How to Give a Chastity Talk
Don’t read your speech. I once heard a man say that the last time someone read to him it was his mother, and she was trying to put him to sleep. Not only does this bore an audience, but it makes your presentation look less genuine. Avoid reading from notes, as much as possible. The audience will figure that if you can’t remember your talk, how should they? It’s fine to have a few notes jotted down to glance at, but the sooner you can do it without notes, the better. Study and practice beforehand, so you know what you want to say.
Know your audience. By talking to the faculty beforehand, you can get an idea about the type of students to whom you’ll be speaking. You may visit one school where the vast majority of students come from intact families, and then speak at another the same day where two thirds of the students live in single-parent families. If most students come from broken families, they might not see marriage as a goal. Therefore, the idea of “waiting for marriage” may not be as meaningful to them. By having a general idea of your crowd, you’ll have a better idea how to present your material.
Remember that different ages have different attention spans. For middle school students, make sure to use props and audience interaction. These are also helpful in the high school talk, but not as essential. As the audience matures to the college level, the students become more interested in your content than your style.
Realize that men are motivated differently than women. Men want a battle to fight and a princess to save. We want to be challenged, and not to be treated as if we’re the problem. We want to be the solution. We want to conquer. On the other hand, women want to feel understood, having their feelings and experiences validated. Furthermore, girls are judged enough in their daily lives through their peers and the media. The last thing they need is to feel judged by another person. Therefore, avoid making remarks that would make them feel looked down upon. By being aware of these natural desires, you can avoid turning away audience members. For example, if a chastity speaker makes guys feel as if everything is their fault, the young men will shut out the speaker. The same goes for girls, but there is something in the pride of a man that makes us allergic to the idea that we need to be fixed. We’d rather be told that there’s a problem that needs to be solved, and we’re just the ones to tackle it. When speaking to young men, I often talk about the battlefield in all of our hearts between love and lust. I mention that I’m not telling them that they need to be like me, but that we all struggle with our vices. We all want to properly love women, but we find within ourselves the tendency to view them as objects. By explaining that we’re all going through the same thing, the guys are not as likely to take offense, as if I am accusing them.
Avoid giving the teens what they expect. Before attending a chastity speech, most teens expect that the speaker will speak down to them, tell them how to act, and make them feel guilty, afraid, and shameful. Therefore, praise and affirm teens. They thrive on it, and they deserve it. It’s essential that they know that you have not come to judge them. They want to know that you are real, that you care about them, and that you want the best for them. It has been said that you cannot change someone unless you love them and they know that you love them. Others say, “They don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.” It also helps when students know that you think they are mature enough to hear this material. If you say something heavy, balance it with hope. If you praise the virgins, balance it with hope for those who are not. Always put yourself in the shoes of both people for every sentence of your talk.
Keep it pure. Remember that you’re giving a chastity talk. There’s no need to speak (or dress) in an irreverent or impure manner in order to relate to your audience. This can sometimes be a challenge when discussing sexuality for 60 minutes, but keep it pure.
Use humor. Humor has countless benefits for a speaker and the audience. Teens learn better while laughing. It also expands their attention span, because they are given a moment to interact with their peers without being disruptive. Furthermore, a chastity presentation could be likened to a surgery. Just as a doctor uses anesthesia before operating, use humor during your chastity talk before you make your incisions and extractions. The subject of human sexuality is a very sensitive and even painful topic for some. In order to open the hearts and minds of your listeners, it helps to use some laughing gas. If you’re not funny, don’t even try. A bad joke does more damage than no joke. But it’s still possible to be humorous if you’re not funny. Audience interaction is the easiest way to get a laugh and loosen up your audience because they’re not focusing on themselves. Have some audience members come up and use them to illustrate a point. Don’t choose the audience members at random. Ask them to raise their hands if they want to come up. That way, the most extroverted and hyperactive ones will volunteer, which will make for a more entertaining interaction. I start every talk with such an exchange. It helps them to forget their preconceived ideas about a “boring sex talk.”
Use “I” more than “you.” Some people will speak to teens and say “you need to do this, and you need to do that.” Instead, talk about your own testimony. It’s better to look back in a story and say, “I needed to start respecting myself, so I….” Teens who are in a similar situation will be able to draw upon your experiences and apply it to themselves without feeling judged or accused. In fact, they will find common ground with you, and will be more likely to approach you afterwards.
