To be honest, walking into class at the beginning of semester I felt interested, yet, a little bit uncomfortable about discussing sexuality in class. However, over the course of semester, the topics we covered, the materials we read, the discussions we had, and personal reflections I had made me more open to discussing and thinking about sexuality. Further, the course has challenged some of the stereotypes I had and equipped me with terminology to approach the topic of sex without feeling shame. Overall, the course has helped me to develop a multi-facet concept of human sexuality that is not limited to sexual behavior.
Topics covered in this course have affected my perceptions of human sexuality. Before, I interpreted sexuality merely as behavior aiming at obtaining sexual pleasure and did not necessarily see it as being laden with all the other aspects, including, values, self-concept, cultural norms, etc. In other words, my perception of sexuality has evolved from thinking of sexuality as of separate aspect of one’s life, to regarding it as an important domain of one’s life which is interwoven into complex personality structure with all the values, beliefs, goals, interests, habits, and attitudes one has. Sexuality is not an independent sphere, but is rather an important extension of the person.
Being an important domain of one’s personal life, sexuality may serve as a source of both satisfaction and frustration. Sex is an important component of romantic relationships that helps to build intimacy and brings fun and pleasure to both partners. The course has supplemented this preexisting belief with understanding that in order to make sex a positive aspect of their relationships, couples have to communicate openly about it. Discussing their values, levels of commitment, desired sexual experiences, contraception will make sex more pleasant and relaxed for both partners (Herbenick). Before taking this course, I was convinced that talking about sex would take all the fun and excitement out of it. However, my attitude has changed and I know know that treating sex responsibly is a mature, safer, and more rewarding approach.
Discussing sexuality in the context of relationships, this course has led me to believe that in order to have a strong and satisfying relationship, it is important to find a person who has similar values, expectations, and desires when it comes to sex. The course has highlighted how different the values and beliefs regarding sex may be. Taking into account that sexual compatibility is important for relationship satisfaction (Mark, 2012), these matters have to be discussed and settled before taking any serious steps in a relationship. Luckily, the course has equipped me with terminology and knowledge needed to approach these matters.
The course has deepened my knowledge about male and female physiology. This is not to say that I did not know sex-related organs before taking this course, but my knowledge was rather sporadic. Now, I have a better understanding or male and female reproductive systems. Importantly, I am now aware that the norm is quite wide when it comes to the shape and size of sexual organs. Finally, I know more about sexually transmitted diseases and contraception than I did before taking this course and this information is important for making informed decisions.
Some of the course material has surprised me. Namely, learning about some of the historical attitudes towards sexuality and masturbation was somewhat disturbing. Seeing pictures of various chastity devices and learning about restricting social norms in different societies made me think of sexual revolution as of even more important step towards personal liberation. This is especially true for women, who were subjected to more limitations and social disapproval regarding sexuality. Further, I have come to believe that we are lucky to have reliable birth control methods available to us, as it offers additional sexual freedom.
The course has done a lot to enhance my understanding of sexuality and has allowed for me to form better informed attitudes and beliefs about sexuality. All the material featured in the course was valuable and interesting. At the same time, it would be beneficial to add more information about social aspects of sexuality, including practical advice about how to approach the topic of sex with your partner, how to make clear that someone’s sexual remarks are not welcome etc. Discussing these matters is important as we all are well-informed theoretically, but lack skills and knowledge on how to approach these questions in real life. All in all, this course has helped me to develop a more mature, conscious, and responsible attitude towards sexuality and provided me with knowledge that will influence how I approach sex and build relationships.
- Herbenick, D. (2009, March 9). Communicating About Sex: You Know It Matters, But How To Do It? Retrieved from https://kinseyconfidential.org/communicating-sex-matters/.
- Mark, K. (2012, March 20). Sexual Compatibility: The Importance to Your Satisfaction. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-pleasure/201203/sexual-compatibility-the-importance-your-satisfaction.