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College Sex - Philosophy for Everyone: Philosophers With Benefits

Fritz Allhoff (Series Editor), Michael Bruce (Editor), Robert M. Stewart (Editor), Heather Corinna (Foreword by)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3294-0
256 pages
August 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
College Sex - Philosophy for Everyone: Philosophers With Benefits (1444332945) cover image


Written with insight and humor, College Sex - Philosophy for Everyone investigates a broad array of philosophical issues relating to student sex.
  • Examines the ethical issues of dating, cheating, courtship, homosexual experimentation, and drug and alcohol use
  • Considers student-teacher relationships, sexual experimentation, the meaning of sex in a college setting and includes two essays based on influential research projects on ‘friends with benefits’
  • Many of the authors teach classes that explore the philosophy of love and sex, and most are scholars from the Society of the Philosophy of Sex and Love
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Table of Contents

Foreword (Heather Corinna).

Acknowledgments (Michael Bruce and Robert M. Stewart).

Campus Orientation: An Introduction to College Sex – Philosophy for Everyone (Michael Bruce and Robert M. Stewart).


1 Sex and Socratic Experimentation (Sisi Chen and George T. Hole).

2 The Straight Sex Experiment (Bassam Romaya).

3 The Virtual Bra Clasp: Navigating Technology in College Courtship (Michael Bruce).

4 Smeared Makeup and Stiletto Heels: Clothing, Sexuality, and the Walk of Shame (Brett Lunceford).

5 Relations at a Distance (Bill Puka).

PART II SOPHOMORE YEAR: Friends With Benefits.

6 What's Love Got to Do with It? Epicureanism and Friends with Benefits (William O. Stephens).

7 Friends with Benefits: A Precarious Negotiation (Timothy R. Levine and Paul A. Mongeau).

8 The Philosophy of Friends with Benefits: What College Students Think They Know (Kelli Jean K. Smith and Kelly Morrison).

PART III JUNIOR YEAR: Ethics of College Sex.

9 A Horny Dilemma: Sex and Friendship between Students and Professors (Andrew Kania).

10 Philosophers and the Not So Platonic Student-Teacher Relationship (Danielle A. Layne).

11 Thinking About Thinking About Sex (Ashley McDowell).

12 Exploring the Association Between Love and Sex (Guy Pinku).

13 Sex for a College Education (Matthew Brophy).

PART IV SENIOR YEAR: Sex and Self-Respect.

14 Meaningful Sex and Moral Respect (Robert M. Stewart).

15 Can Girls Go Wild With Self-Respect? (John Draeger).

16 Mutual Respect and Sexual Morality: How to Have College Sex Well (Yolanda Estes).

17 Bad Faith or True Desire? A Sartrean View on College Sex (Antti Kuusela).

Notes on Contributors.

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Author Information

Michael Bruce
currently works in the non-profit sector with at-risk youth. Previously, he was a teaching assistant at California State University, Chico, and received his Master’s degree from San Diego State University, specializing in continental philosophy. He has published articles in the pop culture and philosophy genre and is currently editing Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy for Wiley-Blackwell.

Robert M. Stewart is Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Chico. He is the author of Moral Philosophy: A Comprehensive Introduction (1994), and editor of Philosophical Perspectives on Sex and Love (1995). He has published numerous journal articles.

Series Editor
Fritz Allhoff is an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Western Michigan University, as well as a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian National University’s Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.  In addition to editing the Philosophy for Everyone series, Allhoff is the volume editor or co-editor for several titles, including Wine & Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007), Whiskey & Philosophy (with Marcus P. Adams, Wiley, 2009), and Food & Philosophy (with Dave Monroe, Wiley-Blackwell, 2007).

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"Overall then, College Sex is a valuable collection. Most readers will want to skip and dip around the essays, looking for those that are most helpful to them. Many of the essays are not traditional philosophical approaches, but the use of communications and psychology scholarship in the book fits well with the philosophical discussion. Furthermore, the level of the writing is pitched well for lower level undergraduate courses in the philosophy of sex love: I plan to use some of the chapters here for my future courses." (Metapsychology, 31 May 2011)

"You actually get something from it. Rather than a textbook in a class that you read and forget almost instantaneously, College Sex forces you to see sex from a more objective perspective - you'll soon be asking questions regarding your own sex life and how good and healthy it actually is." (Her Campus, September 2010)

"The sex and philosophy combo might seem like a peculiar mix, but as you flip and through the book's sections (freshman year, sophomore year, junior year and senior year), it's plausible to see how Socrates, Nietzsche, Aristotle and sex are closely connected with one another." (Campus Circle, 25 August 2010)

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Press Release

August 02, 2010
College Sex—Philosophy for Everyone: Philosophers With Benefits

College is more than studying, football games, and the Classics club. College sex is the ultimate social rite of passage and obsession of many co-eds who are leaving their homes and families for a taste of freedom, sometimes for the first time. Coming from an era which used the term “going steady,” to an era of “hooking up,” parents consider college-age sex their worst nightmare come true, while many students consider it one of the best aspects of higher education, and a major identity forming event. College sex symbolizes and embodies the college student’s unquestionable independence and new stage of adulthood.

College Sex: Philosophers With Benefits  takes an insightful look at student sexual behavior, including the ethical issues of casual dating, sexting (“The Virtual Bra Clasp: Navigating Technology in College Courtship,”), cheating, “the walk of shame,” spring break (“Can Girls Go Wild With Self-Respect?), safety, homosexual experimentation, teacher-student relationships, and drug and alcohol use.

The essays, with a foreword from Heather Corrina (scarletteen.com), move through each year of maturity, Freshman (Hook-Up Culture), Sophomore (Friends with Benefits), Junior (Ethics of College Sex), to Senior (Sex and Self-Respect). The contributors contemplate how the college environment forms an ideal and acceptable space for sexual experimentation, ranging from the mutually respectful, to the inebriated, meaningless, and the degrading.  

The contributors (some of which are members of the Society of the Philosophy of Sex and Love) ask these types of questions: Do sexual acts require love in order to have value? Should college students avoid a “friends with benefits” type of relationship, to prevent hurt feelings down the road? And what about the muddy waters of student- teacher relationships (“A Horny Dilemma: Sex and Friendship between Students and Professors”)?

Working from the philosophical viewpoints of Nagel, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, de Beauvoir, Socrates, Epicureanism, Aristotle, and the highly compatible schools of thought such as feminist, aesthetic, metaphysical, absurdist, and existentialist philosophy, these essays address all the questions students have related to a sexually active life in the 21st century college setting. 

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