I really don’t understand why it is so difficult to understand consent.  If someone doesn’t say, “Yes,” then you don’t have the right to violate their bodily autonomy.  How difficult is that to understand?

Whenever I hear some question about this, it always seems to be some sort of boundary issue, and it always makes me think the person asking is just looking for a way to excuse a rape or sexual assault.  “Oh, but what if both people are drunk?” Yeah, let’s err on the side of rape.  That’s a good idea.

I was happy to hear about California’s “Yes means yes” law.  Considering that most of the time the victim is questioned closely about what they did to provoke the attack (also known as victim blaming), the idea that any intimate relations between people now requires continuing consent instead of someone being able to say, “Well, they didn’t say no” is a great improvement.  I hope they are also making sure the police are trained in taking claims of rape or sexual assault more seriously to comply with this new law.

Yet, at The Week, one of their articles came to this conclusion:

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. There will be misadventures when these experiments sometimes go wrong. Looking back, it can be hard to assign blame by ascertaining whether both partners genuinely consented. Indeed, 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.

Really?  “The truth”?  “One person wants sex more passionately than the other” seems to be a signifier that sexual assault is on the horizon.  “Women generally requiring more convincing” — how is that not a recipe for rape?  Seriously — how is that not an invitation for forcing one’s self on a woman in the name of “convincing” her to have sex?  Where is the (no pun intended — I’m just angry) fucking line between “convincing” and rape?

And what is it with the scare quotes around convincing?  How is that not an implicit admission that men should just push what they want on the woman?  How is that not allowing men, in this article’s assumptions, to just say, “You want it.  I’m going to give it to you.”

“And someone who requires convincing is not yet in a position to offer “affirmative” much less “enthusiastic” consent.”

Yeah, correct.  So having sex at the point where someone is not “yet in a position to offer affirmative much less enthusiastic consent.” would be rape, then, yes?  Pretty much the definition.  This sentence just goes against everything else this article wants to say.  Unless it hinges on the “not yet in a position” clause, which makes it even worse.

And somehow, if the “final experience” is satisfying, which seems to be a euphemism for “orgasm” in this instance, well, then, obviously she wanted it all along.  It doesn’t matter whether she offered “affirmative much less enthusiastic consent” beforehand.”Looking back, it can be hard to assign blame by ascertaining whether both partners genuinely consented.”  WTF?  No, really, what the ever-living fuck?  No, if one partner is reluctant, then responsible people stop.  Rapists keep forcing themselves on others.This whole apologia pretty clearly says that if you want sex and your chosen partner is reluctant, just keep pushing.  There is no line too far.  No seems to mean try harder.  “Misadventures”?  Is this just a “boys will be boys” explanation?

And putting sex in a yes-or-no situation, will destroy sex.  Letting each partner decide whether they want to proceed in an intimate encounter will destroy sex.  Granting someone control over their own body will destroy sex.I am sure there is so much more wrong with Shikha Dalmia’s view of consent than I was able to handle here.  I’m also sure there could be cries of, “That’s not what she meant,” but I can only go by her words.  And her words say if a woman needs “convincing”, just keep going, or no one will ever have sex again.

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4 thoughts on “Consent

  1. ratphooey October 8, 2014 at 6:31 pm Reply

    That article only serves to confirm how necessary the new law is.

  2. barkeeperin October 8, 2014 at 7:11 pm Reply

    You had two comments that said almost the same thing. I approved the later one, bu if you want me to switch them, I think I can do that.

    • ratphooey October 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm Reply

      No worries. One disappeared, so I made the other one.

      • barkeeperin October 8, 2014 at 7:38 pm

        And I just realized why it went into moderation — you’re using a different name with this comment. I don’t think they’ll disappear any more.

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