NOTE:  You must participate in Blackboard at

Psychology 215                                              Autumn, 2004
Human Sexuality                                           Levan 100
Instructor                                                    Midge Wilson, Ph.D.                             
                                   COURSE SYLLABUS

(Note: PSY 215 counts for credit in the Self, Society, and the
                        Modern World learning domain of the Liberal Studies Program

Learning Goals (or, by the end of the quarter you should be able to):

1. Cite basic facts about anatomy, contraception, pregnancy, and disease in the area human sexuality.

2. Understand different theoretical perspectives on various topics (e.g., causes of sexual orientation, infidelity, love, dysfunction, etc.), and to be able to discern when sexual issues arise from psychological  sources (e.g. sex guilt, gender roles, inhibited sexual desire, etc.) versus physical explanations (e.g. hormones, disease, trauma, brain structure differences, etc.) -- or even a complex interplay of both.

3.  Recognize class and cultural issues associated with various 1) sexual practices, 2) attitudes, and 3) STIs, and be able to articlulate why these differences might develop.

4. Comfortably discuss sexual matters, including how to communicate one's own needs and to effectively listen to those of a partner.

5. Name basic methods of research, and be able to critically dissect findings in the area of human sexuality, including the role of the media in reporting relevant studies.

6. Identify 1) the limiting effects of traditional gender roles; and 2) the differences between healthy and unhealthy ways of loving and sexually relating to others.

7. Understand feminist analyses of human sexuality and how many beliefs about gender identity and sexual orientation are socially constructed.

8. Write a short paper with at least two scholarly references connecting popular culture in the form of music to psychological theory about sexual behaviors and /or relationships.

Methods: The above will be accomplished through the use of (a) lectures (b) class & electronic board discussion; (c), textbook and webpage posted readings; and (d) videos. Readings: Text: Carroll, J. L. (2005) Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity, 1st ed., (Belmont, CA: Thompson-Wadsworth).
 Assigned Readings:  On Blackboard, some of which will be be posted throughout the quarter.
Grading: Evaluation will be based on your performance on three exams, each counting 25% of your final grade. These three exams will be comprised of 40 multiple choice questions and 10 identification items or short answers about key terms. (If you have a history of performing poorly on multiple choice tests, you may arrange with me at least one class prior to the scheduled test day to take an essay style exam.) 

Another 15% comes from a short 3 double-spaced paper due October 12th.
The final 10% is derived from your class attendance and contributions on Blackboard's electronic Discussion Forum. Class participation counts, too, but since the class is so large, I may not always know your name -- which you can help me learn by introducing yourself to me.  Attendance will be taken, and I think it is safe to say that if you fail to come to class, your grade as well as your general educational experience, will suffer accordingly. For every class missed, you will have one point deducted from your final number grade average. There are no extra credit options. However, if you are having a problem understanding course matter, or feel that you did not do as well on a test as you could have, please see me for assistance. Nobody should fail or do poorly in this course, if they honestly put some effort into it.  Finally, a word to the wise, don't even think about cheating. DePaul's Academic Integrity Policy is quite clear about the consequences of doing so.
Short Paper: For your short 3 page double-spaced paper -- not including a separate "References" page -- you are to select a song (e.g., rock, hip hop, country, jazz, blues, etc.) with lyrics that address one or more various issues discussed in class (e.g., reproductive rights, sexual assault, pregnancy, love, STD, atypical sex, etc.). Be sure to post on Blackboard the song you want to write about, as once you've claimed a particular song, it's yours and yours alone (although the professor reserves the right to reject any song deemed not relevant to the class). NOTE: This is to say that no two students can use the same song in their short paper, so you must check the entire list of  classmates' song selections before posting your own choice.  Any student writing a paper on a song previously claimed by another will receive an F for his or her work.  All songs must be posted by Thursday, October 7th.

In this paper, you must clearly articulate how the lyrics of your selected music connect to class material, especially from a theoretical perspective. What is the position of the artist? What does research and theory say about behaviors in this area?  What do you think? To support your thesis, you must cite at least two scholarly references, APA style (see the library, your first year writing program style book, or look in Blackboard under "Course Information."  Note:
Internet references are not typically considered scholarly in nature, unless they come from an online peer reviewed professional journals. It is okay to use references from pop culture magazines or typical internet sites, but only as additional references beyond the two required scholarly ones. Full references may be gleaned from the back of your textbook (See pages 599-634), or even from the posted assigned readings, but I would prefer that you find new scholarly material on your own. Please note that if you do use a reference from your textbook, do not simply cite, for example, Carroll, (2005), the author of your textbook. Janell Carroll's textbook is only a secondary source, one that brings together and cites the ideas and research findings of others. Primary sources are what you want to be citing -- and to whom you want to give credit -- in any college research paper. Thus, if you do see a useful scholarly reference cited in the textbook, as you write your paper, you must cite the primary reference like the following::

According to Wilson (2001, cited by Carroll, 2005), the students who regularly attended class were more likely to earn top grades on their exams.

