General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Female Sexuality In Adulthood
Language English
Module lecturer dr Marta Szymańska-Pytlińska
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Semester 2023/2024 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 23-PIE-FSA


Module aim (aims)

The course is an attempt to capture the multifaceted and complex nature of  women's sexuality from a developmental perspective - throughout the adulthood phase. It aims:

- to overview biopsychosocial factors affecting female sexual functioning, that could be taken into consideration while planning psychoeducation or giving psychological counseling and support for females coming to see a sexologist.

- to develop skills for addressing patients’ questions regarding sexual development in adulthood on the basis of group case analysis.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

It is assumed that students understand English at FCE/B2 level and are eager to learn basic medical/biological terminology regarding sexuality. Knowledge of basic concepts of developmental psychology will be helpful in understanding the lecture material, yet it is not obligatory.


Week 1: Sexual development throughout the adulthood stage.    

Week 2: Morphology and physiology of female genitalia.  

Week 3: Women’s genital image and its links to their sexual functioning.

Week 4: Hormones and neurotransmitters important for sexual reaction.  

Week 5: Models of sexual response.

Week 6: Measurement of female sexual function.

Week 7: The menstrual cycle and its biological and psychological meaning.          

Week 8: The menstrual cycle under control – contraception and its impact on women’s sexual functioning. 

Week 9: Motherhood and sexuality: pregnancy.  

Week 10: Motherhood and sexuality: childbirth and post-partum period.              

Week 11: Motherhood and sexuality: breastfeeding.       

Week 12: Ageing and sexual function in women. 

Week 13: Psychoeducation and counselling about sexuality – basic principles.

Week 14: Psychoeducation and counselling about sexuality – short case studies analyses.

Week 15: Female versus male or rather human sexuality? Two perspectives on sexual functioning.

Reading list

Bancroft, J. H. J. (2009). Human sexuality and its problems. Third Edition. Elsevier Health Sciences (Chapter 3: 32-36; 40-44. Chapter 4: 78-94).

Basson, R. (2001). Human sex-response cycles. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy27(1), 33-43.

Komarnicky, T., Skakoon-Sparling, S., Milhausen, R. R., & Breuer, R. (2019). Genital self-image: associations with other domains of body image and sexual response. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy45(6), 524-537.

Meston, C. M., & Derogatis, L. R. (2002). Validated instruments for assessing female sexual function. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy28 (sup1), 155-164.

Nowosielski, K., Wróbel, B., & Kowalczyk, R. (2016). Women’s endorsement of models of sexual response: Correlates and predictors. Archives of Sexual Behavior45(2), 291-302.

Hall, K. S. K., Binik, Y. M. (2020). Principles and practice of sex therapy. 6th edition. New York: Guilford Press (Chapter 15, 16).