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

Why Is Sexual Assault Special?: Transactional Sex and Sacred Intuitions February 26, 2022

My essay, “Why Is Sexual Assault Special?: Transactional Sex and Sacred Intuitions,” was just published in The Palgrave Handbook of Sexual Ethics. Edited by David Boonin (University of Colorado, Boulder), other contributors include Boonin’s CU Boulder colleagues Michael Tooley and Alastair Norcross as well as Christopher Kaczor (Loyola Marymount University), Alan Soble (University of New Orleans), Edward Feser (Pasadena City College), Cheryl Abbate (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), John Corvino (Wayne State University), and Jessica

Flanigan (University of Richmond).  Here’s the abstract for my chapter: 

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.

You can look at the Table of Contents for the entire book at the publisher’s website here.  All the essays are behind a paywall. However, if you are interested in reading my entry, feel free to email me a request. 

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