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Consent Part 1: Into The Gray — With Jaclyn Friedman

In the midst of the #MeToo Movement, women and men all over the country are re-examining sexual encounters from their past. Over the course of a three-part series on consent, the Sugars answer letters from some of these women and explore the complexity and nuance of sexual consent.

In this first episode of the series, we hear from two women who have opposing reactions to the #MeToo moment. “How do I make the men in my life understand where women everywhere are coming from?” asks one woman, adding, “My blood boils when listening to their insensitive and wholly incorrect comments.” Another woman asks: “In some cases, like the accusations against Louis C.K., I find myself feeling strangely defensive of the men’s behavior. Am I just as big of a sleazebag as these guys are for letting these things happen?”

To answer these questions, the Sugars call on the writer and activist Jaclyn Friedman, who popularized the “yes means yes” standard of sexual consent. Ms. Friedman explains the cultural context behind both letters, “We train women to disappear ourselves, to make men’s desire more important than our own.” And she offers a few solutions: “Part of the answer is that men who already understand this have to help other men along.”

Ms. Friedman is the author of “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape” and “Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All.” Her podcast, also called “Unscrewed,” was named one of the Best Sex Podcasts by Marie Claire and Esquire.

The Sugars Recommend

Cat Person by Kristen Roupenian
Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country by Steve Almond

New episodes of Dear Sugars are released weekly. Do you have a question for the Sugars? Email

Amory Sivertson Twitter Producer for New Programming
Amory Sivertson is an associate producer for new programming at WBUR. She's one of the producers of Modern Love: The Podcast.


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