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Some Broad Reflections on Sex

I consider myself a pragmatic libertarian. This means, most of the time, I fall in line with liberals. I believe a social welfare system is just based on Rawlsian reasons and whatnot. I just think the system should be restructured to be more efficient and effective. Having worked for Medicade programs and so forth, I know there’s a lot of room for improvement.

But let’s get down to the topic at hand: sex.

As a libertarian, I believe that people have a right to, eg, bodily integrity. As a rational human being, I understand that there are some beings (including humans, at certain points) that cannot consent.

This is why I’ve been wary of the anti-consent atmosphere I’ve seen in some BDSM situations.

For one thing, I believe humans only rightfully give up freedom and power by consent. This idea dates back to at least John Locke. For another, I believe the only time humans should be physically harmed is when they (as knowing, rational agents) consent to being harmed. Also as a normal functioning human being, I understand that consent is paramount and there are some individuals (persistent vegative, infants) who cannot consent. Granted, we give the age of consent an actual age: 16, 18, 21. We only do that to make it easy on ourselves. Everyone (I hope) knows there’s individual variation in development.

What I don’t understand, as a pragmatic libertarian, is why some people in the BDSM community would want to do away with consent, or defend bestiality, or child sex. Violating bodily integrity without consent, for example, is what makes rape wrong in my view.

Maybe readers can help me out.


About Jen

Have been a jack of all trades. I'm a former philosopher who specialized in ethics and political philosophy. I'm a sex positive feminist.

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