I got to interview Christine Emba about her new book Rethinking Sex: A Provocation. The full interview is embedded below, and the Institute for Family Studies ran an excerpt as part of their “Five Questions for…” series. We also had a lively conversation in the comments of Other Feminisms. Here’s an excerpt:
Sargeant: It feels like the intimacy of sex has been set apart as something that can cleaved off from all other intimacy. It feels like the contraceptive mindset has been extended from children to feelings. Every aspect of sex is supposed to be controllable and both partners are expected to make sure you can have sex without anything that would logically follow from [having] sex, like a baby. Now you’re also expected to kind of bring that contraceptive work to the logical emotional entanglements of sex.
That’s more complicated than taking a daily pill. It’s kind of an endless emotional practice. And then there’s guilt that you’ve made a promise to someone that you find yourself incapable of keeping—of not catching feelings. So just where do we get the idea that these parts are or should be severable from each other?
Emba: One of the chapters in this book is called “We Want to Catch Feelings” because honestly, in relationships the feelings are the fun part. The feelings are what we want. I think it’s also sort of a form of Cartesian dualism. The idea that the mind or the soul and the body are two completely separate things. It’s sort of understood in this materialist culture that what we do with our bodies should have no impact on our minds and our souls.
And I just don’t think that’s true, actually. Our bodies and our souls combine to make us human people. That’s kind of what being human is—to have feelings about how we move through the world and what we do with ourselves
Read more at IFS or watch the whole thing below.