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The Difference Between Sexual Consent And Consent

1843 words - 8 pages

Consent has been a philosophically relevant topic since the formation of structured society. Consent is a form of giving one’s word or one’s approval on various topics in everyday life. Consent can pertain to things, such as real estate contracts, business deals, or trade. All of these can be engaged in with partial to entire comprehension. However, there is one form of consent that requires more than just a partial comprehension to engage in. It is imperative to understand the difference between the two forms of consent. Unlike consent to the above terms, which society and governing bodies do not require full comprehension to enter into, sexual desire can challenge one’s reasoning and can ...view middle of the document...

Sexual activity can be defined in many different ways, none more comprehensive than the theory of Social Constructivism about Sexual Activity (SCSA). It asserts that there are no core features of sexual activity, rather sexual activity is entirely socially or culturally defined or constructed. Any activity by becoming eroticized within a particular culture can then be considered sexual activity. On this theory, there is no limit to what can become sexual activity; however, it also means that no activity is implicitly sexual in nature. Such examples of cultural differences that would use this theory to define sexual activity include: Victorian standards (covering table legs, incredibly modest clothing) vs. modern standards (bikinis, mini skirts), US beaches (bathing suits) vs. European beaches (nude or topless), tribal society vs. modern age society. This theory of sexual activity encompasses the varying culture in which consent to sexual activity applies. SCSA can help us also provide a case in which extreme cultural differences can lead to a lack of comprehension of what is being asked. By using this theory we can apply the consequences of lack of comprehensions across cultural boundaries, which is important in the very diverse world we live in.
Using the above-defined sexual activity it is clear to see that sexual activity is a distinctly different act from other forms of consent. It is different because as mentioned above sexual activity deals with culturally defined actions, and can have severe physical, psychological, and societal harms associated with it. Whereas, society isn’t as fervidly concerned with contractual or trade consent thus making consent to such things without full comprehension morally acceptable. As Soble mentions in Sexual Use, sexual activity challenges reason. Since, sexual activity challenges reason, it alters the relevant mental state needed to consent to such activity (Soble 2013, 306). Having the capacity to understand what is being asked is an essential feature of sexual consent. The relevant mental states may be hindered temporarily (extreme fatigue or intoxication) or permanently (downs syndrome, mental retardation, the autism spectrum, head trauma).
Contractual consent, trade consent, or real estate consent also deal with ideas that are considered normal to our society and bear little to no severe psychological or societal harms, and most certainly do not usually involve physical harm. Other versions of consent also typically do not deal with desires that can allow the human mind to act beyond what is reasonable. While one might lose money or social status, these forms of contractual agreements typically do not result in the same severe physical, psychological, or societal harms associated with sexual activity. These contracts also often to not involve the person’s body or result in the loss of dignity or respect. Consider the below cases of rape against persons of diminished mental capacity, neither one...

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