Posts Tagged ‘intoxication’

Intoxication and consensual sex

Monday, December 24th, 2012 | Religion & Politics

Last week, I was showering, while thinking about how silly it would be for someone to mount the argument that any level of intoxication removed a person’s ability to consent to sexual activity. Then, by coincidence, the next day I saw some tweet that exact argument.

Of course it wasn’t a very good argument, because you only have 144 characters, and therefore no space to actually make an argument to back up the claim you have stated. But even with more space, it would seem difficult to make such an argument.

Before we dive into the politics here, let us first remember that under British law, any gender can rape any other gender (or indeed the same gender), so there is no split down gender lines here.

Under British law, you are still responsible for your actions, if you get drunk. it’s called voluntary intoxication, and it is no defence to a crime. If you knew that you would become intoxicated when you took the substance, and with alcohol you do know, then the law deems it your own fault if you do something stupid.

Presuming we want to live in a fair society with only a single standard that applies to everyone, you would therefore assume the opposite was true – if you get drunk and do something you later reget, but did it all voluntarily, you can’t then blame someone else for what you did. We all have to take responsibility for our actions.

But some advocates would have you believe that once someone has consumed so much of a drop of alcohol, they are no longer responsible for their own actions, and can later change their mind, and decide they were raped instead.

This is nonsense. What we’re talking about here is completely consensual sex – ie, a boy gets drunk, explicitly agrees to come back to my place and have sex, then wakes up next morning, changes his mind and says he was raped because he was unable to consent due to intoxication.

This brings up a whole new round of rational dilemmas – most notably, if we’re not going to hold people responsible for their own actions while intoxicated, then surely if the alleged rapist is also intoxicated, how can you hold them responsible, given you have taken up a position that states people are not responsible for such behaviour?

To differentiate between them creates a double standard.