the 'feelings' cap

Because people have been asking:

This year I capped my class at 100.

The waitlist has 67 students on it. I have been offered bribes of baked goods to let students into the class; I will not be swayed.

Why?

Well:

1. I hated that giant room. I really like the smaller room we’ll be in.

2. 200 is a manageable number when it’s ordinary students, with ordinary levels of curiosity, intelligence, and intensity. 200 is TOO MANY when it’s 200 brilliant, driven students who thrive on challenge.

3. Homogenized ages. Capping the class limits who has access. At 100, it’s about half seniors, 40% juniors and 10% sophomores.

Why does this matter? Because there are no prerequisites to the class, people come into the room with massively varying degrees of academic exposure to these topics and even MORE varying degrees of personal development. Last year we had students who had fully transitioned from one gender identity to another, and other students who had never even considered the possibility that there was more to gender than just men and women. How the HELL do you teach that class about gender? (Very carefully.)

4. This class isn’t an ordinary class. It’s laden with FEELINGS. The first and second lectures feature a huge number of photographs of bodies, especially genitals, and that alone is an intensely personal experience for just about everyone in the room. And then the sexual function/dysfunction lecture. FEELINGS ABOUT BODIES AND WHAT THEY DO.

Two more of the lectures are about relationships, including the ways in which our families of origin shape our approach to romantic relationships in adulthood. That’s all feelings, all the time.

And then the lectures about gender, sexual orientation, and kink. Feelings, feelings, and more feelings.

If I have a fault as an instructor (and I do), it’s my tendency to forget that people are busy having their minds blown while I’m at the front of the room rambling through my decade-old rant about how only 13 of women are reliably orgasmic from penetration. They’re having FEELINGS. And that requires time and space.

I keep an eye on 100 students having feelings. Not 200.

So that’s why there’s a cap on my class.