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The limits of limit cases: Sexual ethics and graduate student–staff relationships

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tina Sikka



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Sexuality, Gender & Policy published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Policy Studies Organization.This article examines whether, and if so how, the alternative model of sexual ethics, namely, a pleasure and care-centred ethic of embodied and relational sexual Otherness, performs when given scenarios or case studies that push up against its ethico-political limits. I focus here on the case of intimate relationships that emerge between graduate students and their supervisors. The two case studies examined are the Avital Ronell case and a composite case constructed from the lived experience and personal stories of women who have what they deem are/were successful intimate relationships with their PhD supervisors—sometimes resulting in marriage. Following a critique of sexual consent, the article engages in a close critical analysis of each case in line with the pleasure and care-centered ethic of embodied and relational sexual Otherness and, in doing so, engages with issues of power, ethicality, pleasure, justice, and gender norms before offering ways forward.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sikka T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sexuality, Gender and Policy

Year: 2023

Volume: 6

Issue: 1

Pages: 16-32

Print publication date: 01/02/2023

Online publication date: 24/01/2023

Acceptance date: 05/01/2023

Date deposited: 15/02/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2639-5355

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc


DOI: 10.1002/sgp2.12058


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