Why Is Sexual Assault Special?: Transactional Sex and Sacred Intuitions

Handbook of Sexual Ethics, ed. David Boonin (New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2022)

Posted: 4 Apr 2022

See all articles by Francis Joseph Beckwith

Francis Joseph Beckwith

Baylor University - Department of Philosophy; Baylor University - Department of Political Science; Baylor University - Institute for Studies of Religion

Date Written: February 19, 2022

Abstract

There is virtually no disagreement that sexual assault and sexual harassment are serious moral wrongs whose perpetrators deserve punishments sterner than those who commit non-sexual assault or harassment. The intuition undergirding this judgment is reflected in both our criminal law and the rise of the #MeToo Movement. This suggests that there is something special or sacred about sex absent from other types of encounters. On the other hand, leading cultural trends in entertainment and academia imply that sex is just another recreational activity whose moral permissibility depends exclusively on whether the parties freely consent and are satisfied by the results. This transactional view of sex, Beckwith argues, is in tension with our intuitions about the special wrongness of sexual assault and harassment.

[For a copy, please request from author via email]

Keywords: sexual assault, #MeToo Movement, sexual ethics, Harvey Weinstein

Suggested Citation

Beckwith, Francis, Why Is Sexual Assault Special?: Transactional Sex and Sacred Intuitions (February 19, 2022). Handbook of Sexual Ethics, ed. David Boonin (New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2022), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4038590

Francis Beckwith (Contact Author)

Baylor University - Department of Philosophy ( email )

One Bear Place #97273
Waco, TX 76798-7273
United States
254-710-6464 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://francisbeckwith.com

Baylor University - Department of Political Science

Baylor University - Institute for Studies of Religion

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