Welcome to the Faith in Women Resource Review! This monthly blog series will feature some of our favorite tools and resources, and we’re kicking things off with an introduction to our 2017 work on comprehensive sexuality education.
Why is Faith in Women focusing on comprehensive sexuality education (often referred to simply as “sex ed”)?
Young people in Mississippi are struggling to live full and healthy lives. Our rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia and gonorrhea are the second highest in the nation. With health outcomes like these, it’s easy to understand why Mississippi parents overwhelmingly support age-appropriate sexuality education being taught in the classroom. In spite of the great need and desire for comprehensive sexuality education, our public schools are not required to offer it, and many students fall through the cracks.
As we work to ensure every young person has access to quality sexuality education, we know that faith leaders have a critical role to play. Religious communities are uniquely positioned to minister to the full range of needs that young people have, including their need for accurate, science-based information about their sexual and reproductive health. Training for comprehensive sexuality education is one of the most frequent requests we receive from faith leaders, and we are making strides to ensure that these trainings are available and accessible to our network.
What do you mean by comprehensive sexuality education?
Sex is about more than biology, and sexual health is about more than preventing disease and ill-timed pregnancy. As people of faith we know that our health is connected with our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. Our personal well-being is vital to forming healthy relationships with one another.
As opposed to an abstinence-only curriculum, which narrowly focuses on refraining from sex outside of a marriage relationship, a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum includes a broad range of evidence-based information about:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Families and healthy relationships
- Personal safety and boundary-setting
- Pregnancy and birth
- STIs, including HIV
- Contraceptives and pregnancy options
- Sexual orientation and identity
- Media literacy
To learn more about the standards for a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum, please visit the Future of Sex Education website.
How can I get involved with providing comprehensive sexuality education in my community?
Faith in Women is in the early stages of planning a number of trainings in 2017 based on the Foundations Core Skills Training for Sex Ed. If you are interested in speaking with us about planning one of these trainings, please contact us. We will also be sharing additional opportunities for learning more about sexuality education over the next few months, so stay tuned.
To learn more about what you can do to ensure all young people Mississippi have access to comprehensive sexuality education, we recommend that you visit our partner Teen Health Mississippi, which advocates for policies regarding sexual health and provides training and programs for those who want to better serve young people.
When the young people you serve have access to the comprehensive, medically-accurate sexuality education they deserve, they will make healthy and responsible decisions regarding their sexuality, their bodies, and their relationships with one another.