Informing Our Values and Sexual Behavior through the Use of Writing Communities KATHLEEN SCHMALZ
In the introduction to the most recent edition of their college-level textbook Dimensions of Human Sexuality, authors Curtis Byer and Louis Shainberg emphasize that the subject of human sexuality is inherently multidimensional in nature. Sex education taught to young adults includes instruction in the biology/physiology of human sexuality/reproduction, but while this body of objective, factual content is an essential course component, the subject at hand is multidisciplinary in scope, encompassing topics and issues that sound within the fields of sociology, psychology, cultural anthropology, history, and, of foundational importance, ethics. 1 The behavioral and moral dimensions of human sexuality courses at the college level require the use of critical reflection by adult learners. As Byer and Shainberg construe it, an important goal of such courses is the further development of students' critical thinking powers and skills. 2 Human sexuality is a personal matter with an interpersonal orientation. It arises in a social context while sounding within the depths of individual self-conception, identity, and full personhood. As such, human sexuality (sex education) at the college level must actively engage students in a broad, diverse array of instructional disciplines and, at the same time, empower them as learners and as members of a social order which rests upon behavioral norms, requires the exercise of individual choice, and literally depends upon sexual relations for its continuance across generations.
Given these aims and demands, teachers of human sexuality at the college level are obligated to utilize instructional practices that actively engage and empower their students. During the past two decades or so,