Pizza and pleasure!

sexuality education pizzaOne of the fun things at the National Sex Ed Conference last week was the pre-conference workshop that I led on the Sex Ed Network.

For those of you unfamiliar (…and the only possible reason for this would be you’re not yet on Bill’s email list…let me know and I’ll rectify that right away!), the Sex Ed Network is an online space where the Center for Sex Education provides digital access to their lesson plans through an annual membership. There is also a budding discussion board section where we can come together, ask questions, share expertise, etc. 

The attendees of the pre-conference workshop were most excited to hear that the lesson plans from Teaching Safer Sex were now included on the Network in their entirety. We ended up reading through quite a few of the lesson plans from TSS, and that’s gotten me excited about this fantastic set of manuals again. (Among other things, TSS won the 2013 AASECT Book Award!)

So I’m going to spend a few days reviewing some of my favorite lessons from these two manuals. Today I want to touch on the lesson by Al Vernacchio that presents his pizza model of sex.



“YOU’RE OUT, BASEBALL!”: A Healthier, More Equitable, Satisfying and Safer Model for Sexual Activity 

By Al Vernacchio, MSEd

By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:

  1. Write their own definitions of the term having sex and make a comparison between it and the more inclusive term sexual activity.
  2. Identify one key difference between the “baseball” and “pizza” models when considering each of the following: the starting point of sexual activity; the behavior during sexual activity; and the expected outcome of sexual activity.
  3. Name two ways of adopting the pizza model that can help partners make their sexual activity safer.


As people make decisions about participating in sexual activity, raising awareness of the prevalence and power of the baseball model and offering an alternative model is crucial in helping them clarify their own values about the purposes and goals of sexual activity. The pizza model can offer greater potential for healthy, fulfilling, pleasurable and safer sexual activity. By asking participants to think deliberately about which model would benefit them and then comparing it with their scores on the Handout: Are you a “B” or a “P”?, participants may be able to make decisions about their behaviors that may lead to unintended actions or unintended consequences of actions.

I love this revisioning of the baseball and sex metaphor. The movement from a goal-driven approach to sexual connection to a shared-experience approach to sexual connection has been far too long in the making. And may I respectfully recommend that you provide pizza during, before, or after this lesson?
And in the event that you haven’t heard of Al’s pizza model before, I recommend you start right here, right now:

TSS both