This Guy Will Show You How to Talk to Your Young Son about Sex

How sexuality educator Greg Smallidge eases into the facts of life for kids and their parents
Ali Brownrigg  |   June 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
sex ed classes for kids seattle magazine
Greg Smallidge teaches a coed class at Lafayette Elementary in West Seattle

It takes a certain personality to talk about sex and puberty with kids and their parents; someone who combines trustworthiness with the ability to remain unflappable in the face of inevitable giggles and awkward moments. Magnolia dad Greg Smallidge has those qualities in abundance, and puts them to good use during Great Conversations’ “For Boys Only” and “For Girls Only” (greatconversations.com) classes, and coed classes, in which his nuanced approach and dry humor put attendees at ease.  

During these classes, held in public schools and at Seattle Children’s (as well as at Overlake Hospital Medical Center, and in Everett, Federal Way, Tacoma and on Bainbridge Island), Smallidge, who has been teaching about sexuality since 1996, addresses both grownups and kids with the intention of modeling direct and open ways for parents to interact with 10- to 12-year-olds, who are on the precipice of this challenging period. “Parents are often isolated when it comes to talking to their kids about sexuality,” says Smallidge, who aims to open up the subject and give it some breathing room by making the topic accessible and normal. “All parents are sexuality educators; we’re just not very good at it, because we don’t really want to be. Getting motivated, seeing the light, is easier with a little help.”

In addition to his work as a classroom educator, Smallidge, who is father to two boys, 16 and 11, is also working on a documentary, tentatively titled Sexuality for Kids (sex-ed.us), that explores what great sexuality education looks like. “Filming the movie has been the best learning experience for me,” Smallidge says. “This documentary lets people know what is happening in sex education right now. Understanding what our kids are exposed to helps us teach them better.” Look for the film sometime this year.

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