Sexual Autonomy and Sexual Consent

In David Boonin (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Sexual Ethics. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 247-270 (2022)
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Miller analyzes the relationship between consent and autonomy by offering three pictures. For autonomy, Miller distinguishes between procedural, substantive, and weak substantive autonomy. The corresponding views of consent are what Miller has termed as consensual minimalism, consensual idealism, and consensual realism. The requirements of sexual consent under consensual minimalism are a voluntary informed agreement. However, feminist critiques reveal the inadequacies of this simple position. Consensual idealism, which corresponds with substantive autonomy, offers a robust picture where consent and autonomy must be based on non-oppression. However, this view is considered too ideal and it ignores context. Weak substantive autonomy takes into account the context in the sexual domain. Correspondingly, consensual realism takes into account the context and still fulfills the requirements of consent.

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Shaun Miller
Salt Lake City Community College


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