Curriculum: Sex (shouldn’t be) Taboo Tournament

Background: I love Taboo. I am a naturally competitive person, especially when it comes to things like word games! So when I was asked to create programming for my campus as part of my work as a Peer Wellness Educator for the Wellness Center, I knew I wanted to do something that would foster some competition! We’ve done Sex Jeopardy already, and Sex Bingo, but never Taboo!

This curriculum is geared towards AU students, but can absolutely be redone for any campus.


  1. Students will familiarize themselves with common and uncommon sexual health terminology
  2. Students will understand sexual health terminology they were previously unfamiliar with.


  • Introduce yourself as a Peer Wellness Educator.  Explain to students that you are trained in various health topics, but you are not an expert.  Therefore, if there are questions you may not be able to answer, you will give them the appropriate resources for finding that information.  
  • Explain the various services available at the Wellness Center/OASIS and other health/wellness departments (i.e. Student Health Center, Counseling, AU Rec Fit, etc).
  • The Wellness Center is located in Hughes hall on the 1st floor.  This office has educational materials and information on all health topics, free condoms, dental dams and lube, and health educators available to speak with you about your health concerns.


  • Sex Taboo is a fun and interactive game that will make you think about how you describe various sexual health terms.
  • Break the group into teams of two or three people and have them come up with a team name.
  • Be sure that a bracket based on the number of teams is written on the board before you begin.
  • Have each team pair up with another team. Give each set of teams a noisemaker. If no noise makers are available, have each person make a buzzer noise or some other way of making a noise.
  • One round is done when Team A and Team B have played.


  • Sex Taboo Cards
  • Noisemaker/buzzer
  • 2+ Copies of Sex Taboo Protocol
  • Timer (phones are fine)
  • Prizes for winning team (or promise of a prize, ie pizza)
  • Whiteboard for keeping track of the tournament; also take a blank sheet of paper and a pen/pencil so you can keep track just in case there is no whiteboard
  • Variety of condoms for participants to take with them
  • Pamphlets on sexual health, STIs, contraception, alcohol, SHC, etc.
  • Any other general Wellness Center swag

Game Play

  • Taboo is a verbal game played with two teams of two or three players, a deck of cards with a set of taboo words, a buzzer and a timer (phones are fine)
  • One team referred to as Team A and the other team referred to as Team B
  • Team A goes first.
  • Two of the team members sit across from each other with the pile of Taboo cards in the center.
  • One of the Team A members will be the Clue-Giver and one with being the Guesser
  • Set the timer for 30 seconds to a minute depending on the number of overall teams
  • The clue giver then selects a card from the pile of cards. It is this person’s job to get the Guesser to guess the term that is on the top of the card. The catch is, the person cannot use any of the terms listed below it. Those words are taboo.
    • For example, if the word on top is ‘Condom’ and the taboo words are: ‘latex’, ‘rubber’, ‘protection’, ‘lube’, and ‘contraception’, then the clue-giver cannot say any of those words. They might say Trojan or polyurethane to get the Guesser to say the word condom.
  • If the Guesser guesses the word the card gets put aside and counts as 1 point for Team A
  • If the Guesser is not able to guess the word then the Clue Giver can pass and put that card in the discard pile and draw a new one.
  • If a Taboo word is said Team B or the third Team A member sounds the buzzer and that card gets put in the discard pile. If any other rule (listed below) is broken, Team B or the Third Team A member can sound the buzzer and the card gets put in the discard pile.
  • The clue giver then selects another card from the pile and continues until time is up.
  • Any card that is in the discard pile for Team A counts as points for Team B.
  • When time is up Team B repeats this process.
  • When Team B is done, whoever has the most points advances to the next round with the other winning teams.
  • This continues until there is one winning team.

Other Rules:

  • Clue-givers may not use any taboo words, including abbreviations and any part of the taboo word.
  • Clue-givers may not use sound effects or use gestures to indicate the clue word.
  • Clue-givers may pass on any card at any time, but the card is then placed in the discard pile.
  • When time is called, the final card goes into the discard pile.


  • Remind students that the SHC provides gynecological exams for women, as well as STI testing for both men and women.
  • Also, the Wellness Center provides FREE male condoms, internal/female condoms, dental dams, and lubricant.  The SHC also has a variety of methods of contraception for females. This includes the pill, the shot, emergency contraception, etc… and frequently make referrals to the community for IUDs and implants, etc… so there is no reason that anyone should have unprotected sex!
  • Ask students:  Does anyone have any questions about anything we’ve talked about today?
  • Thank students for their participation.
  • Hand out evaluations and collect them when finished. Bring back to the office.
  • Invite them to take condoms with them, as well as any pamphlets you brought, or hand them out to the audience.

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