Discussion Questions

These questions are included to facilitate discussion, particularly between teenagers and adults, after reading this special section.

The Mass Media:

If a martian landed on earth and only watched television for a week, what would it think women look like and do? What would it think men look like and do?

Do you think that there is enough fair and accurate coverage of teen issues in the media? What stories are not shown about the lives of teens?

What are some examples of a positive portrayal of relationships or sexuality on television or in the movies? What made it positive?

If there is one absolutely important message that the media can give to teenagers about AIDS, what would it be?

How do talk shows portray sex and relationships?

Do you think movies, TV, music, and advertising affects the decisions young people make about whether and when to become sexually active?"

Sexuality and relationships

Why is sexuality often a difficult topic for people to talk openly about? Is it important to talk more openly about it? What would make it easier to talk about sexuality?

Do you think young people are having sex or getting into relationships at an earlier age than they used to 10, 20, 30, or 40 years ago?

What are the best reasons to have sexual intercourse? The worst reasons?

Is having sex for the first time a big deal, or just like other firsts--like driving or voting.

How much do each of the following factors affect the way you have or will make decisions about your sexuality. Rate them from most to least important:

  • Friends
  • Parents
  • Religion
  • Mass media
  • Physical feelings
  • The person you are with
  • drugs and alcohol
  • Your own mind
What are the most important parts of a healthy romantic relationship?

Is it difficult to postpone sex? At what age does the pressure to have sex become strong? Where does this pressure come from?

Why do so many kids become sexually active at a young age? Are drugs and alcohol a factor?

If you haven't had sex yet, do you think you'll abstain until marriage? Why or why not?

If you don't plan to abstain until marriage, how do you think you'll know when you're ready to have sex?

Where do/did your expectations about sex come from? If you've had sex, did it meet your expectations?"


How and when did you first learn about sex? From whom or what have you learned the most about sex? Have you talked with your parents about sex?"

What would an ideal health and sex educaton curriculum be like?

At what age and in what social context do you think sexuality and AIDS education should begin?

Which people in your life can you talk to about sexuality and other sensitive issues? Can you talk to your parents? Friends? Siblings? Grandparents? Family friends? Clergy? Teachers?


What do you enjoy about being a man? What is difficult?

What do you enjoy about being a woman? What is difficult?

What did Susan Bordo mean when she said that the strict standards of beauty for women led to "a waste of human resources?"

Body Image

How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror?

Do you compare your bodies to the bodies you see on television and in pictures? If you do, do you remember that the people in the pictures usually have personal trainers, hours each day to work out, and may have had cosmetic surgery? And that the pictures have often been retouched to make them look even better?

Do you think a person's self-image affects the decisions they make about sexuality?


Do you think economic conditions have made parenting more difficult?


Is homosexuality morally wrong?

Do you think people should be completely defined by who they have sex with?

Do you agree with Raphael, who said, "What people don't agree with, they want to destroy."


How does religion, both our own and the influence of other religions, affect our self-images, positively and negatively?

How does religion influence our decisions about sexuality and our views of possibilities for our lives?


Has AIDS affected your life? How?

What do you think about Kerry's statement that the likelihood of having sex with someone with HIV and using a condom properly may be less dangerous than having sex with someone who has not been tested and not using a condom.


To inquire about this project
in video, and printed formats,
send an email to project creator Dan Habib.

All photos ©2010, Dan Habib