Students learn about sex in class Bodi Bold

The historic, ivy-covered building of University College has always been reminiscent of a hallowed history of scholarship. Thanks to the new UC One first-year seminar series, “Engaging Toronto,” the traditional vision of UC might undergo a bit of a modern make-over.

Starting this year, UC will offer seminar courses much like the Trin One and Vic One series, giving first-year students the opportunity to not only learn in a much less crowded environment, but to develop their academic skills through guest lectures, outings and one-on-one contact with professors.

One UC One course in particular has garnered much media attention since the start of the new school year. Titillatingly entitled "Sex in the City," UNI104 will include the "sexual politics of the city and how cities and their neighbourhoods become sexualized spaces."

In an interview with the newspaper, the course's instructor, Professor Scott Rayter, expanded on the main idea of the course, and tried to dispel some myths. With all the recent media attention surrounding the course, Rayter wishes to emphasize that the project is really about giving first-years a leg-up in an environment that can be very stressful, and difficult to adapt to.

"[We're] using this material, and using Toronto to ask larger questions about the community, engagement, citizenship, but while fostering all those sort of critical thinking, writing skills, and their research skills."

Although some people might assume that the course's subject matter is "perverse" or "sexy," Rayter stresses that is really about they way the course is taught, and what it offers to students. The study of "sexualized spaces" is "up for interpretation," says Rayter.

"Some people probably see sexualized spaces where other people don't. Yonge Street has always sort of been seen as…having a sort of risk-taking involved."

Far from being a chapter out of Talk Sex by Sue Johanson, the course will delve into the study of how certain spaces are designated “dangerous” or “sexual.” With excursions to places like the Pink Triangle Press and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, students will learn about the intersection of sex and the arts.

In reality, the only truly scandalous thing about “Sex in the City” is its title. The course is about pushing the academic envelope, not the sexual envelope.

Rayter summarizes, "People have this idea that, you go to university, you're in some walled-off thing. We're all members of the community, moreover people in the university, faculty and students, do research on the very communities that they come from, that they live around, so we really wanted to push the research side of things."

For more information on UC One and UNI104Y “Sex in the City,” visit

Additional Info

  • Subtitle: New UC One seminar series brings sexy back with a much-talked about course
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