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Why are we talking about sex in church?
We talk about sexuality in our congregations for several important reasons.
Our Whole Lives (OWL) deepens faith. Our Whole Lives offers Unitarian Universalists of all ages a profound opportunity to deepen their faith and put their values into practice. The curriculum promotes sexual and emotional health in our communities and fosters meaningful dialogue among peers, partners, families, and friends. Our commitment to comprehensive sexuality education is a ministry that has profoundly and positively changed the lives of thousands of Unitarian Universalists since 1971.
OWL promotes responsibility. OWL is much more than anatomy. As comprehensive sexuality education, Our Whole Lives is about much more than just anatomy and health. It's about values, respect, emotions, and justice, too. It's about the sacred aspects of sexuality, which is part of the miracle of creation. This is why we teach Our Whole Lives in church—because sexuality is sacred, and we need to live our religious values as sexual beings. Our Whole Lives helps participants develop and articulate their religious and sexual values and make responsible, healthy decisions based on those values.
OWL responds to real needs. Our Whole Lives was developed in response to the need expressed by congregations in the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ for high-quality, lifespan sexuality education resources.
Our Whole Lives and Sexuality and Our Faith support the development of a Unitarian Universalist identity. Every faith tradition has its own approach to sexuality. Unitarian Universalism has a long history of supporting comprehensive sexuality education in our congregations. Unitarian Universalists also advocate publicly for sexuality education and equal rights for people of all genders and sexual orientations.
- At a time in which abstinence-only-until-marriage sexuality education programs are becoming normative in our public schools, a Unitarian Universalist congregation may be the only place where Unitarian Universalist children and youth can have access to comprehensive, reality-based sexuality education.
- Sexuality is much more than what’s covered in biology class. Sexuality is also about relationships, responsible choices, justice, inclusivity, and self-image… all things which are intertwined with our faith and values. Intentional sexuality education is especially important in a world in which people of all ages are constantly bombarded with media messages about sex. Some of the most important “milestone” decisions we make in our lives, such as marriage/life partnership and creating families, involve relationships and sexuality.
OWL is an antidote to misinformation. We live in a society that is deeply conflicted about sexuality. Our Whole Lives is an antidote to a culture that is saturated with mixed messages and misinformation about sexuality. Our Whole Lives provides an opportunity to step back, reflect, and evaluate these messages so participants can more effectively act on their religious and sexual values.
OWL helps parents. Our Whole Lives recognizes and supports parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children. Our Whole Lives creates a partnership between the family and the congregation through parent orientations and encourages regular communication between youth and parents about the program. Many congregations offer additional parent education programs.