Orgasms and consciousness

This new curiosity should generate a great bit of reflection: can a person who is not conscious - not even dreaming - experience orgasms?

Answering this question presupposes that you are defining an orgasm in some way or another, so please make your definition of what might or might not constitute an orgasm as explicit and concise as possible.

Obviously there are a multiplicity of distinctions one could make about the main question, including whether the person is externally stimulated or not, for instance. Feel free to diverge as much as you want with these distinctions, but do try to get back to the main topic at some point.

Thinking about this issue might produce many other related questions, many of which might produce novel ethical phenomenological and ethical interpretations.

For instance, consider a woman who has been drugged with GHB (roofies), and is sexually abused. Whether she can have an orgasm under the narcotic's influence depends on whether it is even possible to experience orgasms when one is completely unconscious, but let's suppose she can experience this. Suppose further that she is able to form a vague memory of this incident, and interprets it afterward simply as an erotic dream (and not something that actually took place). Since she hypothetically experienced an orgasm, let's assume further that the memory she develops from this "dream" is a positive and pleasurable one. If her conscious experience of this incident falls completely on the positive realm, can the original act still be considered as rape?

If so, by whom? If she doesn't feel that she has been raped, has she been raped? Is rape an incorrigible phenomenological experience, or are there objective criteria to establish it? If the latter, it would follow that you can tell someone she has been raped, even when she does not believe this to be the case. Does this make sense?

Sure, one's first gut reaction is to say "of course it's rape," and there would be very good reasons to support this view, but I want to explore something more interesting than mere gut reactions.

We can create a whole spectrum, leading from my hypothetical example above to complete consent, with each small variation increasingly representing the difficulty in making this a black-and-white issue.

Consider just a few instances:
  • Instead of being drugged, the woman was forcibly raped, but experienced an orgasm, leaving her ambivalent as to her own interpretation of the situation;
  • or the woman willingly went to bed with someone, and changes her mind mid-copulation and says "no." Unfortunately, the man does not quite understand that she is serious, and continues until he is done;
  • or the same case as before, but she changes her mind after having experienced an orgasm, but before he is done;
  • or the woman willingly went to bed with someone, consummated the act and consequently feels guilty/ashamed/deceived, and somehow interprets the event as a case of rape.
For every two scenarios above it would be easy to create another that fit in between, perhaps in an infinite regress, thereby blurring the 'obvious' line of what constitutes rape and what doesn't.

Still, I think the original question is theoretically the more interesting one, so try to answer that, but if not, feel free to leave whatever comments you want.
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