Captain’s Log, 12.24.16

Here’s a question: Is consent a spectrum?

Is there a scale between “fuck yes!” and knife-to-the-throat rape? How many shades does it contain? How do you know where your yes ends and your no begins? If you say yes to sex you don’t really want because you want the person to stop bugging you about it, is that a yes or a no? If the person’s your boss, does that change it? If you say yes to sex as a coping mechanism to deal with sexual trauma, is that a yes or a no? What if it’s sex with the same person who perpetrated the trauma, does that change it? What if you’re saying yes to sex you don’t want out of the pressure of the behaviors of a new social group? What if you’re saying yes to sex you don’t want because someone is offering you something you need to survive?

Notably, there is also the difference between a philosophical yes/no (“unless it’s a hell yes, it’s a no!”), a moral yes/no (“well, we could have both been more responsible about communicating but I don’t think there was a consent violation”), and legal yes/no (“this does/doesn’t fit the legal definition of rape”). And all three of those are also different from a verbal yes/no.

Sex is hard.

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