Students define abstinence and learn the steps to refusing effectively. In small groups, they practice using refusal skills and observe their peers modeling effective refusal skills.
The student will be able to …
|Warm-up||Bell work + 2 minutes|
|Purpose of lesson and definition of abstinence||3 minutes|
|Teach refusal skills||12 minutes|
|Refusal skills scenarios||10 minutes|
|Small-group practice||20 minutes|
|Exit ticket||3 minutes|
Most high school students are abstinent.
There are times in everyone’s life when abstaining from sex is the healthiest choice.
Choosing abstinence means a person doesn’t have to worry about pregnancy or STDs.
Teens who choose not to have sex have many strategies to help them be abstinent.
Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
Standard 4: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
Standard 7: Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
Supporting young people to be abstinent is an important component of teen pregnancy and STD prevention. The FLASH curriculum’s approach to abstinence has benefited greatly from recent research on abstinence education. The FLASH curriculum encourages positive attitudes and positive peer norms about abstinence, builds confidence to remain abstinent, teaches refusal skills, avoids denigrating condoms and birth control, and avoids putting down students who are sexually active.1, 2, 3
Research has shown that most abstinence-only programs are ineffective and can have negative effects on teens’ sexual health and behavior. These programs do not delay sexual initiation, reduce the number of sexual partners, or increase abstinence.4 Some actually decrease contraception and condom use when teens do have sex, and decrease the likelihood of STD testing and treatment.5, 6, 7, The FLASH curriculum seeks to avoid these unintended outcomes by employing a different approach, relying heavily on recent research about abstinence programs with positive outcomes.1,
Gender stereotypes are intentionally avoided throughout the abstinence lesson in an effort to support the sexual violence prevention goals of the curriculum.
1. Jemmott, J.B., Jemmott, L.S. & Fong, G.T. (2009). Efficacy of a theory-based abstinence-only intervention over 24 months: A randomized control trial with young adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 164, 2, 152-159.
2. Alford, S. (2003). Science and success: Sex education and other programs that work to prevent teen pregnancy, HIV & sexually transmitted infections. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth.
3. Alford, S. (2008). Science and success, second edition: Programs that work to prevent teen pregnancy, HIV & sexually transmitted infections. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth.
4. Kirby, D. (2007). Emerging answers 2007: Research findings on programs to reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
5. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform. (2004). The Content of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs. Prepared for Rep. Henry A. Waxman. Washington, DC.
6. Bearman, P., & Brückner, H. (2004). Promising the future: Virginity pledges and the transition to first intercourse. American Journal of Sociology, 106, 4, 859-912.
7. Bearman, P., & Brückner, H. (2005). After the promise: The STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36, 4, 271-272.
Reminder: The family homework is available in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic under Resources for Families.
Prepare Visual for document camera or projector.
Display warm-up as bell work.
Question: The majority of high school students are abstinent. When people have sexual feelings, they can still make the choice not to have sex. If people have already had sex, they can still make the choice not to have sex at any time.
List at least 2 benefits of being abstinent, or not having sex.
Possible answers: Not getting pregnant, not getting an STD, not having to worry about being pregnant, not having to worry about getting an STD, not adding pressure to the relationship.
Define abstinence, emphasizing the sexual behaviors that need to be avoided in order to prevent pregnancy and STDs—oral, anal and vaginal sex. Explain that abstinence is very common, and reinforce that it is a decision people make throughout their lives.
Today we are going to discuss abstinence. Can someone define abstinence for me? (Allow students o give their own definitions of abstinence and validate their ideas.)
People have a lot of personal definitions of abstinence. The definition we are going to use in this class is that abstinence means not having oral, anal or vaginal sex. Oral sex is when one person’s mouth goes on another person’s genitals; anal sex is when a penis goes in someone’s anus or butt; and vaginal sex is when a penis goes in someone’s vagina.
The reason we are including all of these types of sex in our in our definition of abstinence is because abstinence is a 100% effective way to not get pregnant or catch an STD. Since people can get STDs from oral, anal and vaginal sex, and can get pregnant from vaginal sex, we are going to include all of these types of sex in our definition of abstinence.
Why do you think it’s important to know that most high school students are abstinent? (Allow students time to respond.)
