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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
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sellotape sex education

Pure in Heart: “We don’t have a negative view of sex”

The group were responding after claims that at one of their sex education talks they taped two students together by their wrists.

Updated at 09.30pm

THE GROUP AT the centre of the ‘sellotape sex education’ controversy have said that they don’t have a negative view of sex.

Anne O’Reilly from the group Pure in Heart, whose activities in one school were unveiled in earlier this month, appeared on Sean O’Rourke’s RTÉ 1 radio show today.

Charitable organisation

She described Pure in Heart as a “charitable organisation” founded in 2000 by a group of young adults who “believed in the dignity and value of every person”. Its members have made the decision to keep sexual activity until after marriage.

One young student told that the group spent two hours at his school talking about how abstinence was “god’s way and how we should seek to live by this”.

O’Reilly said today that the Pure In Heart members had educated themselves about sexuality and relationships, with the “aim of imparting that information to other young people so that they could make an informed decision about their own lifestyle choice in relation to sexuality”.

She said that they “realise this is a very different view to what the world proposes today”.

Standalone organisation

Pure in Heart was described as a “standalone Irish charitable organisation”, with O’Reilly saying that some groups in other countries had taken their model to use.

She described the feedback from schools as “overwhelmingly positive”, with a number of schools inviting them back for more talks.

So many students came up to us and said we wish we’d heard the talk sooner.

O’Reilly also spoke about the “early sexualisation” of teenagers , saying it “is taking hold” and that “casual sex is so prevalent nowadays”.

“Not that we’re forcing this message on them,” she said of abstinence, describing it as “a proposal”.

While three Pure in Heart members give the talks, the organisation has over 100 members who are under 35 years of age.

Self gratification

When asked about claims that Pure in Heart told one school group that “self gratification” can lead to depression, O’Reilly said they “don’t focus on that in our talks and it’s not part of the content of our talks”.

She suggested that the comment may have come up in the context of a student asking about this, adding that in the past some students have come up to Pure in Heart team members “and said they had addictions in this area and it was making them depressed”.

O’Reilly also said that they don’t focus on contraception in their talks, but they do “touch on” the topic.

Asked whether the group was of interest to students who were already sexually active, she said they say to them “listen, it’s not about your past; you can always go into the future” with new options.

Sellotape game

On the subject of the role play game where two students were connected by their wrists with sellotape, O’Reilly said that “they weren’t bound together” but that the sellotape at the wrist was used to represent the “bond and memories that a sexual relationship creates” and how “when they break they can be painful”.

On the issue of consent, Pure in Heart does offer a consent form to schools, which they can give to parents. It also offers to give the talk to parents before it is given to the pupils.

O’Reilly said that could do over 100 talks a year, and that the talks are done on a voluntary basis. Some schools may give donations, which can go towards petrol, an overnight stay if needed, and the general running of Pure in Heart.

O’Reilly said that the group doesn’t “have a negative view of sex” and that “we see it as very positive in waiting until you’re married to have sex”.

She added that the group’s message is for everyone whether they have a faith or not.

First published 12.22pm

Read: Students taped together by wrists in sex education talk by Catholic group>

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