“Yes Means Yes” Is Scary? Rape Is Scary

Consent is sexy

Consent is sexy

“Yes means yes” is the standard for sexual consent on California’s state college campuses.

That’s because “no means no” isn’t good enough.

After all, a woman may not be able to say, “No” because she is frozen with fear. Or she is asleep. Or she’s had too much to drink. Or for a number of other reasons.

Some guys welcome the change, like a 19-year-old English major who told Emily Brazelon at the New York Times,

Asking, ‘Are you O.K. with this?’ doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. And in the aftermath, it’s huge. You have a more positive memory of having sex with that person, because you don’t feel worried.

But more often, guys feel a bit nervous. Especially since casual hookups typically come courtesy a drunken bar scene.

As a 21-year-old economics major told the Times,

It creates a crazy gray area that scares the hell out of everyone.

“Yes means yes” is scary?

But is it as scary as rape?

I guess these guys have no idea how traumatizing rape is. Or they don’t care.

Women who have been sexually assaulted typically feel anxious, depressed, and traumatized. In fact, post-traumatic stress disorder is higher among rape victims than among people who have survived combat on the battlefield.

Rape victims also often develop a fear of men and a loss of interest in sex.

So the new law turns out to be good for guys, too. At least if they want to have sex with a woman who enjoys it. And if they have mothers, sisters, daughters and female friends who they care about.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 7, 2019, in rape and sexual assault and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 77 Comments.

  1. I feel as though guys wanting the yes mean yes policy is a good step when it comes to both genders and consentual sexual encounters. do I think it will make a difference yes and no. we have the no means no measure and still many men are taking advantage and not going based off of what they have learned. but at the same time the yes means yes I feel as though helps boys make sure their partner is ready but at the same time I feel as though what if at first a girl says yes and then changes her mind and does not want to continue with the sexual incounter but the boy does?. how would that be handled?. I feel as though it is a good idea but also could work against itself.i feel as though as long as everyone learns to have respect towards one another and really truly takes the time to be thoughtful and understanding of one another than there will not have to be a worry of them doing something wrong or facing any trouble

  2. In this article of ““Yes Means Yes” Is Scary? Rape is Scary”, I felt it was interesting to read that men wanted a yes means yes policy. Since there is a no means no policy, a yes means yes policy has also been a standard for sexual consent on California’s state campuses. It was interesting reading because guys believed that it created a more comfortable astrosphere for both parties because each person was on the same page. Since hookups normally happens when people are drunk, it also gives clearance that both parties wants to engage in the activity instead of just saying no which makes things uncomfortable. Some guys also feel that this policy makes them nervous and creates a gray area for both of them. That they would rather just not ask, but it is always best to be safe than sorry. It was interesting hearing both perspectives, but I think that guys just don’t understand that it is better to just ask instead of getting into a more awkward situation. I liked how the article ended because it says how that question may be scary, but rape is also scary.

  3. Yes means yes is something that needs to be practiced on both ends. Unfortunately, consent is something that has to be taught in order for it to be applied during any situation. Especially now and days that casual hookups are a lot more common, people should be considerate of others’ comfort level, or limits per se. I think many people assume that rape consists of being forced or held down to do something they do not want to do, but rape can also be a lack of consent. I can understand why men would feel attacked by this topic because if we are being brutally honest, men have all the bad rep when it comes to rape, but that does not mean that women do no harm. Women should definitely also apply the “yes means yes” and check in with their partners before sex. It’s unfortunate to think that some people would feel uncomfortable asking if something is ok before doing so. This goes to show that a lot more of consent needs to be advocated.

  4. People aren’t prosecuted because they made someone feel uncomfortable they re prosecuted if they cause physical harm to in a violent/sexual way. If sexual intercourse takes place without this mutual understanding of a “yes”, who is the sexual predator in the situation? The basis of this topic is to hold men and woman both accountable in situations like this. If that holds true, then the lack of an agreement between both people could mean that both parties are sexually exploiting each other? Is this what should happen? It makes NO sense. If women are to be held accountable for being frightened or scared, should that mean they should be held from doing regular things like going to the grocery store or to the park with their kids? When it comes to physical harm and severe mental harm, we should  be putting more importance on to that than fear  or being uncomfortable.

  5. Christopher Salas

    Yes means yes is such an important issue that should be taught in every home and in every school. It is so crazy to me that guys do not know right from wrong when having relations with a girl. It is also very disheartening that men feel like they need to be “scared” around the “yes means yes” topic. As a man all they have to do is make sure that the woman they are with, wants to be there as equally as much. Many women have been taken advantage of and if you are not taking advantage of anyone, you should not feel scared about this. Women have many fears around getting drugged, walking alone at night or exercising with headphones in. I don’t think women’s fears are based on receiving or giving consent, but more about that a man could take any day to day activity, and hurt them. Yes means yes is very important because it should be a practiced activity that everyone partakes in to make sure that they person they are sleeping with is comfortable as well.

