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Publisher's Summary

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 well-being - from birth onward at home, in schools, and across our evolving culture.

©2018 Bonnie J. Rough (P)2018 Seal Press

Critic Reviews

"What a gift! Bonnie J. Rough offers a much-needed breath of fresh air in her wonderful new approach to discussing sex, love, and equality with our kids. Her smart, vigorously well-researched, and funny book is a great guide for families to read and discuss as their kids grow up." (Caroline Grant, codirector, Sustainable Arts Foundation)

"The conversation Rough starts about sexuality and gender equality in Beyond Birds & Bees is one we all need to be having - with our partners, our kids, our kids' teachers, our legislators - well: everybody. Read it. Start talking." (Jill Christman, author of Darkroom: A Family Exposure and Borrowed Babies: Apprenticing for Motherhood)

"With humor, humility, and gentleness, Bonnie J. Rough takes us on her journey of discovery and leaves us somewhere surprising and wonderful. Along the way, her practical tips add up to a transformative rethinking of what it means to teach our children about sex. This is a book that can help everybody: parents who know what they're doing, parents who worry they don't have a clue, and the rest of us, too, who never got the loving, tender teaching we deserved." (Lisa Wade, best-selling author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Fresh Perspective on Birds and Bees

What a treat to listen to! Bonnie's honesty and transparency about her experience and research on the American and Dutch perspectives to human sexuality was so refreshing. It sparked new ideas about my own perspective on what it means to prepare children for a healthy view of sexuality as she weighed the differences against her own values and experiences. I also appreciated her balance reflecting on boys' challenges, being a parent of boys, even though her primary experience has been with her two girls.

Already recommending to my friends who are at the beginning of their parenting journey and those with adolescents.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding, insightful, inspiring, well-read

The author has a great reading voice. I love it when authors read their own work. The book itself is witty, fun to read, and totally inspiring. Every parent should read this book. The Dutch Approach will motivate you to question how you might make small but significant improvements in your approach to teaching healthy, holistic, sexuality to your kids.

Sort by:
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • "schnellie"
  • Seattle, WA - United States
  • 09-11-18

A Fresh Perspective on Birds and Bees

What a treat to listen to! Bonnie's honesty and transparency about her experience and research on the American and Dutch perspectives to human sexuality was so refreshing. It sparked new ideas about my own perspective on what it means to prepare children for a healthy view of sexuality as she weighed the differences against her own values and experiences. I also appreciated her balance reflecting on boys' challenges, being a parent of boys, even though her primary experience has been with her two girls.

Already recommending to my friends who are at the beginning of their parenting journey and those with adolescents.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • 09-03-18

Outstanding, insightful, inspiring, well-read

The author has a great reading voice. I love it when authors read their own work. The book itself is witty, fun to read, and totally inspiring. Every parent should read this book. The Dutch Approach will motivate you to question how you might make small but significant improvements in your approach to teaching healthy, holistic, sexuality to your kids.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • "schnellie"
  • Seattle, WA - United States
  • 09-11-18

A Fresh Perspective on Birds and Bees

What a treat to listen to! Bonnie's honesty and transparency about her experience and research on the American and Dutch perspectives to human sexuality was so refreshing. It sparked new ideas about my own perspective on what it means to prepare children for a healthy view of sexuality as she weighed the differences against her own values and experiences. I also appreciated her balance reflecting on boys' challenges, being a parent of boys, even though her primary experience has been with her two girls.

Already recommending to my friends who are at the beginning of their parenting journey and those with adolescents.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • 09-03-18

Outstanding, insightful, inspiring, well-read

The author has a great reading voice. I love it when authors read their own work. The book itself is witty, fun to read, and totally inspiring. Every parent should read this book. The Dutch Approach will motivate you to question how you might make small but significant improvements in your approach to teaching healthy, holistic, sexuality to your kids.