Sexual activity - what are the risks?

Time to complete Sexual activity - what are the risks?: 70 minutes

Year level: 10


Students consider the benefits, risks and potential consequences of sexual relationships, and investigate the risks, symptoms and methods of transmission of STIs and BBVs.

Learning focus

Engaging in sexual behaviour (and potentially intoxicated sex) for young adolescents includes choices and consequences that require them to have a good understanding of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Blood-Borne Viruses (BBVs). 

Key understandings

  • Adolescence is a period of dramatic physical, social and emotional change involving many new feelings and experiences.

  • Sexual feelings are a normal part of adolescent change and need to be managed appropriately.

  • Sexual activity has physical, social, emotional and legal implications.

  • Individuals are responsible for the decisions and choices they make regarding their sexual behaviour.

  • People have different attitudes, values and beliefs towards sex and sexuality.


  • Butcher's paper and markers
  • Timer
  • A3 poster paper
  • Internet access
  • Who or What Will You Pick Up at the Party? booklet
  • Teaching Resource: Reflection topic cards (optional)

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Personal, social and community health

This strand will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills to support a positive sense of self, to effectively respond to life events and transitions and to engage in their learning. Effective communication, decision-making and goal-setting skills are integral to this strand as they help to establish and maintain relationships in family, school, peer group and community settings, support healthy and safer behaviours, and enable advocacy. Students will source and examine a range of health information, products, services and policies, and evaluate their impact on individual and community health and safety.


Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Before you get started

  • Prior to conducting this activity, know that you are confident and comfortable with the subject matter and that you have a class capable of mature consideration and discussions about relationships and sex.

  • Be conscious of the need to prepare the class. Begin the lesson with a reminder to students about being mindful of their own, their friends and their fellow students' ability to conduct mature discussions about sexual relationships in a general, not personal, way. Make it clear that all scenarios will be considered and discussed non-personally and by means of 'third-party' reference. That is, the content of this lesson is being handled from a hypothetical approach.

  • Without making an issue of it, advise students who may feel uncomfortable with the subject matter that they are welcome to take a break for a drink or bathroom visit. Ensure ground rules are established before beginning this activity.

  • Self-esteem and confidence of some students may also be an issue during this activity. Be reassuring and support students as they develop the ability to practise assertive "no" statements. This will help students with their resilience and emotional wellbeing development. See the Guide: Resilience and life skills for more information. 

  • Be aware of the possibility that some students could have had traumatic sexual abuse related experiences which could be triggered in this learning activity. Teachers should know and understand the protective interrupting technique and what, why, when and how it is needed and used before facilitating this activity. It is important that teachers understand how to deal with disclosures and have a risk management strategy in place.

  • Refer to the Guides: STIs/BBVsHealthy relationships - Gender, power and consent and Safer sex and contraception for further content information related to this activity.

Learning activities

Whole Class

Students take part in a quiz to review their existing knowledge of STIs and BBVs and then research and gather information regarding young people and sexual behaviour, beliefs and perceptions and the benefits and consequences of having sexual relationships.

  1. Have students respond to the following statements using a thumbs up, thumbs down voting strategy and discuss their voting with someone close by. Clarify misconceptions as they appear. Stress that some of the statements are about their opinions while others have a correct and incorrect answer:

    • You only need to use condoms if you don’t know the other person very well (false)

    • If you love someone you don’t need to worry about STIs (false)

    • It would be easy to discuss wearing a condom with someone if you were having sex for the first time (opinion)

    • It would be easy to say no to sex when someone refuses to wear a condom (opinion)

    • Lesbians can’t get STIs (false)

    • Chlamydia can lead to sterility in women (true)

    • Once a person has genital herpes, they will always have the virus (true)

    • People who always use condoms are safe from STIs (false)

  1. Write the following titles on separate pieces of butcher's paper and pin to walls around the room in preparation for a graffiti walk: ‘young people and sex’, ‘benefits of sex’, ‘risks of sex’, ‘intoxicated sex’, ‘chlamydia’, ‘HIV’ and ‘hepatitis C’.

  2. Divide students into seven small groups and allocate each group to a different graffiti wall. Instruct students to write as much as they can on the topic they have been allocated in two minutes. At the end of the time, the groups are rotated and the process is repeated until all groups have attempted to write on all graffiti walls.

  3. Discuss the results, points of difference and clarify any misconceptions that have arisen.

  4. Present current information and statistics from the 5th National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health. Include the following points:

    • Almost one quarter of Year 10 students (23%), one third of Year 11 students (34%) and one half of Year 12 students (50%) have experienced sexual intercourse.

    • Discuss the transmission and risks of contracting a blood borne virus, e.g. HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

    • Discuss the increasing rates of chlamydia:

      • Between 2003 -2012, there was a threefold increase in chlamydia notifications in WA.

      • There are higher rates for females aged 15-24.

      • 83 per cent of notifications were people under 30.

      • Emphasise the reality and relevance of chlamydia for young sexually active people and essential need for regular testing. 

      • Visit the WA Department of Health's chlamydia website for more information.

Independent or Small Group

Students extend their knowledge of STIs/BBVs, intoxicated sex and/or sexual consent through researching appropriate websites and sharing gained information with peers.

  1. In pairs, students nominate one of the following topics to research and present their findings in the form of a prevention-based poster.

    • Select an STI/BBV and investigate the risks, symptoms, methods of transmission and type of testing available.  Focus on the best method or strategy for prevention.

    • Brainstorm likely scenarios and situations where ‘risk and regret' situations could arise, e.g. parties. Develop a poster to encourage safer options for these situations.  

  2. Students can utilise the booklet Who or What Will You Pick Up at the Party, the Get the Facts website or other relevant resources. 


  1. Students share the findings on their posters through a class discussion. 

  2. Alternative extension activity: Divide the class into 6 small groups. Give each group a different Reflection topic card. Each group reports on their topic for more depth and involvement. Invite students to visit the Get the Facts website for further information.



External related resources

The practical guide to love, sex and relationships 

A teaching resource from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.

Topic 1 - Introducing Love, Sex and Relationships

  • Ethical framework for love, sex and relationships
  • Decision making
  • Sexuality timeline- what it the average of: first sexual feelings, falling in love, identifying as gay/straight/bisexual, drinking alcohol, learning about sex at school, etc.

Topic 2 -  Love, etc

  • Elements of healthy relationships

Topic 3 - Sexual diversity

  • Words used for different sexual identities
  • Homophobia
  • Empathy building

Topic 4 – The truth about desire

  • What does it mean to ‘be sexual’
  • Gender stereotypes and sexual feelings

Topic 5 – When is the right time?

  • Factors that contribute to positive sexual experiences
  • Ethical relationships and ethical sex

Topic 6 – Comfort zones

  • Different ideals about what a sexual experience should be
  • Pressures and options

Topic 7 – Communication

  • Verbal  and no-verbal consent in sex
  • Checking in with your partner

Topic 8 – Consent and the law

  • Real-life scenarios for problem solving and decision-making
  • Sexual assault
  • Consent
  • Rights and responsibilities

Topic 9 – STIs – getting tested

  • Social issues and attitudes towards relationships and STIs
  • Managing sexual health
  • How to access services

Topic 10 – Can you get pregnant from…

  • Conception revision
  • Contraception choices, facts and stats
  • Real-life scenarios