Then on your (separate) References page, you will need to cite the full reference in the following way (and again, you can find complete references -- and needless to say, for real authors and articles, not a fake one like this -- on pp. 599-634 of your textbook):

Wilson, M. (2001) The effects of attendance on test performance in human sexuality classes, Journal of Higher Education, 25, 66-75,
           cited in
J. L. Carroll (2005) Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity, (Belmont, CA: Thompson-Wadsworth.).

NOTE:  Remember no reference should appear in the text of your short paper that is not fully cited APA style on the References page, and all references included on the References page must appear (APA style) in the text of your paper.

Finally, putting all the lyrics of the song on a single page does not count as one of your three required pages, but do know you can may include the lyrics in their entirety at either the beginning or end of your paper. Alternatively, you may fold some of the lines of the song into your paper as you go along to make your points and support your thesis.
Office Hours:  I am usually accessible in the hour preceding class, but am also usually around at other times. An advance phone call will help to ensure my availability. Despite the size of this class, I do try to get to know students on an individual basis, and provide special assistance to those who may need (or simply) want it. So please introduce yourself to me.  Note below that I have two different office locations, although the extension is the same at both.

Lincoln Park Campus
        Byrne Hall, Room 535
        Munroe 122.
        Phone for both locations is (773) 325-4258

Byrne 505       Tues./Thurs.  9:00 to 10:00 am
Munroe 122    Wed.             10 am  to noon

I check my e-mail regularly, so if you would like to communicate that way, I can be reached at

Additional Comments:

Sexual experience does not correlate with exam performance, however, attendance does. There is no laboratory for this course!  

Topics & Dates           Readings                Media          

  1. Exploring Human Sexuality                        pp.  1- 26                           History of Sex                      
  2.    Theory and Research                                   pp. 27- 60                         CNN --sex survey                  

Can shoe size predict penile length? 

 3.    Gender                                                          pp. 61- 99                        Toby: A Gender Neuter     
Coventry, M. (2000, Oct./Nov.)  Making the Cut.  Ms., 53-60.

Gender Develop                                           Cont.
       Male Sexual Anatomy  
                                pp. 100 -120                                           

Male Sexual Anatomy                                Cont.
        Female Sexual Anatomy                             pp. 121-151      

Angier, Natalie (1999) Excerpt from Woman: An Intimate Geography, as reprinted in Ms. (2000,Feb..\ Mar.), 54-55.
Lerner, H. (Jul. 2, 2003) Practicing `psychic genital mutilation.' Chicago Tribune, Sect., WomanNews, Chicago, Ill.

  6.  Female Sexual Anatomy                            Cont.                                                     

 EXAM I Thursday September 30th CHAPTERS 1- 5

 7.   Love & Intimacy                                     pp. 175-202                        The Science of Love

 8.   Childhood & Adolescence                       pp. 203-240                        My First Time             
Werner, E. (1997)  The cult of virginity.  Ms., VII (5), 41-43.

8.    Adult Relationships                                 pp. 241-275

 >> Short Paper Due: Tuesday, October 12th <<

 9.   Arousal and Response                        pp. 276-312
        Sexual Orientation                             pp. 313-348                                          

10.   Sexual Orientation                            Cont.                                  Paternal Instinct

        Peplau, L.A. & Garnets, L.D. (2000)  A new paradigm for understanding women's sexuality and sexual orientation. Journal of Social Issues, 56, 329-350.

11.  Pregnancy and Birth                        pp. 349-382                       Miracle of Life                                 

                                      EXAM II Tuesday October 26th CHAPTERS 7- 12

12.  Contraception & Abortion            pp.  383-426

13.  Sexual Functioning                       pp. 427 - 459   

14.   STIs                                              pp.  460-497           

15.   STIs                                             (Cont.)                                                   
        Varieties of Expression              pp. 498 - 526                                      

 16.  Varieties of Expression             (Cont.)                     
         Power and Coercion                  pp. 527 - 558         Male Sexual Assault   

17.  Power and Coercion                    (Cont.)                          
      [Course Evaluations Administered]

EXAM III Wednesday, November 24th, 11:45 am - 1:15 pm, CHAPTERS 13- 17