Is this totally impossible, fictional scenario sexual assault?

This happened on a particularly bad episode of a scifi/fantasy TV show that I generally enjoy, despite it not always being of the highest caliber.

A pimply teenager did a spell that switched his body with that of one of the main characters, who’s in his twenties and very good-looking. He then went to a bar and picked up a woman. Although it’s not on-screen, there is a clear implication that they had sex.

Keep in mind that they remained switched for several days, and it’s unlikely that by the time the plot conveniently switched them back, there was any way of him knowing that the kid had had sex using his body.

The internet fangirls proceeded to have a bitter and protracted argument over whether or not this main character had been sexually assaulted by having his body used for sex without his knowledge or consent.

What say you?

The only argument I can see against it being sexual assault is that he didn’t know that it had happened, and thus could not suffer any psychological harm from it. But then, the same argument could be used for raping someone drugged into unconsciousness, and I think we can all agree that that’s sexual assault.

His body was used for sex without his permission. If he were to find out, he would probably be upset about it. He was put at risk for STDs, and there’s a chance he might have offspring (which he might be held legally responsible for) as a result. Sounds like sexual assault or rape to me.

End. It was sexual assault.

So does that mean that anyone who switches bodies can’t have sex?

I was figuring this was going from the other angle–that the person he had sex with thought it was the other guy, and would not have consented if they knew who it was. That would definitely be rape.

Incredibly, that hadn’t even occurred to me, but I think you’re right. Considering the person who was actually in the body was a kid, I doubt the woman would have wanted to have sex with him.

I suspect a dearth of case law on this particular issue.

I had the same thought process as BigT. If the woman didn’t really know who the person was to begin with and in her mind it was just, “Sex with a hot guy!” maybe not. But if it was the hot guy’s girlfriend and they’d known each other for a long time and the pimply guy decided to use his body to have sex with her…that would feel more wrong.

And it’s wrong for the guy, too. Rape? I dunno, but wrong.

Do they have the consent of the body’s owner?

Most of the fictional body-switch sex scenarios I know of, the switchees are themselves the participants, and having sex with each other. The consent is clear there, even if it’s a bit weird, so it’s not sexual assault.

Although, come to think of it, I’ve also seen scenarios in fiction where a person’s mind is switched into the body of a member of their preferred sex, and masturbates or engages in other solo sexual activity in that body. How about that one?

Not without the consent of the person whose body they are possessing. As Freudian Slit says, if the person he was having sex with knew neither of the two involved in the switch, it probably wouldn’t make much difference to them.

Well I went for no assault on the legal grounds. Because there aren’t any. If you’re asking about the immorality of it, well that’s another matter. It’s wrong for someone to use another person’s body without their permission. This very same thing happened to me, but my wife still doesn’t believe me.

Ah, come again?

Yes, I suppose Sam was sexually assulted.

Sounds like he did. (rimshot)

The whole body switch would be a crime of some sort – battery, kidnapping, who knows what.

I don’t know what happened with my body. I was stuck in some pimply kid’s body staring at Transformers movie posters all weekend. His mom was kind of hot though.

The damage caused by sexual assault is due to disease, pregnancy, and mental anguish. The latter is by far the worst, since it’s a factor even if the others are not.

In the scenario given, pregnancy is not an issue, and it doesn’t sound like there’s any disease. Since the person whose body is being used suffers no mental damage (not being there when it happens), I can’t see how this is sexual assault.

In this case there may be no damage (I haven’t seen the show) but there is potential for a great deal of damage if such a thing is considered generally. This is something that could cost someone their job, marriage, or even freedom as a result of an act they didn’t commit. They also could be held responsible for a child when they had no choice in the child’s creation. Now current law may not cover this, but if this is something that could be done it certainly should be illegal without the consent of all parties.

But being drugged and then raped can cause anguish. Even aside from disease/pregnancy, if you come to and are told you were raped when you were unconscious, couldn’t that be traumatic, even if you had no injuries?

First, stop dissing my show! :smiley:

Second, yes, Sam was a victim of rape. Just because he wasn’t occupying his body at the time doesn’t make the body not his, and it doesn’t mean someone can act upon his body willy-nilly. The original exchange was pretty close to rape as well.

Hey, I love the show! But seriously, that episode was particularly stupid. I’m really supposed to believe that Dean wouldn’t notice that Sam wasn’t Sam for like a week? Dean may not have book learnin’ but he isn’t an idiot. Unless the plot calls for it, I guess.

Anyway, thanks for your opinions, everyone.