With greater pressure from media and peers, teens are faced with daily decisions about whether or not to explore their sexuality before they are truly ready.
An increasing number of faith organizations are stepping up to address the issue from a spiritual perspective.
One of them, Ebenezer Baptist Church, will host a free workshop entitled Let’s Talk About Sex for teens, young adults, parents and educators. The workshop will be held on Saturday, April 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the church, 1901 N. Harding St. Participants will be able to enjoy free refreshments throughout the workshop.
Organizers say the event will focus on how to handle the difficult questions and discussions that surround human sexuality.
Dr. Thomas Brown, pastor of Ebenezer, said the goal is to educate participants on appropriate ways to respond in an era where sex is shown frequently on the airwaves and more teens are “sexting,” or sending sexually explicit text messages.
“This is a real life issue for our youth,” said Brown. “The faith community has to start teaching and stop putting the issue of sex in the closet. If we don’t educate people in a moral way from the church base, they will get their education from the street.”
The featured presenter for Let’s Talk About Sex will be Loretta Ross, national coordinator for SisterSong: Women of Color, a nationally recognized organization dedicated to improving the lives of minority women and securing human and reproductive rights.
Ross is best known for her work as director of the Atlanta based National Center for Human Rights Education.
Let’s Talk About Sex is being presented as a joint effort between Ebenezer, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (IRCRC).
Kaye McSpadden, president of IRCRC, noted that although the church community is often viewed as disapproving sexual activity, many faith groups actually view sexuality as a natural and positive part of God’s creation.
“We want to help young adults and teens learn how to make informed, responsible decisions and develop into sexually healthy adults,” McSpadden said. “As people of faith, we know that sexuality involves more than body parts. It also includes attitudes, experiences, self-concepts, feelings and the impact of the larger society.”
Brown agrees, saying that sex is not just about the urges of nerve endings, but spiritual, mental and emotion maturity as well.
“As a society we have sexualized our spirituality instead of spiritualizing our sexuality,” said Brown. “Sex is actually a sacred creation, not a secular creation. Of course we want to promote abstinence, but it is important to remember that abstinence is not just about controlling external urges. It is also an internal thing where you say ‘my sexual expression is valuable’, and you take charge of it instead of letting society determine what you do with it.”
Event organizers want to also encourage parents that they are not helpless when it comes to equipping their children to face the premature sexual pressures of the world.
“It is important to help children increase their desire for a relationship with God first instead of focusing on repressing urges,” said Brown. “Once they encounter God’s love and learn to love themselves, they will be less likely to allow others to ‘love’ them in a negative way.”
For more information about Let’s Talk About Sex, call 1-877-441-5797 or visit www.letstalk.eventbrite.com.