Public Affairs Quarterly 16:191-201 (2002)

David Benatar
University of Cape Town
Many people think that promiscuity is morally acceptable, but rape and pedophilia are heinous. I argue, however, that the view of sexual ethics that underlies an acceptance of promiscuity is inconsistent with regarding (1) rape as worse than other forms of coercion or assault, or (2) (many) sex acts with willing children as wrong at all. And the view of sexual ethics that would fully explain the wrong of rape and pedophilia would also rule out promiscuity. I intend this argument neither as a case against promiscuity nor as either a mitigation of rape or a partial defense of pedophilia. My purpose is to highlight an inconsistency in many people's judgements. Whether one avoids the inconsistency by extending or limiting the range of practices one condemns, will depend on which underlying view of the ethics of sex one accepts.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 56,060
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Is Prostitution Harmful?Ole Martin Moen - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (2):73-81.
Sex and Sexuality.Raja Halwani - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Ethics of Pedophilia.Ole Martin Moen - 2015 - Etikk I Praksis - Nordic Journal of Applied Ethics 9 (1).
Gelungener Sex.Almut Kristine V. Wedelstaedt - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Praktische Philosophie 7 (1):103-132.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Just War Theory, Crimes of War, and War Rape.Sally Scholz - 2006 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 20 (1):143-157.
Sexual Specificity, Rape Law Reform and the Feminist Quest for Justice.Louise du Toit - 2012 - South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):465-483.
Conceptually Situating the Harm of Rape: An Analysis of Objectification.Lindsay Kelland - 2011 - South African Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):168-183.
Rethinking 'Rape as a Weapon of War'.Doris E. Buss - 2009 - Feminist Legal Studies 17 (2):145-163.
Rape Without Consent.Victor Tadros - 2006 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 26 (3):515-543.
The Wrong of Rape.David Archard - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):374–393.
Gender Neutrality, Rape and Trial Talk.Philip N. S. Rumney - 2008 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 21 (2):139-155.
Pedophilia.David Benatar - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.


Added to PP index

Total views
342 ( #22,348 of 2,403,826 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
27 ( #30,071 of 2,403,826 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes