Too drunk to fuck? Exploring the boundaries between consensual and non-consensual sexual encounters under the influence of alcohol
In her project Too drunk to fuck? Exploring the Boundaries Between Consensual and Non-consensual Sexual Encounters Under the Influence of Alcohol, Maria Hansen addresses the dilemmas that drunken sex may entail, like situations in which it may be difficult to define what happened, but where expectations regarding gender, sex and alcohol influence the meaning-making process after the sexual encounter.
About the project
In debates concerning rape, especially when debating rape laws, consent is emphasised as the defining element distinguishing rape and sex. In some ways, this is a simplification. Consent is not necessarily objective nor static, but subjective and fluid, as it relies on how the people involved experience the situation before, during and possibly after the encounter. Consent and non-consent may fluctuate, and this might explain why non-consensual sex is sometimes defined and experienced as rape, while other times it is not. This especially applies to drunken sexual encounters. In the Norwegian penal code, incapacitation excludes consent on the victim’s part, and victims are (ideally) not held responsible for their actions. The offender, on the other hand, is. Situations where one of the participants, or both, is blackout drunk can swing both ways in terms of deciding who is victim and who is offender, and how the encounter was experienced by the participants.
The project address the dilemmas that drunken sex may entail, like situations in which it might be difficult to define what happened, but where expectations regarding gender, sex, and alcohol influence the meaning-making process after the sexual encounter. By exploring the boundaries between drunken sexual pleasures, horrors, and the situations leading up to these interactions, the project hopes to address a variety of drunken sexual experiences ranging from “just sex” to “bad sex” and rape. The project aims to explore and explain a recurring problem in research and theorisation relating to sexual violence: How can the same setting and the same actions be experienced completely differently by different people? And what has gender got to do with it?
Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Oslo, 2019-2023