Sexual Consent and Lying About One’s Self

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2):380-400 (2021)
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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView. Despite the acknowledgement of the moral significance of consent there is still much work to be done in determining which specific sexual encounters count as unproblematically consensual. This paper focuses on the impact of deception. It takes up the specific case of deception about one's self. It may seem obvious that one ought not to lie to a sexual partner about who one is, but determining which features of oneself are most relevant, as well as the lies which it follows would be impermissible to tell, is complicated. It is argued here that deception about one's morally valenced character traits, those we think of as virtues and vices, are particularly problematic. This is true regardless of whether knowing the truth about those traits would have made a difference to one's partner's consent. Attention is then drawn to a range of types of lies that one ought not to tell.

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Jennifer Matey
Southern Methodist University


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