Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

California's Sexual Consent Law Will Ruin Good Sex for Women

And it won't stop rape

Thomas Hawk / FoterThomas Hawk / FoterFeminists are super excited about California's newly minted "yes means yes" law that they claim will not only make sex safer on American campuses, but also better. But that's as credible as telling little boys that masturbation will make them blind. To the extent that the law works, it will actually ruin both good men and good sex.

California, the first state to implement this law, will require colleges that want to keep their state funding intact to deploy the "affirmative consent" standard when adjudicating sexual assault cases. This means that campus authorities will have to establish whether the partners obtained "affirmative, conscious, and voluntary" agreement. Although non-verbal consent is allowed, verbal is better. And it has to be obtained at every stage — touching, kissing, and foreplay — not just initially.

The obvious problem with the law — which many other states are considering as well — is that it assumes that sexual assault, already a crime under multiple laws, is the result of miscommunication. The assumption is that somehow one partner (and let's be honest, it is overwhelmingly the one with a Y chromosome) didn't ask or realize that the other wasn't into it. But the fact is: Most assaulters know exactly what they are doing. The vast majority of campus rapes are committed by a small minority of repeat offenders who give not a damn about what the woman wants. And if they can threaten violence, they can also lie about obtaining consent. So how will the law change anything?

Feminists argue that the new standard means that campus authorities will now have to grill the accused about whether and how he obtained consent — rather than the victim to prove that she refused — mitigating the trauma of investigations and encouraging more women to come forward. This is true. But by effectively changing the assumption from "presumed innocent" to "presumed guilty," this new standard will inevitably snag some guys who earnestly meant no harm. Over time, of course, an industry will emerge to coach the accused on how to game the law and get away.

Supporters have also launched an aggressive "consent is sexy" campaign to pre-empt the kind of comedic lampooning that was unleashed by Saturday Night Live and Dave Chappelle the last time this standard was proposed. It's sexy, they claim, to ask your partner if they'd like it "if I bit your neck" or "spanked your bottom." Think Progress' Tara Culp-Ressler, a consent evangelist, insists that far from killing the mood, making sure your partner is as excited as you are about certain moves and positions will enhance the sexual experience.

Sometimes. Still, such claims are based on a rather simplistic understanding of human sexuality that is out of touch with the lived experience of most people.

The truth is that, except in the first flush of infatuation, both partners are rarely equally excited. At any given moment, one person wants sex more passionately than the other. What's more, whether due to nurture or nature, there is usually a difference in tempo between men and women, with women generally requiring more "convincing." And someone who requires convincing is not yet in a position to offer "affirmative" much less "enthusiastic" consent. That doesn't mean that the final experience is unsatisfying — but it does mean that initially one has to be coaxed out of one's comfort zone. Affirmative consent would criminalize that.

The reality is that much of sex is not consensual — but it is also not non-consensual. It resides in a gray area in between, where sexual experimentation and discovery happen. Sex is inherently dangerous. Sometimes, there will be misadventures when these experiments sgo wrong. Looking back, it can be hard to assign blame by ascertaining whether both partners genuinely consented. But trying to shoehorn sex into a strict, yes-and-no consent framework in an attempt to make it risk free can't help but destroy it.

The sexual revolution liberated women from the shackles of modesty, allowing them to explore their sexuality. It won't help their sexual actualization now to enchain their partners in ill-advised lines that limit their moves.

This column originally appeared in The Week. You can find Ms Dalmia's Week archive here.

 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    It won't help their sexual actualization now to enchain their partners in ill-advised lines that limit their moves.

    Absolutely. Sex has become a floating point in a world where most people use calculators to pay the bills- not use it for fucking.

  • Lord Humungus||

    Needs more Pot. And Mexicans.

  • From the Tundra||

    If we are honest, doesn't everything?

  • UnCivilServant||

    Hell no.

  • Agile Cyborg||

  • From the Tundra||

    Bueno!

  • WTF||

    Me gusta mucho!