  6. Sexual consent is so import and very attractive. I believe this is something that should take place with anyone whether you just meet the person or if you’ve known them for years. This is an important to see where the other persons thoughts areas there are no mistakes being made. There have been incidences where the question is asked and a women may be nervous to say no because they don’t know what reaction may come out of the guy and it is very scary. In the moment you don’t know that to do, it’s definitely easier said than done in the moment. Some guys do take advantage of a women’s response when she doesn’t yes but doesn’t say no or doesn’t say yes exactly or confidently and I think this is a issue. When something dramatic like sexual assault or rape does happen to a women it is sooooooo self degrading and violating. You don’t feel the same anymore and will most likely show in future relationships. It becomes much harder to trust and put yourself out there because your trust has been so broken by another person that obviously didn’t care much about you and only about pleasing themselves. It is so frustrating to deal with because it stays with you for a very long time.

  7. Yes means yes is a very important concept to teach to everyone. Rape is a horrifing epidemic that sadly happens too much and too often. People need to understand that it is not acceptable to violate another person’s body or life. As stated, rape is tramatic and has a lasting impact on the lives of its victims. There is no reason why anyone should feel tempted to rape someone. Just because they are intoxicated or unable to say no does not mean they allow permission for someone to violate them. Yes means yes is wonderful for those who are sexually active and enjoy the act. It allows them to continue to enjoy it with consent. Consent is more rewarding because they would have great pleasure during and after. They do not have to worry about consequences or resentment afterwards. It should not be intimidating when someone asks for consent and they say yes. It’s rewarding because the deed gets done and there are no problems.

  8. In terms of sexual consent, “yes means yes” and anything else means “no”. While many men accept this standard and realize the importance of clear consent, some are afraid that such an exchange may be “awkward” or “kill the mood”. These beliefs undermine the reality of sexual assault for women- a fear most women carry with them in their daily lives. The truth is, men often can’t fully empathize with the fear women have regarding sexual assault, because although anyone can be a victim, 90% of victims are women (rain.org). This reality means some guys may not feel the need to establish consent before moving forward because to them, sexual assault is not really a concern. To me, this is the underlying problem to some men wanting to skip the consent step; they don’t realize the real fear that women have of being raped. While affirmative consent may seem like an unnecessary conversation to some men, I can’t imagine there being a single woman who does not appreciate the quick exchange.

    • “In terms of sexual consent, “yes means yes” and anything else means “no””

      Funny that no women… none, nada, zip, ever follow this advice. I’ve never been asked for consent from a woman. I guess I’m a multiple rape victim.

      Why should men take this seriously when women won’t practice what feminists preach?

      • The problem with your point is that in our society men initiate and women placed limits. So your experience would go against the norm, on multiple occasions apparently.

      • And how are you going to determine, well after the fact, who “initiated”? By body language? By inference? I thought this whole “yes means yes” narrative was based on the premise that you can’t figure out what the hell is going on without an explicit spoken “yes”?

        I mean, at the barest minimum, many encounters will be mutual lust without an apparent instigator, but I don’t see here any allowance made for that. When two people with mutual lust get tangled up, who is the instigator who must extract the “yes” from the other party?

        And are you now departing from feminism that supposedly advocates equal treatment of the sexes and retreating into feminist supremacy where you no longer advocate equal treatment? Are you now retreating into biological determinism whereby the man is the instigator? I thought you repudiated that?

      • I’m not departing from feminism. There is a difference between ideals and social patterns and the social pattern in our patriarchal society is that men’s tend to initiate and women tend to allow or block. So the idea that women are equally likely to rape over miscommunication isn’t true.

        Consent can be given in many ways, including nonverbal. But it’s important that both partners clearly want to be doing it.

      • “Consent can be given in many ways, including nonverbal.”

        Oh ok, so you’re repudiating the ‘yes means yes’ standard and your original posting. Good to know, but maybe you should be a bit more loud and proud about it.

        “the social pattern in our patriarchal society is that men’s tend to initiate”

        And does this social pattern rise to the level of ubiquity? If not, then it’s hardly the basis of a legal or pseudo-legal standard like whether you’re a rapist. However if so, then you’re basically conceding on biological determinism, if it’s so strong that nobody can ever escape even in the face of the radical social engineering found on campuses.

      • Non-verbal consent includes things like both partners talking about how into it they are, And acting like they are both into it and enjoying it.

        By contrast, for example, if a woman is drugged, asleep, or something like that she is not nonverbally enthusiastically consenting.

        And this is a social pattern that is widespread. In terms of men initiating and women setting boundaries. In all cultures you find cultural patterns and individual variations from the pattern.

  9. I think most guys would be excited in a way if they got consent for a casual hookup. I do understand why just a “yes” could be a gray area because, if it’s a casual hookup both people have probably had something to drink, they might just be saying it in the moment or it’s more of the alcohol talking. Not getting a concrete “yes” opens the chance of someone getting hurt later, regretting it, or realizing it wasn’t consensual. Many guys will take advantage of someone just saying yes, even if it’s clearly not an affirmative answer and he knows, still counts as sexual assault. Sexual assault needs to be taken more seriously by everyone. If one hasn’t experienced it, they have no idea what victims have been through so it’s important to display sensitivity to the topic. We need better laws to protect the victims. Many rape kits sit untouched while the victim lives with injustice everyday and the perpetrator gets away with it. Women also need to stop getting blamed for it happening to them because they dressed “sexually”. It doesn’t matter how women dress. Wearing a short skirt doesn’t mean they want to get assaulted. I think a good way of getting people to understand assault is to be more open about it. I feel like this topic doesn’t get discussed much in public, which is the biggest discrimination against victims.

