In David Boonin (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Sexual Ethics. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. 55-71 (2022)

Ellie Anderson
Pomona College
Caleb Ward
Universität Hamburg
Discussions of sexual ethics often focus on the wrong of treating another as a mere object instead of as a person worthy of respect. On this view, the task of sexual ethics becomes putting the other’s subjectivity above their status as erotic object so as to avoid the harms of objectification. Ward and Anderson argue that such a view disregards the crucial, moral role that erotic objecthood plays in sexual encounters. Important moral features of intimacy are disclosed through the experience of being an erotic object for another, as well as in perceiving another as an erotic object. Drawing on phenomenology, especially the insights of Simone de Beauvoir, Ward and Anderson argue that erotic encounters are shaped by the human condition of ambiguity, where being an object for others is intertwined with bodily agency. Because sexual agency is complex in this way, theories of sexual ethics and responsibility must widen their focus beyond transparent communication and authoritative expressions of will.
Keywords sexual ethics  phenomenology of the body  sexual objectification  sexual consent  Simone de Beauvoir  ambiguity  feminist phenomenology
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Objectification.Martha C. Nussbaum - 1995 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 24 (4):249-291.
Beauvoir on the Allure of Self-Objectification.N. Bauer - 2011 - In Charlotte Witt (ed.), Feminist Metaphysics. Springer Verlag. pp. 117--129.

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