Consent and Sexual Relations

Legal Theory 2 (2):89-112 (1996)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This article has two broad purposes. First, as a political philosopher who has been interested in the concepts of coercion and exploitation, I want to consider just what the analysis of the concept of consent can bring to the question, what sexually motivated behavior should be prohibited through the criminal law? Put simply, I shall argue that conceptual analysis will be of little help. Second, and with somewhat fewer professional credentials, I shall offer some thoughts about the substantive question itself. Among other things, I will argue that it is a mistake to think that sexual crimes are about violence rather than sex and that we need to understand just why the violation of sexual autonomy is a serious wrong. I shall also argue that the principle that “no means no” does not tell us when “yes means yes,” and that it is the latter question that poses the most interesting theoretical difficulties about coercion, misrepresentation, and competence. In addition, I shall make some brief remarks concerning two questions about consent and sexual relations that lie beyond the criminal law: What “consent compromising behaviors” should be regarded as indecent, although not criminal? When should someone consent to sexual relations within an enduring relationship?



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,998

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Intoxicated consent to sexual relations.Alan Wertheimer - 2001 - Law and Philosophy 20 (4):373-401.
Sexual Activity, Consent, Mistaken Belief, and Mens Rea.Peg Tittle - 1996 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 3 (1):19-22.
Sexual morality: Is consent enough?Igor Primoratz - 2001 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 4 (3):201-218.


Added to PP

313 (#64,943)

6 months
28 (#108,963)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Gelungener Sex.Almut Kristine V. Wedelstaedt - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Praktische Philosophie 7 (1):103-132.
Non-consensual personified sexbots: an intrinsic wrong.Karen Lancaster - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (4):589-600.
Agency, Responsibility, and the Limits of Sexual Consent.Caleb Ward - 2020 - Dissertation, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Sex.Jonathan Webber - 2009 - Philosophy 84 (2):233-250.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Exploitation.Alan Wertheimer - 1996 - Princeton University Press.

Add more references