Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson
Sex—It’s More than Bodies, Risks, and Protection
Love Notes contains an important missing piece in sexual decision-making and STI and
pregnancy prevention by addressing relationship issues. After all, sex is a relationship
issue. For example, can young people make wise sexual choices if they:
Have never clarified what’s important to them in a partner or relationship?
Know little about how to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy, unequal
and/or abusive relationships?
Lack communication and negotiation skills?
Have never defined for themself a context for sex that is personally meaningful?
Young people are rarely asked to think about sex beyond the usual health paradigm
of anatomy, bio-reproduction, STIs/HIV, and risk avoidance. But sex is also about
aspirations and the heart. If young people have never considered what deepening levels
of physical intimacy mean to them (and how to discern if their partner is on the same
page), then how are they to make wise sexual decisions? Sex is not just about bodies,
risks, and protection. It’s about knowing one’s self and one’s values and knowing what
one wants for any level of sexual involvement to mean. It’s about having a personal
sense of what a positive and meaningful context for intimate involvement would be for
themselves. It’s also about possessing the skills and confidence to navigate this terrain.
Love Notes takes a health- and heart-based approach to sexuality and provides unique ways
to tap motivation from a positive angle. Sexual decision-making is embedded within a
rich exploration of intimacy and the development of healthy relationships. Activities guide
participants in cultivating their own North Star for sexuality. They are asked to develop goals,
boundaries, and a context and pace for sexual intimacy that is responsible, protective of their
own aspirations in life, and personally meaningful. Whatever their sexual choices, Love Notes
encourages sexual ethics, i.e., that mutuality, kindness, caring about the other’s feelings and
experience, and equality are important. Young people will examine some of the essential
conversations to have to discover if partners are on the same page. This is vital not only for
meaningful consent but also for a mutually positive sexual experience.
Finally, in their private journal, participants will develop a personal plan for their sexual
choices. Medically accurate information on pregnancy, STIs, contraception, and condoms
is included. This information and decision-making challenges are reinforced through films
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