Sex Matters For Women

By: Sallie Foley, MSW,
Sally A. Kope, MSW,
Dennis P. Sugrue, PhD

Course Outline

When it comes to matters of sex, women today are trapped in a reality gap? portrayed by the media as confident and fulfilled, yet struggling in everyday life with sexual myths, self-doubt, and “embarrassing” questions. Now women can find the answers they need to take charge of their sexuality both in and outside of the bedroom. This book presents solid, science-based information on the topics that everyone is talking about? and those that aren’t talked about enough? from how to have more satisfying sex, to questions about hormones, anatomy, STDs, body image, relationships, sexual orientation, and more. For readers of all ages, this essential reference provides up-to-date advice on the many ways that sex matters in women’s lives.


About Authors

Sallie Foley, MSW, a certified sex therapist, educator, and supervisor, is a Senior Clinical Social Worker at the University of Michigan’s Sexual Health Counseling Services and is on the faculty at the University of Michigan Graduate School of Social Work. Respected for her expertise in couple and sex therapy, she writes and lectures nationally and is frequently interviewed by the media on the subject of human sexuality. Ms. Foley has a private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she lives with her husband, Steve and their two daughters and son.

Sally A. Kope, MSW, is in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a couple counselor and certified sex therapist, and is recognized expert in sexual health, providing training at a national level. She has written chapters and articles on various aspects of sexuality, is a lecturer at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Human Genetics, and is the past program director of the University of Michigan’s Sexual Health Counseling Services. Ms. Kope and her husband, Marty, are parents of four, parents-in-law of three, and grandparents of four children. She provided the illustrations for Sex Matters for Women.

Dennis P. Sugrue, PhD, is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is the founder and former co-director of the Henry Ford Center for Human Sexuality in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Recognized as a leader in the field of human sexuality, he was elected president for 2001-2002 of the American Associate for Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), the nation’s largest credentialing organization for professionals specializing in sex education and therapy. Dr. Sugrue has a private practice in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.


Learning Objectives

  1. Recount a woman’s sexual odyssey from childhood through puberty and adolescence to adulthood.
  2. Discuss the feelings experienced by an adolescent girl during the first sexual experience.
  3. Contrast the sexual feelings and experience of young adult women with those of males.
  4. Describe how sexuality in adolescence and continuing into adulthood is influenced by cultural attitudes, biological development, peer influence, sexual experience, and relationships.
  5. Explain how sexual experiences are defined by choices we make in life.
  6. List various choices women make in search of sexuality.
  7. Identify 5 experiences where being sexual could leave a lasting scar on a woman’s psyche.
  8. Discuss how a woman’s sexuality is affected by marriage and by the arrival of a baby.
  9. Describe the challenges faced by a woman to maintain and enhance her sexuality as she ages beyond 40.
  10. Formulate questions that a woman should ask to explore her sexual feelings during or after an affair, life after divorce or widowhood, after remarriage and during periods of single hood.
  11. Answer questions of a woman that may help her understand her body in the context of sexuality.
  12. Identify the visible parts of female genitalia and name their functions.
  13. Identify various internal reproductive sexual organs and their functions.
  14. Explain sexual response in terms of a triphasic model comprising of desire, arousal, and orgasm.
  15. Describe the physiological changes occurring during female sexual arousal.
  16. Answer questions of a client concerning sexual activity during and after pregnancy.
  17. Outline measures a woman can take to lessen the effect of premenstrual syndrome.
  18. Identify eight issues that a woman must consider when considering contraception.
  19. Discuss various methods of contraception and evaluate their relative effectiveness in preventing pregnancy and STDs.
  20. Describe the challenges of sexual activity after pregnancy taking into account body changes.
  21. Explain menopausal terminology and describe the physical changes associated with menopause.
  22. Discuss the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy with a client.
  23. Discuss how our society and culture help or hinder a woman from forming a good body image.
  24. List 4 sexual benefits to regular exercise.
  25. Identify 4 steps a woman can take to help her let go of negative thoughts about her body.
  26. Discuss with a client how illness and disability can affect a woman’s feelings toward sex.
  27. Describe how a woman can overcome sexual response problems associated with an illness.
  28. Respond appropriately to the sexuality issues presented by a mentally retarded woman.
  29. Identify factors or sources that cause or aggravate pain during sex.
  30. List 10 things you can try to decrease the vulvar discomfort and pain during sexual activity with your partner.
  31. Describe the treatment of pelvic muscle pain involving physical therapy, biofeedback, and Kegel exercises.
  32. Summarize 11 of the most common STDs, listing symptoms, means of transmission, possible complications, and available treatments.
  33. Identify common sexual concerns of a woman who discovers she has an STD and describe ways of dealing with these concerns.
  34. Describe the impact of trauma on a woman’s sexuality and discuss ways of coping with its aftereffects.
  35. Predict and modify reactions to sex when a person is feeling dissociative in sexual situations.
  36. Answer some common questions relating to male sexuality and dispel myths and conceptions that are barriers to good sexual relations.
  37. Identify various parts of male sexual anatomy and describe their physical and biological functions.
  38. Describe the male sexual response by dividing it into phases of desire, arousal, and orgasm.
  39. Discuss the normal sexual changes that occur as men grow older.
  40. Identify and discuss various male sexual dysfunctions and methods of dealing with them.
  41. Discuss two of the most common sexual conflicts-frequency and who initiates-that arise in sexual relationships.
  42. Describe various positions for intercourse and their relative advantages and disadvantages in achieving perfect coitus.
  43. Find answers to common questions related to overcoming sexual difficulties.
  44. Outline general steps that all women should take when they have sexual difficulties.
  45. Help a woman do a self-assessment of her sexual functioning when she’s concerned that something might be wrong.
  46. Describe three steps for overcoming distracting and negative thoughts as a way to help overcome difficulties with sexual desire, arousal and/or orgasm.
  47. Quantify sexual desire by asking questions of a client.
  48. List medical conditions and drugs that may help decrease sexual desire.
  49. Perform and direct exercises for overcoming low sexual desire.
  50. List medical conditions and drugs that may decrease sexual arousal.
  51. Perform and direct exercises to increase sexual arousal.
  52. Perform and direct exercises for learning to orgasm.

Course Contents

  1. Every Story Has a Beginning
  2. Adult Sexuality: A Lifelong Story
  3. Your Body
  4. Sexual Response
  5. Reproduction and Beyond
  6. Body Image
  7. Illness and Disability
  8. When Sex Causes Pain
  9. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  10. Trauma
  11. Male Sexuality
  12. Taking Care of Your Sexual Relationship
  13. What To Do When Sexual Problems Arise
  14. Overcoming Low Sexual Desire
  15. Overcoming Low Sexual Arousal
  16. Overcoming Orgasm Difficulties

Customer Comments

“The book was well written, easy to read and comprehend. The examples in the book were helpful and added to the understanding of the topic.”

– L.G., SW, WI