Module Catalogue 2020/21

MCH2071 : Sex, Sexuality and Desire

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • 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, 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 possibilities of the erotic or are they simply reinforcing existing inequalities and differences that surround sex, sexuality and desire

Outline Of Syllabus

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 representations of sexual deviance; global sex tourism; sexual technologies; erotic retail; contemporary sexual cultures.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of:

- The ways in which sex, sexuality and desire is made sense of and understood in contemporary society and culture.

- The diversity of sexual worlds in a range of different social, cultural and economic settings.

- The complex emotional and physical experiences that underpin sexual selves and identities.

- The connections between what we understood as ‘the sexual’ and gender relations.

- The theoretical and conceptual tools that are available to make sense of this field of study.

- Issues concerning the normalization, discrimination and regulation of sex, sexuality and desire.

- 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 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 and relevant Codes of Practice as guidance.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture63:0018:00Screenings
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading132:0032:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading11:001:00In-class tests
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical51:005:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyProject work316:0048:00Small Tasks
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study142:0042:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module uses the lectures to map out the key theories and concepts that help us to understand the areas of sex, sexuality and desire. 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 visualizers, 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.

Each film will be prefaced by a short introduction by the lecturer. Students will be asked to identify 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.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A60Essay, 2000 words
Report2M10Practical Report
Report2M10Practical Report
Report2M10Practical Report
Prob solv exercises2M101hour in-class group task
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 three weeks. This will enable the module leader to evaluate student learning and strategically intervene to provide feedback on students developing knowledge and understanding.

The problem solving exercise 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


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 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 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.