Adult Human Sexuality Week 7- Sexual Health

For our sexual health week stdswe talked focused on STDs and contraception methods although we did include more general health information in the newsletter.  We did a condom demonstration and then practiced putting on condoms (we used bananas as our phallics).  It was really important that we did that because several parts of putting on condom were tricky  such as opening the wrapper and making sure it wasn’t inside out.

We talked about the “morning after pill” and STD testing.  This is a more complicated topic for individuals with medical guardians.  Individuals have the right to these forms of medical care without guardian approval if they are part of post sexual assault forensics.  But what about outside of that context?  This was especially timely as we had this class the same week a New York judge struck down age limits on the “morning after pill”.

We played a game with contraception methods and STDs that mimic Go Fish.  It was a lot of fun.  The cards for the game are below.  Depending on your audience, you could either print out two copies of the same cards or there are two versions of each card so you can squeeze in twice as many facts.

If you’re teaching a class on this topic and would like to check out our materials, I’ve included them below.

Materials

High School Human Sexuality 101 Week 6- Power in Relationships

Power in Relationships The focus of week 6 was to better understand power relationships. During this week, the participants worked together on a activity that helped them to learn about power and control in relationships and specifically the benefits of having more power, benefits of having less power, drawbacks to having more power, and the drawbacks to having less power. The main concept that we were teaching with this activity is that there should be a balance when it comes to power. We first brainstormed  ideas on what it meant to have power in a relationship. After that, the participants discussed how different situations could be red flags that a relationship is not safe and we had them place those on the outside of the circle. We superimposed a circle onto our original brainstorming to reinforce this concept (using the powerpoint project and a dry erase board).

At the end of group we played a “Would you Rather” game to help them tune into how much power and control they prefer to have in relationships.  Students are asked about different relationships where there is a power difference (eg. parent-child). If they would prefer the more powerful option they take a step forward, the less and they stand still.  In my experience, individuals with disabilities are much more likely to choose a majority of less powerful positions in relationships. Food for thought.

For more information and activities on this topic see Adult Human Sexuality Week 5- Power Relationships

This Week’s Materials

Week 6 Slides

Parent Letter Week 6

Adult Human Sexuality Week 8- Sexuality and the Law

At this stage in the game, my partner in crime took over teaching the course.  This is part of training paradigm were testing out where we partner with a community agency to teach the course.  We process course development together, I start out as lead facilitator, and then we transfer over.  For person who is facilitating also develops the materials.  In the end, the agency gets a copy of all the resources we developed (all the ones I’m sharing with you here).  If you’re interested in doing something like this and are in the Champaign-Urbana area, contact me:)

Everyone in our group really understood topics of sexuality and the law at the extremes so we spend most of our time processing situations that would be more nuanced and contextual.  These situations are quite difficult, even for individuals who have few/no intellectual impairments.  We gave some general guidelines, like Facebook commenting guidelines and also tried to simplify legal language.

People in the class were really interested in crime statistics regarding sexual violence.  We didn’t include a lot of that  information, but it is something that we might want to consider in the future.  It’s hard to balance providing people with accurate information but not sensationalizing or using scare tactics.

This week we used a case study activity.  I’ve never used this as a teaching tool before.  We read a news article about Facebook stalking.  I think the idea of using case studies is really interesting and I would like to test out this tool in the future.  I’d love to hear from you if this is something you’ve had success using.

The article pictured below was featured in the Newsletter this week.  It’s from Connect Ability; a website that was specifically developed for individuals with developmental disabilities.

If you’re thinking about teaching this on your own, feel free to use the materials we’ve developed (below).

Materials

dos and don'ts

Adult Human Sexuality Week 10- Closing

ConnectionsThis week was just a review.  We had three review activities, but only got to two of them because we spent a lot of time on questions.  I posted all the topics and subtopics on the board and asked everyone to write three to five questions they had about any of the topics we covered in class.  Some of the questions were “What is considered to be by law a legal age to be sexually active?”, “What defines a person as a specific gender?”, What is the difference between having a crush on someone or just being in lust?”, “Can you provide an example of different ways for someone to commit voyeurism?”, Why do women get paid less than men who share the same job duties, nowadays, as a result of these stereotypes?”, & “Is it possible for a guy who may have any type of diseases to pass it on to a girl through rape?”.  I think actually seeing the questions tells me a lot about what people are picking up from class and what are areas we might of glossed over more.  I think it could be really fun to do this same activity the first week of class and then repeat it at the end.

If we would have got to everything, we would have role played situations where they would need to get information on sexuality topics after the class was over.  We did talk about this topic.  We did close with a values exercise where participants thought if they agreed or disagreed with different statements.  We had a lot of like minded people in our group so we would talk about why someone might feel differently then we do.  We sent participants home with a book that included supplemental material, material we covered in class that wasn’t in the handouts (activity based information), information from the newsletters, additional resources, and the worksheets they completed during class.  I hope that will be a useful resource for folks in the future.  We had such a nice time teaching the class- I hope the participants enjoyed it as much as we did (I think that they did!).

 

If you’re thinking about teaching this class, here are the materials we used.

Additional Materials

Adult Human Sexuality Week 9- Gender Roles

gender rolesIt was really fun teaching about gender roles.  Gender roles and gender identity were difficult concepts.  Most of the people in the group talked about wearing a dress as if it made you a women.  So we talked a lot about biology and society and how those both influence people and gender.  We also talked a lot about gender stereotypes and how they can put limits on how people act.

Our big activity this week was making gender stereotype collages.  We found images from magazines that we thought reflected gender stereotypes and made them into a collage.  We talked about which stereotypes were easy to break and which ones were hard to escape.  The men found a lot of images they thought were more realistic depictions of women.  In the future, I think it could be fun to structure that into the activity.

Throughout the entire session, one of the things that was really difficult is that there are gender roles, gender stereotypes, and gender identities.  They influence each other but they’re different.  It’s not so critical that folks in the class understand the precise definitions, but it might have been helpful to walk through that a little bit more concretely.  On the other hand it led to really nice discussion questions, for example one participant asked “What makes a person their gender?”

We used a couple videos in class.  The first video focused on gender identity.  It shows person in the process of gender reassignment.  Over the three year period you can see how their external appearance reflects gender identity more and more.

The second video is more about gender stereotypes and gender roles.  One of our participants brought up how boys don’t like to play with “girl toys” and I remembered having seen this and pulled it up (it’s nice when it works out like that!).

If you want to take a stab at teaching this on your own, hear are the materials we used.

Additional Materials

Young Adult Human Sexuality Group: Connections

I’m partnering with a local service provider to offer a 10 week human sexuality class, Connections.  I’m really excited about it.  The goal is that the community agency will be able to continue offering classes in the future.  They will have someone who has experience teaching a class and they will also have a set of materials.  This is my first time doing a co-operating method of training so I’ll be keeping you posted on how it is going.  If this is successful, it’s a model that I would like to pursue so if you’re in the Champaign-Urbana area and you’re interested, let me know.

name cardsThe group is really great.  I love working with middle school and high school students, but adults are just refreshing.  This week we mostly just got to know each other.  We did some of my favorite get to know you activities such as making collage of who we are on the outside and the inside.

We also have an undergraduate social work student working with us.  She’s developing a newsletter that will go home each week with the participants.  The newsletters expand on the topics that we talk about in class.

The other thing that is really neat bout this group is that one of the participants comes to the planning meetings and helps set the group up.  He’s taking a participant and instructor role.

I’ve attached all the materials we used for the class.

Human Sexuality 101 Week 2- Anatomy

Today’s Agenda

Parts and Post-it Notes:  We started the group out by having them label body parts they already knew.  By starting out with safe, comfortable body parts students were more prepared for unknown body parts or parts that may have caused feelings of anxiety.

