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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Intimate Relationships 101

Dr. Norman Goodman steps into the lecture hall in Javits 110. Another day on the job, Goodman starts another discussion on the complicated and intense concept of  relationships.

His class on intimate relationships teaches students about a variety of subjects, many of which can be useful on Valentine’s Day.  The class’s core learning concepts include the nature of relationships, dating and marriage. These, Goodman says, are the key forms of intimate relationships, contemporary dating and different forms of relationships between men and women.

Goodman, a member of the SUNY faculty and professor in the sociology department,  meets with his class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a full house.  This doesn’t surprise Goodman, who said he knows that students find his class interesting.

Topics discussed in Goodman’s class range from different types of marriages to dating in American society.  To define an intimate relationship, Goodman turns to the students.  He said in an intimate relationship there is “a very positive state of mind.  There is confidence, trust and affection.”

Goodman encourages class participation and discussion. In a lecture about polygamy and monogamy in a marriage, the class asks a variety of questions.

“Does a matriarchal society, or society where woman are in charge, determine if woman can have more than one husband in a particular culture?”

Family, friends, spouses, children and countless other relationships are discussed. That’s the type of thing Goodman teaches.  Not only does he teach about relationships, he also gives advice on how to get one for Valentine’s Day.  He said the best way is to just,

“Get out there,” Goodman said.

When it comes to his class, the most important thing Goodman hopes students will understand is that the experiences they face are also faced by others all over the world. But at the same time, each experience is individual.

Goodman says he believes all the topics in his class are important. But in order for students to really understand the topics, students need to make their own decisions. The world is filled with people, countless interactions occur between them.  The ability to understand human relations is a complex system of varying culture.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday of love and a celebration of relationships.  This class provides insight on what constitutes love and relationships.  In a world with so many types of culture, love can be defined as many things.  Platonic love between friends. The love a nuclear family shares. The love of a husband and wife.  Life is an endless series of interconnected relationships, something Goodman tackles each lecture.

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