I personally think this is potentially a problem that we could have with our young generation going foward that they seem to lack how to communicate with each other.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement and a rash of sexual-harassment scandals, software companies are creating digital ways for people to give their consent to have sex.
Apps such as uConsent allow potential sexual partners to tell each other what level of physical intimacy they are comfortable with and record their eventual agreement so there is no misunderstanding.
The apps are aimed at young people, particularly college students, who are comfortable using technology to communicate, surrounded by an array of potential sexual partners (and often alcohol), and relatively new to the nuances of sex.
Sexual-assault allegations aren’t uncommon on campuses:
- one in five women say they have been assaulted while in college, according to the Campus Sexual Assault Study, funded by the US Department of Justice.
One in 16 men say they have. Often, those who are accused of sexual assault claim the sex was consensual, while those who say they were assaulted said they never agreed to the encounter.
- The problem has prompted at least four US states — California, New York, Connecticut and Illinois — to pass laws in the past four years that require schools to teach students about affirmative consent, stressing that the message should be “yes means yes”, rather than the old “no means no”, according to the Affirmative Consent Project, a non-profit based in Florida that works to stop sexual assault in colleges and high schools.
How to have a conversation about sexual consent
Decide what you want in advance. Be honest with yourself about what you are looking for;
- it could be the type of sex or whether you want it to be casual or part of a continuing relationship.
It’s important to know what you want before you can tell someone else.
Make talking a priority. You probably shouldn’t be having sex with someone you can’t talk to openly about the experience. And you’re probably not going to have good sex, if you do. “If someone can’t talk to you about what they want or feel, they won’t be particularly subtle in expressing themselves physically,” says Paul Reynolds, a reader in sociology and social philosophy at Edge Hill University in England.
Start early. If you have a date but don’t want to have sex that night, tell the person beforehand. And give a reason. “I am eager to go out with you tonight but have to get home early.” This will make sure everyone is on the same page.
Be unambiguous. If you don’t want to have sex, don’t just say “no”. “Some men interpret ‘no’ as a play on modesty,” Reynolds says. He suggests saying: “I do not want to have sex with you tonight.” If you do want to have sex, talk about what you do and do not agree to do.
Listen for yes. “Anything other than yes is a no,” says Alison Morano, founder of the Affirmative Consent Project, a non-profit based in Florida.
Send clear signals. Men don’t always read sexual signals well, says Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist who studies the brains of people in love. “They aren’t good at reading posture, gesture or tone of voice,” she says. “You have to be much clearer than you realise.” If you don’t want to have sex, she says, be mindful of all the signals you are sending.
Remember that you can say no at any time — even after sex has begun.
Consent is ongoing.
You can say yes one moment and no the next.
You don’t need an app for that.
Saying no to sex doesn’t mean you have to hurt someone’s feelings.
If the person is someone you might be interested in down the road, say so.
If you like that person I suggests saying: “I like you, but I am not doing it tonight.”