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Debating Pornography$
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Andrew Altman and Lori Watson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199358700

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199358700.001.0001

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Sex, Speech, and Autonomy

Sex, Speech, and Autonomy

(p.11) 1 Sex, Speech, and Autonomy
Debating Pornography

Andrew Altman

Oxford University Press

Disagreements about pornography have revolved around questions of freedom of speech and expression. This chapter proposes to rethink those disagreements so that the right of sexual autonomy becomes a decisive consideration. The re-thinking is motivated by two ideas. First, much of the pornography that circulates in today’s society, especially on the Internet, is not plausibly regarded as protected by freedom of expression. Second, that very same pornography is used entirely for purposes of sexual arousal and release and so directly involves an individual’s authority to control his own sex life. Setting the stage for the subsequent argument that a right to pornography should be understood as an element of the right of sexual autonomy, this chapter examines the nature of rights and the reasons why the right to control one’s sex life is especially weighty.

Keywords:   pornography, autonomy, speech, sex, rights

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