Welcome to our Introduction to Human Sexuality textbook.
Whether you found this resource as a requirement for class or due to your own interest, we hope that you find this reading, engaging, informative, and accessible.
Both Emerson Wolfe and Ericka Goerling teach human sexuality at Portland Community College. Over the course of the last five years, we found that human sexuality textbooks were typically behind in presenting current language, ideas, and contemporary research. Often this wasn’t because of author negligence but, rather, the delayed timelines of publication of materials. Additionally, the cost of textbooks, even certain online versions, were just too expensive to be genuinely accessible to many of our students. Finally, many of the resources that were available for teaching human sexuality were still using a very Western, white, hetero-centric lens in presenting information, which we find to be restrictive to the vastness of human experiences with sexuality. This combination of factors led Emerson and Ericka to look for different options for class materials.
Thankfully, the ability for us author, create, and compile a textbook on our own was made available in 2020-21. Indeed, this resource would not be available without the support of Open Oregon Educational Resources. Using the framework of Open Education Resources (OERs), Emerson and Ericka can use existing resources, as well as author our own content, and make this information digitally and freely accessible for a wide variety of students. As a result, this textbook is an organic and dynamic resource, and undergoes regular updating to ensure we’re offering current, intersectional, and accessible information. You will find sections that are authored by other OER contributors – sometimes with modifications from us. In other areas, the chapters are entirely designed and written by us and made available to other instructors using OERs. We invite your feedback, Reader, as we view our students as being essential stakeholders and collaborators in this content.
How This Book is Organized
This textbook is divided into two parts because our teaching commitment has course content divided into two, separate 10–12-week terms (Psychology 231 and Psychology 232). You will note that the first section, Reflections and Explorations in Human Sexuality, includes ten chapters ranging from Sexology to Gender to Sexual Behaviors. In many ways, Part 1 is a great example of introductory human sexuality and many of the subjects have personal application to one’s experiences and learning. Our second section, Part 2, is Professional and Clinical Topics in Human Sexuality and covers topics such as Sexuality Over the Lifespan, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and Sexual Dysfunctions and Treatment. While our Part 2 is still considered introductory in nature, it does have a more clinical/professional approach to topics in terms of learning. We feel, strongly, that all these subjects hold value for students’ personal and professional development whether they’re going into psychology, social work, gender and sexuality studies, nursing, public health, anthropology, or something else entirely.
Human sexuality is a richly diverse, engaging, sometimes challenging, and ultimately critical area of psychological inquiry. Emerson and Ericka respectfully strive to introduce this textbook as an inclusive and intersectional resource for learning about human sexuality. With that in mind, we also know that there will be ongoing ways to improve content. As previously stated, we invite feedback from our readers- and seek to make your learning experience relevant, academically sound, and personally/professionally meaningful.
Many thanks for being here and all the best for dynamic learning!
Emerson & Ericka