Stressing out about having that one big “sex talk” with your young person? You know... that one where you impart all there is to know about sexuality, gender, puberty, reproductive systems, sexual health, consent and relationships? Well, good news, there isn’t just ONE talk!
Young people are always observing, listening, learning from you and from their world. There are so many little ways over the years that you connect and share messages about identities, bodies, and relationships. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago’s Potocsnak Division of Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine shows you real-life examples of adults and youth having quick meaningful conversations about navigating sexual health. We bring you Never Fear Talks!
Click the links below to view the Never Fear Talks:
Keep it short & positive. Bite size! Goal: "I want to have this conversation again."
Model curiosity: "I don't know, let's find out."
Answer questions as they arise.
Answer the questions asked (check for understanding). Think age/stage/learning style.
What's behind the question: "Am I normal?", "Will you judge me?", "Will I get in trouble?", curiosity, planning...
Use media. Make age/stage appropriate resources freely available. Find books & media that reflect diversity of families, cultures, race, ability...
Consent communication & LGBTQ inclusivity can be modeled at all ages and stages of development.
Model positive approach to bodies (affirm a wide variety of body size, shape, abilities around children). Avoid body shaming/ body critique.
Be direct about any safety concerns; avoid shame/judgment, explore harm reduction, keep lines of communication open. Affirm boundaries.
Teamwork! Remind child of their team of safe & supportive adults. "If you're ever nervous to tell me something, or want another perspective, talk to ____."
Maintain privacy (including in mandated reporter situations). Privacy vs. Secrecy. Think carefully about who needs to know what for safety/ be transparent with young person about who is being included.
We don't learn math once, we need practice, the same applies to sexuality education topics!
When it comes to consent, practice is key. For young children and children with social or communication differences, it may be extra important to regularly demonstrate non-verbal cues along with verbal cues. For more on teaching consent at home check out this blog post from Sex Positive Families.
Noam (11) & Heather Talk Sex
Unsure of how to answer detailed questions about sex in an age appropriate way? Check out our friends at AMAZE to watch fun informative videos for the under 14 crowd (and their parents/caregivers).
Belise (15) & Yasmin Talk Masturbation
For more details on masturbation, check out our friends at Scarleteen for all the teen centered, LGBTQ inclusive and real deal info.
Navigating online space is a daily process for young people. How do you decide what to view? What makes you comfy or uncomfy? Ellie gives some solid tips for other young people and Karla keeps the lines of communication open!
If you're looking for more on navigating sexuality and tech check out this tool kit from Amaze.org! For those ready to think about sexual content online here is a shame free reality check on online porn from our friends at Scarleteen.com.
Health Provider/Trans Young Person Talks
We are so grateful for our healthcare providers, so many of whom are working to make their services more equitable for LGBTQ patients. Conversations about sexual health and pleasure are akeypart of preventative care and sexual well-being. Despite patient demand for sexual health discussions with their healthcare providers, physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals often lack the information and skills to initiate and facilitate these conversations, especially with transgender adolescents.Transgender folks face increased barriers when attempting to access health care. This series of five videos showcase open and affirming conversations between health providers and young people.
Adam & Saleha (Part 1) Talk about Need to Know
It can be tough as a provider to know what questions to ask to be able to providethe most affirming care to your transgender patients. Adam and Sal chat about how to ask questions on a need to know basis and the importance of being transparent on what you do and don’t know.
Adam & Saleha (Part 2) Talk About Barriers to Care
Institutional issues, like records systems and insurance, offer additional barriers to care for transgender patients. Adam and Sal chat about ways to make these systems more accessible and affirming for transgender patients.
Adam & Saleha (Part 3) Talk about the Right Questions
Adam and Sal talk about how to have conversations with transgender patients about birth control, PrEP, and family support and the importance of getting trained on providing birth control & PrEP to transgender patients.
Jennifer & Evynne (Part 1) Talk About Questions
Jennifer and Evynne chat about the importance of asking patients about whether they are enjoying and being fulfilled by their sexual experiences and their relationships. Asking these types of questions can help a patient better understand their experiences and a provider identify areas where they can help.
Jennifer & Evynne (Part 2) Talk About Comfort
It can be super uncomfortable when a transgender person knows that their provider is uncomfortable offering care to them or when their providers ask too much about their transgender identity. Jennifer and Evynneshowcase a relaxed and comfortable approach.
HIV/AIDS and PrEP
Never Fear Talks - Logan & Evan Talk About PrEP
If you have ever wanted to learn more about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), look no further! Logan & Evan talk all things PrEP! To learn more about PrEP check out The National Library of Medicine. Click here to complete a quick survey and enter to win a gift card
Never Fear Talks - Logan & Evan Talk About HIV & Partner Communication
Partner communication does not have to be hard – Logan and Evan show us some tips and teach us more about HIV and how to navigate having a traditionally hard conversation.
Never Fear Talks - Dorian & Brooklyn Talk About HIV/AIDS
Dorian gets a lesson from his daughter Brooklyn about the what HIV stands for, how you can be infected, and how to prevent HIV. Sometimes young people are our educators! To learn more about HIV check out the National Library of Medicine. Click here to complete a quick survey and enter to win a gift card.
Never Fear Talks - D'Eva, Miranda & Leilani Do a Condom Demo
Teaching young people about how to use condoms safely doesn’t have to be awkward! D’Eva, Miranda & Leilani teach us all how to use an external condom. If you want to learn more about the internal condom (sometimes called a “female condom”) click here! If you want to learn more about HIV/AIDS go to The National Library of Medicine for more information.
