Book Bundles: Sex Sells

Drawing of books, open and closed and lined up in a row. A glass inkwell, calligraphy pen, old timey spectacles.

Welcome to the Modcast’s newest blog series, Book Bundles. This is where we recommend two or more books based around a topic or theme. So you’ve got options!

I’ll admit that my title for this one is a little misleading, but it’s undeniable: just the word “sex” can pique one’s interest. After all, you’re here, aren’t you? Hi. Welcome.

But I want to talk less about sex, and more about consent. Here’s three books to get the conversation started:

Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus by Jennifer S. Hirsch and Shamus Khan

This book is a holistic discussion of social structures and factors underlying and perpetuating sexual assault and rape on and off campuses in America. (Except disabled people are left out of the conversation, which is typical.) It is a call to action and a set of guidelines on how to approach the issues from a standpoint of both empathy and rationality, with the goal of changing social structures and cultures.

Sexual Citizens is based on years of research interviewing and observing college life—with students of different races, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Hirsch and Khan’s landmark study reveals the social ecosystem that makes sexual assault so predictable, explaining how physical spaces, alcohol, peer groups, and cultural norms influence young people’s experiences and interpretations of both sex and sexual assault. Through the powerful concepts of “sexual projects,” “sexual citizenship,” and “sexual geographies,” the authors offer a new and widely-accessible language for understanding the forces that shape young people’s sexual relationships. Empathetic, insightful, and far-ranging, Sexual Citizens transforms our understanding of sexual assault and offers a roadmap for how to address it.”

Consent on Campus: A Manifesto by Donna Freitas

Understanding the sexual cultures in which we have immersed ourselves is not only a weapon to defend ourselves and others, but also a teaching tool. By pointing out what may be taken for granted as normal behavior, or normalized behavior(s), we can create opportunities for others to examine and reflect on the ways they may be contributing to toxic conventions.

“Universities must take a radically different approach to educating their campus communities about sexual assault and consent. Consent education is often a one-time affair, devised by overburdened student affairs officers. Universities seem more focused on insulating themselves from lawsuits and scandals than on bringing about real change. What is needed, Freitas shows, is an effort by the entire university community to deal with the deeper questions about sex, ethics, values, and how we treat one another, including facing up to the perils of hookup culture-and to do so in the university’s most important space: the classroom. We need to offer more than a section in the student handbook about sexual assault, and expand our education around consent far beyond Yes Means Yes. We need to transform our campuses into places where consent is genuinely valued.”

Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids about Sex, Love, and Equality by Bonnie J. Rough

This is about the author’s personal journey towards self-discovery, cultural exploration, and parents’ and children’s navigation of taboo and knowledge, relationships, and identity. Rough brings up many valid points and backs them up with research, all of which are important to fostering critical thinking and analysis, as well as implementation of theory and practice.

“In Beyond Birds and Bees, Rough reveals how although normalizing human sexuality may sound risky, doing so actually prevents unintended consequences, leads to better health and success for our children, and lays the foundation for a future of gender equality. Exploring how the Dutch example translates to American life, Rough highlights a growing wave of ambitious American parents, educators, and influencers poised to transform sex ed—and our society—for the better, and shows how families everywhere can give a modern lift to the birds and bees.”

Have any book recommendations on the topic? Drop the title in a comment!

Published by modcasters

We’re a group of graduate students studying English Literature and Language on a mission to discuss literature, provide access to those on the deafness and/or blindness spectrum, and rock mustachios.

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