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Monday, November 29, 2010

Can those with dementia pre-consent to sex?

This article discusses an issue that balances the right of an individual to refuse to have unwanted sex against giving seniors with dementia their privacy and autonomy. The question is whether a person can be said to have "pre-consented" to having sex simply by the fact that they have always had sex with their spouse. Does this apply when the person is aging and has dementia? As we know, a person with dementia may not even recognize his or her spouse on any particular occasion.

This question is being put before the Supreme Court of Canada. To be, there is only one acceptable answer, though I undertand that it's a complex, emotional question. Nobody should ever have sex they don't fully, willingly consent to having. The idea that the elderly can have "pre-consented" to have sex with someone even though they might now be confused about who the person is, or afraid to refuse, is frightening.

Click here to read the article. I'll be watching for the court decision, which won't be out for a few months, and will let you know what happens.

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