Terminology: We introduced sexual terminology in written from and asked the students to say the words out loud.  Between each word we’d pause and they had a worksheet with the question “I feel…” Reading a word and saying it are easier then looking at a body part so we were building their comfort level.  Also, feelings of embarrassment can be difficult for students to manage.  This is structuring a way for them to think about and express their feelings.

We had a lot of fun learning about anatomy although the topic was also met with groans, giggles, and our group’s favorite lamentation, “I want to throw up.”  More over there was general confusion about what the parts of the body involved with reproduction even are.  Essentially, they knew butt, penis, vagina, testicles and breasts but that was it.

Fruity Anatomical Model:  The students will made anatomical models of the reproductive organs using fruit.  As they made the model, we talked about the function of each part.  Again the fruit makes the concept a little more abstract and safe.  This is a fun way to engage students in what is essentially a vocabulary task.

We saw some clear developmental differences today. The older kids in the group were able to stick with the more abstract activities and accomplish the tasks, but the younger kids in the group were a little overwhelmed. In the future, I may modify the task for younger students to focus on fewer parts of the body and instead of making the anatomical models,  we could play a game with body flash cards.

Privacy: We introduced the concept that privacy is about personal things you want to keep to yourself and explained that the parts of the body we were just talking about were private body parts.  We will also introduced that certain places are private, that you share with different people private information or ideas, that ideas can be private.  The main distinction is that there is a difference between private and public, but we presented three levels to indicate that there is a continuum of privacy.

We were a little rushed when we got to the privacy section.  It was hard for them to transition from private body parts to other concepts of privacy.  Although they seemed capable of these ideas, they were a little to revved up from the anatomical models and we needed more time.

For more information on anatomy view our  EXPLAINING ANATOMYYOUTUBE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES: HEALTHCHANNEL, SEXPLANATIONS, AND CSPHADULT HUMAN SEXUALITY WEEK 2- ANTATOMY & REPRODUCTION posts

Materials for Today’s Lesson

Human Sexuality 101 Week 3- Puberty

I have to say, the puberty session went great!  It was just at the right level.  Here are the activities we did…

Defining Puberty: This was the language we used to define puberty: puberty is your body changing from a child’s body to an adult’s body.  It causes changes to your body inside and outside. Everyone goes through puberty but it might happen at different times and people’s bodies change to look different.  Puberty is a time when you start to get sexual feelings.  You don’t have control over going through puberty, but you do have control over how you react to it.  It’s normal to have mixed feelings, some good feelings and some negative feelings.  This definition highlights several key features of puberty (it’s in some ways different and some ways the same for everyone, it’s a natural biological process, it can be an adjustment). 

They Tell Me I’m Going Through Puberty: This is a story told from the point of view of a teenager about the changes that are happening during puberty.  This exercise helps students to understand that many of the changes that are happening in puberty happen to both boys and girls.  The narrative format may help students relate to the changes that are occurring.         

Boys/Girls/Both: In this activity, participants were given a series of cards each with a change that happens during puberty.  They decide if these changes happen to boys, girls, or both.  Again, this exercise helps students to understand that many of the changes that are happening in puberty happen to both boys and girls.  Many of these changes are repeated from the first exercise although more are introduced.  Each card separates out each change as concrete steps.

Puberty Worksheet: This worksheet is a check in on the changes participants have experienced, how they feel about these changes, and changes they anticipate.  The worksheet was designed to help students anticipate some of the changes that will happen during puberty and help them to be aware of the changes that are happening in their own body. We use both open ended and multiple choice questions to stimulate different levels of thinking.

Diversity:We showed power point slides with pictures of several people showing a diversity of bodies and ages.  Students were asked, “Which ones are going through puberty?”.  This activity reinforces the concept that puberty is in some ways different and some ways the same for everyone.  One thing that became evident was that the students had difficulty understanding that children hadn’t gone through puberty but the were quick to grasp onto the idea that adults are finished going through puberty.  We used a few favorite characters to help the kids get a little excited about the topic.

