CCOG for PSY 232 Spring 2024

Course Number:
PSY 232
Course Title:
Human Sexuality in Social Context
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Examines sexual issues from scientific and humanistic perspectives. Surveys sexuality through the lifespan, sexual problems, sexual satisfaction, contraception, pregnancy and birth, sexuality and disability, sex and chronic illness, sexually transmitted infections, the commercialization of sex, sexual victimization, non consensual sexual behavior, and therapeutic techniques. Recommended: PSY 231 taken concurrently or before PSY 232. Audit available. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores.

Addendum to Course Description

This is the second course in a two course sequence. 

Human sexuality is a broad and complex topic that we are still in the early stages of understanding. Language to describe the experiences of people continues to be developed, and the nature of society is to change with time. Sexuality is not stagnant and individuals may experience shifts in identity and sexual awareness across their lifespan. Labels can be freeing in some ways, yet they can also place barriers around what is believed to be possible. Binary systems and oversimplifying humanity prevent the full story of human sexuality from being told. Gender and sexuality are separate yet interconnected with other identities we hold and are influenced by the concert that exists when all parts of ourselves mix together, not always in unison. The society in which we live, our family backgrounds, the education we have access to, and our own mental processes and behaviors lay the foundation for analyzing sexuality. Ally-ship and community uplifting occur as we critically explore sexuality from a biopsychosocial perspective and are humble and curious about what we do not know rather than making assumptions without all the information. Students can expect to leave this course with increased knowledge that empowers them to continue asking questions.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Utilize knowledge about the biological, psychological and cultural milestones in human sexual development throughout the lifespan in order to develop techniques to enhance relationships with sexual partners and within the community.

  2. Analyze historical, psychosocial, legal, and cultural factors impacting contraception use, abortion, pregnancy and the birthing process and discuss best practices to promote equity within healthcare systems.

  3. Compare and contrast diagnosis and treatment options for sexually transmitted infections and ways to outreach to diverse community members about STI prevention and intervention utilizing health psychology and community-based educational techniques, as well as considering ways to discuss sexual health with partners and healthcare providers.

  4. From an intersectional lens, examine a variety of clinical and professional topics including: the impact of sexual victimization on individuals, how chronic illnesses and disabilities may interact with sexuality, how sexual problems might occur, distinguishing between sexual disorders in the DSM-V (coercive, paraphilic) and functional sexual behaviors (consensual, less common), and trauma-informed clinical practice, community support, and clinical treatment options. 

  5. Differentiate between human trafficking and the many variations of sex work within the United States and globally and analyze the impact of media (sexually explicit, as well as broad forms of media) on sexual knowledge and behavior.

Course Activities and Design

All sections of this course, whether face to face (F2F), remote, or online, will utilize multiple modes of assessment, and not just rely on objective (true/false and/or multiple choice) tests. Online sections will adhere to ‘Quality Matters’ and accessibility guidelines along with the ‘What Works Well in Online Teaching at PCC’.

Teachers will employ best practices, which include (but are not limited to):

  1. Making expectations clear and transparent, and supporting students in achieving course expectations.

  2. Assessing often, via different modes, and providing timely feedback on student performance (generally a week or less, but no more than 10 days unless extenuating circumstances intervene) so that students have the opportunity to improve.

  3. Maintaining an environment in which diversity is respected and supported, and addressing the situation when that does not occur.

  4. Maintaining an environment in which all students can learn, and seeking appropriate support (PCC CARE program) when a student is demonstrating behavior that is interfering with their own and/or others’ success.  

  5. Recognizing and supporting student needs, including disability support, and providing reasonable arrangements for extenuating circumstances while remaining fair to all students in the course. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Student assessment will include some combination of the following:

  • Written assignments (in-class, homework, or formal papers) designed to promote integration and understanding of class material and assigned reading 

  • Short answer and/or essay questions that require integration, application and critical examination of assigned material  

  • Objective tests such as multiple-choice, true-false, and matching assessment items

  • Narrative tests such as fill-in-the-blank, short-answer, and essay exams 

  • Participation in individual and group activities

  • Individual and/or group presentations

  • Class participation, including online discussions where appropriate and part of course delivery and outcomes  

  • Service-learning, community-based activities, and/or experiential learning where appropriate and part of course outcomes

  • Other assignments as designed by the instructor

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Sexuality Over the Lifespan
  • Describe the biological, psychological, and cultural milestones in human sexual development.

  • Critically differentiate between theoretical perspectives of childhood sexual development.

  • Compare childhood and adolescent sexual growth and development from biological, psychological, social and cultural perspectives, and reflect on this process from a personal perspective, as well as introducing broad clinical and/or professional approaches.

  • Examine sexuality throughout adulthood, including late-stage expressions of sexuality and some of the unique challenges of aging on sexual behavior (e.g. age-related dementia, introduction of STI prevention in senior centers).

  • Explain how sexual values, attitudes and behavior may be expressed during the adult years within different contexts including: single living, cohabitation, marriage, consensual and nonconsensual extramarital relationships, divorce, aging, widowhood.

