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Reading List June 02, 2019

Sex Work is Work

—and why consent isn’t the same thing as good sex. An International Whores Day reading list.

Forty-four years ago today, more than one hundred sex workers occupied the Saint-Nizier church in Lyon, France, for eight days in order to protest fines and police reprisals that were forcing them into increasingly unsafe working conditions.

June 2 has been celebrated as International Whores’ Day ever since, with activists calling attention to the exploitative conditions that sex workers endure. Unfortunately, these conditions haven’t changed much since 1975: in 2018, President Trump signed into law a controversial set of bills that criminalize online solicitation and effectively force sex workers back onto unsafe streets.

To recognize International Whores’ Day, we have gone into our archive to select pieces that put sex workers—and sex—front and center. Starting off are excerpts from Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights and Screw Consent: A Better Politics of Sexual Justice, and then a host of essays that explore sex education, the sex offender registry, and cyborg (as well as alien) sex.

Joseph J. Fischel

Debate over Title IX affirmative consent standards has assumed that consent is the best basis for a feminist sexual politics. But what if it isn’t?

rbs Fiction
Yuri Herrera

“Agent Probii’s first days as undercover agent were particularly disconcerting because within the city each resident spoke a different language.” 

Cathy O’Neil

How sex with robots became safer—and better—than sex with actual men.

Revolting Prostitutes feature
Juno Mac Molly Smith

Under capitalism, you don’t have to love your job to want to keep it.

Judith Levine

A new law aims to deny pariah sex offenders even exile.

Judith Levine

Moralistic efforts to guard against online predation do more harm than good.

Elizabeth Bruenig

When it comes to consent, feminists and Christians agree.

Michaele L. Ferguson

Sex work may be a profession, but that doesn't make it a source of empowerment.

Maureen N. McLane

Sex Education in the United States.

Our weekly themed Reading Lists compile the best of Boston Review’s archive. Previews are delivered to members every Sunday. Become a member to receive them ahead of the crowd.

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