Joni and Jeff from RETA have the privilege of presenting our Healthy Sexual Boundaries Education in local schools, most recently at Elkhart Memorial High School. Students are encouraged to choose abstinence before marriage as a means to their best life, helping them think through how their choices now will impact where they end up and how it will impact their future relationships.
Near the close of their presentation, they help the students think through the difference of reducing risk versus avoiding risk. As Jeff says, “You can’t just get part of an STI or get just a little bit pregnant.” The only foolproof way of making sure you don’t get an STI or experience an unplanned pregnancy is abstinence. We know this because our coaches have met with pregnant clients who have used various forms of birth control, whether medication or barrier.
Abstinence is a difficult, but not impossible choice. It’s made easier through determining where your boundaries are. Jeff says, “It’s a lot easier to figure out your boundaries ahead of time. 11 o’clock on a Saturday night watching a romantic movie when the parents aren’t home is probably not the best time to try to figure out what your boundaries are.” Setting up boundaries, like not allowing a boyfriend over when parents aren’t home or not staying out with a significant other past 10 p.m. are boundaries that will help students reach their ideal future. They know what their triggers can be.
Jeff compares boundaries to a small child inside a fence. Inside the fence is the parent who is just a call away, the friendly dog, the red ball to play with and the plush grass. Outside the fence are the noisy, zooming cars, stray animals and strangers. The little girl can walk up to the edge of the yard and look outside the fence and see these things are around, but she’s protected from them by the fence. In the same way, the students’ boundaries act as a fence that keeps them on track for their ideal life. They know these other things exist, but if they stay inside their boundaries, without a doubt, they will be in a better, less complicated, more fulfilling spot in life.
You can learn more about our Healthy Sexual Boundaries Education which is offered to groups or one-on-one here.