Human Sexuality

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Skorinko
Credits: 3

Field Work: Day 2 - Wednesday, 16 March | South Africa Download Syllabus

Do women have less sexual arousal than men? How “legal” is same-sex marriage throughout the world? What does it mean to be “male”, “female”, “asexual”, “trans”, “gender-queer” etc.? How do religion, laws, and public policies influence perceptions of sex?  What effects does pornography have on sexual attitudes and behaviors?  How widespread is sexual and domestic violence?

In this class, we will explore questions relating to our sexuality.  Human sexuality is the study of the biological, evolutionary, social, cultural, and political perspectives relating to sex and the meaning behind “masculinity”, “femininity”, and “asexual” or “genderqueer”.  We will discuss topics such as: gender roles, transgender, sexual orientation, the anatomy and physiology of the act of sex, relationships, sexual aggression, pornography, contraception, pregnancy, abortion, sexuality and aging, and the role of religion, law, policies, and cultural.  We will think about how our sexuality influences how we think and act in the world around us.  We will examine sexuality within the United States and throughout the world (with a particular focus on the ports we will visit).  This course is designed to increase awareness and sensitivity to sexuality and issues relating to it.  Discussions in class will be candid and on sensitive and controversial topics.  Port of call visits will be used to further examine the concepts we discuss and will allow for observations of cultural and political differences and similarities.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 2 - Wednesday, 16 March

South Africa is a country rich in culture but also significant social issues, including issues related to sexuality. South African suffers from high rates of HIV/AIDs, and domestic and sexual violence. In addition, there are over 400,000 sex workers in South African (even though it is illegal). Yet, South Africa is the first African country to legalize same-sex marriage. This field lab will involve a day-long visit that contains several components. We will visit several NGOs and other organizations that deal with the protection of human rights in South Africa, especially the rights of women, children, sexual minorities, and HIV/AIDS patients. If time permits, we may also visit a township to gain a better understanding of the more impoverished communities in South Africa that play an underlying contributing role to some of the larger socio-sexual issues that exist in the country. Throughout the day you will be asked to keep a journal about your experience. You will then create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to help raise awareness to the issues we saw in South Africa and throughout the world. You will need to use both the field lab experience and the information we learn in class to create this PSA. The PSA can be in the form of a pamphlet, advertisement, song, video, etc. Be creative and more importantly effective!

Academic Objectives:
1. Connect theories of Human Sexuality to the real world.
2. Understand the prevalence of human rights issues around the world, but especially in South Africa.
3. Develop a thoughtful understanding of human rights issues and how we may begin to address them.