Sexuality(as defined by our approach): Everyone’s personal relationship with gender, their body, self expression, sexual feelings, sexual actions, sexual orientation, and how they interact with others' sexuality.
Run out of Hampshire College, our program addresses important topics through workshops, outreach, and facilitator training. Our workshops aim to equip participants with self care methods to address the emotional as well as the physical side of sexuality. This includes protecting oneself in a relationship or uncomfortable situations, understanding the reasons why one might become sexually active, the insecurities that come with what is perceived as “normal,” understanding the emotional responsibility for one’s self and partner and peers.
At YESS we believe that sexuality is a part of everyone’s identity. By avoiding real conversation, we neglect to nurture a healthy understanding of one's self and social identity which results in unsafe actions, emotionally harmful interactions, and negative self image.
We take an approach which respects adolescents decisions, but with the emphasis that all decisions come with a set of risks and responsibilities. Ideally our program will give adolescents the tools and understanding of these new concepts to make the right decision for themselves, in the safest way possible.
Topics we cover are: understanding gender and identity, the developing body/ anatomy, puberty, stigma/ bullying, consent, self love/care, having sexuality related conversations (with peers and adults), STI’s, protection methods, unplanned pregnancy, healthy relationships, contraceptives, and sexual hygiene.
We run these programs because according to the CDC, in 2013 47% of high school level students have had sexual intercourse, and of those sexual active 40% did not use a condom the last time they reported having sex. However, an Evaluation of 48 comprehensive sex ed. programs similar to our own researched by Douglas Kirby (2001) resulted in: 40% delayed sexual initiation, reduced the number of sexual partners and 60% of the programs reduced unprotected sex. Additionally youth that receive comprehensive sex ed. are not more likely to become sexual active or engage in increased sexual activity.
1) Kann, L., Kinchen, S., Shanklin, S. L., Flint, K. H., Kawkins, J., Harris, W. A., ... & Zaza, S. (2014). Youth risk behavior surveillance—United States, 2013.MMWR Surveill Summ, 63(Suppl 4), 1-168
Click resources above to read full articles or click here for a full literature review on the benefits of Sexuality Education programs such as our own.