The Class You Should Take Before You Graduate

“The Diversity of the Human Sexuality,” or more informally known as “Psych 210” at the University of Washington, is a class that you’ve most likely heard about by now—or if you haven’t, you will. But if you're anything like me last year, you may be puzzled about why its 720 spots always seem to fill up in less time than humanly possible every quarter. 

I entered its Zoom link for the first time with a grand total of five previous days of sex education from eighth and ninth grade, not knowing what to expect in the least. But, to my relief, Professor Nicole McNichols, who started teaching the class several years ago and later co-wrote the textbook for it, assured me that my experience wasn’t uncommon at all. Right off the bat, we were introduced to the fact that there is a serious lack of medically accurate sex education in school systems in the United States, and abstinence-only curriculums are continuously proven to be unsuccessful in preparing youths for sexual activity. This, in turn, drastically causes the United States to face some of the highest teen pregnancy and STI rates in the industrialized world. 

As a class that brings to light everything our parents left out in the awkward "talk" we've all been through, we started with the basic (yet still widely misunderstood) male and female anatomies. As the quarter progressed, we dove into more detailed science and research behind other areas regarding sex, including childhood and adulthood sexuality, fertility and pregnancy, and even fetishes and kinks. The course also opened up the discussion to important topics that many of us have been forced to turn to the greater internet to educate ourselves on, such as sex work in the United States, the issue of sexual harassment and violence, and countless others. 

This is a class where you can freely ask questions regarding topics that are light-hearted and more serious that you may have had since you were twelve, even if they're traditionally considered “taboo” in modern day society, and be met maturely with factual answers. This effort to no longer sweep natural products of the human imagination under the rug creates an environment where students can more comfortably learn about the fascinating theories and speculations behind multiple facets of sexual behavior that we often were told to be embarrassed or even afraid of growing up. Throughout the whole year, Psych 210 designs a space that allows us all to gradually, yet effectively, fill in the gaps caused by a lack of adequate focus on sex education in our country, one open-minded student at a time. 

So, I would recommend setting your NotifyUW notifications and alarms for 5:30 a.m. on registration day now, for what will undoubtedly be one of the most crucial classes you take throughout your undergraduate education.