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Souza: Everyone should be able to take this CSU sex class

Collegian | Rashida Obika

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Every Tuesday and Thursday around 12:15 p.m., I bid my friends at lunch a snickering goodbye as they roll their eyes, sick of me, already knowing what I am about to say: “Off to sex class!”


It is true. I registered for Sexuality Across the Lifespan — a first-year fall honors seminar — thinking it would be a class about identity, not knowing that it is a class about sex.

That’s not to say sexual orientation and gender identification aren’t included in the curriculum; they are factors. In discussions about kissing, Alfred Kinsey, porn, sex workers, BDSM and STDs, the class is an intersectional look into how one’s identification and experiences contribute to cultural stigma and practice around sex — and it’s amazing.

This being my first semester at Colorado State University, I didn’t know what to expect from the honors curriculum, let alone college classes in general. Thrown into a new state, a new city and a new environment, navigating the campus and all of its various opportunities left me feeling overwhelmed. I didn’t know what I wanted out of a class, but the instant I entered professor Jen Krafchick’s seminar, I realized the course was exactly what I needed. Beyond that, it was what everyone needed. 

The first week of class, I remember reading over the syllabus with all my friends and laughing at the bizarre textbook readings: “Straight Girls Kissing,” “When There’s No Underbrush the Tree Looks Taller: A Discourse Analysis of Men’s Online Groin Shaving Talk,” “The G-Spot and Other Mysteries” and “Becoming a Practitioner: Self-Mastery, Social Control and the Biopolitics of SM.”

The titles were funny, but beneath the humor, each topic sparked an extremely important dialogue that is necessary for all college students — and society in general — to hear. For example, during one of the weeks, we discussed sexual health and the social stigmas surrounding it. Our reflection on the reading “Proper Sex Without Annoying Things” prompted discourse about condom use and why so many sexually active people disregard them at the expense of their sexual health.

The class doesn’t force sharing personal experiences either. Providing anecdotes and stories to a discussion is welcomed but only at the level of one’s own comfortability; there is zero expectation to share personal information. The discussions relate to the widespread cultural perceptions of sex — not individual experiences.

I’m not saying that college students aren’t aware of the topics we discuss in sex class: A lot of the information circulates around well-known sexual anatomy and behaviors. But when was the last time you openly discussed how harmful the porn industry can be? When was the last time you facilitated a debate about whether the stork and other sexual euphemisms harm sex education?

That is why this class is so important: it encourages discussions about topics many think about but are too afraid to say out loud. This fear is no doubt a result of the social stigmas around sex, but it is time to learn how to not be scared of these discussions. And sex class could be that first step.

It is no secret that sex education curriculums vary in depth across the country. While some states have mandated inclusive and detailed sex education, other areas focus on abstinence-only sex education, if any at all. 


It is not CSU’s job to provide adequate sex education to those who didn’t receive it in K-12 schooling, but this class addresses the inequities in that education and goes beyond what many learn. Sex class isn’t just a repeat of the “sperm and egg” teachings — it has a level of maturity, self-awareness and inclusivity that younger classes lack. 

All this being said, right now the class is exclusively a first-year, honors-only seminar. Anyone who is not an honors first-year student does not have the ability to take the class. The course isn’t even accessible or visible to all in the course catalog. However, the information learned and discussions facilitated in this class should not be excluded from any student demographic. CSU needs to take the first step in creating a class like the one I am taking that is open for all majors.

There should be no shame in talking about sex, and nothing destigmatizes it faster than picking apart where that shame came from. We all need a sex class!

Reach Emma Souza at or on Twitter @_emmasouza.

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