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GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING YOUR SEXUAL SELF
Writing your Sexual Self-Analysis is an unusual assignment that students of Human/Healthy Sexuality courses have consistently rated the most helpful and important exercise they have ever done. This exercise gives you the opportunity to look at your growth as a sexual person from your childhood to the present. For most students, this is the first time that they have written about their lives from this standpoint. The important point about this paper is for you to be as honest as you can with yourself about your life, both past and present. Being honest with yourself is crucial to making the time you put into this exercise worthwhile. Remember, you are the one who will benefit from writing your self-analysis. Feel free to write whatever you think has affected the way you have developed as a sexual person.
This assignment is CONFIDENTIAL, read only by the professor.
Think about specific things that you want to examine about yourself. You can choose from the list of questions below, or decide on your own questions. Be sure to include the questions you choose, in bulleted form, at the beginning of your paper, and begin your paper by talking about why you selected these questions. It is okay if you go on to examine other questions, too, as you may find that thinking about one question triggers thoughts about another.
Be sure to DESCRIBE important events (what, when, etc. without identifying information such as names of other persons) and then ANALYZE these events -- try to figure out why these experiences happened, what their meaning was for you then and is for you now, your emotional responses (why you experienced those emotions and how you feel now). Your FEELINGS are very personal; here is a place where you can explore those feelings without being judged by anyone. Your feelings are neither good nor bad. They are your feelings and that makes them valid and worth exploring.
The following questions may be helpful in getting you to think about what topics you want to examine in your Sexual Self-Analysis. You can pick and choose which questions you want to deal with and which questions will give you better insight into yourself. Add your own questions if you like. Remember to list the questions you want to begin exploring at the beginning of your analysis and to also include why you selected these questions.
• Who and what were the most important childhood influences for your sexual development (include parents, brothers and sisters, peers, relatives, religion, etc.)?
• What were the most important sexual/relationship events that happened to you between ages 5 and 12, between 13 and 18, since you started college?
• How did/do your parent(s) relate to you and/or their sexual partner? What kind of image did they give of love and/or sex?
• If your parents were married or in a relationship, was their marriage/relationship based on utility, practicality, routine, conflict, or real love?
• Was their relationship an equal partnership or did one dominate the relationship?
• How did they settle quarrels? How does this affect the way you settle differences in your relationships?
• How did your parents settle their differences with you? How did your parents handle it when you rebelled?
• If your parents are divorced or were never in a relationship, how did this experience affect you?
• If you have a stepparent, how would you describe that relationship?
• How did your parents treat you emotionally and physically?
• How was affection expressed in your family? How does this affect you now?
• What kind of relationship did/do you have with your brothers and sisters? As a child? As a teenager? Today?
• Has it made a difference because you were a girl, or boy, the oldest, middle or youngest child in your family? Has this brought any special rewards or strains?
• How did you learn about sex, about sexuality? From whom did you learn? How old were you when you learned about sex? How accurate was the information? How did you feel about it at the time? How do you feel about it today?
• What were your early childhood experiences with sexuality (playing “doctor” or other games, rap sessions with peers, and experimentation)?
• What kinds of message, verbal and non-verbal, did you get from your family in adolescence about masturbation, menstruation, or nocturnal emissions (wet dreams)?
• How have your sexual experiences affected the way you deal with sexuality in terms of such things as masturbation, nudity, dating, sexual intimacy, etc.?
• How have your sexual relationships with others affected you?
• What have you learned from intimacy with others that has helped you understand your own sexuality better?
• Describe the sexual/relationship points of your life, from childhood memories to the present. How have these experiences contributed to your present frame of reference?
• Was there any sexually traumatic experience you’ve kept hidden and not discussed with anyone? Can you write about this now, knowing no one will see what you write unless you decide to share it with him or her? If you start writing about a traumatic experience, you may find it brings considerable relief just to see the words on paper. You may decide, after “breaking the ice” that you want to work this event through so you can put it behind you.
• Do you consider yourself a sexual rebel, conformist, optimist, skeptic, liberal, conservative, or anything else?
• Do you think you understand your sexual self as well as you would like? Explain.
• Do you know sexual/relationship goals in life? Explain.
• Do you know sexual/relationship values? Strengths and shortcomings? Fears? Needs? Likes and dislikes? Explain.
You may want to conclude your Sexual Self-Analysis with a look ahead into your sexual/relationship hopes/plans for the future (marriage, family, relationship, intimacy). Ask yourself how realistic your hopes and expectations are, and what you might do to improve the chances of your success.
Writing a good Sexual Self-Analysis paper requires that you look honestly at yourself and the significant people in your life. Putting your experiences and feelings down on paper helps to give you a new understanding of them, especially when an experience has been traumatic and you have avoided dealing with it in the past. It can also help you line up your expectations and priorities, take advantage of your strengths and resources, and cope better with your limitations.
You may or may not care to share and discuss your Sexual Self-Analysis with someone close to you, a very good friend or your significant other.
When you get your Sexual Self-Analysis paper back, put it aside in a safe, secure place for a while. Come back to it a month or two later and reread it. Note any new insights or thoughts this rereading brings to the surface. Then put it away again and come back to it a year or two from now. In reviewing your Sexual Self-Analysis, you may be surprised at how your views change with time. But, then, this is part of living and growing, and recognizing how you have changed makes your life richer and fuller.
Your paper should be a minimum of 3 type-written pages using 1 inch margins and 12-point font. You should use double spacing. More importantly, your paper should say something; it should tell a story.
GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING YOUR SEXUAL SELF
Writing your Sexual Self-Analysis is an unusual assignment that students of Human/Healthy Sexuality courses have consistently rated the most helpful and important exercise they have ever done. This exercise gives you the opportunity to look at your growth as a sexual person from your childhood to the present.