LEADING A SMALL GROUP SEXUALITY TALK by (briancberry.com)

If you’ve ever tried to have a discussion with high school students about sexuality then you probably have discovered a few things to be true:
  1. First, teens care about the subject of sexuality as a default.  You don’t need to convince anyone that this is a worthy thing to discuss.
  2. Secondly, they also are bombarded with images, ideas, thoughts, and ideologies from all angles- parents/friends/media/religion/etc.  They even have a perceived “right or wrong answer” they expect to get in church or from people in positions of authority around them- which has a collective tone deaf effect on them that is both easy and popular to ignore as irrelevant and ideologically unappealing.
  3. Lastly, knowing what they want to do and actually doing it are 2 radically different things.  This is why simply having students sign a purity covenant or put on a ring rarely changes a students decisions in my experience.  They must have a much higher “get it factor” than a ceremony can provide in order to truly own their decisions and say yes & no on purpose.
So, knowing all that, here’s what we did tonight to get our students inside the real issues when it comes to dating and not just giving us a head knod or “Sunday School Answer”.
After a battle of the sexes trivia game just for fun, we then split all the guys in one room and all the girls in another.  Then we had them sit in their normal small groups around the room  (a couple of adult leaders and 8 students or so).  Then we pulled 3 students (1 from each of small group) and put them in chairs up front for a random panel discussion.  If you are instead going to do this with just one small group, you could do this same panel by selecting one or two people to respond first.
Then, I read the panel a series of “it could happen” scenarios and asked their responses before we invited the individual small groups to spend a few  minutes kicking it around.  It was so good and really got them talking. I loved the interaction and to see students verbally process their thinking on sexuality with authenticity and even vulnerability.
If you want to have a similar discussion with your own small group, here’s some “it could happen” situations I wrote and a few questions to follow.  Hope they’re helpful to you.
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IT COULD HAPPEN 1: You want to date, but it seems so complicated. You’ve been talking with your friends and you all agree there are all these pressures on you all over the place. Truthfully, you’re not sure which ones to give into and which ones to fight.
  • QUESTIONS: What pressures do you feel are on you as a (man/woman) in America today. What are some healthy and not-so-healthy expectations we have placed on genders.

IT COULD HAPPEN 2: Your friend just went on a date and loved it. In fact they told you that they think they have “fallen in love”
  • QUESTIONS: What do you think they mean and do you think someone can “fall in love”? Argue both for and against the truth of this idea in our culture.

IT COULD HAPPEN 3: You want to date. You’ve found someone who you like and who your friends approve of. But your parents have told you that you’re not allowed to date until you’re 16. Your friends think that’s lame and so do you.
  • QUESTIONS: Should age be a factor in dating and to what degree?   Besides age, what else would you say should determine if you date or not?  When is it good to be single on purpose?

IT COULD HAPPEN 4: You’ve been dating for over a year and you’re headed to your senior prom. You’ll both be looking sweet and love will surely be in the air. Both of you are committed to each other and you’ve even talked about someday maybe getting married. However, you also know the night will pose lots of opportunities to push some of your boundaries.
  • QUESTIONS: How will you decide what you do or don’t do on this date? What will guide your choices: both in terms of peer pressure and your sexuality? How far would you say is too far and how will you decide?

IT COULD HAPPEN 5: You’ve been dating for 2 years. You think you want to get married. You’ve both already “lost your virginity”.
  • QUESTION: Should you live together to see if you want to spend the rest of your lives together before you officially get married? How would you make this decision?

IT COULD HAPPEN 6: You and your date have been going out for a while now. But all your friends keep saying that you fight too much. You think they’re being over-reactive and that you guys are fine together. Sure, you fight from time to time, but who doesn’t? Your friends insist that you’re not seeing things straight and that you’re being manipulated. They tell you that you should break up.
  • QUESTION: What are some things that would cause you to break up with a date? What are some reasons that dating couples stay in a dating relationship too long and are afraid to break up, even when they should? Whose advice would you seek if you were trying to decide if your friends were right or wrong in their advice?

IT COULD HAPPEN 7: You just got baptized. You want to follow Jesus and you’re involved in youth group a lot. You’ve been friends for a while with someone who has recently showed interest in dating you, but they don’t share your same beliefs about God and life. You like them and the interest in dating is mutual.
  • QUESTION: Is it ok to date someone whose faith is different from yours and how do you decide what you need to mutually agree on and what you can simply agree to disagree about?

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