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Youth Wellbeing Project provides whole-person centred education, resources and training for high schools and youth support workers who need innovative strategies to assist teens in navigating healthy sexuality and relationships. Youth Wellbeing Project is an independent fee-for-service organisation working in the field of adolescent sexual health and relationships. The following definitions, information and position statement is provided to inform education providers, youth workers, parents and young people of our work in whole-person centred sexuality education.


Provision of medically accurate sexual health and reproductive information Recognising that diverse values and beliefs about sexuality exist and vary according to cultural and individual circumstances Providing training and support to educators and youth support workers Encouraging schools and youth support workers to provide details of accessible sexual health care clinics and other community support services to young people Working with schools to encourage parental/caregiver involvement Complementing and extending the sexuality education adolescents receive from their families, religious and community groups, as well as healthcare professionals Providing faith sensitive support to Christian organisations seeking to work towards whole-person centred sexuality education Advocating for youth and challenging concepts which distort sexual integrity and healthy wellbeing Providing developmentally and culturally appropriate sexuality education within the scope of target age groups Extending the scope of our services to a wider age range Consulting with and providing referral where the scope of our services do not best meet the needs of the school, organisation or young person Regularly reviewing and updating services and curriculum to ensure content relevancy and effectiveness Promoting freedom from stigmatization and violence on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation Wherever possible, collaborating with other networks and agencies to fulfil these objectives


Whole-person centred sexuality education is a holistic and purposeful approach, which considers the complex and interwoven nature of human sexuality, in accordance with the principles of: Sexual Health, Sexuality and Wellbeing. Whole-person centred sexuality education encompasses the dimensions of wellbeing (physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual), in response to research related to behavioural patterns, neuroscience, and social determinates. This multifaceted and integrated approach to sexual education collectively provides young people with an understanding of value and empathy, equipping them with resilience and confidence in their ability to embrace their sexuality and attain sexual wellbeing. (As defined by Youth Wellbeing Project) The following two pages detail our health promotion services, statement of principles, values, beliefs and commitment to young people. Youth Wellbeing Project draws on existing definitions of Sexual Health, Sexuality and Learner Wellbeing which are outlined on the second last page.



Address the biological, socio-cultural, psychological, emotional and spiritual dimensions of sexuality. Take a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships Provide harm-minimisation education and strategies, including contraception and barrier protection Incorporate awareness of ethical behaviour, consent and respect, which form the basis for having sexual experiences free of coercion, discrimination and violence Acknowledge the developmental stages of young people and encourage delay of sexual activity Offer clear educational direction to avoid early onset of sexual behaviour which may cause additional emotional, psychological, social and health risks Acknowledge that abstaining from sexual intercourse is the most effective method of preventing pregnancy, sexually transmissible infections, including HIV/AIDS; Support the provision of information and access to health care services for young people, both before the onset and once sexually active Address risk factors and unhealthy adolescent behavioural patterns which may be detrimental and affect healthy adult relationships Support a safe environment for young people to receive knowledge and encourage further discussion with parents and / or a safe adult Equip young people to understand, value, develop and express sexuality in ways that are non-exploitive, mutually wanted, unifying and life enhancing Provide tools to understand, critique and deconstruct representations of sexuality in verbal, visual, and performance media (including pornography) Promote responsible use of technology and social media Provide evidence-based information to assist young people in forming healthy.

Sexual health is connected with physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health Sexuality is a fundamental core component of personality Sexuality is a normal and healthy part of humanity Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors Sexuality education encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, desire, arousal, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction Parents, family and carers are the main sexuality educators of children and young people Individuals express their sexuality in various ways Healthy relationships require relationship skills, open communication, assertiveness and an understanding of safety, consent and ethical conduct Healthy sexuality requires resilience in order to deal with or heal from disappointment, embarrassment, harm or trauma The sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled Everyone has the right to self-worth, dignity and respect.

