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In this third section we discuss male and female relationships, stages of intimacy, and how people often get stuck in earlier stages. We also examine different components of love, and how people often “sell themselves short” and what current scientific research says about male and female differences and marriage.
Part Three Chapters:
  1. Male and Female
  2. Five Star Sexuality
  3. Stages of Intimacy: Attraction and Infatuation
  4. The Third Stage of Intimacy: Connection
  5. The Fourth Stage of Intimacy: Caretaking
  6. What’s Your Price Tag?
  7. Marriage
Back to Curriculum Introduction

Lesson Eight “Male and Female”

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Key Points
  1. Male/female attraction and relationships are rewarding, important parts of life! But differences between the sexes can lead to misunderstanding and frustration. Understanding and accepting gender differences can help to reduce misunderstandings and damage to relationships.
  2. On average, females are more verbal at an earlier age. They are usually more concerned about nurturing relationships and communicating feelings. On average, boys are more aggressive, goal-oriented and solution-oriented. Despite these trends, we all have elements of opposite gender characteristics and would do well to develop these as well.
  3. Learning to appreciate and respect our differing strengths is an important part of building real relationships and achieving real, lasting intimacy.
  • Questions for Reflection

Lesson Nine “Five Star Sexuality”

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Key Points
  1. Example of winning the lottery or receiving inheritance- two kinds of people, those who invest for the future, those who tend to spend everything right now.
  2. All of us have received six things which are far more valuable than a million dollars:
    1. Our health
    2. Our mind or intellect
    3. Our heart or ability to feel and to love
    4. Our will which allows us to take action
    5. Our conscience, or our awareness of right and wrong, sense of ethics
    6. Our sexuality, the fact that we are born male or female with all the attractions and the potential to create new life. (Use “Priceless Gifts” slide)
  3. Complete “5 Star” sexuality includes five parts, not just the physical one. These include:
    1. Intellectual: talking, sharing thoughts, hopes, plans, sense of humor, way of looking at the world, ability to see future benefits, not just immediate pleasure.
    2. Issue of personal space. We usually have close physical contact and hugging within a family. Also, girls hug each other and guys slap each other on the back, but what about physical contact between guys and girls? Do you let just anyone touch you?
    3. Emotional: sharing feelings, heart, truly caring about someone’s longterm well-being and happiness
    4. Social: involves getting to know each other’s families. With sexual intercourse potentially creating a new human being and a new family related to and merging the two lineages (father’s and mother’s sides)
    5. Moral/Spiritual: all actions have a motivation expressing a greater or lesser degree of selfishness or selflessness. Love, in its true sense, is inherently moral, and sacrifices itself for those we love and focuses on the other’s well-being more than one’s one. Also, spiritually based beliefs about the meaning of sexual expression.
    6. Physical: includes feelings of attraction. Eventually fulfilling nature’s purpose to have species reproduce through coming together of mature man and woman in sexual union. Includes possible negative consequences if not in committed, lifelong relationship between two people who have prepared adequately.
  4. Study at University of Louisville in Kentucky found that good character is more important than good looks or a high income for women seeking a potential mate. Good character included: honesty, kindness, dependability, and willingness to listen.
  5. To achieve anything in life, self-control is important. This is especially true in man/woman relationship because sexuality is powerful. If used in right way at right time it can to lead to joy and new life. If used selfishly or irresponsibly to can lead to pain and regret.
  6. Windows and Boundaries
    1. We want to protect things that are valuable with boundaries. Your own body has a boundary called your skin. A second line of defense is your immune system of white blood cells which checks the genetic “I.D” of anything in your blood stream to see if they belong there. If not, the germ gets attacked!
      What about protecting something as valuable as your mind or heart? Don’t these deserve a line of protection? We need to choose what we allow into our minds and hearts. Can’t always control what billboards and magazine ads and TV shows are created, but we can control what we choose to look at and to dwell upon. You can’t control whether birds fly over your head, but you don’t have to let them build a nest in your hair!
    2. Issue of personal space. We usually have close physical contact and hugging within a family. Also, girls hug each other and guys slap each other on the back, but what about physical contact between guys and girls? Do you let just anyone touch you?
      Society used to have clear standards. But our sexualized culture treats girls and women as sex objects. They allow themselves to be treated as such because they believe it is expected of them. If a boy says something nice or spends some money on them some girls feel obligated to have sex. Why do they feel this way? How could they change?
      Boys/men also suffer from loss of boundaries. Many fear their masculinity will be challenged and they’ll be called names if they don’t have sex. Should they let their fear coerce them into acting in a way they know is wrong? Who is the real man? The one who takes something that really doesn’t belong to him or the one who unselfishly decides that sexual intimacy with a girl belongs to her future husband?
    3. Setting Boundaries. Two thirds of teens in one survey said it was okay for a boy to force sex on a girl if they’d been dating for more than six months. A large number said it was okay if the boy/man had spent a lot of money on her. One in three said it was okay if the girl had been sexually active before. Discuss.
      Part of problem is male/female differences in sexual arousal. A couple who want to avoid “going too far” would be wise to set limits in advance, limits that are a good way before the point of “no return” for both partners.
      Media uses sexual images to sell products, TV shows, video games, etc. Men and women are victimized by this media but also contribute by consuming these media products. We all need to become more discerning about what it truly means to build a loving man/woman relationship. Otherwise we collaborate in creating a culture which reduces men and women to the status of objects to be used and discarded, rather than full-fledged human beings.
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Lesson Ten “Stages of Intimacy: Attraction and Infatuation”

