Sexual Morality Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 26 November 2016

Sexual Morality

2. Consent is thought to be morally transformative of people’s conduct toward each other. Where sex is concerned, it is all but universally regarded as necessary to make sexual conduct legitimate. But the question is then, is consent also sufficient? Discuss both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers to this question, using Soble, Wertheimer, West and/or Primoratz. Finally, which seems the best supported answer? TAKE OUT HEADINGS AND ADD A COVER PAGE

I will begin this paper in support of the liberal theory recognized on sexual morality being upheld that whatever is consented to will be permissible, thus what is not consented will be impermissible. I also support that the consenting participants should be competent and well informed without coercion or explotiation Consent as morally transformative means the one is capable of authorizing or legitimating other’s behavior one of three criteria stated by Alan Wertheimer section below. An overall society norm of consent by a participant in sexual relations is that it is necessary for morality compliance. Furthermore consent will additionally be under consideration in regards to it being morally sufficient.


Igor Primoratz in his work ‘Sexual Morality: Is Consent Enough?” approaches three philosophical views that reflect that same theory in regards to validating a consensual sex encounter. Consensual participating partners in sex relations inadequately validate a sexual encounter as moral. The three views are as follows: the Catholic view of sex as ordained for procreation and properly confined to marriage, the romantic view of sex as bound up with love, and the radical feminist analysis of sex in our society as part and parcel of the domination of woman by men. Regardless it is predominatly agreed that valid consent is necessary in sex. But sufficient consent in sexual acts will not morally legitmize it. Mary Geach’s recent statement of the procreation view, Roger Scrutons theory of sexual desire as naturally evolving into intimacy and love, plus several radical feminist discussions of sex in sexist society argues consent as being valid or attainable.

Primoratz counter argues that consent is the touchstone of morally permissible sex nonetheless acknowledges that it is invaluable when discussing ideals of human sexuality. He also argues that in regards to consent that it can be ‘morally decisive over a wide range of action’ and that it is not justified to treat sex special. Consent is to Primoratz ‘indeed enough’ in sexual acts but is critical of the claim that consent to sex is at best necessary, but not sufficent. He generalizes sexual consent on the same level of all moral responsibilities with gives reason to the idea of consent can be implemented to cover all moral issues. This generalization of consent being a criterion of all moral responsibilties is unrealistic in a discussion of sexual morality. Morality criterion requires multiple factors beyond an individual consent on the account of such consentual activities as recreational drug use and voluntary euthanasia as it would eliminate opportunity for moral discourse.

In spite of that the idea of consent has many levels of specification which could morally be concerning of well-being and autonomy under adequate strong understanding of consent under a collection of area-specified understanding of consent Primoratz insubstaintial anaylsis of consent being the ‘difference between murder and voluntary euthanasia” is considerably distant of the idea of consent. However consent does differentiate the two subjects it hardly states that the idea of consent would therefore legitmate fatal actions. In regards to sexual discussion of the idea of consent being sufiicent for moral responsibility is hardly justifiable in such a generalization.

In a positive criteria of the nature of sex, the understanding of moral sufficient consent is supported in same area whereas traditional natural law ethics grounds sexual morality in claim about the association between sex and procreation. Sex can be in reasonable opinion morally significant in such a way that consent is morally sufficient in this area despite of the condition the equalivant type consent or other types of consent are morally significant elsewhere. This area of morality in the understanding of consent is the area, despite of how they appertain in another place.

Alan Wertheimer begins his view by stating that behavior that seeks sexual relations when consent is not valid will be against criminal law, but to distinguish these behaviors a concept of consent must be analyzed. He argues that the moral aspect within the concept of consent will assist in analyzing this. He says that consent is morally transformative on the account that the moral relationship can change A and B and between them and others. Furthermore A and B are capable of authorizing or legitimating other’s behaviors with respect to one of the following: Consent is an act that is performative not attitudinal which requires a token. Second is tokens of consent can be explicit or tacit also verbal or non-verbal. Lastly providing the absence of defective consent , which involves competence, absence of coercion and absence misrepresentation or concealment. Even further states though consent from B’s is morally transformative it does not say consent is “either necessary or sufficient to change an “all things considered” moral judgement about A’s or B’s action.”

Wertheimer argues about the logic of consent and that it does not matter wheather we have a thin, neutral or thick moral account of consent. His analysis is that substantive moral arguments will need to be introduced. He further states that a consent argument is easily to commit fallacy of equivocation where the consent in the minor and major premises have different understandings of consent. This to Wertheimer brings about another analysis of: coercion and harm. The sort of moral transformation that the consent triggered is questioned at that point. The consent would be questioned by moral assessment if it was sufficient or not. The principles of consent is stated by Wertheimer by when defining a consent token is morally transformative or not. He discusses criminal consent-eliciting behavior.

He discussses on three ways when B’s consent token might be defective: coercion; misrepresentation or concealment: and incompetence. He says that coercion requires two conditions: threat to make worse off; reasonableness of succumbing to threat verse suffering consequences. There are ambiguities he says to first condition such as: what is a threat?; verbal or non-verbal?; worse off than what?; status quo or right? The second condition likewise has ambiguities: can someone do something else?; and severity of the consequences? The second way Wertheimer argues to make B’s consent token defective misrepresentation or concealment. He questions when misrepresentation constitutes a criminal offense, caveat emptor idea, criminal fraud or medical informed consent. The third way to make consent defective to him is imcompentence. The standard understanding is that B cannot give valid or morally transformative consent if she unconscious, lacking mental capacity, below appropropriate age, and under influence of alcohol and drugs.

An interesting argument Wertheimer discusses about how couples are to deal with asymmetrical desires for sex in their relationship. He argues about if it might be wrong that B should every consent to sex when she does not want to. He discusses the principle of distributive justice with frequency of sexual relations and the fairness couples decisions go through in sexual relations. And the consent is more about if B should want to have sex- all things considered- when the commitment to fairness is to be considered. His last few arguments are first if each party in couple has a general want to do what the other has a general want to do, there will be no further wants in general to get a hold of. Secondly he argues that if we reject distributive justice because the interests of the parties in couple conflict that doesn’t mean they will decide on one or two other options.

Thirdly its unrealistic to Wertheimer that even in the best relationships that people will agree on their desires and expectations in sex. He lastly argues to the objections to the view that sexual relations are beyond the scope of justice. I want to argue that Wertheimer constricts his focus on just the consent of the women to sex with the man. He describes many examples of a man being A who is making moves towards B a woman in a sexual conduct. And B’s consent is always the question or issue at hand. I furthermore argue about his stance on men being predominant to seek sexual relations onto woman and that woman are innately to pursue a monogamous connection with men.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

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  • Date: 26 November 2016

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