Mile-High Consent: How to Talk about Safer Sex Like a Flight Attendant

Mile High Consent image.JPG
Mile High Consent image.JPG

Mile-High Consent: How to Talk about Safer Sex Like a Flight Attendant

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Description: The Mile-High Consent lesson is about sexual communication.  This model is a humorous approach to discussing consent and safer sex.  This model provides educators with a means of illustrating the importance of discussing safer sex with sexual partners as well as a guide to that conversation. Facilitators will guide the participants through the Mile-High Consent analogy and provide them with opportunities to expand on the analogy.  Participants will then create their own sexual safety briefs.

Audience: Young adults, college students, adults.

Download: Lesson Plan, two handouts, a PowerPoint Slide, related blog post

Cost: This lesson and its materials are free. Please credit Mia Barrett when using this material in any way. If you like the Mile-High Consent lesson and want to contribute financially, please Venmo what you feel is appropriate to @mia-barrett.

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Talking about safer sex is important but a challenging topic for many to broach.  The Mile-High Consent model helps people recognize the necessity of this conversation and provides a humorous analogy which helps lessen the tension around the conversation. The Mile-High Consent Model offers sexuality educators a way of framing the safer sex conversation for their students in a way that is relateable and fun.

According to the Theory of Planned Behavior, attitudes, subjective norms, and self-efficacy are associated with behavioral intent, which predicts behavior. For women, according to one study it was argued that condom negotiation self-efficacy was more important than condom use self-efficacy in predicting consistent condom use (Guan et al., 2016). Meaning that women who felt confident in their ability to have a conversation about using condoms were more likely to consistently use condoms.  As health educators, we spend a lot of time teaching condom use self-efficacy with condom demos and condom line up games. Knowing how to use a condom is important, but so is being able to have conversations about using condoms. 

The barriers to conversation about condoms or other safer sex methods are often a fear of rejection, fear of ruining the moment, fear of relationship consequences like distrust or anger (Faulkner & Lannutti, 2010). Those fears are valid and those negative outcomes do occur.  We also know that having these conversations can have positive outcomes like better sex, respected boundaries, and better dirty talk anger (Faulkner & Lannutti, 2010).  There is no doubt that having a safer sex conversation can be challenge.  The challenges often root from lack of experience with these conversations and a lack of modeling.  Our media rarely portrays safer sex conversations and when they do, they are short and inadequate.  

How you talk about condoms, or safer sex in general is what matters (Broaddus, Morris, & Bryan, 2010).  Delivery is everything. People who bring up condoms with an Eroticization Negotiation Strategy (compared to Refusal of sex or Explanation of consequences) was seen as more exciting and likely to engage in sexy (Broaddus, Morris, & Bryan, 2010).  Which is to say, if you talk about safer sex in a sexy way, youre seen as sexy. For many people, humor and silliness is sexy. 

The Mile-High Consent model is meant to be silly and humorous.  Its meant to be a lighthearted way to broach the topic.  Or at the very least, to practice and model these conversations in a light-hearted manner.


Goal and Objectives

Goal: Provide a new way and justification for discussing consent and safer sex needs.


By the end of the workshop:

1.       Participants will identify five topics that should be included in a safer sex talk. 

2.       Participants will demonstrate their understanding of the Mile-High Consent model by constructing their own Sexual Safety Briefing.

3.       Participants will articulate three way this model can be applied to their sexuality education work.