Religious Institute is a multi-faith organization dedicating to advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. Although religious teens may be less-likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors, there’s still a lot to talk about. Teens with faith are engaging in sexual acts and behaviors. Faith leaders lack the knowledge and resources to educate youth about sexuality. Faith communities are not providing teens with the information they need to make healthy relationship choices. LGBTQ members in faith communities do not have the support they need. Learn the facts from Religious Institute. You can also find sexuality education information, LGBT equality, safer congregations, global issues, education materials for religious leaders, and learn about reproductive justice.
From pre-school aged children to older adults, there is always more to learn about when it comes to sexuality education. Here, Advocates for Youth provides many resources and curriculum for faith communities on how to teach sexuality education. These resources support the belief that sexuality is a special gift that should be a part of a faith community. These resources are based on Religious Institute’s bibliography of sexuality education curricula for faith communities.
As a faith leader, it can become difficult to talk to others, especially teens, about sexuality and sexual health education. Here, Wise About Youth provides you with statistics about what other faith leaders and teens with faith are doing. This can also be used as a training guide when working with other faith leaders or youth.
Religious faith and congregational involvement have a huge impact on the sexual behaviors and values of teenagers. In his book, Steve Clapp shares his results after a study was done among 5,819 teens of different religious traditions, ethnic backgrounds, economic levels, and geographic locations. He discusses how abstinence only education doesn’t give religious teens the help they need and want to make safe and responsible sexual decisions. “Faith Matters” offers guidance and discussion questions to faith leaders and congregations who want to learn how to talk to teens about sexuality.
The fact is that a lot of Abstinence-Only Until Marriage programs are not working. Unlike comprehensive sexuality education, abstinence-only often does not cover puberty, reproductive anatomy, and sexual health. Here, SIECUS explains why abstinence-only programs can actually be harmful when implemented. You will also find other resources, including a Community Action Kit. This Kit includes a lot of information and facts about abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, and explains how research shows comprehensive sexuality education is more effective.
Being a teen usually means that sex is on the brain more than ever. This is exactly why teens need to receive positive, accurate, information about sexual health. Abstinence-only education does not provide teens with the necessary tools and skills they need to make their own choices and decisions about sex. In this blog, Violet Blue provides an abundance of resources that have information on teen sexuality, healthy relationships, STD and pregnancy prevention, teen health, the LGBT community, and forums to ask questions.
Our Whole Lives works together with Sexuality and Our Faith to help youth make informed, responsible decisions about their relationships, health, and behavior in context of their faith. Sexuality and Our Faith resources are broken down by grade levels: grade K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, young adults, and adults. It supplies youth with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. It provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but youth define and understand their values, build interpersonal skills and understand the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of sexuality.
There is a big difference in effectiveness between telling teens “say no to sex,” and actually getting them to think and decide for themselves how sex, love, and relationships fit into their lives and faith.”Say no to sex”–but why? How can teens take that message and believe in it, when the media, society, and many of their peers say otherwise? How can teens resolve to “say no to sex” if they cannot speak openly and honestly about that decision to their parents or faith leaders, when many of them prefer to think of teens as non-sexual beings until after marriage? Here, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy allows you to join their conversation about the role that faith leaders play in preventing teen pregnancy.
The National Campaign and the National Coalition of Pastors’ Spouses have developed a guide, Faith Matters: How African-American Communities Can Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy, To highlight the strong connection between faith and preventing teen pregnancy. Religious organizations, faith leaders, youth ministers, and pastors’ spouses are in a unique and powerful position to make a difference in preventing teen pregnancy. The guide for African-American faith communities provides practical tips to help young people navigate the difficult issues of love, sex, and relationships and avoid too-early pregnancy and parenthood.
Countering the Silence: A Faith Leader’s Toolkit for Preventing Teen Pregnancy (available in English and Spanish) is a new resource released by Esperanza, a Latino faith-based evangelical network. Silence in faith communities on the subject of sex can contribute to feelings of guilt and shame, misconceptions about sex, and increased risk of unintended pregnancy. Countering the Silence equips faith leaders with tools to break that silence. The toolkit is biblically-grounded and offers data and research, ideas on how to engage teens and parents, and more than a dozen Bible studies to generate open conversations about sex, long-term plans, and God’s intentions for teens.
Whether you are part of the Moishe/Kavod community, another local Jewish community, or simply looking for somewhere to jump in, the Moishe Kavod House in Brookline is we encouraging others to find a way to get involved with their Outreach project. Their project is funded by the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel grant program. This program includes engaging youth in conversation about the needs of their own communities and their interest in experiencing and supporting comprehensive sex education. Also, the Moishe Kavod House is developing materials to serve as the foundation for building these relationships, particularly in the form of workshops we can offer in these other communities. The materials will cover topics such as consent, relationships and communication, gender identity, sexual orientation, family, sexual violence, body image, sexual health, and advocacy. They explore these topics both on their own terms and as Jews, in conversation with our own Jewish experiences and with Jewish texts. There are countless ways in which you can be involved! Find out here.
Mimi Arbeit is a doctoral student at Tufts in child development, studying adolescent sexuality and sexual health. She is a freelance sexuality educator and also works locally to promote and strengthen sexuality education in public schools. Here, you can find her blog on JewishBoston.com about sex education, sexuality, and relationships within the Jewish Community.
Nadiah Mohajir is a writer for AltMuslimah. Here, Nadiah discusses how youth who receive comprehensive sex education actually prove to be more responsible than their peers who receive limited/no sex education. Many Muslims fear that open discussion on sexuality inevitable leads to promiscuity. Open discussion, comprehensive sexuality education, and honesty are crucial in preventing teen pregnancy within the Muslim community.
In an effort to get faith leaders more involved in preventing teen pregnancy, Esperanza, one of the largest Latino faith-based evangelical networks in the United States has released Countering the Silence: A Faith Leader’s Toolkit for Preventing Teen Pregnancy. This new resource includes data and research, Bible studies, and suggested activities and indeas on how faith leaders can discuss topics such as sex, dating and relationships with teens and parents in their community. Countering the Silence is available in English and Spanish.