  • Kure'i||

    A mi me gusta. Even if some of them are fake Mexicans (aka Americans who have some relatives or ancestors from Mexico.)

  • WTF||

    Congratulations, feminists, you are now worse than Victorians.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Now?

  • WTF||

    Yeah, I guess they hit that low a while ago.

  • Harvard||

    Fuck this law!

    No, wait.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    The moral-crusading Victorians were the righteous answer to the free-wheeling Georgian period in much the same way modern feminism is the knee-jerk response to the free-wheeling 60's and the emergence of American-grade Libertarian culture.

  • lap83||

    In fairness, Victorian men were apparently driven wild by table legs.

  • SugarFree||

  • Paul.||

    It was a dumb app.

  • ||

    Dumb, sure, but Apple is full of shit:

    Sandton Technologies said this morning that Apple pulled the student-focused Good2Go, citing a clause in its app guidelines that says “apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected.”

    You've got to be kidding me.

    And SLD before some idiot yells at me: yes, it's their store and they decide what goes in it. It's still a dumb decision.

  • ||

    Consent.

  • ||

    I don't think I've ever had sex completely sober. And in all modesty, I've had a lot of sex.

  • Poppa Kilo||

    This one time, at band camp...

  • derpules||

    I don't know anyone outside of my friends in the gay community that have had sex with someone for the first time sober. I think it's a social shame construct left over from the puritans.

  • Harvard||

    yes, yes I'm sure of it

  • lap83||

    Or you just know a lot of alkies

  • Taggart||

    Hmmm….I've always thought that if I have to get drunk in order to enable myself to have sex with someone, maybe that's not the right person for me to be having sex with.

  • Sevo||

    Taggart|10.7.14 @ 10:43PM|#
    "Hmmm….I've always thought that if I have to get drunk in order to enable myself to have sex with someone, maybe that's not the right person for me to be having sex with."

    Goody for you. So what?

  • Gene Poole||

    I'm reminded of a movie in which Jerry Lewis, disguised as a woman, is being bought drinks by a soldier in a bar. At one point he tells the guy, "Don't you think you've had enough?" and the guy replies "Oh, no. I'm gonna keep drinkin' until you start lookin' good to me."

  • WTF||

    But by effectively changing the assumption from "presumed innocent" to "presumed guilty," this new standard will inevitably snag some guys who earnestly meant no harm.

    They consider that a feature, not a bug. The goal is to criminalize male sexuality. And how does the state get away with simply tossing aside constitutional protections for the accused? (I know, I know, FYTW)

  • GamerFromJump||

    Definitely this. You may not be going far enough, though. The goal is to criminalize maleness.

  • Number 2||

    Well, now that California has placed government back into the bedroom, does that mean that Griswald v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade are not longer good law? After all, if government can regulate sexuality to the extent of prescribing how intimacy must proceed, then isn't the entire rationale behind "choice" and "keeping the government's hands off my vagina" undermined?

    Hmmm...didn't think about that, did you, Ms. Culp-Ressler?

  • MSimon||

    Cup-Wrestler? I can go with that.

  • GW||

    This issue is already out of control. Much of what many women are calling "rape" is actually, "I got drunk and freely consented to something I wouldn't have consented to sober."

    That's not rape, it's just dumb, drunken decision making, which happens to everyone when they imbibe excessively.

  • Robert||

    But it's better than prohibiting liquor, isn't it?

  • Pulseguy||

    If you control someone's sexuality you control his life. They used to use religion to do this, but now we've dispensed with religion the state is dropping its veil and just using good old force of money.

    Of course, this will hurt coeds sexuality more than anything. Because college guys will just stop dating girls in their class and date shop girls, and girls they meet in coffee shops. If this actually was put into place in every state women's enrollment levels in college would go down.

  • RealCrankyYankee||

    Pulseguy, that doesn't make sense. If the guys are going to go off-campus to pick up girls, what's to stop the girls from picking up guys off campus? Plus, it's always hell of a lot easier for a girl to pick up a guy, especially if all she wants is a hookup, than it ever was for a guy.