  10. An alpha male knows when no really means yes. She desperately wants him but also wants the thrill of him overcoming her attempts at control. When beta males act like no means yes they end up commiting rape. It’s all about whether you can activate her lizard brain.

    • Research has found that rapists believe they know how women feel better than women do themselves. What happens if you are wrong? You believe she wants sex and force it when she doesn’t want it and then you end up with a rape charge and possibly in prison.

      And sexual assault is both traumatizing and tends to turn women off from sex. My brother dated a girl who would start crying whenever she thought about a date rape that had occurred to her. Sex was not enjoyable for her. Another guy I know was upset that his partner didn’t like sex and seemed to mentally and emotionally disappear when they had it. He talked to her about it and she talked about the trauma of a rape she had experienced. The whole experience was hard on him too. Rape isn’t good for women or men.

      • Well what are his options? If you ask you are a beta chump. If you leave it alone you are leaving an opportunity on the table which also make you a beta chump. If you go for it and are wrong you are also a beta chump who deserves to rot in prison. Women use this a way of distinguishing between alphas and betas. Alphas just know.

      • Consent is sexy!
        https://broadblogs.com/2014/09/29/yes-means-yes-consent-is-sexy/

        And the alternative of forcing sex because the man think she wants it when she doesn’t leads to outcomes like rape charges, possible prison, trauma for the woman, and women who have been raped tend to lose interest in sex because it is now associated with something traumatic.

        And women prefer betas anyway. So betas don’t lose out.

  11. https://www.dailywire.com/news/50344/top-legal-organization-about-adopt-dangerous-ashe-schow

    Due process and innocent until proven guilty have been the foundations of American legal jurisprudential culture for decades, if not CENTURIES. What was it that William Blackstone said: “Better that 99 guilty men go free than one innocent be convicted..”

    Affirmative consent means men are guilty until proven innocent. I am not defending rapists, but I do defend IUPG and due process for the accused., which radical feminists seem to be abandoning with their “believe women” nonsense.

    • Actually it’s the same legal standards whether you use “yes means yes” or”no means no.”

      But if men in their relationships to use “yes means yes” then both partners are much more likely to be enjoying themselves and rape is much less likely to happen.

      That’s good for men to because women who are raped come to dislike sex. And men’s mothers, daughters, sisters, and partners are less likely to be hurt and traumatized.

  12. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/how-can-those-accused-of-sexual-assault-prove-consent-under-yes-means-yes

    Innocent until proven guilty used to be something we all agreed upon… till now

  13.  I realize that we should have stricter laws about sexual consent, some people may be in fact afraid to say no or someone who is afraid to speak up for various reason. Most hook-ups do in fact happen with bar scenes which can be very dangerous. Most people regret their actions after drinking  a little bit too much and say things they don’t mean. This is when “Yes mean Yes” is something harder to deal with and not entirely true. This is why  it is extremely important for people to be aware of what sexual assault means ,even thought someone might say yes. There should be more to this law and be a little more open minded to how this policy can be contradicting and allow room for error. This could happen as a quick decision ,which can end up changing someone’s life forever . 

  14. I like to think of an analogy if this topic comes up in conversation–

    “Would you enjoy playing a game with someone who’s not into it?”

    or

    “Would you enjoy talking with someone who clearly doesn’t want to have a conversation?”

    To this end, I do not mean to trivialize rape/sexual assault in comparing it to “games” or “conversation,” rather, I intend to compare it to a more common, human experience. My point is this–nobody wants to bode someone on or force somebody into a situation they are uncomfortable with, disinterested in, or afraid of. Rape is especially sensitive considering it will likely traumatize the victim, and could potentially devastate their emotional and sexual health permanently.

    Sex can and ought to be an intimate, bonding experience for both parties involved. I cannot imagine how a person can get pleasure out of having sex with someone too drunk or unwilling to reciprocate. That is rape. Only a deranged person would find pleasure out of such a terrible action.

  15. I think it is so important to have enthusiastic consent, and to have enthusiastic consent not only at the beginning of sexual acts, but to check in and communicate with anyone one partakes in any sexual activities with often and clearly. I have heard other similar sentiments about how the #metoo era has men worried about doing something wrong. I think that it is good to proceed with appropriate caution and safety, because sexual activities can be very vulnerable for many, no matter the level of emotionality involved. I also think that saying that this is scary and thus ending the internal discussion with oneself is selling the discussion short, because the standard of “yes means yes” is looking at needing consent through clear communication and putting an emphasis on needing consent in the positive form, and not considering consent “just not hearing a no” or “they seem like they wanted to”. Rape is debilitating, and often, while people recognize how terrible it is, don’t really always grasp the consequences of rape for the people who experienced it. There is not enough emphasis on instilling harsher laws and policy within institutions against rape and sexual assault, as well as any assault and abuse ever. I do discourage the rhetoric used about the “mothers, sisters, daughters, female friends” that they men supposedly care about, because while I’m sure there are female figures in their lives they care about, the more important topic is that men should be engaged and allies in the equity of women’s rights and safety within society on multiple levels regardless of their association to men. I wish the rhetoric would stray away from needing to relate to men because our world is already male-centric and male-dominated as it is. Womens’ value should not be dependant or be determined by the male gaze.

  16. Sexual assault needs to be taken more seriously and we need stricter laws protecting victims. Most of the time victims don’t report the assault because they’re questioned about what they were wearing and made to feel as though it was their fault. We need better emotional support for these victims and making them feel safe should be a priority. We need to educate students, starting in high school, about safety precautions they can take when going out, as well as teaching about spotting and interfering with suspicious activity. Educating police agencies that handle rape cases are important because they need to learn how to handle victims who often suffer from PTSD. Victims don’t usually get the justice they deserve and it’s created a rape culture that doesn’t hold anyone accountable. As a woman, I don’t feel safe going out at night and always carry pepper spray with me. I’m always aware of my surroundings and rarely walk with earphones in both ears. I’ve also bought pepper spray for my mom and sister who’s now in high school. Women should feel as carefree as men and a stricter justice system would help significantly.

  17. JULIANA RODRIGUEZ

    i think this blog posting shows us how common rape is in todays society. it would be amazing for everyone to ask for consent instead of being scared to be honest and ask someone.i think there is also a lack of awareness on the true definition of rape and and how it can affect someone. there also should be no second thought of what rape is. if someone is passed out drunk or on drugs unconscious gives anyone zero rite to go for it. society is more worried about a new trend or what is going on on social media to realize what and how rape can affect someone.

  18. Unfortunately, I am not surprised that guys are uncomfortable with the idea of affirmative consent. I suspect it has to do with the flawed connection that is often drawn between a man’s sense of masculinity and his ability to have sex. Though completely unsound, many men believe their masculinity is being challenged if they do not actively engage in sex. Besides being called a woman or gay, being turned down for sex can be one of the greatest affronts to a man’s masculinity. Following, I believe that the men who resist affirmative action policies are those who would rather engage in rape than risk being turned down in asking for affirmative consent. To men uninterested in affirmative consent, the welfare of their partner means less than their flawed sense of masculinity. Unfortunately, they are supported by a collection of cultural programming that tells men that it is okay to rape. Pornography, movies, television, and music all feature suggestions that it is acceptable to coerce someone into having sex with (especially using alcohol or another drug). This is pretty sad considering that the how little risk there is when asking for consent. The worst-case scenario is that your partner says no and you don’t rape them…

  19. A version of the You Better Is Pretty Damn Sure law ( also known as“Yes Means Yes”) is already in effect at college campuses. It just sits as an impossible burden on women, who need to Be Pretty Damn Sure that the guy who was so nice to them at the party isn’t going to turn into a rapist if they let him into their dorm room and that’s not something anyone can be sure about. It’s easier to get someone’s consent than it is to peer into their soul. As one colleague writes:

    The law didn’t come out of nowhere. It emerged as a response to a status quo that has proved to be an all-too-powerful tool for sexual predators because it enables them to claim to see consent in everything except continuous, unequivocal rejection. That status quo puts women in the position of having to constantly police their own behavior to make sure that they are not giving the appearance of passive consent. That burden isn’t just annoying for women. It’s dangerous. By exempting sexual aggressors from the responsibility of figuring out whether their partners are “eager and ready to sleep with them,” we’re asking their targets to either give in to sexual activity they don’t want or to run the risk that a firm, assertive, continued rejection will end in violence.

  20. “Yes means yes” seems like a much better approach than “no means no.” When it is taught that “no means no,” it has to be added that someone unable to consent is also saying no, or someone under the influence may not be able to say no. The new slogan is more straight forward and, hopefully, reduces the number of “she didn’t say no” or “she didn’t stop it” cases. I think the hook up culture, primarily on college campuses, is toxic. People are intoxicated and, in my opinion, no one can truly give consent under the influence even if there is a good-hearted conversation while under the influence. In an ideal scenario, consent should be talked about before drinking. However, in the party culture that most campuses have, casual sex occurs between people who often met an hour ago and likely will never talk again. Additionally, for MANY young girls, I know from personal experience with college friends, girls just do not feel capable of saying no. Most females have had an experience where they say something along the lines of “I am just not really feeling it right now, is that okay?” and instead of getting an empathetic response, the other person tries to convince them and even guilt them. Experiences like this lead to a fear of saying no, even with people that one trusts. This stigma and negative association with saying no can likely be redefined with a yes means yes slogan and education.

  21. Ryland Takayesu

    The issue of rape has become more relevant in recent events as more and more people are able to find the confidence and strength in order to oppose what we used to call the norm. Rape is a serious issue and often time people tend to turn a blind eye on the subject and say that people “should have defended themselves”. However, this is just blaming the victim. Consensual sex is an absolute must and both parties need to want to participate. The lack of “no” is never a “yes”. Sexual experiences affect people on a person to person basis where some may be extremely nervous or anxious about it so getting them to speak their mind and say no can be difficult for them. Therefore, them not saying no is never being given consent as they have yet to give their complete consent to act. It is important moving forward to educate young men and women as to what consensual sex is so that we can help take the necessary steps to end rape culture.

  22. After reading this article, I think that the movement of “ Yes Means Yes” is a good start to end an epidemic that hits a lot of college campuses, as well as in public places such as bars and restaurants. There needs to be more education that is put out there about this subject such as rape, having casual encounters, etc. There are so many differences between these subjects, but there needs to be more solidified education when it comes to our younger generation. In some college campuses there has been Title IX, that has been established to end rape on college grounds for both men and women. It is a requirement for all students to go through these modules and complete them. If there was a possibility to expand this to employers, and not just college students, the education piece of this “ Yes Means Yes” would have hopefully better outcomes for both men and women.

  23. I think that this blog posting demonstrates how common and pervasive rape is in our culture. It should be a relief for everyone to ask for consent and be confident that someone wants to be with you without being inhibited. Instead, there can be a lot of fear around asking someone. I think there is also a lack of awareness of what rape is and how is can affect someone. If someone is drunk or passed out or does not give a clear yes, then it is rape. There should be no confusion about what rape is. No one should want to be in a gray area either. The statistic in the article that rape survivors experience PTSD at higher rates than people who have been in a battle was shocking to me. It should not be a surprise. It should be common knowledge to know how disruptive rape can be to someone. Our society does not seem to care enough to make this common knowledge.

  24. I think people should rethink their awareness of sex again. I read this article so strongly. It is not a problem with gender but a question of what to do as a person. Sex is the act of leaving the offspring or the law of ascertaining each other’s love with one’s beloved. However, it can be said that it is the sex for pleasure in the first place to try sex under the indeterminacy that depends on the rape and women’s Yes or No. What I want to have sex with a drunken partner is evidence that I don’t think about it. If you have a feeling of love for the other party, you should watch over in a place where you can stay still without doing anything. I want to argue that I should not take action in situations where I do not know unless I think of an agreement on sex.

  25. Speaking as someone who has experienced the college greek life environment, I know there is a great amount of improvement that needs to be made in the category of consent. I agree that “no means no” is not good enough. One of my best friends from high school was raped her sophomore year. He started engaging in the act before she even had a chance to say no. I think that consent needs to be something that is mutually agreed on when both parties are sober. With the climate of casual drunken hookups, its often difficult to tell how drunk someone is, whether they are in the right mindset to make a decision, or if they are lying about their consumption in attempt to take advantage of someone. In my opinion, establishing consent beforehand is ideal (if you know the person). Consent shouldn’t be uncomfortable, but it should also be genuine, meaning that the level of drunkenness needs to be addressed. In every hookup situation, I always ask “are you sure you’re down for this” and never proceed when the girl is noticeably drunk, even when she has said yes. I feel like some people always push the boundaries of consent. I just wish those people would know or sympathize the trauma a rape can cause on a close friend, family member, or loved one.

  26. “Yes means yes” is a good start in my opinion since the partner will not always mean yes. For example you both give consent but then one doesn’t want to continue no more. Did it really mean yes in the first place? Not only should each partner properly consent to such acts but should advise what could be done and what can’t. Each play an important part during sexual activities. Although this may not always be the case since there are people with other opinions. Woman should have the say so in such activity. It sounds way much better when you could say we both gave consent rather than I don’t remember what happened after a couple drinks. It should also happen when you’re married since when you get married it seems like it’s the right thing to do whenever the husband/wife wants to engage in sexual activities it is okay to say no that is still your right wether your married or not. I have met a couple people who to this day still feel afraid of walking out by themselves at night because they were sexually assaulted.

  27. Although others can argue that if someone is does not intend to give sexual consent it should be their responsibility to communicate with the other person, I disagree. I believe that sex is mutual, meaning that both people have the responsibility to make sure what they are doing is voluntary. In my opinion it is worth the awkwardness that was mentioned because non-consentual sex can blow up to something so much more powerful and damaging. Even if you were to personally think that you would have the courage to stand up for yourself and say no, it can be surprising how you would react in such a traumatizing situation. I know that personally, I have no idea what I would do. And although I can imagine many ways to get out of such a situation, who knows how I would act while thinking on my feet. This goes the same for many people who least expect it. Another thought is that if everyone were to ask for consent in a relaxed yet clear way, it could have the potential to become the norm, and therefore protect so many from being hurt in the future. It seems simple, but small changes have the ability to go a long way.

  28. After reading the post, the thing that jumped out the most to me was the fact that consent “doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.” When speaking about “no means no” or “yes means yes,” many people trample on the proper way to ask for consent in different situations. However, the quote above further emphasizes that it is better to talk about consent and receive it willingly and enthusiastically rather than being half-sure. I also believe it is important to speak out about consent not only when a relationship is involved, but it is also important to normalize consent in a way that makes it easier to explore and makes others feel safe. In addition to consent during sexual activities, consent could also be normalized when respecting people’s personal boundaries. I also believe it is important to note that some people may feel out of place or uncomfortable with the same actions we consider normal, such as a hug or kiss on the cheek. I believe that in short, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to respecting boundaries and asking for consent in endless situations.

