Best for-fun class: Human Sexuality

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Sophia Kerr | Photographer

The class runs on the long side – two and half hours – but through consistent activities, discussions and multimedia content, the professor makes the time fly by.

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Human Sexuality taught by Milken Institute School of Public Health Professor Sarah Axelson is what you wish your sex education course was like in high school.

Axelson has been instructing the course since she began teaching at GW more than a decade ago in the spring of 2011. Many students, like myself, hear about how comprehensive and beneficial but most importantly fun the class is through word of mouth.

The class runs on the long side – two and half hours – but through consistent activities, discussions and multimedia content, she makes the time fly by.

At the start of every class, Axelson goes through what she calls the “ask it basket,” which consists of anonymous questions students wrote down and dropped in before leaving the previous class. Students can ask any question related to what you’ve been discussing in class, personal experiences or just something they’re curious about but maybe too embarrassed to ask out loud – it makes for an opener the whole class seems to look forward to.

Throughout the semester, Axelson covers topics ranging from sexually transmitted infections and various contraceptive methods to gender identity and sexuality. She is incredibly conscious of her students’ emotions, perspectives and opinions during her instruction of any given subject and consistently gives content warnings when necessary.

While incredibly educational and useful, the course is also upbeat and engaging. Axelson organized a game or activity for almost every class session. In one class period, she had the class complete an activity modeled after the popular YouTube videos by Jubilee where participants stand in different positions to agree or disagree with statements.

At the beginning of the semester, students assigned a group to do a deep dive on one of the subjects we cover during the class. One of the assignments in these groups is to make educational TikToks on the subject, which is fun since you have full creative freedom.

If you take the class, you can also expect to take part in a “sexual health fair” with your group at the end of the semester where you come up with games for your classmates and guests to play while learning about your specific subject.

For an interesting, enjoyable class to add on to your schedule in fall 2022, consider taking Human Sexuality.

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