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Contractualizing human sexuality.

It’s strangely fascinating to see how the American puritan and contractualist cultural heritage seems to interact with well-meaning (mostly feminist) „consent activism“ and Christian/social conservatism. Here’s a great article from the NY Times outlining the extent and current legal status of prospective regulation.

Given the tendencies outlined in the NY Times article, I supppose it’s not entirely absurd to imagine how the – I think – generally well-meaning activists will wake up one day and wonder how they managed to accidentally contribute to ending the „age of acquarius“ – the generally permissive socio-
sexual climate resulting from the „sexual revolution“.

And when they wonder how that happened, one of the answers may be found in a recent poll published in the Washington Post, question 32 of which inquires whether it’s worse if an innocent person gets punished for sexual assault, or a guilty person gets away with it.

While I thought „in dubio pro reo“ would be a no-brainer, a principle deeply rooted in all but very few people’s intuitive understanding of justice, that is apparently not the case for current US students and recent graduates, which were surveyed. Half of the respondents think that it’s worse if a guilty person gets away than if an innocent person is punished. I suppose that also explains a lot more about the US judicial system than merely bizarre attempts to legally regulate sexual activity.


There’s a number of really interesting items in the survey, although many reply ratios make me wonder if people were either lying to give what they assumed to be socially acceptable answers or simply did not understand the question as such.

originally appeared on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tobias.schwarz/posts/10154215528294062

PS – if you ever need one, here’s how you get your consent contract: http://consentgear.com/collections/frontpage/products/consent-matchbook-consent-kit-with-condom-contract-consentconscious

oddly enough, Science

The new feminism?

Given that really no one, including self-identified feminists, really knows what feminism actually is, or, rather, can agree upon a useful definition thereof, I find it strange that hardly any day passes in Germany these days without yet another public demand for a „new feminism (today featuring Thea Dorn, in the Parliamentary Publication „Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte“, in German).“ Well, maybe that is all well, and if more choice is really helping, I’m only happy to help to add to the confusion and propose a „medical“ version – which, I may add, goes back to the origins of the term, as Sally Haslanger and Nancy Tuana write in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

„[i]n the mid-1800s the term ‘feminism’ was used to refer to „the qualities of females“, and it was not until after the First International Women’s Conference in Paris in 1892 that the term, following the French term féministe, was used regularly in English for a belief in and advocacy of equal rights for women based on the idea of the equality of the sexes.“

Probably thinking of those humble origins, reporting from the sixth annual meeting of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, Salon.com explains today that science is only now realising something most men have always known on some level – no one, not even women themselves, really know anything about women. In what may be the scary state of art in scientific exploration of female sexuality,

„… sexologist Michael Sand told the Tribune, „We don’t understand normative, healthy sexuality well enough to make judgments about what’s dysfunctional.“ … According to one of the governing models, it „starts with desire, progresses through excitement or arousal and ends with orgasm.“ Sand received a prize for his research on female sexuality…“

But there’s hope for the discipline: Medical companies are known to be busy investing in their own model of feminism, although it is unclear if the result will be little pink pills…