The Right to Sex

Amia Srinivasan

The Right to Sex



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Just because sex is everywhere, it does not mean it is free. We think of sex as a private act, when in reality it is laden with public meaning, a personal preference shaped by outside forces, a place where pleasure and ethics can pull widely apart. The Right to Sex is a series of essays that recount the current situation and the feminist debate in the United States. Writer Amia Srinivasan traces the meaning of sex in our world, discussing a range of fraught relationships―between discrimination and preference, pornography and freedom, rape and racial injustice, punishment and accountability, students and teachers, pleasure and power, capitalism and liberation, to help us answer the burning question: “what might it really mean to be free?” 

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Analysis and key concepts


Sex is linked to culture when it pretends to be linked to nature


Sexual assault and its representation in our culture


Porn as an instrument of patriarchy and exercise of freedom of expression


Involuntary celibate Elliot Rodger and the Isla Vista Massacre


The incels blame women and feminism for the Rodger massacre


There is no such thing as a right to sex


Discouraging and prohibiting sexual relationships between teachers and students




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Better understand modern feminism.
  • Recognise the role sex plays in our society.
  • Take a closer look at the perspectives of feminist theories.
  • Examine sex in all its complexity.

Amia Srinivasan was born in Bahrain and has lived in Taiwan, Singapore, New York, and London. She studied at Yale University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in philosophy. This was followed by postgraduate Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degrees as a Rhodes Scholar at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford. In 2015, she was appointed Lecturer in Philosophy at University College London (UCL). She was an associate professor at the University of Oxford from 2018 to 2019, and is an associate editor of the philosophy journal Mind, and a contributing editor of the London Review of Books. The collection of essays dedicated to sex and feminism The Right to Sex, published in 2021, is her first book.

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