California State University, Northridge

Psychology 453
Psychological Aspects of
Human Sexuality

This proseminar examines sexual behaviors and attitudes in contemporary American society. Its comprehensive approach to human sexuality is especially useful for students who plan careers in counseling as well as for those with a Human Sexuality Minor.

The text is by Robert T. Francoeur and William J. Taverner: Taking Sides - Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Human Sexuality, 6th edition. This is a collection of articles and essays published in 1998 by The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc.

Psychology 453 is an issues course that uses a debate format. Topics cover a wide range of important concerns in human sexuality. In preparation for each class, students learn to navigate the Internet to find "ammunition" for the debates. Students support their arguments with material they get from journal articles as well as from resources they find on the Internet [CARL UnCover, Lexis/Nexis, Medline, PsychFirst, the World Wide Web]. They use a wide variety of Search Engines and share the information that they find. During class, equal time is given to both sides of each topic, although students do not always get to choose whether they will argue on the "Yes" or "No" side.

Daniel Webster once wrote: "...Inconsistencies of opinion, arising from changes of circumstances, are often justifiable." Thus, after students share relevant information on these topics, their classmates come to realize the complexities of many of these issues. We would like to share with you the information used during our classroom debates. [Please remember that since students are usually assigned "yes" or "no," they often find themselves defending positions and points of view that are not their own.]

It has been said that "opinion is the enemy of intellect." For our classroom debates, students are therefore required to support the viewpoints they express with documentation from the Internet.