Course Feature: Psychology of Human Sexuality

Sexuality plays in a major role in each individual’s life throughout the lifespan. PSY 362: Psychology of Human Sexuality explores this topic through the lenses of theory and research into the psychosocial and physiological aspects of sexuality. Students study the psychology of love, intimacy, and relationships; sexually transmitted infections; sexual assault; gender identity; sexual orientation; and sociocultural influences impacting sexuality.

This course is beneficial for people who never received sexuality education when they were younger to those who just want to know more about these topics. Even still, some people may just want to become more comfortable discussing sexuality with family. While universally interesting to everyone, the students most interested in this class, says Amber O’Neil, faculty program director for psychology, are “students who are interested in the topic and haven’t had real opportunities to learn about sexuality or ask questions through formal comprehensive sexuality education or a knowledgeable support system (family, friends).”

Psychology of Human Sexuality increases student knowledge, ability, and skill in thinking about, and discussing, human sexuality in various contexts.  The concepts explored and practiced in this course can be applied to many careers in health or human services. O’Neil says, “Everyone knows something about sexuality, but unless you are a true expert in the field, everyone is also missing critical information they don’t even know they don’t have! This class can immediately help everyone live a healthier life, both emotionally and physically.”

O’Neil notes that PSY 362 has been fully revised for the next offering in Spring II, 2018. As part of this, the course uses a lower-cost interactive webtext instead of textbooks, revolves around developing a personal sexual philosophy, and emphasizes reflection and thinking critically about values and beliefs, she says.

Students have received the course well. Comments so far have included: “It requires you to think about yourself and your beliefs. It provides information in an area that is not talked about very much but is very important in our lives. It allows you to understand what your position is on several controversial topics and how to voice your opinion.” and “This course highlights real-world events that are questioned in society. Taking this course will help in self-development and acceptance of others.”

O’Neil describes the overall feeling she has gotten from faculty teaching the course: “It’s always a surprise how many students, including adults, have basic questions about sexuality. Most people can’t even define it, or think it’s all about the act of sex! Unless you’ve had the good fortune of being raised by people who are comfortable talking about sexuality (and know the facts versus mistruths), this class is full of interesting and useful information. Even more importantly, it provides a safe environment to ask questions and learn things you’ve always wanted to do. Many students say it’s the most important class they’ve ever taken.”

Consider adding PSY 362: Psychology of Human Sexuality to your schedule for the next trimester!