The Joy of Sex Bureaucracy

18 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2016

See all articles by Susan Frelich Appleton

Susan Frelich Appleton

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Susan Ekberg Stiritz

Washington University in St. Louis - George Warren Brown School of Social Work

Date Written: September 19, 2016

Abstract

This essay responds to The Sex Bureaucracy, in which Jacob Gersen and Jeannie Suk condemn regulations of sexual conduct they see metastasizing on college campuses, pursuant to Title IX’s mandate for equal educational opportunities in institutions receiving federal funds. We focus on the authors’ most trenchant critique, which slams efforts to teach sexual health principles and practices on the ground that, in doing so, universities are “regulating sex itself” and interfering with “ordinary sex.” By placing recent sexual health and violence prevention measures in historical and cultural context, we challenge the authors’ assumption that, absent such instruction, sex occurs naturally and unproblematically on college campuses. In addition, contrary to the authors’ negative assessment, we highlight the value and promise of some of the newer developments they contest. We understand such interventions as a form of sex education, which we call “higher sex education,” given both the campus loci and the advancements apparent when compared to many more familiar sex curricula. We show, in context, why such instruction belongs in higher educational institutions and how it has the potential to transform campus sexual cultures and enhance students’ sexual unfolding — preparing them for healthier and more pleasurable sexual futures. We conclude by noting ways in which higher sex education might improve as it continues to evolve.

Keywords: Title IX, Sex education, Sexual unfolding, Campus sexual assault, Campus rape culture, Sexual scripts, Sexual pleasure

Suggested Citation

Appleton, Susan Frelich and Stiritz, Susan Ekberg, The Joy of Sex Bureaucracy (September 19, 2016). 7 California Law Review Online 49 (2016); Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-09-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2840876

Susan Frelich Appleton (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Susan Ekberg Stiritz

Washington University in St. Louis - George Warren Brown School of Social Work ( email )

St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
314 422 0944 (Phone)

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