Education: Graduate of Vassar College; New York University, M.A.
Home—New York, NY.
Taught sex education to middle school, high school, and college students; HIV counselor at a New York City hospital.
Doing It Right: Making Smart, Safe, and Satisfying Choices about Sex, Simon Pulse (New York, NY), 2007.
Bronwen Pardes, who has an M.A. in human sexuality from New York University, has taught sex education to students from middle school to college age. Teens called her the "sex lady," and she wrote Doing It Right: Making Smart, Safe, and Satisfying Choices about Sex as a guide for them. She told a Sexerati.com interviewer that she was first involved with arts education, but when she viewed a documentary about Cydelle Berlin, her boss's sister, who taught HIV prevention to young people, she was taken aback that someone was actually doing that. She met Berlin and changed her concentration from arts education to sex education. She said that sex education should be age appropriate and feels that there is no such thing as too much correct information, especially in light of all the incorrect information to which young people are exposed. When asked what her response is to those who question the validity of sexual studies as an academic discipline, Pardes responded: "I have this conversation a lot. I tell people that sexuality is such a vital part of who we are, how could it not be a subject worth studying? In order to get a well-rounded understanding of sexuality, my graduate education had to touch on sociology, biology, culture, education, politics, public health … it's an incredibly rich and diverse field of study. At NYU I remember thinking that I could almost feel my mind expanding, it was happening so rapidly and dramatically. And I don't think I will ever get bored with this field."
Doing It Right covers the topics that Pardes taught in school, including masturbation, STDs, birth control, anal sex, orgasm, and abuse. She begins by telling the reader that no matter what anyone tells them, it is their choice when it comes to deciding what to do with their body. Pardes mentions abstinence but the information is presented with the assumption that the reader is sexually active, and a great number of topics are covered. Pardes includes information about the new human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) to prevent cervical cancer, emergency contraception and abortion pills, and how to practice safe sex. In addressing sexual orientation, she explains the terms transsexual, transgender, and transvestite.
Gillian Engberg reviewed Doing It Right in Booklist, writing that it "stands out for its comprehensive, open coverage of teens' most urgent questions about sexuality." School Library Journal reviewer Lynn Evarts concluded by writing that the book "will be a boon to teens looking for frank discussions of sexuality and making choices."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of Doing It Right: Making Smart, Safe, and Satisfying Choices about Sex, p. 41.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of Doing It Right, p. 127.
School Library Journal, June, 2007, Lynn Evarts, review of Doing It Right, p. 176.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2007, Ava Ehde, review of Doing It Right, p. 81.
Lift,http://lift2008.blogspot.com/ (November 5, 2007), review of Doing It Right.
Sexerati.com,http://www.sexerati.com/ (March 6, 2007), Lux Nightmare, "Sexerati Interview: Bronwen Pardes."