New York has just passed new “Yes Means Yes” legislation, mandating new “affirmative consent” procedures for all institutions of higher learning, public or private. (It’s always inspiring to see legislation named with a tautology. Now we’re getting somewhere!)
This measure goes hand in hand with a recent initiative from the Affirmative Consent Project to urge students to sign contracts before engaging in sexual relations. No longer will we have to rely solely on he-said-she-said accounts after the fact. Now we can get before-the-fact evidence.
It goes without saying that this is a huge improvement on the status quo. It’s sad to think: how many young men have experienced needless sexual frustration, simply because they didn’t know a girl well enough to trust that she wouldn’t turn around the next day and denounce them as rapists? How many young women have felt inhibited in their sexual advances, simply because they weren’t confident their partners would respect their God-given right to entice in whatever way pleases them, then at absolutely any moment to change their minds and walk out the door?
As we all know, a proper young lady never drops her drawers without first securing a contract. (I’m pretty sure my grandmother said that. Well, it was something along those lines.) It’s great to see we’re bringing our college codes up to snuff. But are these affirmative consent rules really adequate? After all, if we’re going to have contracts, we need guarantees of compliance. We need more protections to guarantee the safety of our young scholars in their joyful sexual exploits. Here are some suggestions for how we might proceed.
What can people do if they want to bolster their testimony of given events? Bring a witness, obviously. To ensure fair play on all sides, both lovers should ideally supply a “second.” I recommend pastors or professors. They’ll have more credibility in court.
It’s kind of a fun idea, if you think about it. Young couples used to get chaperones to ensure they didn’t have sex. Now we can use them to ensure they do.
2. Video Footage
Even witnesses can be bribed or intimidated in a pinch, so perhaps it would be prudent to set up a video feed before starting the music. (Ideally, include multiple angles.) When exactly did she say “yes”? Was there any pre-consent contact?
3. Safe (Sex) Houses
It’s possible some will worry their tapes will be edited or, ahem, misused. I mean, I can’t imagine anything nefarious that a youngster might do with a sex tape, but after all, we’re talking about America’s best and brightest here! They might think of something.
Universities are evidently anxious to get involved with their students’ sex lives, so let’s ask them to supply a neutral space, complete with trained supervisors and controlled video monitoring. Think of the benefits! For example, to ensure informed consent, houses could insist that students pass a breathalyzer test before getting a room.
Another perk could be on-site sexperts, who would offer tips for the less-experienced. (I mean, as long as we’re taping it…) Those who fail to follow the rules could have their “sex house” privileges suspended for a period of time. For healthy 20-year-old boys, that’s probably a more effective threat than expulsion. Really, could it possibly be a bad thing to give universities more control over what students do with their bodies? I can’t see a downside.
4. Pre-Coital Agreements
As long as we’re gearing up for more sex contracts, why limit our options to a single, generic agreement? Students should be able to tailor their agreements to particular needs and desires.
How many sexual trysts do you want? Which sorts of sexual experimentation are welcome, and which are off the table? Are the parties signing on for any further sort of romantic activity (for example, foreplay, or post-coital discussion of feelings)? Is anybody expected to “call tomorrow”? For time out of mind, anxiety over these questions has deterred some unfortunate souls from enjoying the benefits of meaningless sex. No longer, America! A new day is dawning!
To keep everything above-board, universities could hire legal teams to draw up a range of standard contracts. Establishing an office with “sexual aid” consultants might help particular couples negotiate the details. Nothing says “young love,” after all, like arranging an appointment with a lawyer.
Ha ha! I’m joking, obviously. No sensible person would try to curb bad sexual episodes by teaching young adults about the moral significance of sex. How utterly absurd! We all realize, after all, that sex isn’t about caring for other people. It’s about self-gratification! Satisfying our appetites! Taking what we can get and walking away! My brain’s clearly been addled by all this #lovewins romanticism.
Forget chastity. Go with the sex houses. As a very romantic movie once taught me, “If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme!” It always seemed like a beautiful ideal. My youth didn’t quite go like that, but I can’t wait to watch (perhaps in HD?) as this next generation lives up to that blossoming promise.