Click on the Links Below to AccessMaterials

Human Sexuality 101- Reproduction

My favorite comment from this session was, “Can we stop working on the worksheet for a minute? I just really want to listen!”  We based the lesson the Nova’sLife’s Greatest Miracle” (you can stream for free or buy the DVD for $20).  We covered the material in one session but didn’t have time for the breakout groups and we went over our allotted time.  We could have easily split it up into two sessions.  The video is very well done and contains a lot of good information.  We had the students fill out a worksheet to help them key into important points and break down euphemisms.  It’s amazing how much they are learning but also what is slipping by.  For example, as we’re watching the sperm and the egg meet I asked, “Is this happening inside the man’s body or inside the woman’s body?” and they didn’t really have any idea.

For the parent component of the session, we manly focused on two questions. 1) What do you think about preemptive birth control? and 2) What are your hopes and fears about your child becoming a parent in the future.  Unfortunately, these are some of those questions without any easy answers.

Download the materials…

Human Sexuality 101 Week 5- Crushes

This topic generated a lot of good discussion.  Our group was a little distracted today (maybe because we had a week break).  For next week we’re going to try a few different classroom management strategies so we can try to spend more time focused.  We’re going to simplify the rights and the responsibilities and give them 3 rules (no talking when I’m talking, no hitting, and no mean comments).  We’ll also use a visual stop sign for if the group gets out of control.  I’ll keep you posted how it goes!  Having said that, despite distractions, I’m confident the group did learn a few things about crushes.

Activities this week…

What is a crush?

Students brainstormed what a person with a crush might be thinking and feeling.  Students varied in their level of understanding as to what a crush is.  This activity helped students understand that crushes are a special set of thoughts and feelings about another person.  They will learned from each other what those thoughts and feelings are.  None of the students in our group expressed ideas about what a crush is that would not be safe if acted upon (I was thinking someone might say something like, “I just want to stare at the person all the time and follow them around.”) We were ready to address any of the items from the brainstorm that were unsafe.   In later discussion we labeled some ideas as unsafe.

How to deal with a crush

We’re used a short video to outline four steps for managing a crush: don’t tell everyone, hang out with mutual friends, talk to them directly, and don’t take it personal if they don’t like you back.  As we watched the video we filled out a worksheet.  The video gives very concrete advice for how to manage a crush.  The questions on the worksheet helped students think about what they might say and how they may feel when trying to manage a crush.

This is where they got a little distracted.  In the future, I would shorten the worksheet so there is only one question per tip.  I would maybe have them work on answering the questions with a partner, then sharing with the group.

Turning someone down

We introduced students to three strategies for turning someone down or saying “NO”: no with a reason, no with an alternative, and no and go.  We introduced these strategies as a way to avoid unwanted crushes.  They can be used in many contexts, but especially in the future, could be use to avoid unwanted sexual behavior.  Students role-played saying no in different ways to someone who has a crush on them.  The role-plays worked really well!  Role-playing can be difficult but it’s a great tool for rehearsing concepts that your hoping students will be able to perform in the future.      

Materials for this week

Human Sexuality Week 6- Body Image

This week, we focused on body image.  This was probably the most difficult concept for students to grasp so far.  In other weeks we’ve focused more on content but this week was more about self expression and they could connect the expression components, however, they really struggled with what exactly body image is and their own self awareness.  For some of the students thinking about body image melted into feelings of self worth.  The strategy we introduced, positive self talk, was also difficult for them to understand.

Activities this week…

What is Body Image? We’re used a pretty simple definition of body image: how you think and feel about your body and appearance.  This definition highlights the cognitive and affective components of body image.

How I Feel About My Body  For this activity we asked students to write down how they feel about their body.  We then collected all the responses, redistributed them, and read them out loud.  This activity allowed students to express their feelings about body image.  It also exposed them to the thoughts and feelings of others.  For the most part students in our group expressed feeling good about their bodies.

