A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sex-Ed School is a series of YouTube videos hosted by a sex educator and sex researcher and aimed at demystifying sex for young people age 9-12. Videos address a wide range of sexual topics frankly, from reproduction to masturbation to sexual identity and far beyond, in a manner appropriate for tweens and teens. Expect clinical language related to sexuality ("penis," "G-spot") as well as sexually related slang ("boobs," "boners"). Some discussions may be tricky ones for parents: special guests such as two drag queens, a trans man, and a man who uses a wheelchair frankly discuss their experiences (though they don't relate details about their personal sexual lives) and themes such as gender, sexual orientation, and same-sex relationships. There are no images of sex, but brief cartoon montages show animated genitals doing things like walking and laughing. Hosts emphasize nonjudgmental education, respect, kindness, thoughtfulness, and pleasure.
What's the story?
Created and produced by an educator mom who wanted to learn how to better teach her own 12-year-old daughter about sexual health, SEX-ED SCHOOL introduces tweens to human sexuality in an easygoing, age-appropriate way. Through classroom discussions, activities, and question-and-answer sessions with teachers and special guests with unique expertise, hosts Nadine Thornhill and Eva Bloom lead honest conversations with young people about why their bodies work the way they do, and how to have a responsible, enjoyable sexual life.
Is it any good?
Refreshingly straightforward and shame-free, this stellar virtual health class leads tweens through the finer points of sexual health in a friendly, frank way. Each video takes on a particular topic (i.e. "genitals" or "consent"), and in about 6 to 11 minutes runs through a series of concepts on that theme, from puberty to sexual orientation to kissing, and far, far beyond. The truly delightful thing about the series is how cheerfully and unapologetically Nadine and Eva answer questions and clear up misconceptions.
Students sometimes giggle and squirm uncomfortably as their teachers take on topics like masturbation ("Don't do it in public," Nadine advises), but it's clear they're paying attention to the reassuring messages the teaching duo hand out easily ("Masturbation is something really pleasant and lovely you can do for yourself," Nadine goes on to say). Ultimately, Nadine and Eva seem to be at ease, and they put their students at ease with a subject that can be difficult for many teachers and parents to handle comfortably. It feels healthy, it feels natural, and Sex-Ed School is destined to put adolescent minds at rest.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it is important to have all the facts when it comes to sexuality. Do your kids find it difficult to discuss this subject with you? Do these videos help normalize the subject? How might not understanding how things work put you at risk when it comes to making important decisions about sex?
Teens: Do you know peers who are sexually active? Do you notice pressure to take relationships to the next level? How does what you see on TV and in movies influence what you believe to be "normal" behavior in this regard? What character traits do you look for in someone you like?
How do the other issues raised in these videos (emotional health, bullying, etc.) relate to sexuality and your identity? Do you define yourself or your friends by romantic relationships or lack thereof? How does social media make it more difficult to have a private life or relationship?
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