Biology (BIOL) 310

Biology of Human Sexuality (Revision 3)

BIOL 310

Revision 3 is closed for registration, see current revision

View previous revision

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: BIOL 235 or BIOL 230, or any 3-credit, second-year human biology course.

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

Biology Studies home page

BIOL 310 is not available for challenge.

Check availability


Defining human sexuality is not an easy task. Often misunderstood, human sexuality does not merely comprise the physical behaviour of sexual intercourse; the predominant behaviour likely to come to mind at the mention of “sex.” While important, sexual intercourse is only one component of a much larger and complex web called “human sexuality.” Given the complexity and range of human sexual behaviour, Biology 310 offers students multiple perspectives in order to understand sexuality.


  • Unit 1: What is Human Sexuality?
  • Unit 2: Anatomy and Physiology: The Male Body
  • Unit 3: Anatomy and Physiology: The Female Body
  • Unit 4: Sexual Response Cycle
  • Unit 5: Gender
  • Unit 6: Attraction and Love
  • Unit 7: Sexual Techniques and Behaviours
  • Unit 8: Sexual Dysfunction
  • Unit 9: Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Unit 10: Contraception and Abortion
  • Unit 11: Sexuality in Childhood and Adolescents
  • Unit 12: Sexuality in Adulthood and in the Later Years
  • Unit 13: Sexuality and Disability
  • Unit 14: Sexually Transmitted Infections

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of various biology-related topics in the area of human sexuality and demonstrate awareness to apply them to a healthy sexual lifestyle.
  2. Understand the various aspects of human sexuality, including anatomical, physiological and developmental perspectives of the stages of the reproductive system from the prenatal stage to seniority.
  3. Understand the biology of sexual attraction and behaviours in the context of human development, interaction, and reproductive health and be aware of the different ways in which individuals express their sexuality.
  4. Explain the impact of disability and illness on sexuality and sexual function.
  5. Understand and apply safe sex practices and behaviours to a healthy lifestyle, and identify the methods of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  6. Understand and apply safe sex practices and behaviours to a healthy lifestyle involving non-conventional sexuality.


To receive credit for BIOL 310, you must also achieve a course composite grade of at least fifty percent D (50 percent), and a minimum passing grade of fifty percent (50 percent) on each assignment and the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 15%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 50%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Spencer A. Rathus, Jeffrey S. Nevid, Lois Fichner-Rathus, Edward S. Herold, Alexander McKay (2013). Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity. (4th Canadian edition) Custom edition for Athabasca University. Pearson Education.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

The textbook also includes access to online resources.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, September 12, 2013.

View previous revision