My bestiality and necrophilia class

Why am I the only one made uncomfortable by this?


Photo by Rocpoc on Flickr

I haven’t had many lectures where terms like necrophilia or bestiality came up. That’s why, among all the classes I’ve taken over the past four years, the sociology course I’m taking this semester, Sexuality and the Law, stand outs.

It wasn’t until the second class that the professor really delved into the ‘makes you feel uncomfortable and avoid eye contact with the other students’ material. Penis rings, polygamy, chastity belts, the Kama Sutra, and the lack of a female counterpart to Viagra were all discussed, in no particular order of uncomfortableness.

Next, the professor gave a brief overview of popular books that explore the concept of sexuality, most of which had clever-yet-discomfiting subtitles such as, “The Clitoral Truth: The Secret World at Your Fingertips.” Another book, about sensual massages, (I must have blocked out the title), featured a cover with an almost-naked woman being massaged by a pair of arms that look like they belong to Arnold Schwarzenegger. On an Uncomfortable Scale of one to ten, where a five is “watching a movie with your family that contains an explicit sex scene,” sitting in that lecture hall was a solid eight for me. But it was about to get worse.

At the end of the lecture, which involved every word ending with ‘philia’ and ‘ality’ that you can think of, plus a few more, the professor asked the class, “Who was surprised by today’s lesson?”

I and only four other students raised our hands. I had been operating on the apparently wrong assumption that, given a room full of 50 people, the vast majority would be willing to go out on a limb and say, “Necrophilia just isn’t cricket.” If someone had told me that morning, “You’re going to be faced with something weirder than necrophilia and beastiality,” I would have sarcastically responded with, “what, the NDP winning a landslide in Quebec and becoming the Official Opposition?” But that’s what happened. I was confronted with a room full of people who, when confronted with necrophilia and beastiality, act all blasé and shrug. Yawn, too mainstream.

Scott Dobson-Mitchell is a fourth-year Biomedical Sciences student at the University of Waterloo.


My bestiality and necrophilia class

  1. Scott…I can only imagine how interesting your course load is this semester…and to think I knew you when you were a pre-schooler…wow have you learned

  2. That sounds like pretty much the norm for a class that deals with “sexuality.” I’ve heard a lot more extreme stuff in many of my anthropology classes. It’s university, which is aimed at people who are supposed to be adults, not a kindergarten. If you’re too immature to be able to handle adult discussions, you really shouldn’t have signed up to a class specifically about sexuality in the first place.

  3. Why would you sign up for a class called Sexuality and the Law, and then be surprised to encounter lectures and course materials dealing with unusual or deviant sexual practices (plus a few other ideas you mentioned, like the lack of female Viagra, that aren’t very weird at all)? As the poster above me suggested, perhaps you shouldn’t have signed up for a class about sexuality if you are too babyish to handle discussions of sex.

    • Well clearly if he signed up for less controversial classes he wouldn’t get a chance to seek out attention and whine about he is being indoctrinated by evul librul professors.

  4. Maybe the rest of your class actually read the syllabus and knew what to expect. One might expect a course called “Sexuality and the Law” would have some discussion of shocking/illegal/disgusting sexual activities that go beyond whatever fumbling alone in your bed you’ve engaged in. Jeepers it’s like a medical student saying “I can’t believe I have to deal with all these sick people and cutting up dead bodies.”

    I’m not a student at Waterloo, but a quick google search of your university name and the course title I easily found a syllabus from last year, including the dislaimer which maybe you should actually read and follow its advice and have a private respectful discussion with the prof instead of mewling and crying about your offended sensibilities to people who can’t help you. The other question, has Add/Drop passed at your uni yet?

    Here is the disclaimer for anyone else who might use this blog posting to stir up hysteria.

    “This course will discuss some very sensitive and, at times, disturbing subject matter. I will be
    challenging your preconceptions and understanding of the aetiology of both minor and very dangerous
    sex crimes. As a result, there is a possibility that certain theories, typologies, and topics may cause you
    personal discomfort due to past experiences or for other reasons. I am very cognizant of this but firmly
    adhere to the principle of presenting this material in an unbiased and respectful manner. It is only by
    discussing these issues that we gain power through knowledge. Please do not hesitate to contact me if
    you anticipate or experience difficulties with any of the subject matter. Your communication with me
    will be confidential and I will do my utmost to assist you.”

    • PS, even more to the point, imagine a medical student asking, “Why am I the only one in my class who throws up around sick people and dead bodies? The others are all just weirdos and I can’t believe how blase they all are”

  5. Yikes. For the record, ‘tongue in cheek’ isn’t always a sexual position. Sometimes it’s a style of writing.

    And Luke, you’ve taken such an interest in my course syllabus, I’m officially hiring you as my academic advisor.

  6. ok, well obviously your attempt at tongue in cheek was an epic fail. Maybe a handful of your friends who actually know your style of humour would point and say “oh year classic Scott whatever-his-two-last-names-are”, to the rest of the world you seem like a spoiled kid who can’t drop a course or read a syllabus. By the way this article is linked from a far right-wing American sewer called Free republic (which I confess I do wade into when I need my occasional dose of crazy) who are basically using it as proof that universities are evil and are teaching the kiddies all kinds of evil sexual stuff.

  7. Scott – may I draw your attention to this?

    On anither issue entirely, is there a course on Sex and the Law? I don’t mean sexual attraction, or sexual behaviour, but on the definition of sex. You see we have situations like this:

    ““Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Texas, is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Texas, and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”” (Littleton vs Prange)

    People who are born Intersex, neither wholly male nor female, have some very interesting issues.