Why consent is not enough

Ireland is clarifying its rape laws, in particular, re the definition of consent.

As you’d expect, this is being generally lauded.

As if consent was all people need to have an ethical / satisfying sexual encounter.

The classic left-wing / liberal view of sex is that pretty much any kind of sexual behaviour is acceptable, so long all the participants therein consent to it.

Provided the people involved both consent (and I mean “both” – no apologies to swingers and polys, you’re arseholes), then what they do, or how soon they do it, is none of anybody else’s business.

From reading press reports of various unfortunate encounters over many years, the typical scenario involves drunk people having sex within a few hours, or less, after meeting. The unspoken context is that old fashioned stuff – fascination, delight, commitment, wonder, eroticism, respect – either is explicitly ruled out, or is, at the very least, just very old-hat and entirely irrelevant.

But once you abandon all objective standards, once you declare that all behaviours ethically are equivalent, then consent is all you have left. Provided everyone involved consents, then being courted and, months later, made love to by someone who adores you is no wiser or better or worse than having choke / chem-sex in a toilet with someone who may or may not be a psycho and whom you met 3 hours previously. .

Consent is the necessary standard-substitute in a culture which de facto encourages people to have sex with each other way too soon, because the culture is too timid to distinguish loving, ethical sex from cheap, nasty, jerk / jock sex. Having rejected traditional morality, it has been hoisted thereafterby a petard of its own “my truth” subjectivity-extremism, one wherein we must validate all perspectives and behaviours equally. In other words, a cop-out.

This creates a culture wherein we merely can facilitate, but must never pass judgement.

Liberals view casual, drunk, sex as a human right.  You’re not allowed to say that its cheap, exploitative and dumb behaviour. You’re certainly not alowed to say that it’s profoundly un-erotic.

Instead, we must maintain the fiction that wanting to shag someone the same night you meet them is decent and acceptable behaviour, and that it doesn’t mean that you’re an immature, timid, selfish, asshole. That’d be judgemental, right?

But if you really are interested in someone, you don’t even want to have sex with them too soon anyway.  You’re so blissed out even having a coffee with them, and the wonder of seeing a relationship develop. Eroticism primarily is a slow-burning meditation on the loved one. If you want to bag someone right away, it’s always because you’re planning to dump them shortly afterwards, if you’re being honest about it. Apart from the shag, you have no other plans for them, no other interest in them, so why wait?

But if you wait, and *get to know the person first*, over, say, a few months, you will then be so attuned to them that both of you will just know and be able to read each other very well, without needing all this absurd, autistic, contract-theory approach to “consent”.

We used to call this “courtship”, and “dating”, and we need more of it, instead of the cowardly “get drunk, hang out and bang” tawdriness – and tedium – of today.

Consent, as a substitute for ethical behaviour, is a sticking plaster of liberal despair on an ethical vacuum.

If we started treating other people as people again, instead of treating them as wank-aids, then none of this robotic consent rubbish would even be necessary.

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