In the decades since the sexual revolution which unmoored our sexual ethics from any resemblance of Biblical teaching, the results are now clear: Consent is not enough! This observation made by Christine Emba in the Washington Post provides an insightful place from which to consider where we go from now. Not appealing directly to the Biblical teaching, Emba nevertheless uses a definition of LOVE that requires the life-long commitment to the well-being of the other.
Emba states, in part:
“Even when it goes well, sex is complicated. It involves our bodies, minds and emotions, our connections to each other and our deepest selves. Despite the (many, and popular) arguments that it’s only a physical act, it is clear to almost anyone who has had it that sex has vast consequences, some of which can last long after an encounter ends. Over the past several decades, our society has come to believe that consent — as a legal standard and a moral requirement — could somehow make our most unruly activity more manageable. But it was never going to be that easy….”
“The problem with all this is that consent is a legal criterion, not an ethical one. It doesn’t tell us how we should treat each other as an interaction continues. It doesn’t provide a good road map should something go off the rails. And it suggests that individual actions — “ask for consent,” “speak your mind,” “be more forceful in saying yes or no” — are enough to preempt the misunderstandings and hurt that can come with physical intimacy.