Unjust consent

The Sexual Revolution increased sexual access for everyone and so accepted an increase in access for exploiters and abusers (Hey, if you want an omelet).

Objection: there was a widespread agreement to increase sexual access only among consenting adults.

Response: Business transactions make it clear that all kinds of consent are exploitive. Consent is usually given in timeshare sales, phone bills 50-100% greater bottom lines than announced in the big print, donations or campaign contributions that are functionally equivalent to bribes, payday loans, loans made to those in dire circumstances, loans made at no risk to the lender, most college loans, most historically existing forms of debt peonage, accepting perpetual slavery as a punishment for default or as the price for anything at all etc. Since sex might be the only thing we want more than money, there are as many ways in which sexual consent is exploitive.

People agree – consent – all the time to exploitive, wrong, and unjust things, and it is silly to protest that their agreement makes everything right. But this is where everything gets interesting, since we find ourselves trapped by the question of what justice looks like in sexual relations, i.e. what are sort of sexual relationships to which one ought to consent? This is, however, exactly the sort of question that the Sexual Revolution wanted to replace with an economy of sheer consent, and it’s here that one sees the contradiction at its heart.


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