Youth Wellbeing Projects promotes rights, respect and responsibility amongst young people.

Young people have the right to: Comprehensive sexuality and relationships education Accurate information which encourages understanding and awareness of ones sexuality and sexual development Understand that they own their sexuality and are in control of who can take sexual pleasure from their body Confidential health services and counselling Make responsible sexual choices Freedom from unwanted activity Be supported in developing a positive attitude towards sexuality Tools for healthy sexual decision making related to alcohol and other substance use Tools to develop confidence in resisting peer pressure

Factors which may inhibit healthy sexual development include: The influence of media and visual imagery Alcohol and drug use Coercion, abuse and sexual trauma Inadequate sexuality education Limited access to counselling and/or sexual therapy


Failure to understand, create tolerance and support adolescents who identify as LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Inter-sexed) is associated with psychological distress and may have a negative impact on mental health, including a greater incidence of depression and suicide, lower self-acceptance and a greater likelihood of hiding sexual orientation. Youth Wellbeing Project seeks to promote greater community understanding of LGBTI issues, and where outside the scope of our services, encourages referral to agencies best equipped to support LGBTI adolescents.

Young people: Deserve to be respected as valued members of the community who have much to offer Should be encouraged to show respect for oneself and ones partner Should understand appropriate public/private boundaries Should be encouraged to embrace recognition and tolerance of the diversity of sexual values within any community Should be encouraged in self-acceptance


Youth Wellbeing Project believes that every woman has the right to complete and accurate information and counselling about the pregnancy decision. This includes the physical, emotional and psychological risks of abortion, as well as the physical, emotional, psychological and financial impact of parenting. In order to make an informed choice, a young woman has the right to information clearly and factually outlining: Contraception Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) Fetal development stages Abortion medical procedures Antenatal care Adoption Parenting Young women faced with an unexpected pregnancy have the right to access full knowledge of options available to them without fear or shame tactics to dissuade them from exercising their right to choose any of the above options. They also have the right to access nonjudgemental, unbiased counselling as well as financial and practical support.

Young people are encouraged to: Act responsibly to safeguard their health, including: - avoidance of physical or emotional harm to either oneself or ones partner - acknowledging the possibility of pregnancy and associated outcomes Set boundaries and navigate relationships based on mutual respect Understand that with freedom of choice comes subsequent outcomes and accountability for those choices Society must work towards: Offering young people the tools they need to act responsibly, including: - Accurate information - Confidential health services - Respect for diversity - A positive regard for their sexuality and their future

As mentioned within the Youth Wellbeing Project position statement, our organisation recognises there are key factors which may inhibit healthy sexual development. The following research relates to alcohol use amongst teens; sexualisation through media and visual imagery; distortion of healthy development through pornography, abuse, rape and trauma. Youth Wellbeing Project believes it is essential for educators to address these factors when discussing sexual behaviour, provide strategies for smart choices and where necessary, collaborate with external service providers to support young people.

about strategies for guiding children around sexualisation and objectification; and to create new tools and spaces for young people to develop and explore their sexuality in their own time and in their own way. (12) Comprehensive documents supporting this position are The Sexualisation of Young Peoples Review (4) and Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls detailed in references (5).


Research indicates that (1), (2), (3): Recreational drug use and binge drinking exposes young people to routine consumption of substances which alter their sexual decisions and increase their chances of: - Unsafe sex - Regretted sex - Non-consensual sex - Violence and sexual assault Substance use has the potential to become an integral part of young peoples strategic approach to sex, locking them into habitual use Addressing alcohol and substance related sexual behaviours requires a biopsychosocial (thoughts, emotions, and behaviour) approach


