Last week I had the opportunity to visit DeAnza College in Cupertino, California. It was a warm, sunny day and the campus was just beautiful. Although the fall weather is in full swing in New England and we are bathed in reds, oranges, and browns, California still felt like summer to me. The trees were all green and the sun felt warm.
I had no idea what to expect during my visit to DeAnza. They have a diverse student body and when students first started filing in for my lecture, many eagerly grabbed the back row seats. I urged them to move up so we could talk and discuss the issues I came to talk about. I talked to them about sex around the world – exploring the importance of being open-minded when it comes to variations in sexual attitudes, values, and behaviors. The students had great questions and many stayed afterwards to talk about these issues. I always love talking to students and seeing what their take on sexuality is. They have a fresh and interesting way of looking at the world – one in which I sometimes overlook. A few notable conversations:
-One student told me he loved talking about sex and has always been interested in studying it, even though his mom was his 8th grade sex ed teacher. I wondered if it would be considered “cool” to have your mom as your sex ed teacher (or horrifying…which is it?) He said his friends thought it was cool – he didn’t until later. Then came his first girlfriend – a stripper. I think he’s well on his way to being a sex researcher!
-Another student engaged me in a discussion about why young girls like to dress up as tramps for Halloween. It is interesting how gender roles play out on Halloween, isn’t it? The girls dress as cheerleaders and brides, while the boys dress as snipers and football players. Is this a bad thing or should kids be able to dress however they wish? What’s a parent to do?
There were many conversations that day in class and I loved being on campus with these students. I hope they are reading their textbook for class and loving learning about sex! After the class I had the opportunity to meet with several of the professors who teach the course. I loved sharing teaching strategies, ideas, and activities. I shared my Playdoh Anatomy activity – one of my student’s favorites (see the Flickr photos for pictures from my class). I really like talking to professors who teach the sex class because there is always something new to learn. Teaching is all about learning – and learning is all about teaching! All in all, it was a very successful trip to DeAnza and I thank all the professors, students, and colleagues who made it possible. Keep talking sex!!!