Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Psychology of Sexuality

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit offers the opportunity to explore the psychological, social, cultural, relational and physiological factors affecting human sexuality from a theoretical and research-based perspective.

Study unit Aims:

To create better knowledge and understanding of the complexity of human sexuality as well as the variation that exists in sexual perspectives and behaviours.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Discuss sexuality from a biopsychosocial perspective;
- Understand the richness in diversity in sexuality, relationships and gender;
- Discuss the importance of sex education and contraception;
- Discuss the main attraction theories and the link between relationships and attachment;
- Discuss female and male sexual dysfunctions and evidence-based treatment options;
- Have an in-depth understanding of sexual transmitted infections.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Be aware in changes in intimacy and sexual expression during illness and cancer treatment;
- Be able to identify the main sexual difficulties that can occur and describe their evidence-based treatment;
- Be aware of current research in the area of sex and relationships;
- Be aware of the rich diversity that exists in sex and relationships.

Tentative Study-unit Outline:

Human sexual anatomy
Human sexual response – Understanding desire, arousal and orgasm
The biopsychosocial model of understanding human sexuality
Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diversity
Intimate relationships – a systemic approach to sexual problems
Sex education and contraception
Sexual dysfunctions and sex therapy
Sexually transmitted infections
Variations in sexual behaviour
Current sex research.

Suggested reading list:

- Bering, J. (2013). Perv: The sexual deviant in all of us. Penguin Random House: London.
- Both, S., Laam, E., & Everaerd, W. (2011). Focusing hot and focusing cool: Attentional mechanism in sexual arousal in men and women. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8(1), 167-179.
- Brotto, L.A. (2010). The DSM diagnostic criteria for hypoactive sexual desire disorder in men. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7(6), 2015-2030.
- Borg, C., de Jong, P. J., & Mazza, M. (2012). Feelings of disgust and disgust-induced avoidance weaken following induced sexual arousal in women. PloS one,7 (9), 44111-44111.
- Catania, A. M., Sammut Scerri, C. & Catania, G.J. (2018). Men’s experience of their partners’ breast cancer diagnosis, breast surgery and oncological treatment. Journal of Clinical of Nursing, 28(9-10), 1899-1910.
- Hunter, J. A., Darjan, P. I., Benzie, A. White, J. A. & Wood, D. M. (2014). Recreational drug use in men who have sex with men (MSM) attending UK sexual health services is significantly higher than non-MSM. Post-Graduate Medical Journal, 90(1061), 133-138.
- Love, T., Laier, C., Brand, M. Hatch, L. & Hajela, R. (2015). Neuroscience of internet pornography addiction: A review and update. Behavioural Science, 5, 388-433.
- Guo, W., Liao, C., Zou, Y., Li. F., Li, T., Zhou, Q. Cao, Y. & Mao, X. (2010). Erectile dysfunction and risk of clinical cardiovascular events: A meta-analysis of seven cohort studies. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7(8), 2805-2816.
- Heffernan, M. E., Fraley, R.C., Vicary, A.M. Brumbaugh, C.C. (2012). The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29 (5), 671-693.
- Jung, K. & Steil, R. (2011). The feeling of being contaminated in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and its treatment via a two-session programme of cognitive re-structuring and imagery modification – A case study. Sage Journals, 36(1), 67-86.
- Lueng, M.W., Goldfarb, S. & Dizon, D.S. (2016). Communication about sexuality in advanced illness.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (1 Hour) SEM2 Yes 100%


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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.