  • GW||

    This mostly applies to frat houses, where most of these alleged rapes occur. The big question few people seem to ask is why an on campus rape is treated any differently than one off campus....i.e., why aren't the cops and prosecutors dealing with this, and not some administrative board of lackeys at the college.

  • Mark22||

    hey used to use religion to do this, but now we've dispensed with religion the state is dropping its veil and just using good old force of money.

    So you're saying there is a hole to be filled?

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    Shikha Dalmia on the Golden State's New Sexual Content Law

    Mandating 35% more BJ's!

  • Rasilio||

    You know who is really going to make a killing off this....

    Prostitutes.

    It costs you $100 a date for an average of 3 dates to get into her pants with the risk that at some point in the future she'll accuse you of rape.

    Or you can save the money you would have spent on the dates up and take a once a month trip to Nevada

  • Taggart||

    Some men don't like to pay women to pretend to like them. They want to actually be desired.

  • Sevo||

    Taggart|10.7.14 @ 10:45PM|#
    "Some men don't like to pay women to pretend to like them. They want to actually be desired."

    So what?
    You're just full of self-righteous twaddle.

  • Johnx||

    If prostitution were legal, there wouldn't be this problem b/c men and boys could get sex anytime they wanted to.If prostitution were legal,non-prostitutes would get less and less attention until one day, they will wonder "where are all the men ?" More and more men would realize that they can satisfy their needs without all the drama.There would also be less marriage and divorce, less sexual assault/harrassment/rape while at the same time providing jobs and revenue for the state via income tax.Any woman who wants to do sex work should have to be registered with their local gov't and given a special ID card giving them permission. These women would be made to get regular check ups and can ONLY work in a brothel or "massage parlor" with appropriate security measures(i.e.cameras, security guards). Anyone doing sex work who is not registered should be assumed that either: a) this woman/girl is being forced against her will or: b) chooses to work illegally. It would not be difficult to implement this, but the all the angry feminists would be screaming against it because it would take the power of sex away from women.(non-prostitutes)

  • GW||

    Illegal prostitutes don't make much money these days because so many girls give it away for free. With the exception of high end, gorgeous call girls, the average woman can't even get $100 for taking it in the butt.

  • RealCrankyYankee||

    I don't understand the infatuation with putting it up the butt when you have the option of a vagina. Someone please explain!

  • Harvard||

    Some girls just love the effects of having the flu.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    You've obviously never stuck your bologna pony in a cute pooper.

  • Gene Poole||

    Isn't it "bologna pogna"?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    No, it's 'pony' but it should be 'pogna' just because.

  • Rev-Match||

    Feminists argue that the new standard means that campus authorities will now have to grill the accused about whether and how he obtained consent — rather than the victim to prove that she refused

    Rape is a very serious accusation because it is a very serious crime. With this in mind, should not both be "grilled"?

  • Catatafish||

    "I want my due process. I want to confront my accuser. Wah-Wah-Wah." Take your War on Wominz somewhere else, savage.

  • Mark22||

    Misogynist. Racist. I forget which, but it's probably one or the other. Or both.

  • wGraves||

    You know this is never going to work, it's just too stupid. How effective are the alcohol control laws in preventing drinking at the university? And why don't they work, because the kids don't want them to, and they're at least as smart as the harridans who dream up these procedures. All they're going to accomplish is to earn the unending thanks of screen writers looking for sitcom material.

  • ||

    My guess is that this law will come to be roundly ignored by most, like speed limits, after the hoopla dies down.

  • GW||

    Maybe not. If any random person you meet can accuse you of speeding, then you get dragged before a kangaroo court and have to prove that you weren't, and your accuser pays no price for being wrong or even fabricating the whole story, then there are quite a few people that have an interest in keeping this party going!

  • Robert||

    The college keeps their $, right? So why not just "convict" the entire student body of rape, keep all their money, and cut your costs to the bone? Then the faculty gets to do what they really want, research, and not have to teach for a whole year.

