an LGBTQ perspective was also pretty helpful. Some of my patrons will be happy to know we have this!
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I liked this author’s approach. Wish I’d had it when I was a teenager. I would have learned so much. More than anything I’m glad I talked to my kids more openly than my parents talked to me. Still could do better but I’m glad I was uncomfortable enough to try.
Laurie Gray
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens about Sexuality, Values, and Health by Al Vernacchio invites parents, students, educators and everyone, really, into Vernacchio’s Sexuality and Society class in a private Quaker school near Philadelphia, PA. In Mr. V’s classroom, students are safe to sort out all of the negative and exploitive messages they’ve received about human sexuality and begin to build an accurate and positive image of themselves, which will in turn allow them to form he ...more
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent book for advice on how to talk to teens about sex. Lots of good information that is relevant to the times. The author is a sex educator and the book gives you a good overview of the details of his high school course on sex education. Highly recommended. This is a great guide for parents. My 12 year old son enjoyed it too, and my 14 year old daughter is reading it now. Most of what he advocates in the book I believe we already as parents put into practice, and the book would be great fo ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is OWL only better. I loved how the author uses the questions asked in an average class, and answers them! How refreshing, and instructional. Loved it!
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I loved the author's approach and appreciated the candid conversations and specific examples he included. It's a book I'd like to come back to when my kids are older, but took plenty away from it at this stage of life. I wish I had been in a class similar to his as a kid and am glad he wrote a book to reach a wider audience. ...more
Carolyn Fitzpatrick
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had no idea that there was such a thing as a MA in Human Sexuality Education! Or high schools that offered a year long course in sexuality! This book is not a teacher's manual for Mr V's course, but it definitely makes me want to teach a class like this. The recommended exercises are excellent, and he offers lots of suggestions to parents in talking to their children as well.

Key features of the course: Pretty much the whole first half of the course is about defining your own values and learni
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm starting a series of teen talks at my library and wanted to get some ideas on broaching the subject of sex in a more down to earth kind of way. Vernacchio being a teacher definitely made the difference in this book. He seems to have the right rapport with teens that allows him to be frank and informative. There was a lot of information in here for parents, which doesn't apply to me, but some of the things he writes talking to parents is good to reiterate back to them. Vernacchio definitely k ...more
Allison Jenkins Johnson
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this book to every single parent. Absolutely loved it. I not only learned how to be a safe person for my kids, but I also learned a lot for myself. I wish I had been given a comprehensive sexual education like this. The focus isn’t just “sex,” but on each individual discovering their own sexuality. It’s about consent, body positivity, letting go of shame, discovering your values, self love, and loving others, and being educated. Love, love, love this book.
Kristi Benedict
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't recommend this book enough. This isn't a book about teaching your child about sex - it's a book about helping your teen in figuring out who they are and what their values are and how to approach relationships from that perspective. Mr. Vernacchio stresses communication in a way that even made me reevaluate how I communicate. Well done! ...more
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a great book! You should read this book if:
1) You're a teacher
2) You're a parent
3) You may ever have the occasion to talk to a young person about sex and society
4) You had less than stellar sex education

So really, everybody should read this book.
Robyn Carr
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great resource for parents looking to instill positive attitudes about sexuality in their children. Also a resource for people who work with kids. Easy to read and provides practical ideas and information.
Elizabeth R
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookgroup
Great review of teen sexuality and common questions that come up. I knew a lot of this from my days as a health educator but it was a good refresher. Watch the author's TED talk. ...more
Kathrine Edwards
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another important sex book for parents of teens!!! This guy is amazing!!!
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A really positive way of framing sexuality with the lenses of values, pleasure and well-being.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: revisit-annually
This has some great great ideas with how to talk to teens about sex. How do you know if you're ready? You should be able to look a potential partner in the eyes and discuss the when and where, as well as the contraception (if you're too embarrassed to buy condoms them you're not ready), and what happens if a pregnancy or STD/still occurs. I loved this very real test. I need to read this again to get more of the ideas to stick so they're in my head when the topics come up in the future. ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fall 2020, second time through: it's even better than I remembered.

