Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2022
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture per week (48 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Area VII: Lifelong Learning, Area IV: Social & Behavioral Sciences
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the biological aspects of human sexuality
  • Students will be able to discriminate between gender role and sexual orientation.
  • Students will be able to both identify attitudes they possess as well as differentiate between attitudes and statements of fact pertaining to subject areas of human sexuality.


This course provides a current scientific analysis of sexual functioning and sexuality. The course offers an overview of many facets of sexuality, including sexual behavior, gender and gender roles, sexual development, sexual orientation, pregnancy and birth control, childbirth, sexual abuse and treatment, pornography, and legal, political and cultural considerations. The course is taught in an interdisciplinary manner that includes theories and research on biological, sociological, cognitive, and emotional aspects of sexuality.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Approach sexual relations in an informed, understanding, sensitive manner.
  2. Understand the historical attitudinal development of sexuality, the cultural and comparative differences, gender identity and early socialization.
  3. Operate from a knowledge base in the areas of anatomy, contraception, reproduction, female/male systems.
  4. Challenge myths and fallacies from a research base.
  5. Evaluate theories of sexual gender, identity, function and dysfunction.
  6. Understand basic psychological research methodology and its effect on sexual behavior.
  7. Be aware of the interaction of biological, psychological, sociological, and cultural forces influencing female and male sex role development.
  8. Understand and apply thoughtful knowledge of and sensitivity to practices/problems/opportunities of the following behavioral range: abortion, adoption, planned parenthood, prenatal drug and alcohol damage, unwanted children, pre-marital sex.
  9. Recognize and meet the challenges of sexual feelings, fears, dysfunction, exploitation.
  10. Understand current law, judicial process, trends regarding sexual behavior.

Course Content

  1. Introduction
    1. Cross-cultural comparisons of sexual behavior
    2. Historical comparisons of sexual attitudes and behavior
    3. Important researchers in the field of human sexuality
      1. Sigmund Freud
      2. Alfred C. Kinsey
      3. Masters and Johnson
    4. Research method
      1. Survey
      2. Correlation
      3. Case study
      4. Direction observation
      5. Experimental
  2. Biological aspects of human sexuality
    1. Male and female sexual and reproductive anatomy
      1. Internal and external structures
    2. Hormones and the endocrine system
      1. Men and women
    3. Four stages and descriptions of the menstrual cycle
      1. Experiences and hormonal activity
    4. Variations in women's menstrual cycles
      1. Physiological
      2. Psychologically
    5. Menstrual problems
    6. Cultural beliefs about menstruation
    7. Male and female sexual response cycles
      1. Masters and Johnson's model
    8. Definitions of orgasms and the differences between men's and women's orgasms
    9. Sexually transmitted infections
      1. Causes, symptoms, treatments, testing options
  3. Birth control and pregnancy
    1. Different methods and the efficacy
      1. Advantages and disadvantages of each
    2. Conception and implantation
    3. Stages of pregnancy
      1. Experiences of the fetus and the mother
    4. Complications during pregnancy
    5. Childbirth
      1. Stages of labor
  4. Gender and sexual orientation
    1. Biological aspects of sex
      1. Chromosomes, genitalia, brain structure
    2. Cultural and social aspects of gender role
      1. Development during childhood
      2. Role of the media and culture
      3. Theories of socialization
    3. Gender identity
      1. Male/female
      2. Social and cultural constructs of gender identity
    4. Gender variants
      1. Transgenderism—causes and experiences
      2. Intersexed individuals—causes and experiences
    5. Sexual orientation
      1. Definition
      2. Social and cultural construction of the concepts of sexual orientation
      3. Causes and experiences of individuals gay, lesbian, and straight individuals
      4. History of homosexuality and attitudes towards GLBT communities and individuals
  5. Life-span and sexual behavior
    1. Life-span sexual development from infancy to the elderly years (age 60+)
    2. Masturbation
    3. Two-person sex
      1. Coital positions and locations
      2. Oral-genital sex
      3. Anal eroticism
      4. Gay and lesbian sexual behaviors
    4. The sexually healthy person
  6. Sexual problems, therapy, and communication
    1. Relationship conflicts
    2. Male sexual problems
    3. Female sexual problems
    4. Therapy techniques
    5. Elements of ineffective and effective communication
  7. Paraphilias and sexual variants
    1. Courtship disorders
      1. Voyeurism
      2. Exhibitionism
      3. Obscene phone calls
      4. Frotturism
    2. Fetishism and transvestism
      1. Causes and experiences
    3. Sadomasochism
      1. Lifestyle and experiences
  8. Sexual victimization
    1. Rape
      1. Rape statistics
      2. Characteristics of rapists
      3. Date rape and sexual coercion
      4. Rape in marriage
      5. Gang rape
      6. Rape myths
      7. Reactions to rape
    2. Sexual harassment
      1. Causes of sexual harassment
      2. How to deal with sexual harassment
    3. Sexual abuse of children
      1. Characteristics of people who molest children
      2. Child pornography
      3. Effect of abuse on the children
  9. Legal issues
    1. Pornography
      1. Effects of pornography
      2. Effects of violent and degrading sexually explicit material
    2. Prostitution and other sex work
      1. Definition and types of prostitution
      2. Characteristics of prostitutes
      3. Characteristics of the customers of prostitutes
      4. Legality of prostitution

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

When taught as an online distance learning section, students and faculty need ongoing and continuous internet and email access.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Multiple choice quizzes
Essay exams
Research papers
Summaries and analysis of primary source research articles
Personal reaction papers
Problem-solving exercises
Final exams

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

In-class readings
Class discussion
Active learning and group activities

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Herdt, Gilbert, and Nicole Polen-Petit. Human Sexuality: Self, Society, and Culture, 2nd ed.. 2021.

King, Bruce, and Pamela Regan. Human Sexuality Today, 9th ed.. 2019.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Reading assignments:
    1. Reading and studying of textbook
    2. Reading and critically analyzing primary source research articles
    3. Reading current event articles that relate to prejudice and discrimination
  2. Writing assignments:
    1. Research papers
    2. Essay exam questions
    3. Personal reaction papers