    Better yet, as a settlement, keep their money but kick them out with a degree. That way they can rope in the next class too.

  • Iron Sun 254||

    It will, until some girl finds out her boyfriend cheated on her and decides to accuse him of rape for the timne they were intimate the night before.

  • JWatts||

    And of course he didn't get consent, because it was the fiftieth time. So, if he answers honestly, his life is completely derailed.

  • Iron Sun 254||

    What this law presupposes is that women are too weak to say "stop" during the act if they change their mind.

    You've come a long way, baby!

  • Christina||

    It's like this law was written by San Fernando valley adult entertainment lobbyists in order to turn every California college campus into a training ground for porn.

    "I'm sorry ma'am, but I'm prohibited from giving you my c*** without explicit authorization and a damage waiver, because it will destroy that p****." Bow-chicka-bow-wow.

  • GW||

    Maybe frat houses just need a sign to be posted at the entrance, declaring implied consent. It works for the gubment.

  • Sevo||

    Prop XX information form, minimum size 8" X 11", copy at least 8pt, with RED headline in 20pt copy!
    I like it!

  • Number 2||

    Alright, so what happens when the male student swears up and down the coast that he obtained expressed verbal consent at every level, and the female student denies it?

    Next law: A government – mandated form on which express written consent must be memorialized and signed off on throughout the encounter. In triplicate, of course, One filed with the University, and the other two kept by the participants.

  • Ballz||

    PenisCam

  • Ballz||

    AnalSaysWhat?

  • Banquo||

    That would do no good, as either party can withdraw consent at any time. All papers filed and notarized, but nothing is stopping someone from claiming they withdrew consent. You need no formalities for withdrawing.

  • JWatts||

    A witness of course.

  • Uconndoug||

    But I still don't understand how the law is supposed to assist in adjudicating a complaint. There's sexual activity and no consent. What does that prove? Both individuals had sex and both failed to give consent. Are both guilty? Why is everyone assuming that in such circumstances the male is automatically guilty?

  • Remnant Psyche||

    Because, again, this is about criminalizing male sexuality.

  • Number 2||

    Does this statute apply to graduate and postgraduate students as well? If, for some absurdly inexplicable reason, my wife and I decided to enroll in California college to pursue postgraduate studies, and she walked up to me in the kitchen and gave me a good morning kiss without first obtaining my individualized specific affirmative consent, would she be guilty of sexual assault?

    The inherent absurdities in this law are astounding.

  • Taggart||

    It's an absurd law for sure, but people in long-term relationships rarely have to worry about false accusations of rape. They're generally more common when you have a one night stand with a drunk person you aren't dating.

  • Sevo||

    Taggart|10.7.14 @ 10:49PM|#
    ..."They're generally more common when you have a one night stand with a drunk person you aren't dating."

    And this makes it OK?

  • CuriousKevMo||

    Good news for the porn industry.

  • craiginass||

    Oh big suprise that you so called fake libertarians are just like all the rest of the conservatives and are against protecting women against predators. FACT 95% of rapes are commited by males on campus and the epidemic is not going to stop any time soon by ignoring the problem or keeping in denial like you are advocating here. FACT most rape surviros would have liked to have this law to protect them, so if you are opposed to it you are opposed to rape survivors and i question your morals and motives. maybe if you took 5 seconds out of the time marked on your calendar for listening to lush windbag and stopped for 5 seconds to consider the point of view of campus rape survivors you would undersstand how serious this problem is and why this law is needed. but oh no you will just keep being against rape survivors and fireproof buildings and public roads and emerging voters instead. good job you're right on top of things.

  • checkdempremises||

    And what about those whose lives were destroyed by accusations of rape that were later proved false? Eh, collateral damage or something, the ends justify the yada yada yada.This law will stop someone from raping a woman just like 'crack is whack' would stop someone from smoking rocks. You know what stops rape? Armed women. Oh, and I almost forgot... rape is already illegal, you fascist shit, on college campuses or off, so call the goddamn police.