  29. “Yes means Yes” law seems to me that it will work and help decreasing number of rape. I feel so uncomfortable and furious when some men abuse their power in order to have sex or some sexual things with some women who do not want them. One of female friends was actually in the situation where she could not say “no” to a man when he was asking her to have sex because she felt fear and afraid to say “no.” I do not know what kind of things she was forced to do, but I felt so sorry for her and something that I cannot explain in words even though he asked her to have sex, which looked like sex with consensus. She’s still been having difficulties talking to men and even being with men in the same room. Therefore, I definitely support this new law that can protect women from sexual abuse. At the same time, as a one male I strongly feel that all men should understand how traumatic sexual abuse is and deal with their sexual desire by themselves and should not look women as sex object. As the article pointed out, I guess “Yes means Yes” low can prevent men from abusing their position or power to force women to have sex.

  30. Unfortunately, college environments across the states have reached the point where “Yes means yes” is an absolute necessity. I will refrain from speaking about other environments as I am currently a college student who had witnessed the need for this level of security. I understand where the concept that this “creates a crazy grey area that scares the hell out of everybody” comes from. For a college male on a night out hoping to “get lucky” the need for obtaining clear consent serves as a hindrance and obstacle for a night meant to be fun and physical. It also constantly brings up the extremely rare stories where a girl will use society to ruin a man for supposedly forcing himself upon her. So yes, I understand why the economics major mentioned in the blog would find it scary.
    That being said, the blog is absolutely correct when it asks “Is it as scary as rape?” The answer to that is absolutely not. These clear standards have been created because of the terrifying ordeals that so many women have been subjected to. They are needed to protect those who need it. If someone honestly cannot understand it, then it is clear that he or she has been subject to an extremely privileged life where this is of no concern.

  31. I always seem to share a comment on this blog whenever I see these blogs talking about consent specifically. Even if a woman does give her consent I still make sure it’s jenuin because consent can easily be given just for the sake of it but maybe that’s just my belief or that’s true. I’m friends of sorts with a woman I met 6 years ago and the day she disclosed to us in a workshop group called up close and personal that she’d been raped by an ex, I made a decision from that day forward I would do everything I could to respect people’s boundaries when you don’t know somebody who has been raped you don’t really know what to say or what to do I make every effort if I feel I’m creeping closer or somebody is trying to move around me I do my best to try and duck and weave if I can. it’s not that I fear physical contact, it’s because I’m looking out for the other person not having much if any relationship related experiences I find it hard to make up my own mind and even if I ask what’s okay and what’s not I get told often that it’s easy for people to say they’re okay with something when they really are not okay. this friend who does want to catch up with me periodically I asked her the other day if ever we were alone together whether she could trust me. am I overreacting or am I just making myself acknowledge what she’s been through in her past and being mindful of it I guess being sheltered somewhat as a child hasn’t helped the concern that does go through my mind at the moment as I’ve just been diagnosed with a form of epilepsy, is having sex going to be enough to trigger a seizure. I doubt it but the question does remain maybe I’m just worried that any consent given to me may not be jenuin even if it is maybe I fear I’m being observed even though there’s nobody else around

    • I agree that consent must be genuine and I appreciate that that is important to you. And before having sex it’s probably a good idea to mention your diagnosis so that there will be no surprises. that is important to you. And before having sex it’s probably a good idea to mention your diagnosis, and what to do in case, so that there will be no surprises.

  32. I’m glad to know the phrase “yes means yes” is more effective. It makes sense because getting verbal consent from your sexual partner is extremely important, they need to say yes, the absence of a “no” isn’t a yes and in many cases this was going over people’s heads. This model needs to be adapted to more communities than just college campuses. College campuses are total institutions and this allows for sexual assault to be higher, but those engaging in sexual relations everywhere should feel safe and comfortable knowing their partner is expecting their complete consent and will not continue forward without it.

    The last line: “And if they have mothers, sisters, daughters and female friends who they care about” I am a little uncomfortable with because men should care about women regardless! If a man only respects women he personally knows, does he really respect women? I believe the answer to that question is no. Men should be doing this because women are human beings and deserve that basic respect and a whole lot more.

  33. Btw I do believe consent is always key. But shouldn’t people have sex if they want it? If a guy Is seeing something from a girl to where she’s quite drunk and where he feels he would need to ask if she wants it. It’s probably best he does not have sex with her. I see you didn’t respond to my post, I just wanted to say that Incase you didn’t respond because you took it wrong for some reason.

    • Of course people should have sex if they want it. Consent is just making sure that people want it. I agree that if she’s drunk it’s best not to even try to have sex. You don’t really get consent that way — when someone is out of it.

      As to your other question, “Why is a girl having sex if she’s not ok with it, if she’s aware of what’s going on and what she’s doing?” She doesn’t always have a choice. If she’s so drunk that she doesn’t have a lot of control she doesn’t really have a choice. That’s why we need consent.