In relation to pornography: Emerging evidence indicates that Internet pornography is strongly associated with risky sexual behaviour among adolescents Porn has become a central mediator of young peoples sexual understandings and experiences Studies demonstrate a strong link between Internet exposure to sexually explicit material and earlier and more diverse sexual practice that can result in adverse sexual and mental health outcomes Porn is normalising sex acts that most women in the real world dont enjoy, and may find degrading, painful or violating There is evidence that many young people are enacting porn scripts Young people who reported having visited sexually explicit websites are more likely to have higher numbers of sexual partners, engage in a wider diversity of sexual practices, and use alcohol or drugs in association with sexual encounters Almost half of adult porn users commence porn use between the ages of 11 and 13 The average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old Excessive pornography users have severe social and relationship problems


There is broad agreement from researchers and experts in health and welfare that sexualising children prematurely places them at risk of a variety of harms. Sexualisation is a profoundly important issue that impacts individuals, families and society as a whole. Unless sexualisation is accepted as harmful, in line with the evidence presented in this report, and similar reports from the US and Australia, we will miss an important opportunity here: an opportunity to broaden young peoples beliefs about where their value lies; to think

Theres an increase in people presented with problems associated with excessive porn viewing Addictive pornography use has adverse consequences on brain development and contributes to erectile dysfunction People understand that their excessive porn viewing is impacting on their lives and they want to change Pornography objectifies girls and women and contributes to rape myths incorrect beliefs such as: - Rape requires physical resistance by the victim - The rapist is ordinarily a stranger - Women like it rough Good practice encourages consensual and respectful gender relations, deconstructs pornography messages about what it means to be a man or woman, and encourages reflection on what sex is about (References 6, 7, 8, 9)

The Sexualisation of Young Peoples Review (4) found that: - 33 per cent of teenage girls between 13 and 17 had been subjected to unwanted sexual acts while in a relationship - 25 per cent had suffered physical violence - Among boys, 18 per cent had experienced physical violence - Nearly three-quarters of girls and half of boys claimed to have experienced some form of emotional violence from their partner, with girls more likely to have experienced this in a direct or overt form The Sexualisation of Young Peoples Review (4) also found that: For many young people, violence within relationships is commonplace. It seems that notions of power and control over the female body, and the pressure on boys to conform to a hyper-masculine ideal are having a very real and very damaging effect on our day-to-day lives. Our research has uncovered, for the first time in the UK, the shocking levels of violence physical, emotional and sexual that many girls experience from their partners. Indeed this may be the most prevalent form of violence girls experience in their childhoods. We can no longer ignore this fundamental welfare problem and the damage it does to girls well-being and their long-term life chances. The report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualisation of Girls (5) found: A common symptom of sexually abused children is sexualized behaviour. The sexually abused child may incorporate the perpetrators perspective into her identity, eventually viewing herself as good for nothing but sex. The constricted sense of self of the sexually abused child and the coercive refusal of the perpetrator to respect the childs physical boundaries may result in subsequent difficulties in asserting boundaries, impaired self-protection, and a greater likelihood of being further victimized as an adult, including becoming involved in prostitution. Childhood sexual abuse victimization is also linked with risky sexual behaviour as an adolescent and adult.


The following points make it imperative to discuss the devastating effects of unwanted sex with our young people. Sexual abuse by children or young people constitutes between 40 and 90 per cent of sexual offending against children (contrary to the generally held assumption that perpetrators of child sexual assault are adult males.) (10) Young people are responsible for a significant proportion of sex offences against children, a fact that continues to go largely unknown. There are several factors contributing to this gap in understanding. These include entrenched ideals about children as inherently innocent, widespread ignorance about developmental sexuality, and the tendency of both young people and parents to deny or underestimate incidents when they do occur. (10)

Victims of rape form the largest proportion of people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which is associated with a range of outcomes including feelings of anger, shame and denial, relationship difficulties, substance dependence and increased levels of depression and suicide. (2) Whole-person Centred Sexuality Education considers the above prominent cultural influences, as well as incorporating factors related to existing comprehensive sexuality and relationships education programs. Internationally accepted research establishes that effective programs should offer accurate, comprehensive information while building skills for negotiating sexual behaviours. Both girls and boys should be provided with equal access to programs and resources which connect them to supportive adults and educational opportunities. (11)

