Human Sexuality

PSYC 333/3.0

An overview of typical sexual behaviour and its variations. Topics include the history of sex research, the sexual reponse cycle, sexual dysfunction, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Particular attention will be paid to current issues in sex research and theory.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Recognize, appreciate, and describe examples of diverse aspects of human sexuality, including sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual behaviours, sexual function, age, and ethnicity
  • Explain and evaluate the methods and results of research that has contributed to our knowledge about sexuality
  • Apply knowledge to defend or critique scientific results and theory to objectively participate in academic discussions about sexuality while also employing responsible decision-making techniques from the perspective of a voting citizen and community member


Material will be covered through assigned readings, video lectures that can be streamed, and online forum discussions. Topics include the following, but are subject to change:

Module 1 – Where does sex come from? What and how do we know about sexuality?

  • Defining sex and gender
  • Theoretical perspectives on sexuality
  • History of sex research
  • Research methodology

Module 2 – Sexual anatomy and the sexual response cycle

  • Female and male genitalia
  • Genital cutting
  • Sexual response cycles in women and men
  • Prenatal sexual differentiation
  • Intersex conditions

Module 3 – Sexual health

  • Pregnancy, conception, and contraception
  • Sexually transmitted infections

Module 4 – What is sex? How does it happen?

  • Defining sexual behaviour
  • Attraction, love, and communication
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Transgender and transsexual issues

Module 5 – Sexual variants

  • Sexual orientation
  • Fetishes and paraphilias
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Sexual addictions and compulsions
  • Sexual assault

Module 6 – Sexual difficulties

  • Female and male sexual dysfunctions
  • Genital pain
  • Treatments for sexual difficulties


Sexuality is something that affects virtually everyone, in one way or another. Because of its ubiquitous nature, sexuality is an issue that requires understanding. In this course, we explore basic information about sex and sexuality, including the history of sex research, theories of sexuality, sexual anatomy, sexual development, and the nature of the sexual response. We also discuss potentially controversial issues, such as fertility, contraception and abortion, sexually transmitted infections, sexuality across the lifespan (including sexuality in children and elderly people), sexual dysfunctions, and the use of sexuality in negative ways, such as sexual assault.

Learners develop existing knowledge by examining common research techniques in relation to theory, as well as biological, social, and cultural influences. Furthermore, learners learn to employ critical thinking skills to objectively analyze, evaluate, and discuss sexuality research in an open, academic, and professional forum together with their online peers. This is an undergraduate level course with particular attention paid to Western sexuality research and theory.

Because of the nature of the material, and the importance of understanding sexuality, we discuss sexuality and sexuality research frankly. It is important to keep in mind that lectures and any additional materials (e.g., readings, videos, etc.) may be sexually explicit, and are intended to facilitate discussion and the learning process. Please consider the nature of the course material deciding to continue in this course.

Note: If you suffer from issues related to sexuality, you will likely not benefit personally from this class other than gaining information. If you are in need of resources, please contact the instructor.


Fall 2015
Course Dates: 
Sept 14 - Dec 4, 2015
Exam Dates: 
Dec 9 - 23, 2015


Written Assignment10%
Online Participation30% (2% for each of the 5 quizzes, 20% for forum discussions)
Online Midterm Exam20%
Proctored Final Exam40%

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

You must write and pass the final exam in order to pass the course.

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University.  The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre.  Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Emma Dargie (

Instructor message

Emma DargieEmma is in the fifth year of her Clinical Psychology PhD at Queen’s University. Her program of research is hedged in the assessment and diagnosis of chronic vulvar pain (i.e., vulvodynia).  Part of her dissertation research includes the creation and validation of a questionnaire that can be used to facilitate the process of diagnosis, and disseminating that questionnaire to be used for clinical and research purposes. Emma has also engaged in research about romantic relationships, gender identities, and sexual orientations. Emma’s clinical interests include working with those who have mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, chronic pain, and sex or relationship issues, in addition to conducting cognitive assessments.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 10 hours per week (120 hours per term) for this course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.


Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows Vista/7/8, Intel Core 2 Duo, or Mac OS X 10.8 or higher, Intel i5 processor, 2 GB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, microphone (or preferably a headset), webcam and up-to-date versions of free software (Firefox/Internet Explorer/Safari, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Dates and Deadlines section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.