Juliette: A model of sexual consent

Journal of the International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics 4 (1):43-54 (2016)
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The ‘yes means yes’ model of sexual consent and the political and ethical commitments that underpin this model have three fundamental disadvantages. This position unfairly polices the sexual expression of participants; it demands an unreasonably high standard for defining sexual interaction as consensual; and by denying the body’s capacity for expressing sexual consent this model allows perpetrators of sexual violence to define consent. I argue that a critical examination of Marquis de Sade’s novel Juliette can provide the basis for a model of sexual consent that avoids these problems by refraining from pre-judging the means by which consent is communicated.

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Chandra Kavanagh
McMaster University


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