Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 659–665 | Cite as

The Limits of Consent

Original Paper


This journal has frequently taken the position that consent, or at least informed consent, is all that from a secular viewpoint is necessary for an activity to be ethical. We argue to the contrary, that consent is and only is a political criterion for determining criminality—even for a libertarian. Consensual behavior can be unethical—although it should not be criminalized—if the consent will never be truly revocable in the future or if such revocability is severely compromised. We give three examples, one from common experience, and two from the areas normally covered in this journal.


Consent Revocability Children Addiction Experiential phenomena Sexual relationships Ethics versus law Abuse versus consent 


  1. Block, W. (1997). The case for de-criminalizing blackmail: A reply to Lindgren and Campbell, 24 W. St. U. L. Rev. 225.Google Scholar
  2. Block, W. (2000). Blackmail is private justice—A reply to Brown, 34 U.B.C. L. Rev. 11.Google Scholar
  3. Card, C. (2002). What’s wrong with adult-child sex. Journal of Social Philosophy, 33, 170–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Downing, L. (2004). On the limits of sexual ethics: The phenomenology of autassassinophilia. Sexuality and Culture, 8(1), 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fulda, J. S. (2001). Reputation as property, and its relation to privacy. Computers and Society, 31(1), 27–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Godbeer, R. (2002). Sexual revolution in early America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.JerusalemIsrael

Personalised recommendations