Monday, October 17, 2011

Another reminder of why I love my job

My Psychology of Human Sexuality class today included discussions of the following topics:

  • Pros and cons of Kaplan's and Master's and Johnson's models of sexual arousal and response
  • Possible evolutionary explanations for the existence of the female orgasm, including a round of laughter at the aptly-named "upsuck" hypothesis; the concept of androcentrism in scientific theories was also introduced after a student described two male-centered theories of the functions of female orgasm
  • Whether orgasm and ejaculation are separate functions in men and how this might be relevant to multiple orgasms and orgasmic capacity prior to puberty
  • The lack of scientific evidence for some popular claims related to sexuality and difficulties in researching claims regarding sexual enhancement (e.g., "I've heard this would work to create a non-ejaculatory orgasm in men -- does it?")
  • The biochemical and neurological factors involved in sexual arousal and response, including hormones, neurotransmitters, and brain activation (including some discussion of the use of chemical castration for sex offenders that opened up the question of what motivations underlie rape and sexual assault)
  • Changes in sensory experience during sexual arousal (eliciting a discussion of testicular sensitivity during and after sex)
  • Whether there are genuine aphrodisiacs, what would constitute an aphrodisiac (e.g., given alcohol's effect on sexuality, can it be characterized as an aphrodisiac?), and why so many cultures seek aphrodisiacs (why are chemical substances sought to elicit sexual response, rather than the stimulation of the senses, and how does this relate to the increasing influence of the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S.?)
  • Pros and cons of research on rats in understanding human sexuality
  • Comparisons of sexuality across different primate species
  • Discussion of the varied functions of sexual behavior in non-human animals (elicited by a student asking whether animals engage in anal sex, and if so, why)
  • Whether pheromones exist that influence human sexuality, distinguishing between research on the influence of scent cues on menstruation or mate selection vs. their influence on sexual response (including a mention of the market for used panties in Japan and whether some trees in spring smell like semen)
  • The influence of learned cues on human sexuality, revisiting the nature-nurture debate
  • Similarities and differences between men and women in their patterns of sexual response and a reminder of the diversity of human sexual response
And that doesn't even include the student who brought up a book he is reading about Tantric sex and the "spiritual penis."  All this intellectual stimulation in just 75 minutes -- did I mention that I love my job?

1 comment:

  1. Sex education is also about developing young people's skills so that they make informed choices about their behaviour, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices.