University of Chicago Law Review

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This Article attempts to make progress on the problems of both sexually transmitted disease and acquaintance rape by proposing a new crime of reckless sexual conduct. A defendant would be guilty of reckless sexual conduct if, in a first-time sexual encounter with another person, the defendant had sexual intercourse without using a condom. Consent to unprotected intercourse would be an affirmative defense, to be established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. As an empirical matter, unprotected first-time sexual encounters greatly increase the epidemiological force of sexually transmitted disease, and a substantial proportion of acquaintance rape occurs in unprotected first-time sexual encounters. The new law, by increasing condom use and the quality of communication in first-time sexual encounters, can reduce the spread of sexually transmitted disease and decrease the incidence of acquaintance rape.