Module Catalogue 2021/22

MCH2071 : Sex, Sexuality and Desire

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • 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. Fundamentally, the module aims to encourage students to apply a critical literacy to explore the knowledge, meanings and understandings in this area.

The module is likely to include a number of themes but is not limited to: erotic retail, BDSM, advertising, sex tourism, sex addiction, sex and technology, sex crime, recreational sex, fetishes, history of sex, the psychology of sex.

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, culture and individuals transform what we know, understand and experience as sex, sexuality and desire. At the core of the module is a question of whether the changes around sex, sexuality and desire are creating new sexual possibilities or are they simply reinforcing existing inequalities and differences that have traditionally shaped sex, sexuality and desire.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will normally explore, but may not be limited to the following themes: introduction to sex, sexuality and desire, sexual psychology, sex research, sexuality and technology, media representations of sexual deviance, global sex tourism, contemporary sexual cultures

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students successfully completing the module will know and understand:
1. The ways in which sex, sexuality and desire is made sense of and understood in contemporary society and culture.
2. The diversity of sexual worlds in a range of different social, cultural and economic settings.
3. The complex emotional and physical experiences that underpin sexual selves and identities.
4. The connections between what we understood as ‘the sexual’ and gender relations.
5. The theoretical and conceptual tools that are available to make sense of this field of study.
6. Issues concerning the normalization, discrimination and regulation of sex, sexuality and desire.
7. The ethical issues involved when conducting theoretical and practical inquiry in this area.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students successfully completing the module will:
I. Engage critically with major thinkers, researchers, debates and issues within the area of sex, sexuality and desire.
II. Identify how forms of sex, sexuality and desire 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 sex, sexuality and desire.
V. Draw out the strengths of, and understand the limits of, quantitative and /or qualitative research methods used in researching the field.
VI. Recognition of the ethical issues involved in sex research.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Present-in-person on-campus lectures. Can be delivered online if necessary.
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials51:005:00Non-synchronous online lecture materials
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion179:0079:00Preparation time for the Portfolio and Essay
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading127:0027:00Reading associated with the weekly themes
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00On-campus seminars. Can be delivered online if necessary.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities61:006:00Specific documentaries to watch in preparation for the on-campus seminars.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00End-of-module support for the assessment
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study154:0054:00Reading and note-taking
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module involves different styles of teaching and learning in order to deliver the learning outcomes. The delivery of the module is based on the delivery of two-hour lectures. Supporting materials in the shape of the non-synchronous learning Sways will be provided to students fortnightly. These learning Sways may be supported by a number of different present-in-person activities that could include exploring reactions to videos, worksheet learning, unstructured drop-ins, creative practice and designing research projects. Not only are these designed to enhance student learning and reinforcement of the key ideas, themes and issues, the present-in-person activity designed to support students with the development of their portfolio assessment. The module will also offer focused support by offering an online drop-in session that will be scheduled at the end of the module. Finally, the first three weeks provide the scaffolding for further, in-depth, discussion of sex, sexuality and desire. The module then requires students to watch a number of documentaries. These documentaries are required viewing in advance of the on-campus seminars. These documentaries will enable students to develop confidence and background understanding of a number of the themes being discussed on the module.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A60Essay, 2000 words
Portfolio2M40A collation of four components: Research Plan; Interview schedule; Advert design; Newspaper analysis
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 portfolio will enable students to build up a body of work that will enable the module leader to evaluate student learning and strategically intervene to provide feedback on students' developing knowledge and understanding.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2021/22 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 2022/23 entry will be published here in early-April 2022. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.