Wednesday, July 30, 2014

4 Easy Group Exercises: Normalizing talking about sex and other important issues

via United Black Element (U-BE) Adaptation of the Mpowerment Project to Young Black MSM.  There are more exercises in the adaptation manual. It is a free download when you register at


Setting up the space and setting the tone for exercises.

Note: We recommend conducting this brief opening activity at the beginning of each session of activities below. 

  • To get participants involved right away by participating in setting the atmosphere. 
  • Having the statements (see list below) on separate signs and posted throughout the room is meant to more easily catch the attention of the participants, who might otherwise easily disregard a list of items all on one sign.
  • Signs
  • Something to easily attach the signs to the walls so they can be removed later and re-used.
Ask participants to post the individual signs on the walls around the room

Instructions for the facilitators

Convene the participants back to the center of the room and ask them to read the signs silently and take in their meaning 

Statements to be posted on individual signs


All questions are important.
Thank you for being here with us.
Join in!
You opinions are invaluable for each one and all of us.
Each single one of us is special and unique.
Your friends need you. Show them that they matter to you.
Your whole community needs you.
The world we dream of is possible. Let's build it together.


Mpowerment 3-day Training Newark NJ 7.2014


Figure 3 – Normalizing Talking about sex (pg. 67)

The following activities foster sexual communication in order to: 
    • Support participants in thinking about sex in a positive way, learning to communicate about the use of condoms with both casual and regular partners.
    • Help participants become aware of the problems that sexual silence can potentially cause in their lives, including negative health consequences. 

    Figure 3.1 - Shake Your Booty  Pg. 67 (Estimated time 10 minutes)


    To create a setting that facilitates the expression of ideas and beliefs about sex and sexual experiences in a lighthearted way.


    • Chairs
    • Recorded music
    • Music player
    • List of statements (see below)

    Instructions for the facilitators
    • With the participants’ help, distribute the chairs facing outward, in a circle in the middle of the room. The number of chairs must be one less than the number of participants (like in Musical Chairs).
    • At first, all participants are standing.
    • Explain the rules of the game:

    1. When the music starts, all players walk or dance around the chairs.
    2. As soon as the music stops, they have to sit in a chair, keeping in mind that one person will remain standing, as there is one chair less than the number of players.
    3. The person who is left standing will read out loud a sentence given to him by one of the facilitators.
    4. Upon hearing the description, all participants who have either engaged in that action or desired to do so will stand up and shake their booty to the music.
    5. The game then resumes with all participants, including the one who just read the card.

    • Explain that the statements on the cards are about sexual situations, positions, activities, fetishes, body parts, etc.
    • Explain that those who have been in those situations or fantasized about the things described in the sentence must stand up and shake their booty to the rhythm of the music, following the instructions of the facilitator.
    • The facilitators must talk about sex and sexual matters in total comfort.
    • Respect the boundaries of anyone who wishes not to talk about his sexual experiences. At the same time, ensure that the environment you create feels safe enough for all participants to feel comfortable talking about these subjects.
    • Tell participants they are free to change the terminology/language or the sentences in the cards whichever way they feel more comfortable, whether formal or colloquial.
    • Unlike in the game of Musical Chairs, no chair is ever removed here. The activity goes on until 10 statements have been read.

    List of Statements
    1. Shake your booty if you’ve ever fantasized about having sex with Tom, Dick, or Harry [pick one]. – [Coordinators provide a list of 3 names of famous men the participants are likely to know, and the person reading the card picks one of them].
    2. Shake your booty if you’ve ever had or fantasized having oral sex.
    3. Shake your booty if you’ve ever [participant comes up with his own idea]. – [Facilitators do keep written track of the options created by participants for future activities].
    4. Shake your booty if you’ve ever had sex or fantasized about having sex with someone of a different race.
    5. Shake your booty if you’ve ever had sex or fantasized about having sex with a woman.
    6. Shake your booty if you’ve ever had or fantasized about being in a threesome.
    7. Shake your booty if you’ve ever had or fantasized about having sex with an older man.
    8. Shake your booty if you’ve ever had or fantasized about having sex in a public space.
    9. Shake your booty if you’ve ever had or fantasized about having group sex.
    10. Shake your booty if you’ve ever rimmed/been rimmed or fantasized about rimming.
    11. Shake your booty if you’ve ever been or fantasized about being tied up while having sex.
    12. Shake your booty if you’ve ever used or fantasized about using a dildo.
    Items for discussion
    • Did you hear anything new that you would like to try?
    • How would you make sure that all those fun things were safe?
    • What did you learn from this exercise?
    FUSE | Mpowerment Dallas TX


    Figure 3.2 – Exercise and discussion on sexual vocabulary. Pg. 69 
    (Estimated time 20 minutes)

    • The goal of this activity is to become aware of sexual matters that we wish to talk about but that we find it difficult to express. Elicit as many opinions as possible about the reasons why we do not openly discuss sexual tastes and preferences.
    • Chairs
    • Three flip charts
    • Markers of different colors
    Instructions for facilitators

