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PSME201 Human Sexuality and Health

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

A foundational introduction to human sexuality and its biological, psychological and social underpinnings, with a focus on health and wellbeing.

An understanding of sexuality and its relationship to health and wellbeing is vital for students from a variety of backgrounds. It will be particularly valuable for students interested in psychology, public health, social work, education, sociology and gender studies, anthropology, law, reproductive health, and physical education. This paper can be taken as part of a number of degree programmes and will provide an essential grounding in sexuality from a psychological and health science perspective.

Paper title Human Sexuality and Health
Paper code PSME201
Subject Psychological Medicine
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) Second Semester, Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,858.95

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108 points
Recommended Preparation
GEND 102
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

Suitable for undergraduates from all disciplines and as a distance paper for those in the community. This paper is suited to those who are interested in sexuality, sexual health and wellbeing and all those whose professions involve working with people.

Teaching staff
Dr Charlene Rapsey
Paper Structure

The paper is structured according to three main areas:

Sexuality through the lifespan

  • Human development and sexuality
  • Sexual response
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Illness, disability and wellbeing
  • Sexual diversity
  • Gender identity
  • Love and intimacy

Public health and society

  • Sex work
  • Sex education
  • Sex and technology
  • Pornography
  • Reproductive health
  • Global initiatives

Sexual harm

  • Consent
  • Sexual victimisation
  • Harmful sexual behaviour

Topics are considered and critiqued from multi-disciplinary perspectives (health/developmental/evolutionary/clinical/social psychology, anatomy/physiology, public health, epidemiology, and sociology) toward the goal of understanding how to promote health and wellbeing in individuals and society.

Internal Assessment 60%.

Teaching Arrangements
This paper is taught On Campus and through Distance Learning

Lehmiller, J.J., 2017. The psychology of human sexuality, Second Edition. Wiley, Hoboken.

Additional key readings are posted on Blackboard.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  1. Use biological, social, and psychological research to explain human sexual behaviour.
  2. Consolidate and critique research and theories to answer questions and evaluate ideas about sexuality and health.
  3. Critically evaluate sexual health research and public policy and implications for health. 
  4. Discuss implications of lifespan development for sexuality and health.
  5. Understand sexual/affectional and gender orientations and identities.

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system

Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 13:00-13:50 28-34, 36-41
B1 Tuesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
C1 Wednesday 13:00-13:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-14:50 28-34, 36-41
A2 Thursday 15:00-15:50 28-34, 36-41