Positive Self-Talk  We introduced positive self-talk as a strategy for managing negative ideations about body image.  Each member of the group practiced positive self-talk by using affirmation statements in the mirror.  This was very difficult for some students, even with the scripts.  This may be because they didn’t understand the “why” behind the activity.  This activity exposed them to a strategy for promoting a healthy body image and gave students an opportunity to practice that strategy.

Role Play  Because we know that often, negative thoughts and feelings about body image occur while we are with groups of people, we role played using positive self-talk when in a group.  This was essentially an extension of the previous activity but we made the task slightly more difficult.

Self-Portraits  Body image is one of those topics that is not just about learning facts but mostly about self-awareness and self-expression.  In addition to teaching some concrete strategies for promoting positive body image, we also wanted to provide opportunities to explore thoughts and feelings about appearance.  The self-portraits were another strategy for helping students explore their thoughts and feelings about body image.  For the most part, the kids were really excited about this activity.  We promoted trying to reflect a positive self image, but this didn’t come naturally to all the students.  We also wanted to make sure we respected the right for students to express their genuine emotions.   

Just a note on classroom management.  Distractions were down with the implementation of our simple rights and responsibilities, more firm “nos” and the stop sign.  We did have one student who had a hard time because they had to wait until next week to take the pictures home so the paint could dry.  This is something to anticipate for the future.

Materials for this week…

Human Sexuality Week 7- Hygiene

Hygiene is not on the SEICUS guidelines for what to teach in a human sexuality class, but we find that it can be a hard topic for students.  It also is strongly connected to puberty because it is during puberty that hygiene needs change at the same time young people have more autonomy and responsibility for their hygiene.  We tackled hygiene with a series of activities we called hygiene Olympics.  In small groups, students moved throughout the stations to practice and contemplate hygiene tasks.

  • Hand washing: Students rubbed glitter mixed with lotion on their hands and then had to wash their hands until the glitter came off.  This will helped students to recognize that hand washing is more than just rinsing hands lightly with water.
  • Body washing: We will had life-size body outlines, loofas, and paint.  Students used the paint like it was soap.  This helped students recognize the importance of washing their entire body.
  • Laundry: Students saw a pile of laundry.  They then sorted the clean from the dirty clothing (the dirty clothing are just tee shirts that have been dampened and wrinkled).  The helped students identify clean clothing.
  • Shaving: Students used an orange to practice shaving with a razor and shaving cream.  The teacher in the group explained that boys often shave their face and that girls often shave their legs and underarms. Students had an opportunity to practice shaving. 
  • Deodorant testing: We had several deodorants with the brands blocked out.  Students smelled and voted on their favorite scent.  At this station, teachers  pointed out the importance of wearing deodorant each day and reapplying after activities that cause sweat.  This station emphasized the importance of deodorant use. 
  • My Hygiene Routine: Students saw pictures of different hygiene tasks.  They also had a worksheet that said “My Hygiene Routine.” Students chose what order they would prefer to complete the hygiene tasks.  This activity provided students with control and choice while also committing them to completing the necessary tasks.

Materials for this week

Human Sexuality 101 Week 8: Wrap Up and Review

For the final session of Human Sexuality 101 we reviewed what we learned during the class.  Overall, students seemed to enjoy the class and learn something.  The students also seemed to like each other.  Sexuality is a social topic, so I was excited that students were able to share and connect throughout the class.

Activities

Vote with Your Feet:  We printed ‘true’ and ‘false’ on sheets on the opposite sides of the room.  When presented with true/false statements, participants chose the correct response.  We specifically chose items that we knew were difficult for students.  Then we switched to agree/disagree.  This allowed us to touch upon the difference between facts and opinions.  We also had students make their own statements.  They did a great job.

Booklets:  We passed out booklets to the participants that reviewed all the information we covered and had additional activities for them to do at home. We did complete an evaluation, but I don’t think it was very successful.  I’d consider the evaluation to still be “under construction.”

Materials