Objective 3

Curriculum Objective 3: Identifying threats to the limit

The theory of social inoculation proposes that individuals will be better prepared to combat a difficult situation that threatens their intention to behave in a certain way, if they have somehow anticipated or thought in advance about the possibility that such a situation could arise. We use this theory in our curriculum by offering students the opportunity to identify situations, pressures or internal feelings that could threaten their ability to maintain their sexual limit.

There are two lessons that help students identify situations that may be threatening to their limit. The first, in seventh grade, asks them to listen to the story of the young couple who had sex and identify aspects of the story that were warning signs that sex might happen. Warning signs that students identify include use of alcohol, feeling lonely, pressure from friends, being at a party where the parents aren’t home, lights being turned down low, the boy touching the girl in a sexual way, moving to the bedroom and lying in the bed together. In a group exercise, students identify one warning sign and then answer two questions: 1) what could the young people have said or done once they became aware of the warning sign? and 2) why might it be difficult for them to get out of the situation?

In eighth grade, we revisit this issue. We tell the story of two young people who like each other. The girl has just had a fight with her mother and is upset. The boy had a conversation with his father the night before in which the father implied that he was hoping or expecting that the boy would be sexually active. The couple find themselves alone at the boys house, watching TV. Pretty soon they are kissing and touching and getting sexually excited. Just as they are thinking about what to do next, the boy’s mother walks in the door. Students are then asked to identify what makes it easy for students to keep going. Their responses include: being home alone, being sexually excited, liking the other person, being afraid of being called a chicken or that the other person will want to break up, wanting to please the father, feeling angry at the mother. The teacher organizes this list and asks students to vote on which are most difficult. This exercise alerts students that although they may believe it will be easy, sexual situations present important challenges.

Last modified: February 7, 2011