Consent Decree

« October 2014 »


With the signature of governor Jerry Brown, California became the first state to enact what's called an "affirmative consent" law, requiring that both partners consent to a sexual encounter for it to be consensual.

Well, not exactly. The law actually requires that colleges and universities in California have to adopt an affirmative consent standard, because apparently the rest of the state isn't ready for it yet.

You'd think they would be. I mean, the very definition of "consensual" seems to imply that both parties consent. That you can't have sex with a sleeping person or an unconscious person or a person too drunk to know what they're doing. But apparently this is controversial amongst, well, rapists.

The problem is, of course, these people don't think they're rapists. They think they're winners. They won the game of "get the penis in the vagina", and now those stupid lawmakers have taken away a few of their winning moves, simply on the grounds that the vaginas in question object to those moves.

But for most of us, affirmative consent is no big deal. It's how we've been fucking all our lives. Being sure that the two or more people involved wanted to be involved. It's fairly easy. Are there grey areas? Yes. But these grey areas are a lot smaller than people think, and frankly, a culture of affirmative consent will go a long way towards making those grey areas smaller.

Yes, it changes the game, if you need to see sexual intercourse as a game. The goal used to be "get her to let you have sex with her" and has become "get her to want to have sex with you". I understand that for some of you that's a much higher bar. It's the bar all not-horrible-people already have to clear. You'll adjust. Or jerk it a lot. I don't care which.

Yes, this can still be "romantic", or certainly no less romantic than these encounters previously were. People concerned about an overly transactional exchange of consent "killing the mood" don't seem to understand that "the mood" is a two-way street, and if that mood is actually present on both sides of the street, no overly transactional exchange needs to actually take place.

No, this does not require paperwork or a signed contract or an iPhone app (even though the latter has apparently been made). It just means you don't get to take advantage. Advantage of drunkenness, advantage of unconsciousness, or, frankly, advantage of not being willing to resist.

And that's the part where this will help the most, honestly. If women take away from this that acquiescing to sex because it's just easier than the alternative is a bad idea, that they have just as much right to want sex and have it, or not want sex and not have it, as anyone else? That could do a lot. Maybe even eventually erode the male notion of sex as a conquest rather than a mutually fun way to pass the time.

Oh, and for all you terrified fuckers out there worried about "false accusations" and being branded a rapist, just because the line has moved a bit doesn't mean the process for determining which side of the line you end up on is any easier. Or any harder. Whether it's easier or harder for you to stay on the right side of the line may be difficult, of course, if you're a horrible person who relies on less than above-board techniques to get your rocks off, but don't blame the law for making your wrong thing illegal.

If you have a problem with a law that requires getting affirmative consent, then you have a problem with getting affirmative consent. If you don't like that, it's not Jerry Brown's fault. Look inward, asshopper.