Psychology 393

PSYC 393: Psychology of Human Sexuality

Prerequisites: PSYC 121

Credit Hours: (3)

Students will study psychological theory regarding human sexuality. They will develop research skills in order to be informed consumers of sex research, to think critically about arguments proposed in the field of sexology using psychological theories, to identify their values and beliefs surrounding sexuality, and to develop knowledge and skills surrounding social justice and human sexuality.

Note(s): This course may be used to meet requirements for the minor in Women’s Studies.


Detailed Description of Course

This course sequence may include the following topics:

The role of language in sexuality

Psychology theories of sexual behavior and motivations

The role of beliefs and values in human sexuality

The human body: anatomy, physiology, hormones

Women, psychology and sexuality: the role of society, hormones, and socialization on sexual behavior

Research methods in human sexuality

Developmental psychological perspective of sexuality in the life-cycle


Variations on human sexuality: orientation

Variations on human sexuality: coercion

Variations on human sexuality: sex work

Sex Disorders and the DSM

Treatment of Dysfunction(s)

Religion, Spirituality, and Sexuality

Ethics and Sexuality

Public Policy, Social Justice, Equity, and Advocacy


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course is intended to provide an introduction to the psychology of sexuality.  Emphasis will be placed on competing psychological theories of sexuality and explanations of sexual behaviors. Students will learn how to critique articles--both popular and scholarly--to determine accuracy of information.  Students will learn to identify their values and beliefs about sexuality and determine how their beliefs have emerged and how they have been shaped by their environment. Students will also learn about the creation of laws and policies surrounding human sexuality.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. To help facilitate awareness of the diversity of human sexuality along many dimensions and domains including age, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity within the United States (multiethnic), and culture around the world (multicultural)

2. To engender comfort about sexuality. This includes being able to recognize and admit a lack of knowledge regarding some aspects of human sexuality, to ask questions, and to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity.

3. To facilitate free choice about human sexuality. This includes identifying and exploring one's own attitudes and values. Free choices are based on the following: a) correct/scientific information; b) tolerance and respect for those who disagree with one's values and beliefs (i.e., respecting differences and diversity); and c) an accurate perception of oneself and others.

4. To facilitate the development of critical, analytical skills when faced with sexual issues in popular media and in scientific research.

5. To develop an understanding of the psychological perspective of human sexuality and how this perspective differs from others


Assessment Measures

Students will be assessed using several measures which may include grades on written assignments, participation in group discussion and performance on exams and quizzes.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

November 2008