11 Finding the Right Word

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Exercise

Finding the Right Word

Synopsis

This exercise helps participants to articulate colloquial words related to specific sexual acts and makes them think about whether or not they know the language used by various possible clients they could have. It helps highlight the lack of information programme planners and implementers often have with relation to sexual acts and language.

Objective

To practice talking explicitly about sex

Approximate Time

45-60 Minutes

Materials Needed

Copies of the worksheet

Steps

It is probably best to conduct this activity in single sex groups.

Be sensitive to any reluctance in relation to this activity. Emphasise its purpose and relevance to the work of participants.

Encourage everyone to try the activity but allow those who feel very uncomfortable to opt out.

Divide the participants into single sex groups of around five or six.

Give each group a copy of the worksheet and ask them to complete this, filling in the words which they think the different people would really use.

Processing – ask the participants:

  • How did it feel to participate in that activity?

  • Did your feelings change as the activity went on? If so in what ways?

  • How do you feel now?

  • What were the main differences between the vocabularies used by the different people?

  • Was there a gender difference among the different characters? If so how would you describe this?

  • Were any of the vocabularies more or less acceptable to you personally?

  • How would this affect you if you were to have a conversation about sexual matters with one of these people? Which vocabulary, if any, would you wish to use?

Tips for Trainers

Depending on the context you are conducting this training in, you might like to have separate groups of sexually active / inactive females and males or age based divisions of the groups. This is to ensure that younger or unmarried women and men are also able to contribute freely to the discussion in highly hierarchical or hetero-normative contexts.

Participants have found this exercise extremely enlightening, in that, they have realised that they actually do not possess the vocabulary to discuss sex, sexual acts and pleasure with their clients.

Emphasise the importance of learning this vocabulary and being aware of the exact meaning of different words to ensure that messages do not get diluted or misunderstood.

Note any differences in the amount of words the male group is able to fill in versus the amount of words the female group knows. Highlight any gender differences that are apparent, i.e. it is okay for men to use these terms but not for women, therefore they never learn about them. You could discuss the effect this has on women’s knowledge of their own anatomy and therefore their (lack of) ‘access’ to sexual pleasure.

WORKSHEET

Fill in the appropriate term in the blank space:

1. An illiterate man of 20 from a rural area, talking privately with his friends, would call his genitals his…………..and his wife’s genitals her…………..  He would describe sexual intercourse as …………….., masturbation as …………….., oral sex as ………………… and anal sex as………………..  He would describe orgasm as……………….

2. An illiterate woman of 20 from a rural area, talking privately with her friends, would describe her genitals as her …………… and her husband’s as his………….  She would describe sexual intercourse as …………….., masturbation as …………….., oral sex as ………………… and anal sex as……………….. She would describe orgasm as……………….

3. A 22 year old educated urban man, talking privately with his friends, would describe his genitals as …………….and a woman’s as her…………. He would describe sexual intercourse as …………….., masturbation as ……………., oral sex as ………………… and anal sex as……………….. He would describe orgasm as…………………..

4. A 22 year old educated urban woman, talking privately with her friends, would describe her genitals as her…………….and a man’s as his…………. She would describe sexual intercourse as …………….., masturbation as ………………, oral sex as ………………… and anal sex as……………….. She would describe orgasm as……………….

5. A 13 year old boy, talking privately with his friends, would describe his genitals as …………….and a girls’ as his…………. He would describe sexual intercourse as…………….. and masturbation as ………………..

6. A 13 year old girl, talking privately with her friends, would describe her genitals as …………….and a boy’s as his…………. She would describe sexual intercourse as…………….. and masturbation as ………………..

 

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