Promoting Healthy Sexuality
The Unitarian Universalist Association just awarded URC a grant so we can teach Our Whole Lives (OWL) to junior and senior youth out in the community. OWL is an award-winning, comprehensive sexuality curriculum developed by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. There are courses for children, youth, and adults. The curriculum provides accurate information, educates about healthy relationships and appropriate boundaries, and promotes discussion and exploration in a safe, nurturing way.
Our plan is to work with teens who are most at risk of acting out sexually and taking drugs, such as those who have experienced trauma or been incarcerated. Because families are so important in a young person’s health and well-being, OWL includes a mandatory training component for parents or other adult caregivers.
Why Teach OWL
Studies show that young people who receive comprehensive sexuality training, as opposed to those who received abstinence-only classes, have less pregnancy, fewer sexually-transmitted diseases, and actually are more likely to delay sexual behavior and have fewer sexual partners.
To make this venture successful, we are partnering with Safe Now, a group dedicated to providing trauma-informed education to prevent violence.
Sex and Drugs
For URC, with our emphasis on recovery, it’s important to note that there’s a significant link between drug use and inappropriate sexual behavior. Regular drug users often engage in sexual behavior while high, which eventually convinces the brain that to have sex, you need drugs. By teaching about what healthy sex looks like, explaining the connection between drug use and unhealthy sexual activity, and emphasizing healthy relationships, OWL helps to de-couple drug use with sexual behavior.
OWL indirectly protects youth against drug abuse by promoting and providing some of what studies shows helps most:
- parental involvement
- enhanced internal control
- community support
Sex and Recovery
At URC, we support recovery not just from drug and other addictions, but also from traumas and serious losses. Inappropriate sexual behavior, even if it isn’t violent, leads to trauma and grief. To help prevent this trauma, OWL teaches young people to respect their bodies and honor their inner selves. This makes them less likely to put themselves in dangerous situations. OWL teaches boys and girls how to say “no.”
Unfortunately, just saying “no” isn’t always enough. That’s why OWL also teaches both boys and girls about consent, responsibility, and what they can do to stop sexual violence.
Thank you for Your Support
We are excited and grateful to the UUA for supporting URC in teaching their curriculum. Along with our classes for teens and adults, we hope we will be able to lead groups for children and adults. To support us in providing our teens, children, and adults in recovery with honest, compassionate sexuality education, please donate today.