The Truth is Powerful

The Politics of Bad Sex

In “Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent,” Katherine Angel suggests that mixed feelings are at the heart of desire and pleasure. In “Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent,” Katherine Angel suggests that mixed feelings are at the heart of desire and pleasure.Photograph by David Torres / EyeEm / Getty

When I was an undergraduate at Yale, in the early nineteen-nineties, I went to the university’s gymnasium one evening each week for a women’s self-defense class. We were instructed on how to fight off would-be rapists with physical force, using our knees, elbows, fingernails, and keys, being sure to mark an attacker’s face for police identification. Walking to my dorm in the dark, I was alert to not being a victim. It was part of the informal feminist curriculum that also included Take Back the Night marches and the slogan “No Means No,” one that dates me to an era when women were trying to defy vulnerability.

As a rape counsellor in those days, I remember chuckling with feminist peers when we heard about a new Sexual Offense Prevention Policy at Antioch College. The rules said […]

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