      • It makes it sound like a girl is going through something she doesn’t want to do or a pressure thing. But why is a girl going through with sex if she doesn’t want it, but decides she’s going with it anyway? I’m talking about, like she goes in a room with a guy after they made out and such. He doesn’t take off her clothes, but she takes her own clothes off as she’s smiling and seeming to want sex. Why is a woman having sex if she’s reluctant about it. A feeling of obligation? I don’t know if it’s all that, because a woman isn’t just having sex with anyone even if there was something like that. That doesn’t mean anything unless it’s a guy she’s sexually attracted to, in which she’s got some lustful thoughts otherwise, any peer pressure, obligation most likely wouldn’t matter. If a woman isn’t attracted to a guy, it ends there regardless of alcohol. A guy shouldn’t try to take advantage if she’s sloshed, but I don’t know why a woman would go through with sex if she actually doesn’t want it.

        And yeah it’s good to be clear, but there’s a chance if a woman is not drunk and a guy does that, it might mess up the chemistry and make things awkward and the sparks that just happened that brought the lust might fizzle and no sex. I’m just saying. It’s kind of akward thing to ask. Should a guy say thanks after sex too? ha. I’m pointing that out because, that would be stupid thing to say and people shouldn’t say thanks after sex. I’m bringing it up in awkwardness and kind of “square” way to it all. Should a man then ask if he can touch her breasts that they are like ready to have sex? You see how it starts sounding dorky? If there a need to ask, then I think a guy should not be having sex as she would not be the most coherent. The signs are pretty clear, body language and actions where such question isn’t needed and it’s quite apparent. If a woman is drunk and isn’t really seeming to comfortable and reluctant, then that’s when its obvious to ask, but like I said. A man probably shouldn’t be having sex with her if she’s in that condition in the first place.

      • Well, there are two possibilities. Sometimes women do have sex because they feel pressured. But sometimes she’s too drunk to have full control, or drugged, or asleep, or physically overtaken. Someone else made a comment about how he always wants to make sure that the consent is genuine, so that the girl isn’t feeling pressure. That is important too!

        And I think that the vast majority of people, both men and women, Want to have sex with someone who wants to have sex with them and isn’t doing it because they feel pressured, or wouldn’t unless they are drunk or are being physically overpowered. Only rapists want that sort of thing. So consent works for everyone who is worth having sex with.

  34. I feel like “yes means yes” not only clear cuts what is okay for all sexual participants, but it can also be used to further stimulate each other. Constantly checking in with the involved participants can be exciting because it is evidence that your sexual partner(s) are enjoying what you are doing. “Yes means yes” is exactly what we should be doing, and I am glad that is it becoming a standard.

    I would like to challenge a statement made on this post though. I am uncomfortable with the following statement made:

    “At least if they want to have sex with a woman who enjoys it” (last paragraph).

    This is in regards to a woman only being able to enjoy sex if it is not rape. There are many rape victims who struggle deeply with this issue as they did not want to have sex but enjoyed it anyways, making them feel guilty about being raped. The idea of being able to enjoy the sensation even though they did not want to have sex needs to be more normalized as many of these women do not want to speak up about this out of shame and guilt because it is disregarded as not possible. This statement made perpetuates this a little bit to me and makes me uncomfortable knowing that victims of rape could be reading this and feeling guilty for feeling good sensations at all when raped. It perpetuates the idea that the rape is there fault or “all in their head” because they are guilty of actually enjoying it. While I know you were in no way meaning this, I just thought I would bring it to your attention because I think it is important that we allow for a safe space for rape victims to not feel shamed as this is possible.

    • I think the disconnect is between what you and I think “enjoys it“ means. I know that rape victims can have orgasms due to an involuntary bodily response, but they still don’t enjoy the sex more broadly. They can’t have an orgasm and yet still be traumatized by the experience, so they wouldn’t actually enjoy the sexual experience.

    • “There are many rape victims who struggle deeply with this issue as they did not want to have sex but enjoyed it anyways”

      We’ve been lectured on this blog that there is such a thing as “unconscious bias”, which is basically the notion that we are going around deciding things that we are not consciously aware of. Apparently this is an idea we need to take seriously. If that’s the case, how sure can we be that they didn’t “want” it, if they enjoyed it? Apparently we can be deciding things that we are not always as fully aware of as we would like. And actually, the scientists say decision making isn’t conscious anyway, and they can figure out 7 seconds before you are aware of it what decision you made by scanning your brain. If part of your brain is saying “yep, good”, and part is saying “yeah, I’m not so sure about this”, what part should we be taking seriously? If you were enjoying it, the guy on top was probably listening to the moans of ecstasy for his queues, not the hidden inner voice that has reservations.

  35. Why is a girl having sex if she’s not ok with it, if she’s aware of what’s going on and what she’s doing? I don’t get drunk often or like I used to. But in my early 20s I have of course like many. But even then, most of the time, I was still aware of what I was doing and happening, It’s one thing if someone is blackout drunk or so much that they can’t really think much. You can tell when someone is that sloshed. I wouldn’t hook up with a drunk girl, but chances are that someone from the bar is atleast buzzed or a party.