  • checkdempremises||

  • Sevo||

    checkdempremises|10.7.14 @ 5:15PM|#
    "And what about those whose lives were destroyed by accusations of rape that were later proved false?"

    Lefty assholes don't care. In fact, it's even better; they now have control where it certainly shouldn't exist.
    The asshole craig can now threaten those who do have consent with the possibility that the consent can be denied later; he's creaming his pants.

  • Gene Poole||

    Though admittedly it must sting, can't you come up with anything better than "lefty asshole" in response to "fake libertarian"?

  • Daily Beatings||

    A rapist is gonna rape. They don't suddenly wake up one day and say "Oh I didn't know this was wrong". This idiotic law doesn't empower women, it placates them with the false sense of security that a rapist is going follow it. As for protecting women against predators a Ruger LCP secured in a Flashbang will do very nicely.

    Your appeal to emotion argument sucks just as bad as your writing structure. I know there's a couple of paragraphs in that post, but it's hard to see when one incoherent thought stops and another starts.

  • Walter Peck||

    Your appeal to emotion argument sucks just as bad as your writing structure.

    Give the guy a break. He was anally raped by his own head.

  • bassasaurusrex||

    I'm not sure if you're trolling, sarcastic or if you are just really this retarded. This law does NOTHING to protect rape victims. All it does is create an easy avenue for someone who regretted having sex with someone to later to 'stick it' to the guy. I suggest you look up the FBI data on false rape reports. The numbers will shock you. They will get even more shocking if laws like this are passed.

  • Rev-Match||

    He is troll who, like most trolls here, never actually reads or considers things outside his twisted, and wrongly premised world view. In short, he is retarted.

  • Sevo||

    bassasaurusrex|10.7.14 @ 5:29PM|#
    "I'm not sure if you're trolling, sarcastic or if you are just really this retarded."

    I'm sure he's trolling but he is a ignorant lefty asshole.

  • JWatts||

    "craiginass|10.7.14 @ 3:14PM|#"

    LOL! So Craig-In-Ass is posting about male Rape. Well I guess he's an expert on the matter.

  • Sevo||

    craiginass|10.7.14 @ 3:14PM|#
    "Oh big suprise that you so called fake libertarians are just like all the rest of the conservatives and are against protecting women against predators."

    Oh, big surprise that TRUE lefty assholes presume women are somehow unable to make choices.
    Right, TRUE lefty asshole?

  • Number 2||

    I think this is a spoof of Craiginmass

  • Sevo||

    I don't think so; you presume too much of the lefty asshole.

  • Remnant Psyche||

    I've seen him post in other threads. It's a spoof, and it's a good one.

  • Mark22||

    i question your morals and motives

    Oh, don't worry, we question yours too.

    stopped for 5 seconds to consider the point of view of campus rape survivors

    And which point of view is that? That women on campus are special? Either these laws are needed to protect all women or we shouldn't have them at all.

  • Banquo||

    "What's more, whether due to nurture or nature, there is usually a difference in tempo between men and women, with women generally requiring more "convincing." And someone who requires convincing is not yet in a position to offer "affirmative" much less "enthusiastic" consent."

    Tread carefully Shikha. I understand what you meant by that, but it could easily be interpreted another way. A better choice of words might be ".....someone who requires more 'warming up'.....".

  • Rasilio||

    Yeah that might be true on College campuses, but once you hit ~40 the scales tip the other way around.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    I know a couple of hot cougars over 40 who'd make your run-of-the-mill college woman look like a sexual tortoise.

  • Lawman45||

    "Sex is inherently dangerous."

    What planet do you live on? Sometimes pleasurable and sometimes dutiful, maybe a tad painful at moments but dangerous???

  • lap83||

    Dangerous is probably a strong word. Risky definitely.

  • bassasaurusrex||

    I believe they meant in the emotional sense not necessarily the physical sense.

  • See.More||

    Nope. According to this PIV sex is always life threatening.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    ...perhaps a change in the culture.

