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TERM: 2020-21 Fall
COURSE NUMBER: PSYC 378
COURSE TITLE: Biopsychology of Human Sexuality
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Heather Looy
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
CALENDAR DESCRIPTION: This course explores biopsychological perspectives on human sexuality from within a historical, cultural, and relational context. Topics include methods of studying sexuality, sexual differentiation, the roles of genes and hormones in sexual experience and expression, sexual diversity and sexual abnormalities. Human sexual identities and experiences emerge from dynamic interactions among biological, psychological, social, and cultural elements. The course also critically considers what it means to be sexual beings in a complex and changing world, and how we can be agents of sexual reconciliation and transformation in our culture.
 

Prerequisites: One of PSYC 250, BIOL 200, or BIOL 210

REQUIRED TEXTS:
  • Mills, A. (2018). Biology of Sex.  University of Toronto Press.  ISBN: 9781487593377
  • Other readings will be posted on Moodle
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Discussion Forum 10%
Participation/Professionalism/Peer Review 10%
Video/website/book reviews 20%
Reading Assignments/Term Project 20%
Tests 40%
100%
The ranges are due to your choice to do one or two written assignments. Each written assignment is worth 20%. If you do two written assignments then the exams will be worth 25% each; if you do one written assignment then the exams will be worth 35% each.
COURSE OBJECTIVES: Sexuality is a significant aspect of our human experience, and a source of much delight and distress.  Yet sexuality is minimally addressed even in programs leading to careers in psychology or health care.  Sexuality also generates much controversy and conversation.  By the end of this course, you will:
  • Be able to articulate the assumptions and values that shape the scientific study of human sexuality historically and currently.
  • Have built an accurate foundation of knowledge regarding research into the evolutionary and biological aspects of sexuality, including attraction, sexual development, and sexual function and dysfunction.
  • Come to understand the ways in which biology interacts with historical, cultural, and individual contexts and experiences to shape sexual identities and responses.
  • Have reflected on Christian, and other worldview, perspectives on sexuality and how those perspectives interact with the biopsychological research
  • Have explored personally important questions surrounding human sexuality. 
  • Learned to engage in respectful and fruitful debate and dialogue, to listen well, to disagree effectively, to maintain a constructive dialogue with those with whom you disagree.
  • Begun to develop thoughtful, informed responses to issues of sexuality, in ways that lead to reconciliation and transformation. 
TOPIC OUTLINE:
  • 1.    What is sex/sexuality and why is it so hard to talk about?
    • Readings:
      • Mills, chapter 1
      • Whitehead & Whitehead, Wisdom of the Body, chapter 1 (“Making Sense of Sexuality”)
  • 2.    How to study sexuality (research methods)
    • Readings:
      • Lips, chapter 3 (2008, Sex and Gender, “Researching Sex and Gender”)
  • 3.    What is sex for? (Biological and social perspectives)
    • Readings:
      • Mills, chapters 2 & 4
  • 4.    Evolution of sex differences
    • Readings:
      • Mills, chapter 5
  • 5.    Resolving conflicting reproductive needs: Mating systems and sexual conflict
    • Readings:
      • Mills, chapters 6 & 7
  • 6.    Sexual differentiation (making female, male, and…?)
    • Mills, chapters 8 & 9
  • 7.    Sexual physiology and behavior
    • Readings:
      • Mills, chapters 9 & 10
      • Farley, chapter 6 (2008, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics)
      • Roach, chapter 11, on sex and disability (2008, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex)


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