It was the first day of the semester. I walked into one of the larger lecture halls on campus, and it was packed.
I squeezed myself into a seat in the middle of the room. As the time neared closer to the start of class, the room filled. Students were standing in the back and sitting on the stairs.
The TAs walked up the aisles, passing out the syllabus. It read, “PSYC 3070 – Human Sexuality.”
When I fell short three credit hours on my schedule, my advisor recommended Human Sexuality. Apparently, a lot of students enjoy the course. So I gave it a shot, but on this first day of the semester I wondered, “What am I getting myself into?”
Taking a human sexuality class in college is nothing like your high school health class. There’s no uncomfortable silences and no immature giggles. As college students, we’re still learning about our bodies, but many of us are comfortable enough with them to talk openly about sex.
Our instructor was, clearly, also comfortable talking to a large room full of strangers about sex. A doctoral candidate, Mr. Robert Kirk, insisted on being called “Rob” and made every lesson feel like a secure conversation.
Whether it was a presentation on pleasure, arousal and response that began with the musical styling of R. Kelly’s “Bump n’ Grind,” or a film that followed the life of a sperm cell through the process of reproduction, there was something significant to learn in PSYC 3070.
I valued Rob and his TA’s lectures, but I also valued the presentations given by guest speakers.
On one particular day, we had a panel of drag queens talk about gender identification. We learned that gender isn’t as simple as our society’s “him” and “her.”
On another day, we had a male stripper talk to our class about his experiences and studies of stripping. Not only did he get “Pony” stuck in my head, but his explanations of stripping contributed to our understanding of the diversity of sexuality.
And before there was Caitlyn Jenner, our class got to meet Edie Recker, a local transgender woman. Edie shared her experiences, preferences, struggles and triumphs of being a transgender woman, all with the hopes of us understanding and accepting ourselves and the people around us.
Universities across the country offer human sexuality courses similar to the one I was enrolled in.
Emma Ashurt, a student at Saint Mary’s College, feels all college students should take a human sexuality class.
“The topics discussed in class are topics that are not typically discussed in the classroom, and much of the information is things that college students do not truly understand,” she said.
Bekah Pollard, a Butler University student, agrees.
“I think every student should be required to take a human sexuality class at some point during their college career,” she said. “This class excited me and made me feel good about knowing how my body works. We kept coming back to this idea of human sexuality being incredibly diverse, and that was a hugely important lesson. This class was an incredibly positive experience.”
The important thing about human sexuality courses is they don’t just teach us about our own bodies. These courses teach us about everyone; every sexual orientation, preference and theory. Walking out of a human sexuality course, you don’t just have a better understanding of yourself, but you have a better understanding of everyone else too.