Characteristics of effective sex education programs include (11):

Teaching skills for negotiating sexual choices Connecting adolescents with supportive adults Creating a safe social environment for youth participants Clear health goals such as: - Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV - Prevention of unexpected pregnancy Focus on specific sexual behaviours that lead to these health goals: - Delaying sexual activity - Access to and promotion of condoms and contraception Addressing how to avoid situations that might lead to sexual behaviours Targeting several psychosocial risk and protective factors affecting these behaviours: - Knowledge and attitudes - Perceived risks - Perceived norms - Self-worth and respect for others - Understanding of ethics and consent - Alcohol or other drug use - Prevention of abuse - Sexualisation through media and visual imagery Multiple activities to change each of the targeted risk and protective factors Teaching methods that actively involve youth participants and help them personalise the information Using activities appropriate to young peoples culture, developmental level, and previous sexual experience.

Abstinence-only versus comprehensive sexuality education:

Studies have repeatedly shown that comprehensive sex education does not lead to earlier onset of sexual activity and, in some cases, will even lead to it happening later. Sexuality education policies and programs must respond to the interests, needs and experiences of young people themselves and be based in human rights. Empowering young people to make considered, informed decisions about their own lives and helping them to develop the critical thinking skills and sense of self necessary to do so will result in better sexual and reproductive health in the broadest sense including pleasure, love and sexual wellbeing. Comprehensive programs that support both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives for sexually active teens have positive behavioural effects. Many of them delay or reduce sexual activity, reduce the number of sexual partners, or increase the use of condoms or other contraceptives. (12) (13) (14) (15) (16)

Youth Wellbeing Project relied on the following meanings to define the term Whole-Person centred sexuality education.

What is Sexual Health?

Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled. (17)

What is Learner Wellbeing?

Learner wellbeing implies a generalised state of feeling valued, socially, emotionally, intellectually and, eventually, economically (18). Learner wellbeing is best established though inquiry-minded improvement within care and education settings which feature a safe learning environment, community partnerships, and sound curriculum. The effectiveness of these practices is influenced by individual, family and community factors, as well as protective and risk factors present in the young persons environment. Learner Wellbeing is also reliant on the broader environmental context of socio-economic, cultural and political factors. Youth Wellbeing Project acknowledges the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set out by World Association for Sexual Heath in the context of age-appropriate sexuality education. Where possible, YWBP seeks to provide understanding and acceptance of these goals to educational providers, youth workers and adolescents. These goals can be found at: de/sexology/BIB/MillDecEN.htm#_Toc264372891

What is Sexuality?
Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism (arousal and desire), pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical and religious and spiritual factors. (17)