Every educator and parent, regardless of the age of the children they teach or have, should read this book.

The values clarification work that Vernacchio guides his readers through is one of the most empowering processes I've seen around sexuality, and it is valid whether you are married and 50 or experimenting and 15. He includes working definitions of things like gender identity, g
Brooke Smith
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review posted on my blog, BB Reads.

Before I read this book, I had no idea who Al Vernacchio was or that he had a blog of the same name of this book. I was a complete virgin (aren't I punny?!) to his style of thinking. My kids are not teenagers either: the oldest just started kindergarten. But this book, especially if you grew up in American public schools with its fear-mongering, abstinence-only education, is revelatory to adults of all ages, parents and childfree alike.

The focus of this book is
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
All these positive reviews are extremely well deserved and there isn't much for me to add. I found this book by accident -- no idea the author has a TED talk and a blog. I was at the library looking for something up to date that would help me to continue to talk with my two sons not really so much about sex but about intimate relationships of all kinds. The author's continuing experience teaching at a Friends school means that he is up to date about how kids are currently trying to make sense in ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love this book, I love Al's approach to teaching kids. The only reason I don't give it five stars is that I don't think the book is that accessible for those who aren't high-level intellectual geeks who think about sex ed all the time (like me! This book was written for me!). It offers people deep thoughts to think about, which is important. It challenges gender norms, and societal priorities about perfect bodies and perfect relationships, but it takes time to get through each section and Al f ...more
Nicole Gathany
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book did a lot for me.

Now that I have read this book, I have a better understanding of sexual agency, informed consent, and the sexism that exists within sex education in this country. I also didn't know that there was a difference between gender and sexuality--one can be trans and not gay or trans and gay--before reading this book.

However, I will say that although Vernacchio spoke a lot about "healthy sexuality" and what blocks us from developing it, he did not really explain what it mea
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a great book! This man is clearly a gifted teacher and his school and students are very lucky to have him! And I feel grateful that he put his wisdom into this book.

This is a sex-positive, shame free and very real look at teens and sexuality and how to help your teens know what they need to know, interspersed with stories from the author's own life and his time in the classroom teaching sexuality to high schoolers. His sense of humor literally had me laughing out loud at several points.

Joyce Eisenberg
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Both of my kids took the author's Sex and Society class when there were in high school and thought Al Vernacchio was an awesome teacher. By reading his first book, I feel like I took the class, too. The book is clear, engaging, and offered points of view that were new to me. It also answered questions - both ones I knew I had and ones I never even considered. Whether or not you have teens, it's a worthwhile read, and it makes for some great dinner conversation! ...more
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Borrow it, buy it, just read it. Go on. Do a favor to yourself. Whether you have kids or not, we are all in a position to be a positive role model to someone younger than we are. It could be the twenty something fledging intern in the office who is clearly confused about their values and what they want from relationships. Reading this made me remember, question, laugh, share and groan. If only we all found communicating as natural as this author does, the world would be a better place.
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a thoughtful and sweet book written by a high school teacher who teaches a sex ed class. I really appreciated the way he conveyed his values to teens while talking about tricky subjects. He puts a big emphasis on equality, respect, and communication in relationships. I also liked his idea for moving away from baseball as a metaphor for sex and instead talking about pizza. He has a quick video (TED?) on this that's worth googling. ...more
Brenda Lee
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Such an important topic! I appreciate that Alfred Vernacchio took the time to share his ground level experience of working with teens and how to talk with them about sex. Well worth reading before you have teens, as it helps to set the stage on how you may approach the subject when the time does come.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Loved this, and the push for better communication with kids and teens about their whole sexuality. Good tips, and ideas for practicing talking about this. If you haven't seen his TED talk on the pizza model of sex - find it and watch it. Then watch it again with your kids. All parents should read this. ...more
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Play Book Tag: For Goodness Sex by Alfred Vernacchio - 5 stars 2 12 May 04, 2016 03:29PM  

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