"Almost No One Has Ever Had Sex This Way": The "May I Touch Your Left Titty Now?" Standard
Maryland is now considering teaching the "affirmative consent" standard to high school students, via legislation introduced by two state lawmakers, Ariana B. Kelly and Marice Morales.
This is the "yes means yes" standard for sexual consent. As a WaPo piece by Josh Hicks notes, this is the definition of sexual consent as "clear, unambiguous, knowing, informed and voluntary agreement between all participants to engage in each act within the course of sexual activity."
Both California and New York have passed laws requiring colleges to use affirmative-consent standards in weighing charges of sexual assault. Morales proposed similar measures during Maryland's last two legislative sessions, but they failed to advance. She said she believes that changing what is taught at the high school level could be just as effective in curbing sexual assault.
One major problem with this is the ease at which this can be abused.
I predict that this would quickly be used -- or turned into -- a standard for deeming a sex act sexual assault, like if a person gets caught cheating, or daddy finds out and is outraged, etc.
As a commenter at the WaPo points out:
This is bad idea. I hope this is typical "dogooderism" getting carried away. There are lots of amorous acts that start out ambiguously. One partner saying "no" is pretty straight forward, but trying a mandate sequences of events is an overreach. However, I wonder if the real goal here is the lower the evidentiary standard for conviction of sexual assault to the alleged victim's accusation. That would turn the standards of justice on their head.
And this commenter has it exactly right:
To avoid confusion, the best and safest thing is for both parties to sign three notarized documents and register them with the Clerk of the Court prior to engaging in any sort of sexual relations.
This also comes back to how feminism has shifted from demanding equal treatment to what I describe as demanding that women be treated as eggshells, not equals.
I have never, ever had a sexual encounter -- and I have had PLENTY -- in which I was asked, "May I kiss you now." "May I feel your left titty?" As I used to say about a guy who'd ask, "Can I kiss you?" instead of just doing it -- preferably by grabbing me and doing it: "If you have to ask, you don't qualify. Go home and jerk off so I can go find a real man."
And I am not alone. The quote heading this post is from Ashe Schow at Watchdog.org. She explains what the standard means:
one accused of sexual assault has no true way to defend himself (or, in rare cases, herself) against an accusation, and proponents have answered no questions on the matter. How can an accused student convince anyone they have unambiguous consent when the accuser says they didn't? An accuser just has to say she was too drunk to consent, or say he didn't ask for consent for every single act (he may have asked to kiss her, touch her, or have sex with her, but if he didn't specifically ask for oral sex, he could be accused of assault).
And then there are the instances where "yes" doesn't even mean "yes," because an accuser just has to say he or she was too scared to leave or say "no."
A better alternative would be to encourage conversations between sexual partners, but not to punish people so easily for ambiguous sexual encounters.
But really, the state has no fucking business being all up in people's sex lives like this.