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Key Points
  1. Sexual attraction and union is the way that most of the animal and plant world reproduce. Biologists say that sex operates like a grand lottery that eliminates genes with bad mutations. While nature leads all living things to reproduce, it’s very helpful to understand the stages of intimacy.
  2. The first stage, attraction, involves elements such as physical appearance expressing health, strength, fertility, sense of humor, intelligence, social status, chemicals called pheromones, and unconscious, psychological elements from childhood. It’s important to realize that you can be attracted to someone who may or may not be good for you to have a relationship with.
  3. In the second stage of intimacy, infatuation, you are more that attracted, you are obsessed!Thoughts of your beloved fill your mind. You feel the joy of “falling in love.” You are on “Cloud Nine.” Use “Cloud Nine” slide. The trouble is that when you fall in love in this way, you are on drugs, natural amphetamines that give you a feeling of elation as well as higher levels of testosterone, increasing sexual desire.
  4. How good is your judgment when you’re in a drug-induced intoxication? Questions to think about when you’re infatuated listed on page 83.
  5. The brain becomes habituated to a drug after several weeks or months and the excitement starts to wear off. Many couples turn to sex to regain the excitement. Sex becomes a substitute for real intimacy. Use “Sex can become a substitute for real intimacy” and “Cloud 9.5” slides.
  • “When it comes to dating, he answers ‘No’” story
  • “To us, sex is special” story
  • Reading Questions
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Lesson Eleven “The Third Stage of Intimacy: Connection”

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Key Points
  1. Read and discuss Selection from the Velveteen Rabbit on the nature of lasting love or Connection, the third stage of intimacy. Some people never get to this third stage. They are “romance junkies” and when the feelings of infatuation die off as they must, they break up and look for someone else. Too bad. They are missing a deeper form of love beyond passion/infatuation, which involves a transition to mutual affirmation and acceptance.
    Use “When Romance Dies, Love Can Begin” and “Connection/Cloud 10” Slides.
  • Read excerpt from “Gift of the Magi.”
  • Read excerpt from “Velveteen Rabbit.”
  • Discuss answers to Questions

Lesson Twelve “The Fourth Stage of Intimacy: Caretaking”

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Key Points
  1. In the fourth stage of intimacy, caretaking, we have a chance to experience the deepest stage of intimacy, sacrificing and taking care of another human being. If the couple has married they have made a commitment not only to each other, but also to any children who might be born as a result of sexual love. Use “Caretaking/Cloud 20” slides
  2. The readiness and capability of a couple to care for children is crucial because children make many demands for the time, attention, mature love and resources of their parents. Use “Stages of Intimacy and Love” Slide. Sharing sexual love before achieving the stage of connection (typically through marriage) and being capable to fulfill the caretaking role is tragic because it often leads to the birth of children who lack committed, mature parents.
  • Read second selection from Charlotte’s Web, “The Father of My Country,”
  • Read poem by Leo Tolstoy, “The Eagle”
  • Discuss answers to Questionsfor Reflection

Lesson Thirteen “What’s Your Price Tag?”

