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PSME201 Human Sexuality and Health

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
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,059.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,627.65

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108 points
Recommended Preparation
GEND 102
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
Suitable for students of all disciplines who meet the prerequisite.
Teaching staff
Dr Charlene Rapsey
Paper Structure
This foundational paper covers the major areas within the field of human sexuality from a psychological and health science perspective. Broad topics covered include:
  • Sexual response and difficulties
  • Reproductive health and STIs
  • Sexual harm: Causes and consequences
  • Research methodology
  • Gender development
  • Sexual diversity
  • Sexuality and health, illness, disability and wellbeing
  • Special topics: transactional sex, education, technology, pornography

To be advised.

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. To develop a broad understanding of sexuality from a biological, psychological and social perspective
  2. Develop a critical understanding of research methods in sexuality research
  3. Demonstrate a knowledge of sexuality and development across the lifespan
  4. Describe sexual anatomy and the role of sex hormones on sexuality and sexual response
  5. Learn about the prevalence, consequences and behavioural interventions for the prevention of STIs
  6. Understand that gender is a complex psychological phenomenon that arises out of the intersections between biological and socio-cultural factors and learn about how a child's sense of gender develops
  7. Learn about how sexual/affectional orientations and identities are understood and defined, become familiar with perspectives on how affectional orientation and sexual identity develop, and recognise the impact of stigma on mental and physical health
  8. Understand and recognise the aetiology and presentation of sexual difficulties
  9. Recognise and describe the interaction between mental health and physical health and sexuality
  10. Use research to demonstrate the harm or not of viewing pornography and technology related sexual behaviour
  11. Learn and consider what constitutes consent and sexual harm
  12. Develop an understanding of what constitutes childhood sexual abuse and the impact of the abuse on the individual
  13. Consider legal issues in relation to childhood sexual abuse and sexual offending

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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
A3 Thursday 15:00-15:50 28-34, 36-41