Thought for the week, 30th September; Fully consensual

Sexual relationships have been much in the news over the last couple of weeks. There has been GB News, where a presenter spoke of how no “self respecting man” would want to sleep with a female journalist, whose views he did not share. And still the story of Russell Brand continues; the allegations that he had intercourse with women against their will. He of course denies these and so they remain unproven; his defence was that he was “very, very promiscuous” but all his relationships were fully consensual.

I used to take the line that what two consenting adults did in the privacy of the bedroom was their own business, provided it did not break the law. To some extent, I still have that view. But St Paul in particular, warned strongly against lust and the “desires of the flesh”. In his world, at least in the higher echelons of society, casual sex was often the norm; a means of self-gratification and a way of advancing oneself. Paul rejected this as it was simply lust without love, without any consideration of the long-term effects of a series of casual relationships might have on either person. Mr Brand last came to general attention when he recorded a mocking interview with Andrew Sachs, about how he had slept with his granddaughter. Brand eventually apologised to Sachs; my understanding is that the unfortunate granddaughter was a vulnerable adult with an addiction problem, in no position to give effective consent. To Brand’s credit, it has been reported that he eventually apologised to her as well and paid for her treatment for addiction. But perhaps this illustrates the problem with saying that being “very, very promiscuous” is OK as long as it is consensual; one person’s self gratification can so easily be at the expense of the others wellbeing. Paul knew this.