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Rethinking Sex with Christine Emba

In this new edition of Women Who Inspire, we’re thrilled to introduce the ALIGN audience to Christine Emba. Christine is an opinion columnist at The Washington Post. Recently, she sat down with Helen Roy on GIRLBOSS, INTERRUPTED to discuss the serious limitations of mainstream dating culture–and the need for a new sexual ethic which she laid out in her new book, Rethinking Sex: A Provocation, published through Sentinel in March 2022.

In Rethinking Sex, Emba argues that the increased access to casual sex in our modern, sexually liberated society has left people—particularly women, but also men—feeling unhappy and unsatisfied. She criticizes the idea that sex can be meaningless, and further notes the commodification of sexual partnerships through online dating applications and the dehumanization women face from the normalization of sexual choking and anal sex in pornography as additional factors causing a bleak romantic landscape. Emba states that while consent in sex is necessary, it is not enough; since even consensual sex can leave people feeling unhappy, she argues, consent cannot be “the only rule.”

Emba grew up in Virginia, and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in public and international affairs at Princeton University. Emba was raised as an evangelical Christian, but converted to Catholicism during her senior year at Princeton. After graduating, she worked as a strategy analyst at the software corporation SAP, before serving as the deputy editor of the Economist Intelligence Unit and later a Hilton Kramer Fellow in criticism at The New Criterion.