a vintage photo of three nuns wading into a body of water

$20 Superpack: Sex Ed Do-Over

by Faith G. Harper, PhD, LPC-S, ACS, ACN Author, Sarah Mirk Author, Aaron Sapp, MD, MBA Author, Bonnie Scott, MS, MA, LPC Author and Super Pack! Author

Did your sex education suck? Maybe you learned the joy of abstinence, or sat through harrowing tales of pregnancy and STDs, or were told lies and euphemisms, or that whatever you wanted and felt was wrong. Or maybe nobody told you anything at all. Fortunately, it's never too late to turn that ship around and learn for yourself what you need. Here's a selection of books and zines that can help fill in some of those gaps so you can make the best healthy, self-affirming decisions for you about what you do and who you do it with.

First, a book: Sex From Scratch is your big-picture guide to the world of dating and relationships. From staunch singledom to hookups to breakups to all sorts of different kinds of commitments, Sarah Mirk is like the smart friend you turn to for perspective when it all seems overwhelming and confusing.

And some key zines: STI FAQ was written exactly for you, oh sex-ed-deprived ones! If you've ever been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, or had a giant red bump freak-out, or were left more confused than informed by what you learned in school, this zine walks you through exactly what diseases are out there, how to identify and treat them, and most importantly, how to deal with what happens if you do get one—how to talk to the other people involved and manage your own feelings fallout, too.

BDSM FAQ is about bondage, domination and submission, sadomasochism, whatever you want to call it. What it's *really* about is consent (not to be confused with the abusive relationship portrayed and, we fear, widely emulated in 50 Shades). And consent is hot AF, even if pain + power play aren't your thing. If you want to try this out, you'll be glad you read this first, and even if you don't it's an excellent text in your mission to get a real sex education.

Sex Without Roles is great. It's a trans guy's perspective about anonymous sex, dating, relationships, and most importantly communication and consent. It's written specifically about navigating sex when assigned gender roles and body parts don't match with social norms, but whatever your gender, sexuality, or style, you'll learn a ton from this short, honest take on how to be truly yourself with self-respect and good communication with others.

Also Hot Pants, a thorough and classic examination on tried and true herbal treatments for common gynecological problems, as well as great basic sexual health info. It begins, "Patriarchy sucks. It's robbed us of our autonomy and much of our history. We believe it's integral for women to be aware an in control of our own bodies." 

And finally, this one isn't about *just* sex, but it's so key for sex and any other kind of personal interactions: Dr. Faith's zine on Boundaries is your primer on that much talked-about but ill-defined topic. If you have trouble expressing (or knowing) what you need and/or figuring out what others want or why they react the way they do, this is a good place to start.

Want to look at more options? Here's our catalog of resources about sex and sexuality.