Carnal Knowledge

Harvard’s most sexcellent classes

Students not gettin’ any action are content and in most cases even eager to just read all about it. Bad luck in the lottery for Science B-29, “Evolution of Human Nature” (commonly called “Sex”), has kept some students out of the class for as long as three years running. The Expos sectioning war began again this spring for students trying to get into “Love in the Western World” (or “Sexpos”)—and Psychology 1703, “Human Sexuality,” was so popular this semester that the course moved from a cozy Harvard Hall room to a large lecture hall in Emerson.

Science B-29 was restructured this semester and now features one less professor and a syllabus that emphasizes sexual behavior over less erotic hunter-gatherer history. This year, in what seems a welcome change, the first week’s section focused primarily on the female reproductive organs and the female orgasm. But though the class is designed as a sexier “Sex,” students say there is still a limited amount of heat that can be generated in the Science Center.

“Sexpos” also delivers less salacious class material than the hype suggests. The course’s description promises nothing more than to “make sense of the split sensibility” of love’s role in life. “Sexpos” alums agree that it is a class that touches on sex occasionally and tactfully, but it is by no means the central theme of the course.

The underrated X-rated course offering is “Human Sexuality,” a psychology class open to all undergraduates. At the beginning of the first lecture, Adams House Senior Tutor and Lecturer on Psychology Michael R. Rodriguez cautioned students that his course was not for the easily embarrassed. Among the topics outlined in the syllabus are sexual arousal, sexual behavior, atypical sexual variations and sexuality in the media. Rodriguez also suggested that students avoid sectioning with friends and acquaintances.

All this frivolity couched in academic discourse is, of course, the advanced version of the ultimate high school rite of passage—sex ed class. But there doesn’t seem to be much ground-breaking work done at that level either. Students at Cambridge Ringe and Latin School say sex ed down Cambridge Street is basically a biology class with “some warnings about STDs.” According to CRLS senior Leslie Braga, “The sex ed offered at Ringe and Latin is pretty much the same thing we all got in fifth grade. We didn’t really learn anything new.”

—M.S. Pedroza

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