How Do You Teach Sex in the Classroom?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Trent University Professor Tackles the Social Dimensions of
Sexuality in Popular Psychology Course
Thursday, February 5, 2009, Peterborough
When it comes to teaching the social aspects of human
sexuality, assistant psychology professor Dr. Terry Humphreys
at Trent University has developed a distinctly student-centred
methodology that helps students learn about this important
“Sexuality can be an uncomfortable subject for students, so
they are often hesitant to seek out greater understanding of this
complex, yet essential, aspect of human behaviour,” explained
Dr. Terry Humphreys, who is also an expert in human sexuality
research. “I always try to keep the readings fresh so this course
gives them the most current studies on a wide variety of topics
related to the social aspects of sexuality.”
While much of the scientific literature about sex focuses on biological processes, Prof.
Humphreys designed his fourth-year course entitled “The Social Dimensions of Sexuality” instead to explore sexuality from a social psychological perspective. It covers a broad
range of topics, such as sexual orientation, mass media and sexuality, pornography,
attraction and love, sex work, and sex education. Through these dimensions, students
learn how historical, cultural, and intrapersonal understandings all help shape people’s
current knowledge, attitudes, and sexual behaviour.
Prof. Humphreys is open to letting student interests guide the way his course is structured.
“With every course offering, I make a point of asking students what drew them to this
course and to identify what issues intrigue them the most.” Prof. Humphreys will then
adjust aspects of the course to enable students to explore these subject areas more
thoroughly. As the course unfolds, students learn to apply theoretical paradigms from
social psychology to human sexuality, such as the influence of gendered patterns of
communication on sexual behaviour.
Students spend two weeks early in the course exploring sexual orientation, a topic he says
many find quite fascinating. “Current research indicates that sexual identity is much more
fluid than we originally thought, especially for women,” said Prof. Humphreys. “We take a
look at why gender and sexual orientation are not as categorical as most people assume.”
In addition to engaging in class discussions, students are expected to give several
presentations throughout the course in order to expand their communication and critical
thinking skills. This way, students start to take responsibility for the analysis of the
materials, and to develop their own informed opinions.
Prof. Humphreys encourages his students to identify the convergence of ideas from other
courses to build a more comprehensive understanding of human sexual behaviour. “It is
an intensive course in terms of workload,” he says, “but the students who are open and up
to the challenge, absolutely love it.”
For further information, please contact Dr. Terry Humphreys at
(705) 748-1011, ext. 7773 or firstname.lastname@example.org