Outlawing Sex

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Eugene Volokh discusses some problematic sexual assault policies at Gettysburg College and Antioch College regarding what counts as consensual sex. The most striking element to me comes toward the end of the post. It looks to me as if Antioch College's sexual assault policy leads to a fascinating infinite regress. Apparently you need explicit verbal agreement to count as consent. Yet they also prohibit non-consensual sexual communication. That means you can't even ask someone verbally if they want to have sex unless they first consent to your question. So you need to ask them if you can ask them a question about sex, but before that you need to ask them if you can ask them if you can ask them a question about sex, and before that you need to ask them if you can ask them if you can ask them if you can ask them a question about sex. That means you could never even get going with asking the question, which means consensual sex is impossible, and thus sex is in effect outlawed. Antioch College is the new Bob Jones University.

5 Comments

A discussion on morality or logic? :-)

Or maybe they stumbled into a black hole time warp and ended up with Israel in the desert facing Moses and the Law...

The first outlawing of "consensual sex" came from the hand of God. Why do we see its rediscovery, even if accidental, as bad?

While there are things about BJU that I do not agre with, outlawing sex is not one of them.

My point wasn't about the wrongness of the policy. It was about its stupidity. It places people in a position of never being able to ask for the thing they're requiring people to ask for. It's an internally inconsistent policy.

Also, the policy prevents even married couples from having sex, so I think Moses would disagree. The Torah didn't outlaw sex. It just lists some contexts when it wasn't allowed.

"Consensual sex" is generally taken to be sex outside of marriage, so the Torah thing does apply specifically.

Not sure how the policy would effect married couples who seldom ask to have sex, but rather just do it. However, the point about the rather strange logic of the policy is well taken...

In some states, things that would count as rape for two unmarried people would not count as rape in marriage. But that's because the laws explicitly state that. I don't think this policy does. Colleges and universities tend to emphasize the fact that marital rape occurs and for political reasons like to treat consent in marriage and consent outside marriage as if marriage makes no difference, so it wouldn't surprise me if this includes married people.

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