I’ve been following the football group sex news with detached bemusement. I have no moral issue with consensual group sex, and am bored by the petty moralising that the media is indulging in. Safe, sane and consensual sex can take many forms. I am primarily interested in whether the parties involved are sane and whether their behaviour is consensual.
Physical experiences like sex can have great emotional power. It is common for people to consent to behaviour that others define as exploitative, humiliating, degrading or dangerous. The emotional intensity of experiencing situations with these characteristics is part of their appeal.
It’s impossible to rationally explain the voluntary choice to experience the pain of receiving a tattoo or piercing, for example. Many behaviours associated with the feminine beauty myth appear to be indicative of mental illness or psychological instability. Voluntary genital mutilation is another example of dangerously irrational behaviour.
These behaviours are legal, and so is group sex. People freely consent to sexual experiences that challenge rational ideas about identity and consent, some of which they may subsequently regret. If you take risks, it’s likely that you’ll have positive and negative experiences.
I’d like to think that intelligence can be applied to produce sensible decision making, but that is an overly simplistic view of human nature. We are not rational agents and rarely act as such. Being intelligent does not make someone sensible, or necessarily capable of making good decisions. Equally, common sense does not necessarily require a high degree of intelligence.
We live in a society that mostly values free will and self determination above forcing the many to conform to the values of the few. It takes a lot for the state to act to protect the safety of the majority from the stupidity of the minority. Personal responsibility is out of fashion and society routinely fails to hold people accountable for their actions.
People are free to abuse alcohol and drugs and drive cars and we keep handing back their keys. Child abusers, rapists and even murderers are given reduced sentences and then commit further offenses while on parole. The state evidently values their freedom more than our safety. The state rarely challenges free will even though there is overwhelming evidence that many people are incapable of managing it.
The football group sex events provide a great case study of free will and personal responsibility. If the hotel worker ‘Clare’ at the centre of the Christchurch incident had obeyed the terms of her employment contract and not fraternised with guests on premises, then she could not have ended up in a room with more men than she wanted. Her poor decision making is the catalyst of the event.
The decision making of the men is equally suspect. Having all too easily taken the absence of active rejection as passive acceptance, the players who came into the room uninvited and had sex with Clare (after the two men she did genuinely consent to being with) did so without legitimately obtaining consent. Their behaviour was unreasonable, selfish and arrogantly presumptuous.
Even if she was not affected by drink or drugs (this has not been mentioned), Clare may have been psychologically or emotionally overwhelmed by the escalation of events and became unable to clearly express her consent or withdraw it. It’s unfortunate that Clare herself established the conditions that led to this situation.
After absorbing all the information about this event, including the accusation that Clare had a liaison with two players the previous night, it seems that she consented to the events and then regretted it afterwards. She apparently does not want to take responsibility for her choices and their consequences and has rewritten the story to remove evidence of her own agency as a willing sexual subject.
The facile arrogance of the players, and their acceptance of groupies as normal, is indicative of their own naivity and / or stupidity. They made themselves vulnerable to accusations of sexual assault and public humiliation. If you voluntarily choose to make yourself vulnerable are you a victim or an idiot? This applies equally to men and women.
Another football groupie ‘Amy’ has also spoken about her group sex experiences. News.com.au reports that Amy ‘has worked for a number of AFL clubs in administration and office roles, and said she had been sacked from more than one club for having casual relationships with players.‘ The article does not make it clear if she, like Clare, breached her employment conditions by having sex with players.
Being sacked more than once for this behaviour does suggest a lack of common sense and rational self interest. Why some women want to have sex with narcissistic football thugs is a mystery to me. Further evidence of poor decision making is evident: ‘she said her encounters were safe, [but] she was often drunk and… She admitted using drugs at times during some encounters.‘ So she was often not ‘sane’ (straight and sober) when having group sex.
Why many women use sexual behaviour to attract social attention is another thing I don’t understand. For Amy, it seems the attention was more important than the income from her job (or the sex itself): ‘Amy had enjoyed group sex with footballers because she wanted to be wanted by such fit, powerful men… [she] liked being the centre of attention‘. I suspect that the women who are attracted to football players are not that smart either, so maybe they’re actually a good match for each other.
Just because some men have a predatory sense or aspect to their personality, and some women volunteer to be passive-aggressive victims, it does not mean that their apparently complimentary values make for happy endings. Neither is forced to act on their worst character traits. Free will gives people the freedom to determine their own actions and to make good and bad choices.
I’d like to live in a society where men understand enough about the complexities of gender relations to walk away from such situations because they can see the potential negative consequences for themselves, such as losing their job and being made to look like subhuman monsters on national television.
Even if they can’t or don’t consider the situation from the woman’s point of view, men would effectively treat women far better by being more cautious about their own interests. It would be even better if men could learn some more advanced ethical decision making in their sexual relationships.
I’d like to live in a society where women engage in sexual relationships for pleasure rather than with naive and needy intentions that have nothing to do with desire, and where they explore their sexuality while sane, sober and straight. Women’s use of alcohol and drugs to engender their own disinhibition and overcome their common sense is widespread, and it is tragic and pathetic.
Trading sex for attention is as dishonest as assuming that an absence of rejection is a form of consent. Why can’t men and women actually talk to each other about what they want? Do these circumstances suggest that men and women want such fundamentally different things from their interactions that there is no point talking?