Define what we mean by sexuality and explore links to power, child marriage and our lives.


This exercise allows participants to learn about sexuality through brainstorming and group activities.


The facilitator starts by presenting a scenario related to child marriage:
In Nepal: A and B are married before gowna. Both are 9 years old.
In Bangladesh: A and B are engaged. Both are 17 years old.
The facilitator then asks participants a series of questions:
  • A asks B to meet. Do they meet?
  • Why do they meet? What do they do?
  • A asks B to meet a second time.
  • Why would they meet a second time? What do they do?
  • What would happen if the parents found out?
Between each question, the facilitator leaves space for participants to share their thoughts and speculate about the situation. This is a lead-in into the conversation on sexuality, aimed to lighten the mood and make the conversations more fun, as well as help people feel more at ease with the topic.

Part I:

The facilitator then introduces the session topic of sexuality to participants. To start, the facilitator asks pairs to brainstorm and write on cards all the words that they can think of associated with sexuality.
When the group has run out of ideas, the facilitator presents the Circles of Sexuality posters, which represents one definition of sexuality. The circles include:
  • Sensuality: Awareness and feeling with one’s own body and other people’s bodies, especially the body of a sexual partner. Sensuality enables us to feel good about how our bodies look and feel and what they can do. Sensuality also allows us to enjoy the pleasure our bodies can give us and others.
  • Intimacy: The ability and need to be emotionally close to another human being and accept closeness in return. While sensuality is the need to be physically close to another human, intimacy is the need to be emotionally close.
  • Sexual identity: A person’s understanding of who he or she is sexually, including the sense of being male or female, culturally-defined gender roles, and sexual orientation. Sexual orientation refers to whether a person’s primary attraction is to people of the opposite sex (heterosexuality), the same sex (homosexuality), or to both sexes (bisexuality).
  • Sexual health and reproduction: One’s capacity to reproduce, and the behaviors and attitudes that make sexual relationships healthy and enjoyable. This includes factual information about reproduction, sexual intercourse and different sex acts, contraception, sexual expression, and reproductive sexual anatomy, among others.
  • Sexual power over others: Using sex or sexuality to influence, manipulate or control other people, such as seduction, flirtation, harassment, sexual abuse or rape.
Everything related to human sexuality can fit in one or more of these circles. Explain the definition of each circle, and ask for examples of sexuality concepts, thoughts or behaviors that would fit in each circle. Based on these circles, the facilitator asks participants to post key words around the matching ‘circle’. It would be good to remind participants that a word may fit in more than one circle; the circles are not mutually exclusive.
Once this exercise is completed, the facilitator leads a discussion with the group on sexuality and development. Questions may include:
  • Why do we need to be able to talk about sex and sexuality in our personal and professional lives? (brainstorm and discussion)
  • Brainstorm words you associate with sexuality. Introduce WHO circles of sexuality
    • Are there any areas you feel more or less comfortable talking about? Why is that?Can you imagine discussing these with your children? With your parents? With your peers?
    • Where do we tend to work? What do we tend to overlook?
    • How is sexuality associated with power? And empowerment?
    • Who is responsible to define and uphold sexual rights?
    • What links do you see between these and child marriage?


Source: ISOFI Manual, Advocates for Youth