  36. Parker Duncan

    The meaning of sexual consent seems to be a sometimes quite complicated issue. I think the “yes means yes campaign” is a great way to reduce the ambiguity on sexual consent. This can leave people feeling confident in their sexual interactions as well hopefully make it extremely clear for women, men, and other genders when they should not engage in sexual activity with someone. Although people may feel awkward about asking for sexual consent because it is not “casual”, it really is just as easy as asking a simple question that has a simple binary answer. I also believe that as this becomes more common in our society that a simple and quick verbal consent before engaging in sexual activities will just become a normal thing that does not have to be thought twice about or feel weird. While this campaign seems great on paper, the difference will not be made until it can be implanted and taught. I am not sure the best way to do this. An idea could be that this requires some great thought by psychology and child development specialists who can phase in a better teaching of sexual consent to our public schooling.

  37. I think the “Yes means yes” standard is exactly what not only college campuses need, but our country as a whole. We should be able to voice our concerns, and always make sure our partner at the time wants to move forward with sexual activity. The saying “Consent is sexy”, is absolutely true, asking for consent tells your partner you care about their comfortability and wants. These standards should be held for everyone, regardless of age or environment. I believe if this were to be put in effect everywhere, there would be a lower rate of sex crimes and girls who may wake up the next day not knowing whether they got intimate with someone or not. I personally have been in a situation where I was too drunk to consent, and was taken advantage of. Luckily, I had some great friends nearby who put an end to the situation, but a subject like this really hits home for me, which is why I believe so strongly in it.

    • Yes, consent is sexy! Especially when you consider what happens without it. The exact opposite of sexy with women becoming traumatized and associating sexuality with something traumatic and horrible.

  38. i can understand what you are saying ..BUT ..not all men rape or abuse .THIS SHOULD BEEN STATED

    mark,from England

  39. “Yes means Yes” is a good idea. Maybe I am just getting old, but it sure seems that the quality of males has certainly degenerated since the days of my youth and we had enough bad apples back then–losers that had to press themselves onto women or take advantage of them during vulnerable situations.

    • Thank you! I think it’s a great idea too!

      I don’t know that men are getting worse but since women are less likely to be blamed these days for rape and sexual assault they are more likely to report it. According to DOJ statistics – in which they call people randomly and ask if they have been the victim of various crimes — rape among 20-year-olds has remained fairly constant over the last years but in other age categories it is down drastically since the early 90s, and even more so since the 1970s.

  40. There are some people who are too traumatized to cross the road, or drive in a car, or ride their bike, because maybe at some point they were in an accident, or they witnessed an accident, or they saw some blood once, or whatever. When that happens we rightly say, well it’s sad when someone is having some mental issues or mental disorders, and we want to help that person, and get them some therapy or whatever. But what we don’t do is bring to a halt all of our normal lives, and ban cars from the road, or take some other extreme action because there are some folks who’ve acquired some mental disorders.

    • That’s what we try to prevent accidents that can traumatize people, making them fearful to cross the road or drive in a car. So we do things like have drivers licenses. And if someone runs over someone else with a car or bike they end up in jail.

      • Nobody ends up in jail because someone was traumatized in a road incident. You end up in jail if you cause physical injury in a road incident. Imagine going to court before the judge “Your honor, I know that car didn’t hit me, but he was driving in a way that traumatized me, give me money”. You’d be laughed out of court.

        And if sex occurs without this mutual “yes” involved, which of the two parties is the rapist anyway? You’ve been lecturing us here continually that women are the same as men, they are just as capable of being the sexual instigator. Well if that’s true, let’s run with that, then lack of a “yes” means you’ve got two rapists. Is that what you want? You want women to go make this complaint that she didn’t give a “yes”, then be thrown in jail for being a rapist and not getting a “yes” from the other party before sex? How is that a win?

        And if women are liable to be “frozen with fear”, when its time for making a decision, should they be driving cars? I mean, you want us to rearrange all of society because of women being frozen with fear, isn’t a traffic accident because of being frozen with fear far more a serious issue? There are broken bones, and brain damage etc, much more serious than what we are talking about here.

      • No one ends up in jail because someone is traumatized buy a road incident but people become traumatized because of traumatizing road incidents– Which is why we try to protect people from bad drivers.

        Women can rape men too, it just depends on who initiates sex without the other person wanting it. Because of our culture it’s more common for men to initiate. It’s also more common for men to rape for cultural reasons. You don’t find rape in every culture, and even in our culture most men don’t rape — it’s not natural for men. But it is a way for insecure men to try to create a sense of dominance and power (even though it really shows inferiority — acting subhuman).

        Mind of a Rapist: Trying to Bridge a Gap between a Small Self and a Big Man
        https://broadblogs.com/2010/10/26/mind-of-a-rapist-trying-to-bridge-a-gap-between-a-small-self-and-a-big-man/
        Rape Epidemic in South Africa. Why?
        https://broadblogs.com/2012/04/06/rape-epidemic-in-south-africa-why-2/
        What Do Rapists Want?
        https://broadblogs.com/2013/01/04/what-do-rapists-want/

        Assaulting Daisy to Create “Male Superiority”
        https://broadblogs.com/2013/10/25/assaulting-daisy-to-create-male-superiority/
        Raping, Shaming Girls to Impress Guys
        https://broadblogs.com/2012/11/05/raping-shaming-girls-to-impress-guys/

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