(1) Sexual uses of alcohol and drugs and the associated health risks: A cross sectional study of young people in nine European cities; 2008; Bellis, M.A; Hughes, K; Calafat, A; Juan, M; Ramon, A; Rodriguez, J.A; Mendes, F; Schnitzer, S; Phillips-Howard, P; BioMed Central Public Health, 8:155; Available from URL: http://www. (2) Gender differences in alcohol-related non-consensual sex; cross-sectional analysis of a student population; 2012; Gunby, C; Carline, A; Bellis, M, A; Beynon, C; BioMed Central Public Health, 12:216; Available from URL: articles/PMC3342904/pdf/1471-2458-12-216.pdf (3) Multiple Sexual Partners Among U.S. Adolescents And Young Adults; Santelli, J.S; Brener, N.D; Lowry, R; Bhatt, A; Zabin, L.S; 1998; Guttmacher Institute; Family Planning Perspectives, Volume 30, Number 6, November/December; Available from URL: http:// (4) The Sexualisation of Young Peoples Review, Papadopolous, L. ; 2010; Available from URL: (5) Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls; American Psychological Association,Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls; 2007; Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Available from URL: http://www.apa. org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx (6) Internet porn bad for adolescent health; University of New South Wales; 21 May, 2012; Newsroom article available from URL: Original Article Published in Medical Journal of Australia; Internet Pornography and adolescent health; Guy, R. J; Patton, G.C; Kaldor, J.M; Med J Aust 2012; 196 (9): 546-547; DOI: 10.5694/mja12.10637 (7) Eroticising Inequality: technology, pornography and young people; Crabbe, M; Corlett, D; Spring 2010; DVRCV Quarterly (3): 1-6; Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria; Available from URL: (8) Exposure to pornography among youth in Australia; Flood, M; Journal of Sociology 2007 The Australian Sociological Association, Volume 43(1): 4560; DOI:10.1177/1440783307073934; Available from URL: http://,%20Exposure%20 to%20pornography.pdf (9) The Great Porn Experiment; Wilson, G; TEDxGlasgow; Available to view: (10) Australias Response to Sexualised or Sexually Abusive Behaviours in Children and Young People; OBrien, W; 2010; Australian Crime Commission; Available from URL: http://www.crimecommission. (11) Adolescent Health 2 - Global perspectives on the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents: patterns, prevention, and potential; Linda H Bearinger, Renee E Sieving, Jane Ferguson, Vinit Sharma; p 1228; The Lancet, Volume 369, Issue 9568, Pages 1220 - 1231, 7 April 2007; doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60367-5 (12) AVERT: Averting HIV and AIDS: Abstinence and Sex Education: Available from URL:

(13) Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs: Final Report; 2007; Trenholm, C; Devaney, B; Fortson, K; Quay, L; Wheeler, J; Clark, M; Available from URL: http://aspe.hhs. gov/hsp/abstinence07/report.pdf (14) Advancing Sexuality Education in Developing Countries: Evidence and Implications; Boonstra, H.D; Guttmacher Institute: Policy Review, Summer 2011; 14: 3; Available from URL: http:// (15) Sexual abstinence only programmes to prevent HIV infection in high income countries: systematic review; Underhill, K; Montgomery, P; Operario, D; 2007; BMJ;335(7613):248. doi:10.1136/bmj.39245.446586.BE; Available from URL: http:// (16) Systematic Review of Abstinence-Plus HIV Prevention Programs in High-Income Countries; 2007; Underhill, K; Operario, D; Montgomery; P; PLoS Med 4(9): e275; doi:10.1371/journal. pmed.0040275; Available from URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC1976624/pdf/pmed.0040275.pdf (17) Sexual Health for the Millennium A Declaration and Technical Document; World Association for Sexual Health (2008) pp 2-8; 156; Available from URL: default/files/Millennium%20Declaration%20%28English%29.pdf (18) DECS Learner Wellbeing Framework for birth to Year 12; Government of South Australia; Department of Education and Childrens Services; 2007; Available from: au/learnerwellbeing/files/links/link_72840.pdf

Other relevant documents used when forming the Position Statement of Youth Wellbeing Project: Emerging Answers 2007: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases; The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy; Available from URL: Healthy Sexual Development: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Research; Alan McKee, Kath Albury, Michael Dunne, Sue Grieshaber, John Hartley, Catharine Lumby, Ben Mathews; International Journal of Sexual Health, 22:1419, 2010 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, World Health Organisation, Europe, 1986; Available from URL: assets/pdf_file/0004/129532/Ottawa_Charter.pdf Oregon Youth Sexual Health Plan (2010); Oregon Department of Human Services: Children, Adult and Families Division; Available from URL: Sexual Integrity: Sexual Integrity Strategic Policy Plan: Sixteen reasons Why Sexual Integrity Matters; Sexual Integrity Forum 2005 Young Australians: their health and wellbeing; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; 2006; Bulletin No. 36. AIHW Cat. No. AUS 72. Canberra. Available from URL: aus/bulletin36/bulletin36.pdf