All Articles Tagged "sex journals"
You’re a sophomore in college. It’s your second semester and your schedule finally has room to take an elective or two. Your older friends have told you that you can take a human sexuality course. So for an hour and a half every other day you get to talk about sex and get college credit for it. (Sweet!) Of course you register. On the first day of class, in a big auditorium full of people, your new professor hands you the syllabus along with a waiver. The waiver says that you’re going to be presented with some graphic content throughout the duration of the course. It’s human sexuality, that’s to be expected. So you sign the waiver, thinking nothing of it. Then, a couple of classes later, your professor gives you an assignment: “A Sexual Case Study…You!”
It’s an essay. In order for you to get a passing grade you’ll have to record your masturbatory activity, keep a sex journal, which will be subject to class discussion, and share personal details of your sexual history, including sexual abuse.
Hold up, what?!
This all may seem outrageous but according to Karen Royce, a student at Western Nevada College, this is the assignment her human sexuality professor, Tom Kubistant, gave she and the rest of her classmates. When Karen went to express her reservations about it, Kubistant dismissed her concerns. She then took it to the department head and eventually the college president, claiming that the assignment was intrusive and a form of sexual harassment. When they didn’t find fault with Kubistant’s assignment, she filed a suit with the U.S. District Court of Nevada.
The court also found that Kubistant’s assignment did not represent any type of sexual harassment. But Karen, who dropped the course after just four classes, plans to take her case to the federal level.
It could take up to a year until a verdict is decided on this but that just means it gives us more time to discuss the nature of such an assignment.
Usually, I’m one of those people who believes that Americans, and specifically black people, can be a little too conservative when it comes to just talking about sex. The minute the topic comes up, usually in hushed tones, there’s always someone to write something off as “nasty” or judge someone for what they do or don’t do. I’m the person who has always been comfortable speaking about my sexuality with my friends and family.
That being said though, I’ve never been forced to do so…in public settings. Requiring not only that your students masturbate, record sexual experiences, including sexual trauma, that may or may not be shared with the class, is way too much. Sure a human sexuality class is supposed to encourage dialogue about sex and sexual experiences. But the key word is encourage, not coerce. Whether you feel the need to speak about your sexuality or you’d rather keep it to yourself, that’s a right you have. And it’s a right this professor seems to be infringing upon.
I can’t say whether or not this assignment represents a form of sexual harassment because it’s only an elective and students always have the option of dropping the course, like Karen did; but if I were a university official, I would certainly make sure that this “case study” wasn’t on next year’s syllabus because the slope is too slippery. And furthermore what lessons are there to be learned by knowing your classmates’ sexual escapades, masturbation schedules and history of sexual abuse? Can’t they just take an anonymous poll or survey for that? Why do private matters have to be open for the professor’s consumption and public discussion?
I guess you can say Kubistant and his assignment are indicative of the times we live in. In the days of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc, everybody’s always over-sharing. But in this instance, it’s ok to keep things to yourself. Because even the thought that your college professor might be using your sex life to get off, is more creepy than a little bit.
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