Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Donna Nickitas

Subject Categories

Community-Based Research | Gender and Sexuality | Public Health


sex, rape culture, health, desire, pleasure, consent


Desire and pleasure based education combats the notion of passive consent by prioritizing positive experiences for all members involved in sexual activities. A focus on desire requires that we learn and listen to our partner’s needs and respect their boundaries. It questions a patriarchal script of sex in which male pleasure, specifically when penetrating a partner, is the critical part of the sexual act. Sex motivated by mutual desire and pleasure forces us to step back and learn, not just about our partners but ourselves, so that we may communicate our wants and needs effectively.

To understand how to navigate conversations that prioritize desire and pleasure and work towards eliminating non-consensual experiences, QC Sexploration and Information conducted focus groups to gauge student levels of self-awareness, awareness of issues around consent, motivations for different behaviors, and views on engaging in sex. We wanted to ensure that we would be providing interventions that addressed some of the different ways in which rape culture is preserved, including knowing more about the taboos and sexual scripts that may or may not influence desire and pleasure.

Recommendations from this study include the development of a peer sex education program at Queens College to increase the ability to influence a cultural change to deconstruct rape culture. Student-led programs have the potential to serve students by providing spaces where students feel respected and heard. Peer educators at Queens College would have the opportunity to be trained with a focus on consent, desire, and pleasure as a form for addressing the sexual scripts, taboos surrounding sex, and the gap in comprehensive sex education to deconstruct rape culture in today's society.