Harry Brod: “Asking For It: The Ethics & Erotics of Sexual Consent” – February 10, 2015

Harry Brod is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of White Men Challenging Racism: 35 Personal Stories, Theorizing Masculinities, Hegel’s Philosophy of Politics: Idealism, Identity and Modernity, A Mensch Among Men: Explorations in Jewish Masculinity, and The Making of Masculinities: The New Men’s Studies.

The line between sexual consent and sexual coercion is not always as clear as it seems — and according to Harry Brod, this is exactly why we should approach our sexual interactions with great care. Brod, a professor of philosophy and leader in the pro-feminist men’s movement, offers a unique take on the problem of sexual assault, one that complicates the issue even as it clarifies the bottom-line principle that consent must always be explicitly granted, never simply assumed. In a nonthreatening, non-hectoring discussion that ranges from the meanings of “yes” and “no” to the indeterminacy of silence to the way alcohol affects our ethical responsibilities, Brod challenges young people to envision a model of sexual interaction that is most erotic precisely when it is most thoughtful and empathetic.

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