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Talking About Abstinence: Topics to Explore Category
Refusal Skills

Youth who are receiving abstinence education often have questions as to how to say "no" to sexual advances. This section contains lessons and activities to address this important skill area.


Saying No Without Hurting Feelings
This lesson is designed to help youth explore alternative ways of communicating messages to their peers. Participants develop, perform, and critique skits that illustrate how to communicate clearly without hurting the feelings of others.

Learning Assertive Techniques
Youth discuss how being assertive can assist in clear communication. After brainstorming a list of scenarios in which youth experience pressure, participants select one of three techniques for saying “no,” and act out their assertive solutions in the form of a skit.

Saying “No” Gets a Bad Rap: Portrayals of Assertive Behavior
After reviewing what it means to be assertive in relationship situations that may involve pressure to engage in sex, youth examine the portrayal of assertive characters in different fictional scenarios, discussing both positive aspects and negative stereotypes of their behavior.

I Complete Me!
After discussing how media portrays single people as incomplete or dysfunctional, participants discuss how being single can help develop healthy self-esteem, and provides youth with freedom from the pressures of a relationship.

Defining Consent and Saying No
Participants examine the meaning of consent as an active, non-binding, informed agreement, reached without coercion or manipulation. Youth perform skits that illustrate the idea that silence/passivity is not the same as giving consent.


Under Pressure
Participants brainstorm ways to respond to common forms of peer pressure, like the classic, “everybody else is doing it.”

The Brain is the Largest Sex Organ in Your Body
Youth are asked to brainstorm ideas about the relationship of feeling to thinking and acting.

How To Make Love Without Doing It
Participants brainstorm ways to express affection without engaging in sexual intercourse, then create a brochure for their peers.

Make a Brochure: Talking Abstinence with Your Partner
Youth design and create brochures to educate their peers on abstinence and relationships. Focus on being honest about feelings and pressures, and clear about values and boundaries.

Different Pressures
Participants identify different pressures teens experience regarding sex, then express their feelings about pressures through a creative word-drawing exercise.

Rewrite! Turning Sexy Scenes into Refusal Scenes
After viewing an intimate scene from a popular teen melodrama, participants write a script for the couple that explores ways to say no, and reasons to abstain from sex.

Teens Talk About Saying “No” to Sex
Participants read and respond to teens’ personal accounts about deciding to delay sex.

Anthems for Independence
Youth identify themes of independence in contemporary music, select their own samples, and make a top ten list.


Media Literacy 101 Using Sex to Sell Talking About Abstinence Reducing Risks Reading Media Be the Judge Producing Media
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