Use Primary sources. When quoting statistics or medical facts, do not rely upon secondary sources. It’s not enough to say, “I once heard that 50 percent of people who….” Make sure your facts are correct.
Smile. Joy makes an impression.
Chastity is good news. I was once introduced by a student who said, “Our speaker today is Jason Evert, and he’s going to talk about sex, and . . . uh . . . how not to have it.” A chastity talk is not about “not having sex.” It’s about planning great marriages, and having relationships without regret in the meantime. It’s about knowing the difference between love and lust. It is good news. You are offering them something, not taking something away from them.
Grow in chastity yourself. The most convincing way to spread the message of purity is to live a chaste life. Personal examples speak louder than speeches.
When counseling, answer questions by asking them. This helps teens to internalize the solutions to their problems. For example, when a guy asks how far is too far, you can ask him how far he would want someone going with his future wife or little sister. When a girl asks if she should leave her controlling boyfriend, ask her what advice she would give to a friend if she was in the same kind of relationship. This is not dodging the question. It invites the person to look into his own heart, instead of imposing a rule upon him. This challenges teens to use their minds, and it shows them that you care about what they think. In turn, they are more likely to open up if they know you want to listen to them. This is not to be confused with the false morality known as the “non-directive” approach, where everything is relative and subjective. On the contrary, you are seeking to awaken a person’s conscience to objective truth.
Address pornography with the guys and modesty with the girls. Men are prone to use a woman for the sake of physical gratification, while a woman is prone to allow herself to be used for the sake of emotional gratification. By appealing to their desire to love, one can show that both immodesty and porn harm our ability to give and receive love.
Realize the prevalence of sexual abuse. Massive numbers of young women (and even some young men) have experienced sexual abuse that impacts the decisions they make in relationships and the way they view themselves. Speak with compassion, hope, and encouragement, realizing that not all people lose their virginity by choice.
Watch your body language. Don't distract with your hands, or cling to a podium in fear. You can move around as you speak, but don’t go overboard. If you can film yourself, this is the best way to critique your own talk.
Love is the greatest motivating force. Some teens are afraid of premarital sex because they witnessed a graphic STD slide show in health class. Others delay sexual activity because they want to attend a prestigious college and have other great dreams that a pregnancy could “ruin.” However, both of these fears are limited in their ability to produce chaste behavior. There is a desire in every person that runs deeper than the desire for self-preservation and personal accomplishment. It is the desire to love and be loved. Our generation has been taught how to avoid venereal infections, but what we really want to know is how to find, build, and maintain a relationship of real love. Everyone wants love. Everyone longs to completely give himself or herself to another. We’re made for love, and that need in us is so deep that many of us would rather take the risk of getting pregnant if it meant that we would have a chance at love. Some would rather risk getting a sexually transmitted disease than live without love. We may be willing to take these risks because the world has told us that sex equals love. Then we see relationships where sex destroyed love, and we wonder what went wrong. The only solution capable of breaking through all this hurt and confusion is the virtue known as chastity. Give it to them.
Add a “how to live it out” part in the talk. Give concrete tips for what the teens should do after your talk to lead a pure life. They need to see that the advice given is practical. Advise them to find good friends, avoid bad relationships and tempting situations, and offer tips on how to keep a relationship pure. If you’ll be giving a chastity presentation in the future, contact us and we may be able to send you free chastity materials for your audience.
Follow-up. After the presentation, suggest the names of other chastity speakers to the administration, and recommend that they bring in speakers annually to address the issue.
If you have an opportunity to speak with the media, here are a few tips:
- Smile. Loosen up, and don't get defensive.
- Be exciting. People who work on television or radio use exaggerated expressions and voice inflections. When you watch them from home or listen in the car, you don’t think anything of it. Then, watch or hear an interview with a person who isn’t accustomed to being in front of the camera or on radio. Because they speak in a normal way, they sound boring and half-asleep. Just as the voice is important in radio, the image is important on television. In a presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, those who listened to the debate overwhelmingly though that Nixon won, while those who watched the debate and were able to look at the candidates thought that Kennedy won. He appeared more at ease, and even though his mere words may not have been as convincing as those of Nixon, his presence and composure were enough to make up for it. One way to grasp the importance of one’s image is to ask yourself who would win a debate if there was no sound.
- Know your talking points. Before an interview, think of the three or four positive points that you want to get across. If you are in a debate or getting interviewed by someone who is unfriendly to the idea of chastity, answer the question you wanted to be asked. Don’t get thrown off, but know your agenda.