The Scholarly Commons

 

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-23-2008

Abstract

The article defends the now fairly conventional liberal reform position that consent ought to be the demarcation between rape and non-criminal sex, responding to both radical feminist and modern queer theoretic arguments that problematize it. It then criticizes liberal arguments that legitimize virtually all consensual sex, leaving all of it relatively insulated not only against criminalization but also against moral and political critique. Consensual sex can be wanted or unwanted, and when unwanted, it can be harmful in ways that cannot be recognized by liberal understandings of consensual sex. Lastly, the article defends this claim, again, against both radical feminist and queer theoretic critiques that for opposing reasons seek to undermine the distinction between unwanted and wanted consensual sex.