    • Lay out enough chairs for all participants to sit in a circle.
    • Ensure that this activity moves along fast and lightheartedly, and guide participants to
    • offer responses that are brief and to the point.
    • Participants should be encouraged to respond as quickly as possible, without thinking too much about their answers. (Participants are allowed to skip their turn and pass, if they wish.)
    • The sentences that the facilitator initiates and the participants have to complete are:

    1. For me, sex is ...
    2. What I like about sex is ...
    3. What worries me about sex is ...

    • One of the facilitators writes these sentences at the top of each flip chart. Under each heading, the facilitator will write the answers the participants will provide as completion of the sentence.
    • Participants can answer with a single word or a very short phrase. (Discourage long explanations.)
    • As participants take their turn stating their answers out loud to the group, the facilitators rapidly write them down on each respective flip chart, using markers of different colors
    • When all participants have provided an answer to complete all three sentences, the facilitators will quickly review what they wrote on the flip charts and will lead the participants in a thoughtful analysis of what the activity caused them to think or feel.


    The discussion must include an exploration of the following reasons why we do not talk openly about our sexual tastes and preferences:
    • Fear of being judged
    • Fear of rejection
    • Fear of not being accepted
    Promote a discussion among the participants of the reasons for not openly expressing sexual preferences and tastes, and of what they expect or fear will happen if they tell their sexual partners about their sexual tastes or preferences.

    United Black Elument | Mpowerment Dallas TX


    Figure 3.3 – Negotiations with a casual partner. Story Telling. pg. 70
    (Estimated time: 20 minutes)


    The goal is to get participants to actively and collectively engage in creating a sexual fantasy involving safer sexual behaviors.

    Instructions for Facilitators
    • Tell participants that you’re going to have some fun, creating a story together about meeting some hot guy.
    • Let them know it’s going to be fast.
    • Read the paragraph below and then go around the room, asking the first participant to add a couple of sentences to it to begin turning it into a story. The participant next to him will then add another couple of sentences, and so on. In the end, the entire group will have contributed to telling the story of a really hot encounter one night, with a very hot guy. Remind participants that all sexual activities should be such as to prevent transmission of HIV.
    Starting paragraph

    Mr. Perfect and I walked back to the hotel room where he was staying. As soon as we entered his room, Mr. Perfect got his hands all over me and started furiously undressing me...

    Topics for discussion
    • What did you like about this story?
    • What would you have changed this to better suit your erotic desire? 
    • How safe do you think the sex the guys had was?
    • What did you learn from this exercise? 
    Mpowerment YVR | Vancouver BC


    Figure 3.4 – Four Corners
    (Estimated time 5-45 minutes Estimated time 5-45 minutes, depending on how many statements you choose)

    To get into issues regarding sero-sorting, relationships, drug and alcohol use, HIV testing, treatment optimism, strategic positioning, and bisexuality.

    • Flipchart 
    • Markers

    Instructions for facilitators
    Before the activity:
    1. In preparation for the activity, write down a number of scenarios on flip chart sheets (see suggestions below) .
    2. Each scenario must contain a statement with which participants can agree or disagree.
    3. Write down each scenario/statement on a separate flip chart sheet.
    4. Write the following four answers on as many flip chart sheets: Strongly agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly disagree.
    5. Post each of the four flip chart sheet with the response choices in the four corners of the room.
    For the activity itself:
    1. Have participants take turns reading one of the scenario/statements at a time.
    2. After reading each scenario/statement, ask participants to move into the corner with the answer that best represents their opinion.
    3. Ask members of each group to explain why they voted the way they did.

    Sample scenario / statements

    • Two guys meet on a online hook-up site. They both have “HIV-negative” in their profiles. Is it OK for them to have anal sex without a condom.
    • Two men who believe they are HIV negative have been dating for four months and using condoms every time they fuck each other. They decide to stop using condoms with each other, but they agree to use condoms with other guys. This is a good way to prevent them from getting HIV.
    • Smoking pot makes it more difficult to have safer sex.
    • Drinking makes it more difficult to have safer sex.
    • Using meth (or GHB, or Ecstasy) makes it more difficult to have safer sex.
    • Using poppers makes it more difficult to have safer sex.
    • If someone decides to get an HIV test here at [fill in name of local Mpowerment program], no one will find out except for the testing counselor.
    • Getting your HIV test results is the hardest part about testing.
    • An HIV-negative guy and an HIV-positive guy are dating. It’s safe for the HIV-negative guy to suck the HIV-positive guy’s dick.
    • Two men are dating. One of them is HIV-positive. It’s pretty safe for the HIV-negative guy to fuck the HIV-positive guy without a condom.
    • If an HIV-positive man is getting treated for HIV, he doesn’t have to worry about transmitting HIV to guys who might be negative.
    • HIV-positive men don’t need to use condoms when they have fuck each other.
    • It’s wrong for a bisexual man to have sex with a woman, unless she knows that he also has sex with other guys.
    • It’s wrong for a bisexual man to have sex with another man, unless he tells him that he also has sex with women. 

    via United Black Element (U-BE) Adaptation of the Mpowerment Project to Young Black MSM.  There are more exercises in the adaptation manual. It is a free download when you register at

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