    As long as it doesn't initiate the sharp descent backwards into conservative sexual mores which tend to embrace a puerile and legalistic notion of sexuality.

    That being said I'm all for maturity and ethics in sex and the practical avoidance of unwanted pregnancies and STD's.

    However, insane feminist-driven anti-sex policies can do nothing good for overall human sexual relations and social conservatives and their religious obsession with spiritualized commitment have been just as awful.

    There is a point where tips and techniques on raw sex relations can be shared where men and women can fuck with an eye on individual responsibility and respect for the sexual partner(s) without resorting to the legalism inherent with conservative and feminist doctrines.

  • Sevo||

    "I wrote about how I believe this rise is because of a hook up culture that permeates college campuses in a sexual revolution gone awry."

    Uh, YOU decide that others made bad choices?
    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Nixonfan||

    Under the law, you cannot consent if you are "intoxicated". This makes sense because college kids only have sex when they're sober.

  • XM||

    If the girls says "let's stop" but is half hearted about stopping the sex (because she doesn't have to hurt the guy's feelings or something), can she claim to be a RAPE victim later? Even though she wasn't emotionally or physically battered?

    I wonder if there are some colleges brave enough to reject this requirement and not receive state funding.

  • Cyto||

    yes. Under the construct of enthusiastic consent, a girl who gives a guy pity sex has been raped. Anything less than full, enthusiastic consent is rape. Even if the poor guy didn't know she was only doing it out of pity for him.

    So if you tell her "if you loved me, you'd do it", you are a rapist. If you say "I understand that you don't want to have sex, so I am going to start dating other women" and she responds with sexual advances, you are a rapist. In theory it works both ways, but in practice we are really only talking about one thing: the woman has to enjoy things before sex, during sex and after sex. If at any point she is unhappy... well, rape.

    Right now they have only enshrined this for colleges, but make no mistake, this is the standard that they want for the legal system as well. You wanna see the jails full? Pass this as criminal law. Every married woman who wants a divorce will file charges under "enthusiastic consent" and ship their soon-to-be ex off to jail.

  • Joe Emenaker||

    "The assumption is that somehow one partner ... didn't ... realize that the other wasn't into it."

    Um, no... I don't think the authors of the bill thought that date-rape cases are just a communication issue. Instead, they were seeing defendants elude conviction by *claiming* that it was a communication issue ("Hey, she never said 'No!'. She just squirmed a lot, bit her lip, and wouldn't look at me... but some chicks are like that, right?"). I see this bill as just trying to eliminate these "playing stupid" tactics on the part of the assailants.

  • bassasaurusrex||

    Uhh that isn't playing stupid. If you don't want to have sex you say 'NO' to the man/woman.

    Your mistake was believing the authors of this bill thought at all.

  • mpercy||

    "Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time."

    CAN BE REVOKED AT ANY TIME

    At any time...like 6 months later after he dumps her and she wants revenge?

  • Robert||

    Spellcheck didn't catch the "Sexual Con[b]t[/b]ent" headline before the jump, so I thought the story would be about porn.

  • Robert||

    Darn, HTML, not board-code!

  • Gene Poole||

    I'd love to read the full text of that law. Anybody know where I can find it?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    It's posted on a recent article here. Just search for sex laws or something. I'm not doing it for you, you slacker. The law had to have been written by the most absurd human beings ever created.

  • Asok Asus||

    “It will require a verbal “yes” at every stage of amorous activity on college campuses”

    EVERY stage, hey? OK, it’s just SO tempting to come up with many
    different variations of lists of “stages”, now isn’t it? So, I’m going
    to post a basic set of “stages” and hypothetical dialog to go with, but I
    really hope others will join the fun and contribute!

    Guy: Honey, is it OK to go to first base?

    Gal: Yes.

    Guy: Honey, is it OK to go to second base?

    Gal: Yes.

    Guy: Honey, is it OK to go to third base?

    Gal: Yes.

