- May 11, 2022
- 7:00 pm
- Online (PDT)
Modern-day sexual ethics has held that “anything goes” when it comes to sex—if everyone says yes and does so enthusiastically. So why, even when consent has been ascertained, are so many of our sexual experiences filled with frustration, disappointment, even shame?
Reporter and Washington Post columnist Christine Emba believes that the rules that make up today’s consent-only sexual code may be the cause of our sexual malaise—not the solution. In her latest book, Rethinking Sex, Christine shows how consent is a good ethical floor but a terrible ceiling. Through her work and writing she examines how cultural, historical, and psychological forces have warped our idea of sex—what is permitted and what is considered “safe.” From #MeToo and the Aziz Ansari scandal, to the phenomenal response to “Cat Person”—Christine believes a consent-only view of sex has hijacked our ability to form authentic and long-lasting connections, exposing us to chronic isolation and resentment.
Reaching back to the wisdom of thinkers like Thomas Aquinas and Andrea Dworkin, drawing from sociological studies, interviews with college students, and poignant examples from her own life, Christine calls for a more humane philosophy, one that starts with consent but accounts for the very real emotional, mental, social, and political implications of sex—even, she argues—if it means saying no to certain sexual practices or challenging societal expectations altogether.
Join Christine in conversation with CIIS Professor and Program Chair of the department of Human Sexuality Michelle Marzullo as they invite us to imagine what it means to will the good of others, and in turn, attain greater affirmation, fulfillment, and satisfaction for ourselves.
Christine Emba is the author of Rethinking Sex: A Provocation (Sentinel; March 22, 2022), and a columnist for The Washington Post writing about ideas and society. Prior, she was the Hilton Kramer Fellow in Criticism at the New Criterion and a deputy editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, focusing on technology and innovation.
Michelle Marzullo, PhD is a practicing anthropologist, specializing in critical sexuality studies. She is Chair and Professor of the Human Sexuality Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), leading only the second such fully accredited Human Sexuality PhD program in the US Dr. Marzullo leverages her position to be a convener of academics and advocates fostering a critical sexuality studies lens to center issues of power as these relate to sexuality, sex, and gender. Her work spans academic as well as practical application having engaged a wide range of research and consultancy engagements, in arenas such as: 1. LGBTQ access to higher education; 2. artificial intelligence and sexual & reproductive health; 3. workplace diversity and inclusion; and, 4. sexuality, marriage, and economics in the U.S. Learn more at CIIS' website.
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