Course contract: don't ‘hook up’ with classmates, instructor

Students enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley’s “FemSex” course are required to sign a contract agreeing they won’t “hook-up” with any classmates or the instructor.

A copy of the contract, obtained by Campus Reform, asks students to agree that they “will not engage in an act of ‘hooking up’ with a classmate or facilitator during the semester, as per the definition discussed during class.”

“This includes any disclosure of the desire to hook-up to a classmate or facilitator. I understand that this act could negatively affect the space within the classroom and I understand that this act could also negatively affect the entire reputation of the FemSex program,” it continues.

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It does, however, note that students who slipped up and are “feeling unsafe about a sexual encounter with a classmate” should “discuss this in a private conversation” with the course facilitator.

Indeed, the FemSex Program has something of a reputation at Berkeley, with five sections of the course being offered this semester alone and at least one being offered every year since 1993 when it was founded. All five sections being offered this semester are already at a maximum capacity of 20 participants, meaning 100 Berkeley students will be taking this three-credit course.

While the course, known as a “DeCal Course,” is student-taught and organized, it had to be approved by the school’s academic senate as well as the dean of its respective academic department.

The course covers a vast range of sexual and gender-related topics, including “the influence of social hierarchies in all reproductive choices, solo sex, partner sex, orgasm, sex work, communication, consent, relationships, gender/sex-based violence, and empowerment.”

“The purpose of FemSex is to create a safe space that encourages and facilitates the ability of students to learn about their bodies, explore their boundaries, desires, experiences and expand their understanding of power and privilege,” a description for the course stipulates.

The course does, in fact, teach a whole section on “power and privilege,” which describes things like not having a stranger “ask me what my genitals look like and how I have sex” as well as not having to "worry about the gendered repercussions of being arrested" as “normative gender privilege.”

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Other sections of the course are focused on the best “sexual practices,” which offers an entire lesson on the best way to have anal sex called “buttfucking 101.” Another lesson, called the “Tyranny of Orgasm,” discusses why orgasms are “highly overrated” and leave people feeling “tyrannized by this supposed goal of sex.”

Notably, the “FemSex Class Contract” also requires all students to sign a “Mutual Trust and Respect” clause, asking them to agree to “treat people the way they want to be treated” and do their “part to make the environment a safe, comfortable space.”

Campus Reform reached out to the facilitators of Berkeley’s FemSex course but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski