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Practicing Community Episode 4: Whole Person Sexuality – A Conversation with Emily Frost

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This month, join Emily Frost, Marisa Taborga Byrne, and Dane Zahorsky as they discuss Whole Person Sexuality and how to support youth in empowering themselves and their communities towards equitable intimacy and healthier relationships.

About This Month’s Guests –  Emily Frost

Emily is an artist, girls empowerment coach and contemporary rites of passage guide working with youth and families around the Bay Area of California. She is also a devoted mother, wife, sister and daughter. She is the founder of LOVE YOUR NATURE, a movement devoted to girls and women awakening to their inherent wisdom, power, and purpose. Emily works with young people and adults, in groups and individually, as a counselor, rites of passage guide, experiential educator and consultant. She facilitates programs that develop social, emotional and spiritual intelligence, with a focus on girls coming of age.

Emily is also the co-founder of Real Talk Events, designing events to inspire learning, honest sharing, and authentic connection about what it’s like to be alive in these times. Her ‘Real Talk Curriculum’ is specially designed for teen girls to talk openly about sex, sexuality, intimacy, and other “risk taking behaviors”. She is a is a certified facilitator with Prajna Consulting, at the crossroads of youth advocacy, gender, sex and sexuality. She has trained in the work, philosophy and practice with Prajna’s founder, Charis Denison. Their partnered events address the questions: What are teens doing, what do they want, what do they need, and how can we support them.

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Sexuality Doesn’t Develop in a Vaccum – About This Months Topic:

Whole Person Sexuality, or holistic sexuality, is a expansive topic that encompasses values, relationships, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, experiences, self image, communication and socialization. Healthy love and sexuality emphasize the relational and interpersonal aspects of self-inquiry as an integral part of a thriving community. Holding these conversations with youth in strong and healthy ways can help cultivate the interdependent sexual health of the entire community, as well as be a preventative measure of sexual harm and misconduct.

Whole Person Sexuality is the open acknowledgement and discussion of one’s sexuality and gender not just internally but as an integral part of healthy community, that includes one’s spiritual, bodily, emotional and intellectual connection to their sexualityBy sharing our self perception and esteem, as they relate to other individuals and the community, we can become more sexually and emotionally literate, engendering healthy intimate relationships with self and others.

As seekers ourselves, our goal is to help cultivate the interdependent sexual health of the entire community.

Initiation as Prevention

Preventing sexual assault is one of the greatest and most important challenges in our lives today. The key is to be proactive and not reactive.  Of fundamental importance is holding space to explore healthy personal and interpersonal practices. The more one can build off of the existing sexual health education (or lack-thereof) in intimate and public discussions, the more it will reinforce a culture of healthy sexuality, create a feeling of invitation and investment, and aid in preventing sexual misconduct in the various places we frequent from our bedrooms to our workplaces.

Practicing Community holds consent based openness and access to relevant information  as paramount values. One of the most common experiences of rites of passage for many youth is sexual exploration.  Without guidance or dialog this natural threshold can often manifest dysfunctionally. Whether the topic is emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse, free and open information and dialog regarding natural curiosities, taboos, and desires will build respect and mindfulness in maturing youth.  

We encourage practitioners and caring adults to create situations in which peers are guided by mentors to explore healthy and responsible sexual literacy. Consider a viewing of Al Vernacchio’s TED talk entitled ‘Sex Needs a New Metaphor.’  He promotes moving away from a winner/loser dynamic regarding sex and towards a collaborative model of sexual interaction among youth.

Here are a few discussion topics that can start you off in addition to the many wonderful resources below.

Discussion Topics:

  • Common assumptions about sex, sexuality, and taboos.
  • Sexual awakening as a rite of passage.
  • Appreciating sexuality as vehicle for spirituality.
  • Seeking mentors or trusted peers to rely on for sexual advice, accountability, and support.
  • Sexual and physical insecurities and fears.
  • Gender Identity, expectation, and inequality; the restrictiveness of gender roles.
  • Developing and enforcing physical and emotional boundaries and safe words.
  • Clearly defining and practicing consent and requiring it for every step of a sexual interaction.
  • Understanding and defining red flags or danger signs in relationships.
  • Awareness and history with STD’s and normalizing testing.
  • Understanding male and female responsibilities and options for birth control.
  • Ensuring access to a trusted OBGYN or primary care doctor.
  • Becoming familiar with turn-ons and offs and clearly articulating what is wanted and   not wanted
  • Appreciating individual differences and preferences.
  • Differentiating online from face to face courtships and relationships.
  • Dealing with social pressures and anxieties.
  • Normalizing sexuality conversations and articulating fantasies to avoid suppression or maladaptation.
  • Understanding the ecology of sexual relationships and all their variations, including monogamy, polyamory, bisexuality, etc.  
  • Coming to clear agreements in relationships: what it means, how it is respected, what constitutes cheating, etc.
  • Jealousy, obsession, and reactionary behavior in and outside of relationships.
  • The different love languages.  The differences in expressions of love and affection.
  • The regular practice of check-ins. Encouraging strong and honest intimate communication.

Resources

For Youth:

Websites

Literature

Hotlines

  • LGBT National Help Center Youth Talk Line 1.800.246.PRIDE (7743)

Camps

  • Camp Victory : a private nonprofit organization that strives to create a special place for child and teen survivors of sexual abuse

For Parents and Guardians:

How to talk to your children about sex

For parents of sexual abuse survivors

Videos

For Adults:

Centers

Body Love Resources

Literature

 

 

  • Wild Feminine, Tami Lynn Kent
  • Vagina, Naomi Wolf
  • Cunt, Inga Muscio
  • The Joy of Sex, Alex Comfort

Videos

For Survivors of Sexual Assault:

Hotlines

  • Bay Area Women Against Rape 510.845.7273
  • San Francisco Women Against Rape 415.647.7273
  • GLBT National Help Center Youth Talk Line 1.800.246.PRIDE (7743)
  • RAINN- 24 hotline 1.800.656.HOPE

Organizations

Trauma Work

Transformative Justice

Books

  • The Survivor’s Guide to Sex, Staci Haines

Sexuality Health Education & Trainings:

Prevention and Healing Work with Youth:

International Work:

YPW Partners Doing the Work:

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