Consent is Not Enough

More and more, young people are expressing their dissatisfaction with the current sexual ethic that society has inflicted. This modern sexual ethic is where the morality of sexual activity is entirely dependent on consent. If both individuals consent to sex, then that sex is good! If one individual does not consent, then any sexual activity that follows is considered wrong. However, young people are finding that this consent dichotomy leaves them feeling confused and less than satisfied. One young journalist, Emma Camp, recently wrote an opinion guest essay for the New York Times titled, "When We Consent, We Shouldn't Feel Terrible After, Right?" where she questions the benefits and expresses the harms of the modern sexual ethic.

She is not the first to point out that mere consent is inadequate. In March, the Washington Post published a similar piece titled, "Why We Need a Sexual Ethic That Goes Beyond Consent," by Christine Emba. Both pieces recognize that sex is often viewed as a physical transaction before two people, rather than something that impacts the whole person: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Both Emba and Camp recognize that sex must come with some sort of responsibility to the other.

This responsibility and genuine care is exemplified in the institution of marriage. Sexual intimacy within the confines of marriage allows greater freedom when it comes to the impacts of sex. In marriage, men and women experience higher sexual satisfaction, less STDs and unplanned pregnancies than those who have sex outside of marriage. Marriage provides a clear outline for the duty of each spouse to the other. As long as society is reconsidering what a healthy sexual ethic looks like, the National Abstinence Clearinghouse would like to toss the idea of a traditional sexual ethic, or abstinence until marriage, back into the ring for consideration.