    Gal: UH, I THINK YOU JUST HIT A HOME RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Guy: Uh, I hope that was OK because it happened so fast I didn’t have time to ask permission.

    Gal: SIGH.

  • See.More||

  • See.More||

    This link works...
    PIV is always rape, okay?

  • Stevo Darkly||

    Every time I hear about the "affirmative consent" standard, I think back to the time I was making out with a girl and she suddenly shoved me away and said, "This isn't working -- you're asking permission."

    Which I was NOT. Not literally. I was simply being too tentative and not aggressive enough for her tastes. She wanted to be shoved hard against the wall and stuff.

    (I learned.)

    I've also heard more than one woman say that a guy constantly asking, "Is this okay?" is on their list of top sexual pet peeves.

    Pretty frustrating. It's almost as if no one person, and no one organization, speaks for all women.

  • Uconndoug||

    Bravo! And there will be a lot of people out there who will totally miss your point.

  • Callen||

    Ms. Dalmia is confused about sexual communication. What leads people to explore & push their boundaries is TRUST IN YOUR PARTNER. Damaging that trust is the worst thing someone can do.

    This law reframes how people view rape and rape victims: instead of putting the victims on trial, it puts focus squarely on the perpetrators: it's no longer about "Did she say no?" but rather, "Did she actively say 'yes' without coercion?"

    Here's stark contrast to illustrate this you seem to need, Ms. Dalmia: an unconscious woman is incapable of saying "no" OR "yes"; under the old standard, the lack of a "no" was seen by many as permission; now, the requirement of a "yes" means that any man who has sex with her, when she did NOT give consent, has clearly committed rape. This applies to both male & female rapists. This law frames the situation properly for the two most directly involved, for law enforcement, for judges and juries, & for school administrations tasked with addressing campus rape.

    No sexual exploration is successful if it actually damages the trust that needs to underlie sex. Partners who are pushed or forced into doing something they don't want to do suffer a damage of trust: they are being told that their feelings, their reluctance, don't matter. They are being told that if they tell their partner to stop, they may not be heeded. Trust *enables* people to try new things, to expand their boundaries. Trust is a key component to good sex; it's a shame you don't understand that.

  • starman2112||

    While I agree that this law is a little ridiculous because it ignores some realities of human sexuality, the title is truly disgusting. It implies that sex is good when it's not entirely consensual. It sounds a little like you're encouraging these kind of sexual predators, who as you say "know exactly what they're doing," by saying women who are a little hesitant to give consent simply "require more convincing, " or saying that much or sex resides in a gray area that we should only consider in retrospect. Consent, either verbal or nonverbal, and clearer communication should be be something we're encouraging in sexual relationships.

  • Jack Strawb||

    It's people like you that make meaningful dialogue impossible. You're just not smart enough to understand that the title to which you're objecting to itself objects to the LAW. The LAW.

    Not CONSENT, but the LAW.

  • Jack Strawb||

    It won't help their sexual actualization now to enchain their partners in ill-advised lines that limit their moves.

    It doesn't limit their moves, it limits their humanity.

    By demanding sex proceed along a very narrow path, where intuition is damned and expression forced, we truly reduce the joyfulness of sex

  • __ACH__||

    "The vast majority of campus rapes are committed by a small minority of repeat offenders who give not a damn about what the woman wants."

    Source? Most men who sexually assault are repeat offenders, yes, but that's not to say that these offenders are a small minority of men. 19% of women have been raped in their lifetime. 1 in 5 college undergraduates report sexual assault in their 4 years of study. Do you think that all these women are having sex with only a handful of assaulting men? It seems much more likely to me that this figure would roughly correlate to men who have, in their lifetimes, committed assault. Yes, a majority of these men are repeat offenders, but many women who've been raped once have been raped twice, three times, etc.

    Rarely (20% of the time) is the aggressor only an acquaintance of a stranger. 8 in 10 times the rape victim knows the perpetrator. This does not seem to equate to a "small minority" of offenders, in my mind, and is cause for some concern, if not legislation.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online