What’s Current: Separating physical intimacy from emotional intimacy isn’t working for women

Photo: Penn State/Flickr Creative Commons
Photo: Penn State/Flickr Creative Commons

We’re casual about sex and serious about consent, but is it working?

“University administrators take it for granted that a certain amount of sex will be ‘casual,’ that is, devoid of intimate emotion or connection. But our rules now require the sharing of feelings, even in an encounter that is by definition divorced from them… We might succeed in cajoling more students into some kind of verbal consent. But that’s a script, a bedroom contract between sexual vendors. Yes, it will make the whole transaction legal. But consensual? Really? …If we want to protect our [female] students, not just their colleges, we will have to begin a deeper dialogue about the meaning of sex itself. Who wants to have sex, and why? And who really benefits from a ‘friends-with-benefits’ system?”

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“Mainstream feminism has adopted a thin, market-centered view of equality, which dovetails neatly with the prevailing neoliberal corporate view… Increasingly, it is liberal feminist thinking that supplies the charisma, the aura of emancipation, on which neoliberalism draws to legitimate its vast upward redistribution of wealth.”

Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.