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Key Points
  1. Story of “The Two Hundred Dollar Mountain Bike” leads into a discussion of the importance of setting the right value not just on physical things you own, but on oneself. People will treat us according to the value we place on ourselves.
  2. Sexuality can be treated as a commodity to be bought and sold, but most people agree this is degrading.
  3. Purpose of sex is not just pleasure, but to communicate value. Just as you don’t lend something you really value to someone you don’t know well, you don’t want to give away the precious gift of your sexuality to someone who will not respect it.
  4. Many people take a “feelings-based” approach to issues of sexuality, but the real costs of such an approach may not be apparent until later in much the same way that uncontrolled credit card use or use of alcohol or drug use may not appear until later.
  5. Analogy of the way one uses a large inheritance of money either to spend just on things won’t last or to invest for the future. Low commitment relationships are like renting something you’ll never own. High commitment relationships are like investing in something that you will own when the payments are done.
  6. Dealing with Sexual Feelings- Different ways including redirecting sexual energy into other interests or getting to know someone you feel attraction to in nonsexual ways.
  7. Ann Landers letter about “Spotting a potential abuser”
  • Discuss answers to Questionsfor Reflection

Lesson Fourteen “Marriage”

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Key Points
  1. Although most young people say they do plan to get married someday, many don’t see the connection between their current actions, habits, and attitudes and their future marital success. It’s important to get accurate information about marriage and correct misconceptions.
  2. For instance, many men and women think that just living together is a good way to find out if someone is a good marital partner, but research shows that on average couples who just live together are less happy, have lower quality marriages, and a higher risk of divorce than couples who get married without living together. Use “Living Together-A Test Run? , “Cohabitation is not preparation for marriage,” and “More Domestic Violence among Cohabitors”slides.
  3. Benefits of marriage: lower rates of domestic violence, better physical and emotional health, longer life expectancy, lower use of drugs and alcohol, more sexual fulfillment, and higher rates of savings and wealth. Use “Marriage enhances health,” “Most comprehensive U.S. sex survey ever,” and “Marriage-haven for growth, healing” slides.
  4. While marriage has many benefits, marrying for the wrong reasons can lead to unhappiness and marital failure. Marrying to escape an unpleasant situation or in the belief that “my spouse (Mr. or Ms. Right) will make me whole” is unrealistic and very unlikely to lead to your happiness or success in marriage.
  5. Predictors of Marital Success include: 1) Realistic Expectations, 2) Positive Personality Traits, 3) Communication Skills, 4) Ability to Resolve Conflict, 5) Religious Orientation. Use “Predictors of Marital Success” slide.
  6. Psychologists have developed a three part and a four part model of love: passion, intimacy (ability to communicate one’s thoughts and feelings), commitment and compatibility (shared interests, faith, moral values, etc.) Use “House of Love” and “What is intimacy” slides.
  • Take “What’s Your Love IQ? test
  • Take “Are You a Good Match?” test
  • Discuss answers to Questionsfor Reflection

Participation Activity: “Sharing Cups of Water”


Ask for four volunteers, two boys and two girls. Give each a glass of water. Ask them to take a sip but not to swallow. Then tell them to spit back into the cup. Next, ask them to exchange cups. Then suggest that they take a sip from the new cup. Students will object, of course. Ask them “why don’t you want to take a sip?” They will say that someone else already spit into their cups!

Point out that having sex with someone is much more intimate than drinking a little bit of their saliva and is much more risky in terms of consequences. If you believe that your saliva is a private thing, how much more is sexual intimacy. We need to regain a concept of boundaries between what is public and what is private.

