Real Language

I am reading a book right now called How To Be The Best Lover: A guide for teenage boys by Howard Schiffer. The book is intended to be a follow-up to a series of basic sex talks parents should have with young boys. The book covers many topics including communicating with girls, masturbation, foreplay, pregnancy prevention, and sexual intercourse. All of these topics are discussed in a framework of healthy, appropriate romantic and sexual relationships. (I will interview Schiffer on Thursday morning, and would be delighted to include any questions any of you may have based on this relatively short description.)

While, as with any book, there are some things I would have done differently, Schiffer’s book is mostly stunning. He approaches sexuality openly with teenage boys. And even more importantly, he doesn’t just discuss it – he tells boys how to do it. Are you surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be. Because what Schiffer tells boys, in great detail, is how to involve himself emotionally with a girlfriend. The physical discussions are a relatively small part of the book – no in-depth discussion of oral sex technique to be found here.

So here is the part that should surprise you. And make you realize what so many parents and sex educators been doing wrong in our sex education. Real words. Real language. Schiffer does not baulk at talking about playing with a girl’s nipples, giving and receiving oral sex, and rubbing his penis against her body. It is refreshing for someone to finally talk about these activities frankly and openly with teenage boys.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. And what would you say is the best way to suggest ir give this book to a teenage boy? I imagine many healthy boys would scoff at the idea of it, be embarassed or reject if for some other reason. Not only that, but what if you got a book like this into the hands of a teenager and a parent is disgusted with it and deems it “pornography” or “inappropriate”? Perhaps they wouldn’t give it a chance simply because it isn’t what he wants him to be taught….does every teenager need to know these things? Do some teenagers have a better chance of figuring things out than others? Previous generations have managed to do it, what is wrong with them now?

  2. Hi Teri, I’m delighted that you’re reading my blog! And even better, you’re posting. 🙂

    As to your question: You just do it. Somewhere private, so they’re not embarrassed in front of family or friends. And you tell the boy that it answers real questions in a real way. While they may never, ever admit to reading it, if you manage to get it into their hands and into their bedrooms, I am 99% positive they will read it.

    What to do with parents who object? Don’t know there, Teri. I’m not sure I would be willing to give it to a boy whose parents would object. He’ll be the one who ultimately looses from that stance, but what can you do about it? (Well, you can go ahead and give it to him anyway. I just can’t because of my position as a sex educator.)

    Yes, every teenage boy needs to know these things. They’ll find out eventually on their own (most of them, anyway). But they’ll have a much easier time of working through relationships with this book as a guide.

    Nothing is so wrong with previous generations–but were their adolescent/young adult sexual experiences something I would want to replicate for my kids? Not so much.

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