Drunk sex and consent – forget YOLO, only yes means yes

ConsentSo the other night I was skyping my friend back home in Lux and I remember telling her little bit about America and all the crazy college parties and the people and the crazy double standards. I try not to be judgy about people around me, but it’s fun sometimes to vent, I’m not going to pretend I’m not human like that – people sometimes irritate me. But then she says something along the lines of “you know these dumb bitches that pretend to be perfect little Christian princesses but give them two shots and they open their legs for just anybody”.

There is definitely more than just one thing wrong with this statement, but for this post I’m going to talk about one particular message that is engrained in this statement: there are women who deserve to be taken advantage of. Somehow alcohol and promiscuity very much like to walk hand in hand in the public opinion. If she was drunk, she must have wanted it right? Just because she regrets it the next morning and “cries rape” doesn’t mean it was, right?

drunk does not equal consent

WRONG. Although it’s something often cited in rape cases as part of the defense, there is something very important that many of the people defending rapists forget, are unaware of or simply won’t acknowledge: consent while intoxicated is always questionable. Some even argue not possible.  But without going to extremes, we all know (or at least those of us who have been

intoxicated at some point or been around drunk people) that maybe not all of our decisions are the best. Like that time you thought it would be cool to through cheese and hide a rotting fish at your school and put a port-a-pottie you just stole from the nearest construction site in front of the main door because you just graduated and never really liked that place anyway. Seems like a good idea at the time but when you return to your normal, less impulsive sta

te you think to yourself “yeah, not so much”. But I digress. The point is, if you’re quite drunk or your partner is or that random stranger you danced with at the club is, don’t do it. Opportunities come and pass, but as this highly recommendable blogpost on the drunk sex vs. rape question puts it “You’ll have another chance to have sex, but sexual assault is permanent.”

whateverwewearwhereverwegoNow let’s talk about consent for a moment. If being drunk is something that impairs your ability to consent, what exactly are we talking about?
For a long time, there have been campaigns against rape sporting the slogan “No means no”. And while this is all well and true, there is a reason that this has, in recent years, been switched to “(only) Yes means Yes”. Legal definitions of consent, especially of implied consent, often vary and can be unclear, but the general agreement of consent-culture campaigns is that consent to sex should be enthusiastic – which means that if it’s unclear, if you’re not sure, than it’s probably not a yes, since an enthusiastic yes, well, should be obvious and clear given that it’s enthusiastic (Duh!). Which also means that when you’re engaging in sexual activity with someone, under the influence or not, where there is a doubt in your mind that they are not enthusiastically consenting, the go-to response shouldn’t be “YOLO”.

I know many people will find this idea of actually having an open conversation about sex with a partner, or with anyone really, is new and revolutionary and frankly quite daunting. We’re raised to think it’s taboo, it’s dirty and wrong. But properly communicating with a person about sex (and I don’t necessarily mean dirty talk), like ASKING if they’re okay with what you’re doing, or saying that you’re NOT OKAY with what someone else is doing, is not dirty and wrong. Rape is dirty and wrong.

So for those who thought this was tl;dr, have a flowchart:

consent flowchart

Cheers

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