Mixing ethics, sex problematic for society

In his letter to the editor, Heith Hubert writes, “Imagine my surprise when I found out that a University graduate student considers the act of rape as consensual sex.”

Imagine mine when I saw how inaccurately Mr. Hubert portrayed my position. I do not consider the act of rape to be consensual sex. What I said was our society considers consent given while intoxicated to still count as consent. This is not a matter of what is legal, and so the Ohio Revised Code or University policies are quite irrelevant here. This is a matter of what students think, or rather, how they behave.

In practice, many students think very little of taking advantage of someone who has been drinking. I am not talking about someone passed out on the floor, but about someone whose inhibitions have been lowered such that he or she is willing to do what he or she would probably not do while sober. I was obviously not advocating this in my letter, but pointing to it as evidence of how little sexual conduct is guided by ethics.

Mr. Hubert does not find this last point convincing. He thinks that the education provided on campus about safe sex and sexual assault prevention “prove(s) that this campus is committed to educating its students about ethical and value-rich sex.” In fact, it proves just the opposite.

The message that comes across to students is that the only consideration relevant to the decision to have sex is whether or not it is “safe.” Safe sex means consensual sex while wearing a condom. The fact that there might be moral reasons to abstain from sex even in these circumstances is not even considered. After all, only silly and old-fashioned people think things like that. Finally, Mr. Hubert is tired of folks like me attacking the act of sex itself. Instead, he says, we should examine the ethics of a society that, among other things, objectifies people.

I have made no attack on the act of sex, but on the way our society has cheapened it.

Mr. Hubert is right, though, to worry about treating people as objects, but the kind of education this campus offers does nothing to address this problem. Sex is treated as something casual and recreational, when it is in fact a deeply emotional and personal thing.

As a result other people become mere resources for the satisfaction of our sexual appetites, left to sort out the emotional aftermath on their own. It is as if we had just gotten together to play a game of chess.

This is sex the way we practice it. This is our ethical and value-rich sex. What a joke.

John Milliken