Never Fear Talks - D'Eva, Miranda & Leilani Talk About HIV/AIDS Stigma
It sometimes feels like we are fighting stigma more than the virus itself. D’Eva shares her story with Miranda & Leilani. Click here to complete a quick survey and enter to win a gift card.
Never Fear Talks - D'Eva, Miranda & Leilani Discuss Sexual Assault
D’Eva shares her very personal story on how she contracted HIV. This is a heavy topic and if you or someone you know has been sexual assaulted please contact RAINN, National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE or Trans Lifeline 877.565.8860
Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation
Alexanndrea & Laundi Talk About Sexual Orientation
Have you come out as a supportive and affirming parent/guardian? Alexanndrea & Laundi talk about normalizing all sexual orientations.
Never Fear: Shane (They/Them), Alex (He/Him) & Noam (He/Him) share their vision for LGBTQ Inclusive Schools
Never Fear: Alex (He/Him) & Derrick (He/They) talk LGBTQ+ Affirming Schools
Derrick and Alex talk about how creating LGBTQ+ affirming schools can help students feel safe and loved. Derrick reflects on their own experiences as a young person, and invites Alex, and all young people, to hold the adults in their life accountable to create the spaces they need to heal and grow.
Never Fear: Alex (He/Him) & Derrick (He/They) talk LGBTQ+ History
Alex grounds inclusivity and justice in understanding history. LGBTQ+ folks have histories that span continents and centuries. Derrick reminds us of the power of seeing ourselves in history: “People like me can exist and do exist.”
Never Fear: Shane (They/Them) & Bonsai (All Pronouns) talk Safety for Trans Students
Shane charges us, as educators, allies, and community members, to do what we ask our young people to do: educate ourselves, find resources, and work to change the world. Bonsai and Shane discuss how to create safe and welcoming environments for trans students.
Never Fear: Shane (They/Them) & Bonsai (All Pronouns) talk Gender Discrimination at School
Bonsai invites Shane to share their experiences with heteronormativity and shame and how it affected their relationship with themselves and their identities. Shane says, “The more that children learn about each other, the less likely they are to harm one another.”
Laurence and Bonsai have a discussion on gender fluidity and their own experiences with existing as a person whose identity and experience cannot be forced into a binary.
Never Fear: Laurence (They/He) & Bonsai (All Pronouns) talk Transphobia
Bonsai points out the transphobia rampant in the broader LGBTQ community, and Laurence asks all of us, “Who are we without our community members?”
Never Fear: Noam (He/Him) & Dr. Marburger (He/Him) talk Trust with Teachers
Noam shares how he had to switch schools after teachers broke his trust and outed him. Noam charges us to foster trust and stand up against transphobia.
Never Fear: Noam (He/Him) & Dr. Marburger (He/Him) talk Sharing Your Trans Identity
Noam and Dr. Marburger discuss how personal of a decision it is to come out and share your trans identity with the world, and what it might mean to other people working to build a better world.
Ellie and Karla Talk Having Two Moms
Talking about family diversity is important at all ages! Ellie shares what it’s like to educate other kids about her two-Mom family. Take the time to celebrate family diversity at your home with a story-time. Two of our favorites books are Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang and When Aiden Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff.
Tru and Karla Talk Gender and Pronouns
Tru shares what their gender and pronouns mean to them! Is your family learning together about gender? Here’s a great place to start! For supports and resources for transgender and gender expansive young people in the Chicago area, check out our Gender Development Program Support Services. For national support, visit our friends at Gender Spectrum.
Parenting Young People
Advice for Young Parents from Young Parents
Young parents share the advice they wish they had when they were navigating new parenthood. Amid sharing relevant advice, Nuve reminds us that being a parent “is something really beautiful” and that there are people out there to support you.
Young Parents Share Advice to School Staff
Adults can have attitudes toward young parents that can be harmful. Regardless of age, all parents are deserving of respect and support from other parents, classroom teachers, and other adults. These young parents share how best to support them.
Young Parents Share Recommendations for Sex Ed
Ensuring students have information about sexual health and wellbeing allows them to make the best decisions for themselves. Students, in their desire to understand themselves and the world around them, demand and deserve sexual health information, and this video challenges us as educators to meet that demand.
Jessica and Angela - Experience of Being Pregnant While Being a Student
Jessica shares some of her joy and fear finding out she was pregnant. Her parents found out indirectly but encouraged her to speak to Angela at her school. She found her peers to be supportive and kind, and found a friend in Nuve, another student who shared her story with us. Jessica is currently looking forward to graduating soon.
Nuve and Angela - Experience of Being Pregnant While Being a Student
Nuve shares her fears when she found out she was pregnant, including family support, reactions of her peers, and her teachers. Nuve also lets us know that there were sources of support as well, including a CPS teacher who models what supporting the young people in your life means.
Mia and Megan - Experience of Being Pregnant While Being a Student
Mia and Megan discuss Mia’s school and the supportive environment that has helped her navigate parenthood. Mia shares the unique challenges of being a young parent and student.
Yakeara and Kendal - Experience of Being Pregnant While Being a Student
Yakeara shares with her sister Kendal the fear she felt when she found out she was pregnant, and the challenges she faced trusting adults in her life with this information.
For family sexuality education workshops or to sponsor future Never Fear Talks videos, contact Dawn Ravine at email@example.com.
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Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. The Potocsnak Family Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for adolescents and young adults. To learn more, please e-mail the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312.227.7500.