Consent and mutuality in sex education

Michael Hand*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    Sharon Lamb, Sam Gable and Doret de Ruyter have recently argued that sex education in schools should promote a more demanding standard for morally permissible sex than consent. On their view, pupils should be taught that morally permissible sex is not only consensual but also mutual, where mutuality requires participants in sex to ‘try to know what is knowable’ about each other. I argue here that, while Lamb et al. are right about the insufficiency of consent, the case for mutuality as a standard of moral permissibility cannot be sustained. Mutuality fares better as a standard of moral desirability, but even in this weaker form it is too controversial to promote in schools.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)677-684
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Philosophy of Education
    Issue number5
    Early online date23 Aug 2022
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Philosophy of Education published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.


    • consent
    • moral desirability
    • moral permissibility
    • mutuality
    • plain sex
    • sex education

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • History


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