Creative and Engaging
Techniques for Abstinence Education .pdf
****Before any discussion of Abstinence
Define Abstinence? – have each student
write what they think is the definition of abstinence. List
them on the board.
“Abstinence: To abstain means to voluntarily choose
not to do something. When referring to sex, it means voluntarily
choosing not to engage in sexual activity until marriage.
Sexual activity refers to any type of genital contact or sexual
stimulation including, but not limited to sexual intercourse.
Abstinence is the only 100% effective protection from the
possible physical, emotional, mental and social consequences
of sex before marriage (Project Reality’s Game Plan).”
1. To get the group to know each other - Ask students to find
someone that they do not know and interview them and then
introduce them to the group. Have them ask funny questions,
for example; Who was your favorite Sesame Street character?
What is your greatest phobia? What was your best birthday
present? What was your worst vacation? (How to Save Sex
2. Ask the group to help you make a list of the three greatest
things about being a guy and a girl and then list the three
3. Ask the group “What do teens your age need to know?”
Can make a list on a board or have students respond anonymously
with lists for your question box.
• Ways to Discuss Differences between Sex/Sexuality
1. What is Sex? - Most teens answer: doing
it, body parts, something you do behind closed doors, taboo,
a physical act. There are, however, three answers to this
question. Help teens differentiate between sex as gender,
sexuality and sexual intercourse.
Ask, “What do they ask you when you fill out an application
for a learner’s permit? Name, Address, Sex. Teens are
surprised by the answer, “Yes, we all have ‘sex’
because we are male and female.” This provides a good
lead-in to the discussion of what sexuality includes (“Chastity
is for Everyone” audiotape Family Honor Inc.).
2. What is a sexual person?
The “SPICE” Flower can be used to help people
see the multiple dimensions that make up a “wholly sexual
person.” Each letter in the word SPICE represents a
SPICE (each petal of the
flower has a letter)
S - spiritual
P - physical
I - intellectual
C - creative
E - emotional
The SPICE flower reminds us to develop all of our parts and
balance them. Get each part to be the best it can be as you
develop yourself as a whole person. When you develop yourself
in your wholeness, you invite people to love you in that wholeness
and not to just love what they see. You look at other people,
not for what you see or what you get, but for their totality.
Balance all the petals. (“Chastity is for Everyone”
audiotape Family Honor Inc.).
• Ways to Discuss Abstinence
1. Interesting Comparison - “Drug
free school zone” - teaches teens to say “No”
to smoking, drugs and alcohol. Why don’t they also teach,
“Just say no to sex”? “Are they saying that
teens can’t control themselves?”
2. Animal Comparison - Are we like animals
- go into heat and can’t control ourselves? Need to
be neutered or spayed? “Where is John?” “Oh
he can’t come out, because he is in heat” (Molly
3. The Beautiful Package - Think of sexuality
as a beautiful gift that is wrapped up in the most wonderful
paper and ribbons. It has a gift tag and the tag says, “Don’t
open until marriage” (Molly Kelly).
4. “Driving a Car” - The power
of sexuality is compared to the power that is yours when you
are behind the wheel of a car. “When driving, you are
capable of doing a lot of good - taking someone to the hospital
or doing errands - going to a basketball game or on a trip
to an exciting place. But you must drive responsibly because
you are also capable of doing real harm to someone or to yourself,
even without meaning to (Our Power to Love - Family
Honor Inc. www.familyhonor.org).”
5. CD Comparison – If you had a choice
which would you prefer, an old CD that has been passed around
or a new one. (Pattie Hamilton, Archbishop Carroll High School)
6. Video Tape Comparison – If you
had a new VCR, would you want to use new videos or would you
use previously rented ones that could damage the VCR heads
(Natalene Roddy, St. Michaels, MD).
7. Left Over Food – if the line is
long at Mc Donalds and someone has left half of their fries
and hamburger on a table, would you eat it? Why don’t
we have the same concern for things that we watch and put
permanently into our “memory bank.”
8. “Fire” - Chastity has been
described as disciplined warmth. Fire can either warm us or
burn us depending on how you deal with the flame.
9. “Getting a Sports Utility Vehicle”
Two high school students ask for an SUV. One family buys their
son the SUV. The other family says, “We’d love
to but we don’t have the money. You’ll have to
save to get it on your own.” He works for a long time
to save his money. Who will take better care of the SUV and
appreciate it the most? (From David, Montgomery County Health
10 “Training for a 100 Yard Dash vs. Training
for a Marathon” - Preparing for the commitment
of marriage has been compared to training for a marathon -
aiming for both requires discipline and hard work. You will
never succeed in a marathon if you do not prepare for the
race the correct way. Someone who runs as if in a 100-Yard
dash will never finish a marathon. (From David, Montgomery
County Health Dept.)
11. Difference between girls and boys –
Girls false sense of security, “I’m not like my
boyfriend, I can stop any time I want to.” Boys are
affected by what they see while girls are affected by touch.
If touching begins, God’s protection can quickly be
12. Momentum – “How far can
you go?” If you don’t slow down, you may not be
able to stop. Ex. Car going so fast that it can’t stop
13. “Stop Signs” - Do you know
where you should stop? If you don’t, you are going to
go through; for example, petting, removing clothing, touching
where you know you shouldn’t be touching. Set up “Stop
Signs” in your life (Molly Kelly).
14. Cohabitation – Couples who live
together before marriage are more likely to divorce than couples
who do not. The probability of a first marriage ending in
separation or divorce within 5 years is 20 percent but if
the couple cohabitated before the marriage, the rate was 49
percent (CDC, 2002). Waiting for marriage makes a difference.
• Negative Issues Associated With Early Dating
Age when dating begins (% Who Have Sex Before
Graduation) - 12 yrs (91%), 13 yrs (56%), 14 yrs (53%),
15 yrs (40%), 16 yrs (20%). (How to Save Sex for Marriage).
• Dealing With Statistics - help students
become sensitive to the use and misuse of the statistics they
read or hear about.
1. “There are three kinds of lies, white lies, black
lies and statistics.”
paraphrase of Mark Twain
2. “Statistics are like bikinis, what they reveal
is interesting but what they cover up
is vital” by Dr. James J. O’Connell, economist.
3. Source of Statistics? Ask students to
come up with headlines for the same story
as they would appear in the Wall Street Journal,
or USA Today and The NY Enquirer.
Ask if they think the same survey would have the same results
if you asked readers of
the Journal of the American Medical Association, Time,
Cosmopolitan, or Playboy.
4. Share an interesting research study -
“It has been proven that if you want your boyfriend
to be smart, have a great
job and make a lot of money, buy him a tuxedo. Research has
men who own tuxedos are smarter, have better jobs and make
Shared by Sr. Maria Salerno of the Catholic University of
America School of Nursing
to help students differentiate between a statistical relationship
and cause and effect.
Project Reality - A. C. Green’s Game Plan
Abstinence Program (available in Spanish) 847-729-3298
Family Honor Inc. Chastity is for Everyone
(audiotape) and Our Power to Love (http://www.familyhonor.org/order.htm)
How to Save Sex for Marriage: A Family Workshop
is part of the Project Genesis Series published by
Leaflet Missal Company, St. Paul, Minnesota 1-800-328-9582
Mary Lee O’Connell, CRNP