I got in a discussion with Rachel Edwards over the concept of Affirmative Consent, and something she said got me thinking about sex. Honestly, I will take any excuse to think about sex. Today was different because it got me thinking about how everyone feels entitled not only to have sex, but to have good sex.
For those who don’t feel like following the link, here’s what jumped out at me: “ you switch positions with your partner mid-way and your partner wasn’t completely down with it at first, but eventually they became really into it as you went on. Was that rape? According to affirmative consent standards, that would be a kind of sexual assault”
Am I the only one here who reads that as saying ‘affirmative consent standards’ are going to classify any sex that isn’t enjoyable as sexual assault? Bad sex, fumbling sex, how-the-hell-does-this-work sex — all sexual assault, because someone wasn’t completely down with it in the beginning.
Why stop there though. I’d like to see some people make the case that a man who ejaculates prematurely has sexually assaulted a woman under ‘affirmative consent standards’ because she didn’t say he could come yet.
I’m sorry but consent, affirmative or otherwise, isn’t going to guarantee you good sex. And some of the sex you consent to is going to be downright bad and disappointing.
You consent to sex by saying yes. You consent to sex by actively positioning your body in such a way that makes intercourse possible. Hopefully. There’s a chance you end up falling to the floor in a tangle of arms and legs. If that happens you try to laugh it off. (And switch the ‘Cosmo’ for a proper photo illustrated Kama Sutra) When you consent to sex, it means you are participating in something that can be the best 7 minutes of your life. But it could be the most ‘meh’. Nobody really wants ‘meh’ sex. But ‘meh’ doesn’t mean you got assaulted.
People against affirmative sex tend to point to ‘grey areas’. So far, I have not heard anyone describe a grey area that was about consent. They all revolve around enjoyment. They come down to “What if he/she/they/xe are not into this act?”
Relax, it is not very likely you will get locked up for being a bad over. It’s not about enjoyment. It’s about a willingness to participate.