If someone thought that every student in this school was having sex, how would that feel? (Allow students time to respond.)
It’s important to know that most high school students are not having sex, so that you don’t feel pressured to have sex.
Abstinence is something that teens and adults choose at different times in their lives. People of every sexual orientation, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight people, choose abstinence. And people can choose abstinence at any point in their livse, even if they’ve already had sex.
The purpose of today’s lesson is to learn and practice the important steps in staying abstinent and saying NO to sexual pressure.
Brainstorm ways to say NO clearly, including the following points:
Explain that people can learn skills to help them leave the situation or get help if someone is not respecting their NO.
Stress that forcing or coercing someone to have sex is always wrong. If people are forced or coerced to do something sexually, it’s not their fault.
Show students the Refusal Skills Visual, read the refusal steps, and give a brief explanation of each one.
Everyone can make the decision not to have sex, or to be abstinent. Even ifpeople have had sex before, they can still make a decision not to have sex at different times in their lives. This could be for long periods of time, or it could be that they do not want to have sex in a particular moment or with a particular person.
Once people makesthe decision to not have sex, it’s important to be able to communicate their decision to whomever they are with. It’s also really helpful to avoid situations where they might be tempted to have sex, or where sexual activity is more likely, such as being home alone with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Even when people have sexual feelings, are curious about sex, or are already kissing or touching each other, they can still make the choice not to have sex.
Sometimes, one person wants to have sex and the other person doesn’t. Teens who choose not to have sex have many strategies they can use to help them be abstinent. What are some things that a person could do to make it clear they mean NO? (Be sure to include the following points: saying NO, clear voice, match what’s being said with body language.)
I want to be really clear that it is always the other person’s responsibility to listen when someone says no to having sex or engaging in any kind of sexual touching. It is never OK to force or coerce someone into having sex or into any kind of sexual touching.
Coercion is manipulating someone into doing something that they do not want to do – including having sex or engaging in sexual touch. If people are forced or coerced into having sex or a sexual act, it is never their fault. It is always the fault of the person who forced or coerced them, and it is always wrong.
Unfortunately, people don’t always want to hear or respond well to NO. There are times when people need to say NO very clearly and leave the situation. They might also need to tell an adult or ask an friend for help.
To be abstinent, there may be times when a person has to refuse to have sex. Sometimes this is easy to do; sometimes it can be difficult. Either way, practice makes it easier.
For the purposes of this lesson, let’s assume that you like the person you are saying NO to and want to continue hanging out, but you do not want to have sex.
Ask two volunteers to demonstrate refusal skills by reading Scenario A (Jonathon and Amber, fully scripted) out loud to the class, with one person reading as Jonathon and another reading as Amber. The purpose is to model the effective use of refusal skills.
Now we will have a chance to practice the refusal skills through a series of scenarios. The first scenario is a sample that already has a script. I will need two volunteers to read the script to the class.
Next, hand out Scenario B (Jonathon and Amber, partially scripted) to all students, and have them practice refusal skills by writing new lines for Jonathon. Remind the class that the person playing Jonathon likes Amber and wants to continue hanging out with her, but does not want to have sex.
After they fill in Jonathon’s script, ask for a new volunteer to read Amber’s part and a second volunteer to read Jonathon’s. As you go through Scenario B, ask if any other students want to offer their responses as well.
Have students work in small groups to take turns practicing the refusal skills while others take notes on the refusal skills they observed, using the following procedure:
Now you are all going to get a chance to practice using refusal skills by doing 3 more scenarios in small groups.
Conclude the refusals practice.
Great job! You were all so clear and said NO really well. Saying NO is such an important skill to learn. It’s great to know how to do this every day, not just for refusing to have sex. The more you practice the easier it gets. It’s also an important skill to know throughout your life so that you can remain abstinent when you choose.
Allow students to choose between the individual or family homework and explain the assignments as needed.
Note: The family homework is also available in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic under Resources for Families.
Hand out the Lesson 9 Exit Ticket.
Question: What are three things people could do if they are being pressured by someone to have sex?
Possible answers: Use refusal skills, say NO, explain why, suggest alternative, leave, ask a friend or adult for help.