  • Analyze psychosocial and cultural factors impacting contraception use.

  • Discuss best practices to promote equity within healthcare systems and regarding access to resources; comparison with other parts of the globe in terms of contraception access.

  • Be able to demonstrate the following in regard to contraception:

    • Analyze ways in which sexual participants or partners can share responsibility for contraception.

    • Examine how various methods work, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

    • Describe the effectiveness of various hormone-based contraceptives, barrier methods, intrauterine devices, emergency contraception, methods based on the menstrual cycle, and sterilization.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

  • Develop a plan to implement safer sex practices with partners and ways to discuss sexual health with healthcare providers.

  • Give examples of various sexually transmitted infections, specifically bacterial and viral infections, common vaginal infections, and ectoparasitic infections. Explain transmission, symptoms, treatment, and prevention for each infection, including HIV. 

  • Compare and contrast treatment options for sexually transmitted infections and ways to outreach to diverse community members about STI prevention and intervention utilizing health psychology and community-based educational techniques.

  • Analyze and address the unethical and inhumane research regarding STIs paid for by the United States government.

Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth

  • Evaluate psychosocial and cultural factors impacting conception, abortion, pregnancy and the birthing process and discuss best practices to promote equity within healthcare systems.

    • Examine the process of conception including:

      • How to enhance the possibility of conception

      • Infertility problems and possible interventions

      • Spontaneous and elective abortion

  • Distinguish the aspects of a healthy pregnancy, including sexual interaction during pregnancy.

  • Differentiate the stages of childbirth and features of the birthing process (with an emphasis on health and safety for the birthing parent).

  • Analyze psychological and sexual adjustments postpartum.

Variations of Sexual Behavior
  • Examine sexual behaviors with a critical lens, while developing future professional approaches with which to explore sexual disorders.

  • Discuss the historical, social, and cultural underpinnings of diagnosing sexual disorders and the complexities of diagnostic processes.

  • Distinguish between sexual disorders in the DSM-V (coercive, paraphilic) and functional sexual behaviors (consensual, less common). Note the difference between World Health Organization standards as compared to DSM-V diagnostic conditions.

  • Give examples of atypical sexual behavior, including noncoercive paraphilias (e.g., fetishism, transvestism, sexual sadism and sexual masochism, etc.) and coercive paraphilias (e.g., exhibitionism, obscene phone calls, voyeurism, frotteurism, etc.).

  • Describe some of the dynamics involved in these behaviors as well as treatment strategies for coercive paraphilias in particular.

Sexual Dysfunction & Treatments
  • Identify the physiological, personal, relationship and sociocultural factors that may contribute to sexual problems.

  • Apply the biopsychosocial approach in analyzing sexual dysfunctions.

  • Distinguish various sexual dysfunctions under the umbrella of the DSM-V.

  • Give examples of specific desire, excitement and orgasm phase sexual problems that individuals may experience. Describe the nature of dyspareunia. Be able to recommend treatment options for sexual problems as well as strategies for sexual enhancement.

  • Discuss barriers to treatment for individuals, including distinctive challenges to underserved populations.

  • Compare and contrast treatment options for sexual dysfunctions and ways to outreach to diverse community members.

Sexual Marketplace

  • Differentiate between the commercialization of sex as it relates to prostitution, pornography, and adult entertainment.

  • Analyze the impact of mainstream and erotic media on sexual knowledge and behavior.

  • Distinguish between pornography consumption and moral distress as it relates to problematic porn use.

  • Examine the historical considerations of sex work, as well as current sex work practices in the United States.

  • Discuss the impact of stigma in the lives of sex workers and explore stigma-resistant strategies locally and globally.

  • Identify human sex-trafficking and exploitation and discuss how these aspects of the commercialization of sex is non-consensual and victimizing in nature for individuals being trafficked or exploited.

Sexual Trauma, Therapy, and Trauma Informed Care

  • Evaluate the cultural, social, and political factors that may contribute to sexual violence (rape, child sexual abuse, and sexual harassment). 

  • Analyze current research findings on the characteristics of offenders, treatment resources and prevention strategies.

  • Differentiate between human trafficking and sex work.

  • Describe the impact of sexual trauma on individuals and communities.

  • Discuss trauma-informed practices, including evidence-based clinical approaches and emerging trends in trauma response. 

  • Explain how to implement trauma-informed care in a variety of human service settings.

Ability, Intersectionality, Body Image, and Reclaiming Our Bodies

  • Discuss the way that acute and chronic illnesses and disabilities may interact with sexuality.

  • Analyze the ways sexuality may be impacted by other personal identities from an intersectional perspective.

  • Identify various types of chronic illness (multiple sclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke) and disability (spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness, mental disabilities) on sexual desire and expression.

  • Explain how additional marginalized identities may further impact body image for those living in the United States.

  • Compare and contrast emerging trends, technologies, and strategies being employed in the United States and globally to address the inequities of sexual care for people with disabilities.

  • Identify techniques to develop a positive counter-narrative to harmful notions of sexual functioning to develop healthy, sexual self-awareness and esteem.