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Key Ideas

  • The development of sexual interest comes from biological causes (direct and indirect effect of hormones) and psychological causes stemming from cultural expectations. Dating, unusual in many other parts of the world, is a culturally based experience that is dependent on parental and peer expectations.
  • Love is a basic human emotion. Some psychologists describe three components of love-intimacy, passion, and commitment. Love and intimacy do not require sexual intercourse, but most couples in love want to express their feelings with some level of physical intimacy.
  • Romantic love combines intimacy and passion, but often lacks commitment. Adolescent love tends to be romantic love. Loving someone helps adolescents become more caring and giving, enabling them to develop the most long-lasting and rewarding love, consummate love.

Overview

This section moves beyond friendship to dating. It stresses the fact that views on dating vary dramatically from culture to culture. Positive reasons for dating are given, and students use role-plays to demonstrate the qualities of a good and a bad date. The issue of sexual attraction and dating is examined. Students participate in an activity that helps them define the role looks should have in forming relationships. Three different types of love are presented and characterized. Students learn to distinguish between romantic love, companionate love, and consummate love. These are determined by the degree to which the relationship is shaped by intimacy, passion, and commitment. Students demonstrate their knowledge of these differences in the final activity.

Objectives

Students:

\checkmark identify the behaviors, attitudes, and activities that contribute to a positive or negative dating situation.

\checkmark identify those characteristics, both physical and behavioral, that people in our culture find attractive.

\checkmark decide what role those characteristics have, or should have, in influencing our selection of friends and relationships.

\checkmark examine the role the media and others have in influencing opinions.

\checkmark show the difference between liking, loving, and being in love.

\checkmark demonstrate they know that our behavior changes in each of these circumstances.

Vocabulary

  • commitment, companionate, consummate love, cultural factors, intimacy, passion, psychological, secondary sexual characteristics

Student Materials

Activity 2-1: Scripts for Dating

  • One Activity Report per group
  • Props-brought in by the group (Optional)

Activity 2-2: Judging People by Their Looks

  • One copy of Activity Report per group
  • Construction paper or poster paper
  • Markers or crayons

Activity 2-3: What Happens When You Are in Love?

  • One copy of Activity Report per group

Teacher Materials

Activity 2-1: Scripts for Dating

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Activity 2-2: Judging People by Their Looks

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Activity 2-3: What Happens When You Are in Love?

  • Activity Report Answer Key

Advance Preparation

See Activities 2-1, 2-2, and 2-3 in the student edition.

Activity 2-1: Scripts for Dating

  • Decide how to group students.

Activity 2-2: Judging People by Their Looks

  • Decide how to group students.
  • Gather paper and markers.

Activity 2-3: What Happens When You Are in Love?

  • Decide how to group students.

Interdisciplinary Connections

Language Arts There is a Mini Activity involving debate. Literature is full of examples of love and romance that can be tied to this unit. Role-plays and discussion groups help students develop communication skills and can lead to essay or journal writing.

Social Studies Views on dating differ from culture to culture and can be examined.

Art and Music Art and music are often used to express love. A Mini Activity capitalizes on this connection.

Background Information

Young people love to talk about love. The challenge is to help them make sense of it. The Sternberg triangular theory of love, which is the basis of discussion in this section, allows for a broader and more useful discussion than a single-minded focus on the experience of being in love.

The material presented is actually only part of the Sternberg model which describes several types of love. It is important to distinguish the three components of love (intimacy, passion, and commitment) from the types of love on which they are based.

For a fuller discussion of the Sternberg model and a variety of other approaches see, The Psychology of Love by R. J. Sternberg and M. L. Barnes, eds. (New Haven, CT.: Yale University Press, 1988).

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