A provocative inquiry into how we teach our children about bodies, sex, relationships and equality–with revelatory, practical takeaways from the author’s research and eye-opening observations from the world-famous Dutch approach
Award-winning author Bonnie J. Rough never expected to write a book about sex, but life handed her a revelation too vital to ignore. As an American parent grappling with concerns about raising children in a society steeped in stereotypes and sexual shame, she couldn’t quite picture how to teach the facts of life with a fearless, easygoing, positive attitude. Then a job change relocated her family to Amsterdam, where she soon witnessed the relaxed and egalitarian sexual attitudes of the Dutch. There, she discovered, children learn from babyhood that bodies are normal, the world’s best sex ed begins in kindergarten, cooties are a foreign concept, puberty is no big surprise, and questions about sex are welcome at the dinner table.
In Beyond Birds and Bees, Rough reveals how although normalizing human sexuality may sound risky, doing so actually prevents unintended consequences, leads to better health and success for our children, and lays the foundation for a future of gender equality. Exploring how the Dutch example translates to American life, Rough highlights a growing wave of ambitious American parents, educators, and influencers poised to transform sex ed–and our society–for the better, and shows how families everywhere can give a modern lift to the birds and bees.
Down to earth and up to the minute with our profound new cultural conversations about gender, sex, power, autonomy, diversity, and consent, Rough’s careful research and engaging storytelling illuminate a forward path for a groundbreaking generation of Americans who want clear examples and actionable steps for how to support children’s sexual development–and overall wellbeing–from birth onward at home, in schools, and across our evolving culture.
Bonnie Rough is the author of Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids About Sex, Love, and Equality, The Girls, Alone, which was selected by Amazon editors as one of the best Kindle Singles of 2015, and the Minnesota Book Award-winning memoir Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA (Counterpoint Press, 2010). An award-winning essayist and memoirist with an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa, her essays have appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Sun, The Iowa Review and Brain, Child. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Seattle, and makes frequent trips back to their former home in the Netherlands.