Module Catalogue 2018/19

COM2071 : Sex, Sexuality and Desire (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2018/19
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Chris Haywood
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to develop students’ knowledge and interest in a wide range of issues and topics that surround sex, sexuality and desire. Furthermore, the module aims to encourage students to apply a critical literacy to explore the knowledge, meanings and understandings in this area.

Although this module is located within media and cultural studies, it draws upon a wide range of perspectives and disciplines to offer students the opportunity to explore the impact of cultural contexts on some of the more intimate and private aspects of our lives. More specifically, the module considers the ways that society and culture transforms what we know, understand and experience as sex, sexuality and desire. Therefore the underpinning research question of this module is: do the ways that we communicate in this area reframe what is being said or what can be said. Included in this module is an exploration of sex, sexuality and desire in prehistory, the impact of sexology on how we communicate, and the emergence of new technologies which shape communication strategies, sex tourism, sex and the media, and sex and education.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will cover the following areas:

An introduction to sex, sexuality and desire; the history of sexuality; sexual research; female and male sexuality; sexuality and advertising; psychology and sex; sexual education; media and sex monsters; global sex tourism; sexual technologies

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of:

• how modes of representations and systems of meaning order social relations.

• the dynamics of public and everyday discourses in the shaping of sexual messages.

• how that labelled ‘sexual’ is constructed and contested through engagements with society, culture and individuals.

• the processes, both verbal and non-verbal whereby people manage sexual communication face – to face and in the context of groups.

• An understanding and knowledge of the ethical issues involved when conducting theoretical and practical inquiry in this area.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students are intended to develop the following skills:

I. Engage critically with major thinkers, researchers, debates and issues within the area of sexual communication in order to evaluate their claims.

II. Identify how forms of sexual communication have developed historically appreciating the processes through which they have come into being with reference to social, cultural and technological change.

III. Develop substantive and detailed knowledge and understanding in one or more designated areas of the field.

IV. The ability to carry out various forms of research for essays involving sustained independent enquiry into the area of sexual communication.

V. Draw out the strengths of and understand the limits of quantitative and /or qualitative research methods used in researching sexual communication.

VI. Recognition of the ethical issues and relevant Codes of Practice as guidance.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Assessed
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present
  • Application
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Assessed
    • Legal Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture63:0018:00Screenings
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading131:0031:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading73:0021:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading11:001:00Class tests
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work36:0018:00Small Tasks
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork12:002:00Archive Museum Fieldtrip
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study141:0041:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module uses the lectures to map out the key theories and concepts that surround the areas of sexuality. The lectures will also introduce students to the various approaches to sex, sexuality and desire. The lectures are delivered using a variety of methods. These include a range of resources, such as OHP’s, PowerPoint, video and individual and group tasks. The students will be required to have undertaken a range of preparatory tasks to facilitate the interactive character of these sessions. These tasks will form part of their assessment.

This module also uses practicals strategically to engage students in their assessment task. In other words, as well as helping students think through themes and issues, they also have a tangible objective.

At various times throughout the course, films will be used to identify and explore the key themes that are being discussed throughout the module. These will be the basis of directed research. Film provides a number of different ways of viewing theory outside of traditional teaching forms. For example, films can provide unique ways of seeing through powerful ‘filmic’ statements conveyed by editing, production, angles and shots. There are a number of features of film including the metaphorical power of the film, wherein the theories and ideas are conveyed through areas such as plot, character, audio, script. The use of film also has a role to play informing lectures and seminars. Furthermore, it is a very inclusive method enabling students from a wide range of backgrounds to engage in discussion.

Before and after each film there will be a small group teaching activity where students will be asked to explore a number of themes from the films and follow up some of the issues from the lectures. These can also be used as points of guidance for their assessments.

Students will also be required to undertake a supervised visit to the Archive Museum. This will be an opportunity to explore the contexts through which we read sexual artifacts.

This involves designing and developing a sex survey. They will then be required to discuss with 3 different people the questions used in the survey. The students will not be undertaking sex surveys directly, but will inviting comments about the sensitivity of the questions, the subject matter, the ethics and the quality of the questions. This is designed to enable students to examine the cultural politics of desire outside of the academy.

For independent study, the students will be encouraged to read a range of academic texts. These texts will consider historical approaches to the study of sexual behaviour that include pre-historic, pre-modern, modern and post-modern societies, cultures and identities. Students will also be asked to investigate studies from a range theoretical perspectives. These include: medicine, psychoanalysis, sexology, feminism, gay/lesbian studies, Marxism, interactionism, post-structuralism and queer theory. It is also anticipated that students will be able to develop a sustained awareness of a particular area of sexual communication.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination602M10Written exam scheduled by School
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A60Essay, 2500 words
Report2M303 x Practical Reports
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will allow students to research and write about a specific area of sex, sexuality and desire. It is anticipated that this work will offer a detailed analysis and understanding of a variety of approaches in this area. Students will be expected to choose an essay title that corresponds to items of the syllabus.

The practical reports enable continuous assessment to take place every two weeks. This will enable the module leader to evaluate student learning and strategically intervene to provide feedback on students developing knowledge and understanding.

The written exam is designed to encourage group discussion. The nature of the task facilitates development of students' knowledge and understanding of global sexual issues.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

Resit format: 4000 word essay

Title: Critically evaluate the claim that sexuality is biologically determined.

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2018/19 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2018/19 entry will be published here in early-April 2018. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.