Tharseo
 

Spirituality + Sex

 
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We're not good at talking about sexuality and spirituality, and we can do so much better. 

We separate conversations surrounding sexuality and spirituality, we focus on their differences, we lead unhelpful or simplified explanations. 

Spirituality and sexuality have so much in common. Both can give life meaning. Both can be very individual, private and personal. Both have positive and negative experiences attached for most people.

And perhaps most importantly, both impact our day-to-day lives, they impact those around us, and they impact how we choose community.

In the face of two very taboo subjects, we need to integrate the discussions in a context that is healthy, curious, courageous and safe. In the face of legacies of shame, embarrassment and avoidance, we can support vulnerability, transparency and accountability. We do ourselves a major disservice when we separate the discussions, or boil down the conversation to simply being about sex.

I’m here to help start those conversations, provide training on how to facilitate them, and equip and empower people to talk about sexuality and spirituality better.

 

Negative Consequences

We know the negative consequences about not having meaningful conversations about sex within the faith community. Our churches and youth groups live them out.

People are isolated and afraid. She doesn’t know that someone else had that exact same experience. He can’t find the vocabulary. They don’t know which conversations are safe, where. Collectively, this is toxic to our ability to build relationships and build community. It prevents married couples from being honest about their challenges. It stops seniors from being candid about how their marriages are changing. It stops single people and teenagers and parents and all kinds of people from being honest.

That breeds isolation, frustration, and a lot of shame. Rather than empowering people for the decisions they have made or they want to make, we hear people explain their decisions based on rationale rooted in shame (I don’t do this thing, but I don’t know why), or based on shame rather than on knowledge. And the repercussions of this are right in front of us – without a deeply held sense of our own sexuality, people make choices without meaningful reasons, which perpetuates people’s inability to stick to those choices, which means more decisions get made and confusion continues and secrecy is pervasive and people are isolated.

 

 
 

“We can shift the discussion. From you-can't to you-choose.”

Jill thomspon

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Removing Barriers

There are a huge range of barrier to providing good sex education, and to facilitating open discussions. In schools, staff may be uncomfortable and awkward, or ill-equipped for a difficult discussion. In churches, staff and volunteers can be untrained or improperly prepared for the litany of questions and challenges that may arise. In dozens of settings, we need to do better at facilitating and guiding safe, inclusive discussions.

People will educate better if they have the tools and resources they need, and if they feel comfortable themselves with the subject matter. And as adults and leaders, often in positions of power, we need to do better.

We can shift the discussion. From “you-can’t” to “you-choose”. From deficiency and fear to empowerment and strength. From not knowing to knowing. From focusing on the negative to focusing on the positive.

 

Areas of expertise:

LGBTQ -
Women in Leadership -
Gender -
Sex -
Pregnancy -
Pleasure and Healthy practice -
relationships -

 
 

Services

Clients have been from a broad range of locations, including: all denominations of Christian churches, other faith-based organizations, programming within churches, para-church organizations, Christian non-profits (particularly those that are youth or student based, and those focused on social services delivery or community development).

 
 
 

Training

  • Well-suited for staff of schools (faith-based, independent, and other), Christian organizations and not-for-profits, churches and para-church organizations.
  • Tailored through discussions with clients to ensure training establishes basic education,  and addresses emerging issues and topics.
  • Varied format options, including:

    • one-time sessions (multi-hour, half-day or full-day) and multi-week sessions.

    • large group, small group or one-on-one training for multiple types of stakeholders (i.e. educators, administrators, policy-markers, counselors etc.)

    • professional development days, team building, lectures and education, interactive workshops
  • Inclusive of various areas of expertise, including cultural sensitivity and LGBTQ community, sex education, gender and gender identity, and relationships.
  • In training for sexual education, includes foundational building of comfort and capacity to teach sex ed, and associated resources and tools to teach sex ed.
  • Facilitated conversations about the intersectionality between faith and sexuality.
 
 

Sex ed for teens and adults in christian settings

  • Tailored for small and large groups of teens and adults in churches and other settings.
  • Aims to set foundations for healthy, open, transformative discussions.
  • Includes direct facilitation of conversations of areas of expertise <hyperlink>, including:

    • Between and among parents, about so much of what is often off-limits – fatherhood and motherhood, sexuality and aging, challenges to conceiving, how families change with the birth of a child, menopause

    • Youth-centered dialogues, including relationships, boundaries and sex

    • Other sub-group-focused conversations specific to topics such as LGBTQ, sexuality and singleness, pregnancy and fertility etc.
  • Varied format options including 8 and 12 week seminars with weekly sessions, intensives (half-day workshops) or small-group training
 
 

Sex ed in christian schools

  • Direct delivery of sex education in the classroom, tailored to the needs of the school or educational setting.
  • Includes a range of educational methods, including lectures, demonstrations, facilitated conversation, small group discussions, etc.
 
 

Consulting Services

  • Policy development or amendment, particularly for organizational policy, including Planning and thinking strategically about how sexuality and gender impact the work an organization does.

  • Curriculum development and curriculum direction.
  • Mentoring church leaders to better facilitate conversations about sex and sexuality.
  • Strategy and framework development
 

Ready to talk?

Contact Jill

 
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