Sex, Consent and Tragedy

There have been a number of stories over the past two weeks which all point to the hollowness of our culture’s approach to sex.  The culture which says “sex isn’t a moral issue – whatever you want to do with respect to sex is okay”.  The hollowness and bankrupt nature of that approach is on full display at the moment.

The first one was the anonymous woman jumping on the #metoo band-wagon, claiming that celebrity Aziz Ansari had sexually assaulted her.  However, her description of the evening presented herself as a willing (if not overly enthusiastic) participant who just didn’t enjoy the sex as much as she hoped to.  We are now thrust into a debate about whether ‘yes’ is or isn’t sufficient when it comes to consenting to sex.

The second story (which has been knocking around for years in various forms) is that there are now apps you can get which register and record consent for people deciding to have sex.  To remove any level of ambiguity about what happened and why.  Although the evidence from the previous story would suggest that these apps won’t actually solve the problems that keep cropping up.

The third story was that Sydney University (among other universities in Australia) is providing on-line training to explain what constitutes consent, and when consent doesn’t count.  Along with all the complaints people make about this ‘course’ being sufficient, being only a one-off, and more, lies the real-world issue that most ‘consensual’ sex at university occurs when people are drinking, which apparently negates anyone being able to consent.

The the final story which caught my attention was that the federal Member of Parliament for New England, the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, had a consensual affair with someone in his office.  More than that, is expecting a child with his mistress, and has split up with his wife (and mother of his 4 daughters).

The thing that links all of these things together is obvious fact that our society presents a model of sexual ethics which is proving to be completely unworkable, heart-breaking and soul destroying.  It is obvious that no matter how many rules we create, or training we provide, it isn’t actually possibly to construct a workable ethic from ‘anything you want to do is okay so long as people consent to it’.

The fact of the matter is that sex the way our society approaches it leads to tragedy.  No amount of rule-creation, or law-passing, or app-registering is going to change that.

Instead of lobby groups, or ethics groups, or management groups trying to implement rules to fix the problems, what we need to acknowledge is that sex and relationships don’t work that way.  Our society needs to recognise that God created sex as a way of bonding a married couple together, creating children, producing joy and unity both physically and spiritually.

Until we actually acknowledge the cause of the problem, we are going to be endlessly distracted trying to solve peripheral symptoms, and continuing to watch unhappy and damaged people ruin their and others lives pursuing the lie that sex is whatever you want it to be, so long as you consent.

One thought on “Sex, Consent and Tragedy

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