Participation Activity: “Just two on the blanket?”


Ask for volunteers, six female and six male. Tell the following story: “Brad and Jenny are both students at high school. They are deeply in love and think that maybe someday they will get married. Brad is a very successful athlete and has received a full scholarship to attend college next year. Jenny is very artistic and wants to go to art school and thinks that someday she and Brad will get married and have three kids and live in a big house in the country. (Brad and Jenny sit down at front of blanket) But, Brad forgot to mention to Jenny that last year before Jenny moved into town, Brad went out with Allison for several months. They thought they were in love and went ahead and had sex. (Allison gets on the blanket in back of Brad) Allison never told Brad that during her close friendship with Mike before that, they shared sexual intimacy. (Mike gets on blanket next to Allison) The year before this Mike went to a party where alcohol was being served and he didn’t want to be ‘uncool’ so he got a little drunk as did Michelle and they had sex (Michelle gets on blanket).

Now Jenny, last year before she moved into town, had a boyfriend named Dan who was real good looking and popular at her school. He took her out to the prom and went to a party afterwards where people were drinking alcohol. Jenny didn’t want to appear immature in front of Dan and his friends, so she drank a few glasses. Many got drunk and had sex including Dan and Jenny (Dan gets on blanket behind Jenny). Dan had a lot of girlfriends with whom he’d had sex (bring Mary, Jean and Sarah onto the blanket). They all had boyfriends with whom they’d had sex. (3 boys get on blanket).

You can see that Brad and Jenny are definitely not alone on the blanket! And the different sexual contacts had a few consequences. It turns out that Mary had some problems with painful sores in the genital area that she felt too embarrassed to tell anyone about, but finally she went to a doctor to get a genital exam and a blood test which revealed she was infected with the incurable herpes virus. So everyone on her side of the blanket needs to get a genital examination and blood test but because she is too embarrassed to tell anyone no one knows they might be infected or could be become infected with the incurable herpes virus which has destroyed some marriages and can cause quite a bit of physical and emotional suffering.

Also, it turns out that a few months ago Sarah began to have pain in her abdominal area and went to the gynecologist who discovered that she had a serious infection with Chlamydia which can lead to sterility if not treated in time. She is taking antibiotics but is too ashamed to tell any of the boys she had sex with or their partners so that they could get tested and treated with antibiotics.

Also, Allison got pregnant and decided to keep the child. Since Brad is no longer paying attention to her, she’s thinking of suing him and forcing him to support her and the child. Brad is worried he will lose his athletic scholarship and, instead of going to college, have to stay home and get a job to support Allison and their son, Tommy, who is just six months old.

Ask students to not just consider these consequences. Ask them what were the moral and character issues that were dealt with badly by the students. Analyze the relationships fromt the viewpoint of 5 star sexuality. List on the blackboard: lying or failing to tell the truth by omission, endangering another person’s health and future, causing someone to become a single parent so lack of concern about another’s well-being.

Scenario 2: Seven male and seven female students. Tim and Alicia (get on the blanket) like each other a lot and are attracted to each other. Tim is a talented musician and wants to go to a music school. Alicia loves science and is thinking of going to medical school and taking care of people who have no medical care in Africa. They are thinking that someday they want to get married, but know that they have to wait a few years and that they may end up marrying someone else, so they’ve decided to set limits on their relationship by not drinking alcohol and by not having sex or being in situations where that could happen. Both of them go to college. Alicia meets Frank at college who’s also interested in medicine. They fall in love and decide they do want to get married. Tim meets Cindy at Music School and they fall in love and decide they want to get married and record CD’s together. By coincidence both couples get married in the same month at the same hotel. They invite the rest of their close friends to their wedding as part of the wedding ceremony and party. The rest of students get up on the blanket. Did any of these students endanger the physical or emotional well-being of others or themselves? Did any of them have to deal with guilt about failing to tell about previous sexual partners and the possible consequences of that?

These two wedding couples are starting their marriages with a clean slate, not bringing in a lot of old baggage.

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