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7 Sex-Ed Apps You Didn't Know You Needed

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    Photographed by Natalia Mantini.

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    It seems like, these days, access to information is relatively instantaneous — and that includes access to sex-ed info. Ideally, the sexual education that you get at school teaches you exactly what you need to know to be prepared for sex, but when it doesn't, most of us have to fill in the gaps ourselves.

    "Sex education, done well, is something that can have lifelong positive effects on people," Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH, and Vice President of Education at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, tells Refinery29. "[It] goes beyond information and gives people a chance to look at their attitudes and beliefs and look at how those influence their behaviors. And strong sex education gives people the skills they need to negotiate in relationships and make decisions throughout their entire lives."

    Dr. Kantor also stresses that sex ed can't be "a one-shot deal." Nor can it be a set of basic tenets pounded into your head over and over again. Instead, she says, it has to be a nuanced discussion that happens many times over the course of your life.

    "Too often in our culture, we've thought of sexual education as a single 'talk.' Those of us who have been in the field for a while have really tried to change the conversation so that we think of this as a lifelong process," she says.

    Preferably, as Dr. Kantor says, parents should be the ones informing their children and preparing them for a healthy outlook on sex. However, not everyone has that relationship with their parents — and that's okay. With the proliferation of apps specifically designed for sexual health and sex education, many of us can now get all of our most personal sex questions answered without a hitch.

    If you're looking for the perfect app for you, we've got you covered: We downloaded and tested out seven apps so that you don't have to shop around. Ahead, we've rounded up and reviewed them for all of your sex-ed needs.


    The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more here.


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  2. Photo: Courtesy of It Happens.

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    It Happens

    What's noteworthy:
    You'll have to enter your age and gender to access the app, but there's no age restriction to access health information (for example, we tried both ages 12 and 21 and couldn't find a difference in the info given). You also have to enter your gender (female, male, or "other"), and from there, the app takes you to common questions about topics like birth control, pregnancy, and LGBTQ health. If you don't see your question listed, you can also submit one to be answered.

    What you should know: Weirdly enough, there are zero "common questions" listed under the LGBTQ health section, which seems egregious. You can also use the app to find nearby health centers whether you want to find one close to work, school, or your home. Services at these centers are available regardless of whether or not you have insurance, though keep in mind you'll likely incur fees.

  3. Photo: Courtesy of Juicebox.

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    Juicebox

    What's noteworthy:
    If you've ever had an embarrassing sex question — and let's face it, we all have — Juicebox is here to be the best friend who has your back and doesn't spill your secrets. The app functions as a Q&A for users to ask questions and get answers from "sexperts." You can ask your own questions, or browse through some commonly asked questions.

    What you should know: There's also a community forum in which you can ask questions or share experiences with other users.

  4. Photo: Courtesy of Maven.

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    Maven

    What's noteworthy:
    With Maven, you won't even need to leave your bed to see a doctor. The app allows you to choose your health concerns and be given a few options for expert doctors to FaceTime with. And sexual health isn't the only thing Maven offers doctors for. It also allows you to choose from categories like fitness, period concerns, emotional wellness.

    What you should know: It does cost a decent amount of money: One session with a doctor will run you about $35, and if you need another, that'll obviously be more money out of your pocket. That may be cheaper than many IRL sessions if you don't have health insurance, though, so it's your call (literally).

  5. Photo: Courtesy of My Sex Doctor (Lite).

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    My Sex Doctor Lite

    What's noteworthy:
    To use the app, you have to agree that you understand that it's for informational purposes only, and isn't a substitute for actual medical diagnoses, which seems prudent. You can search through a variety of "topics" such as menstruation and sexual orientation. There are also more sub-questions under those categories that the app answers for you, such as "what does queer mean?" or "how long is a menstrual cycle?" There's also a dictionary that you can search through, with terms like "asexuality" and "spontaneous erection." And with its comprehensive symptom checker, you can enter in a symptom to see if it might be related to a sexually transmitted infection (just don't psych yourself out too much).

    What you should know: There are two other versions of the app, My Sex Doctor, and My Sex Doctor Plus, though My Sex Doctor Lite is the only free one.

  6. Photo: Courtesy of Sex Positive

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    Sex Positive

    What's noteworthy:
    This app, created by the University of Oregon, is basically a Wheel Of Fortune for all your sexual health questions. You can "spin" a pair of wheels by choosing a body part (like your mouth) and another object or body part (ranging from someone else's mouth to a sex toy).

    And with each pair of options, it also offers you the STI risks that come with the interaction, some safer sex practices to consider, and advice from experts.

    What you should know: It also comes with a disclaimer that every app really should come with — before even getting through the app, you have to agree to the terms: "By clicking Continue, you agree that you will express and obtain explicit consent from everyone involved before engaging in a sexual act. Explicit consent means voluntary, non-coerced, and clear communication that indicates a willingness to engage in a particular act."