Human Sexuality

Course Number: PSY 231
Transcript Title: Human Sexuality
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: January 22, 2016
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0

Course Description

Explores sexual issues from scientific and humanistic perspectives. Surveys historical, cultural and cross-cultural variation in sexuality, sex research, female and male sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology, gender issues, sexual response, sexual communication, sexual behavior patterns, love, and sexual orientations. This is the first course in a two-course sequence. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Improve sexual health and functioning through the critical evaluation of scientific and popular information.
  2. Practice sexual health and enhance sexual satisfaction based on a) the knowledge of sexual anatomy and physiology, b) the ability to communicate effectively about sexuality with partners, family members, and health-care providers, and c) understanding of psychological influences on sexual decision-making and health behaviors.
  3. Use an understanding of historical, biological, social, psychological, and cultural contexts of diverse sexual practices in order to be accepting of others’ consensual behaviors.
  4. Be open to and accepting of diversity in others’ gender identity, gender role expression, sexual orientation and variations, in order to promote community well-being.
  5. Establish, maintain, and enhance intimate relationships through the utilization of research based principles.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter and succeed in a defined profession or advanced academic program. (Professional Competence)
4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will demonstrate intended outcomes by any combination of the following as determined by the instructor:

  • Written and/or verbal assignments designed to promote integration of class material with personal reflection and experience.
  • Multiple choice, short answer and essay questions that require integration, application, and critical examination of material covered in the class.
  • Participation in individual, dyad and group exercises, activities, case studies and/or role-plays in or outside of the classroom.
  • Individual or group presentations.
  • Attendance at, or participation in, lectures, workshops and/or community events related to the field of sexology.
  • Design and completion of a research project.
  • Community service learning projects.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Historical, contemporary, cultural and cross-cultural perspectives on human sexual attitudes, values and behaviors.
  2. Sex research - methodology, exemplary research studies and criteria for evaluating sex research.
  3. Biological and social learning factors that influence gender identity formation.
  4. Gender role expectations and their impact on sexuality.
  5. Transsexualism and transgenderism and other gender variations.
  6. Male and female sexual and reproductive anatomy and physiology; sexual health issues.
  7. Sexual arousal and response patterns in men and women from adulthood through aging.
  8. The role of hormones in sexual behavior.
  9. Sexual communication.
  10. Love: themes and research on attraction, love, relationship development, maintenance and satisfaction; jealousy in relationships.
  11. Sexual behaviors: celibacy, fantasy, kissing and touching, masturbation, oral-genital stimulation, anal stimulation and intercourse, penile-vaginal intercourse, tribadism, interfemoral intercourse.
  12. Sexual orientations.

Competencies and Skills

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how various historical, cultural, and cross-cultural perspectives have affected contemporary sexual attitudes, values and behaviors.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of sexual values and behavior by citing specific cross-cultural examples to support this view, as well as providing examples that illustrate how diversity exists in various subcultures within the United States.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how some of the classic studies in the field of sexology to date, including Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, the National Health and Social Life Survey, as well as others, have contributed to what we know and understand about human sexuality today.
  4. Describe and give examples of various research methods employed in conducting sex research, and demonstrate an understanding of the strengths and limitations of each of these methods.
  5. Identify criteria that would be helpful in evaluating various kinds of sex research, and apply this knowledge in evaluating current research published in professional journals as well as the popular press.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of male and female sexual anatomy and physiology. Be able to apply this information by practicing sexual self-health and participating more actively in sexual health care.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of how gender identity is formed and may vary from biological and social learning perspectives.
  8. Describe and provide examples of atypical prenatal differentiation and the effects of this.
  9. Distinguish between transsexualism and transgenderism.
  10. Provide specific examples that explain how various socialization agents (e.g., parents, peers, schools, textbooks, television and religion) contribute to the formation of gender roles.
  11. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of hormones in male and female sexual behavior, integrating findings of relevant research studies.
  12. Describe the four phases of Masters and Johnson’s sexual response cycle and explain how other models have contributed to our understanding of sexual response. Understand the similarities and differences in sexual response between the sexes and implications for relationships based on this.
  13. Demonstrate an understanding of how various writers and researchers have attempted to define, describe and measure love (e.g., Rubin, Sternberg, Lee, Liebowitz, Fisher, etc.) and be able to use this information to reflect on personal experiences in intimate relationships.
  14. Be able to demonstrate the effective use of a range of communication skills(e.g., listening and feedback, "I" language, asking questions, learning to make requests, saying no, giving and receiving feedback, etc.) in sexual situations with a partner.
  15. Demonstrate an understanding of the range of options for sexual expression (celibacy, fantasy, tribadism, interfemoral intercourse, penile-vaginal intercourse, masturbation, kissing and touching, anal stimulation and intercourse, etc.) and how the context within which these behaviors are expressed may range from authentic sexual intimacy to violent sexual interaction and/or rape.
  16. Demonstrate an understanding of the continuum of sexual orientations and how societal attitudes have evolved over time.
  17. Summarize research findings and theories that attempt to help explain determinants of sexual orientation.
  18. Be able to define homophobia, and to recognize examples of it in ourselves and others. Explore ways in which homophobia may be dealt with or confronted.
  19. Develop and practice critical thinking, personal reflection, written and oral communication skills in pursuit of all of the above.
  20. Seek out, evaluate and integrate resources in the library, on the Internet, and in the community in pursuit of 1-19 above.