Sextion: The Legs-Open Curriculum

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In the middle of the semester, around that point when the courses you were most excited for have become predictable and pedantic, and when the courses you were least excited for have already been dropped from your schedule, and when the Ratty begins its slaughter of the thousands of turkeys they plan to serve us over and over again this month, I sometimes like to swoop through the desolate aisles of textbooks on the Brown Bookstore’s lower level in search of what might have been.

It was during one of these such expeditions, a perusal of the Religious Studies textbook aisle, when a copy of the Kamasutra caught my eye. This made me realize that certain classmates of mine are reading the Kamasutra, the ancient Indian manual of erotic pleasure, for credit. That’s even cooler than doing so for The Wire.

This got us Bloggers thinking. To what degree would it be possible to gain a well-rounded sexual education this semester through credit-bearing courses?

Sex Ed, Open Curriculum Style

Sex Ed, Open Curriculum Style

We decided to make that trip down to the lower level of the Bookstore and use required reading (i.e. textbooks) as a window into what we would potentially learn. Even if our professors are wont to dissecting and over-complicating sex and sexual politics, on the most basic level, each of these books simply talk a lot about rolling in the hay. If there is anyone out there whose current cart looks something like the following list, please drop us a line and ask me on a date. And remember to check out your reading lists when you preregister for Spring courses!

  1. RELS0090G: The Hindu Tradition. Book: The Kamasutra. A window into a small aspect of the religion, but an interesting one nonetheless. Did you know about the passages dedicated to nibbling?

    I wonder if any of these courses have a lab component.

    Kamasutra Carvings. I wonder if any of these courses has a lab component.

  2. ENGL1762A: Perverse Cinema. Book: Screening Sex, by Linda Williams. The definitive study on the representation of sex acts on screen throughout film history, with sections on Deep Throat and Brokeback Mountain. It helps if you actually watch the movies she refers to. By the same author as Porn Studies, (Duke University Press).
  3. ANTH0310: Human Evolution. Book: Our Inner Ape, by Franz De Waal. Here’s an interesting one. Sometimes, sex is inhibited by our all-too-self-conscious mannerisms and neuroses. Our Inner Ape gives us the opportunity to take a lesson from the savage abandon of our fellow primates. Skip to the chapter titled “Sex,” and take inspiration from the pages on tongue-kissing, penis envy, and the bonobo’s ability to seamlessly mix acts of eating, play, and coitus.

    The bonobo's sexual prowess is the stuff of legends.

    The bonobo’s sexual prowess is the stuff of legends.

  4. ANTH2251: Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality. Book: Techniques of Pleasure, by Margot Weiss. An ethnographic study of San Francisco’s pansexual BDSM community, and perhaps a good place to start if you are looking for new ingredients to expand your sexual horizons. You can’t know unless you try!

    Not just a Halloween costume.

    Not just a Halloween costume.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve

    To reduce Hinduism as a means to understanding sexual pleasure is so not okay. I understand that to westerners the Kamasutra has become a seminal work in the field of “how-to” books for sexual experiences, but really? If you looked at the other books for the course, there are a lot more readings for the course, readings that come form the beautiful Mahabharata or the Ramayana. The tradition of my ancestors was sex-positive, but to reduce the experience of learning about the religion as a whole to being a self-serving purpose of enlightening one’s self sexually is just stupid.

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