There are only two ways to be sure that a woman wants to have sex with you: 1) She says “yes, I want to have sex with you,” or some similarly worded statement, or 2) you initiate sexual contact with a woman and she enthusiastically responds to your advances with physical advances of her own. I wish that I didn’t have to define what “consent” to sexual contact means in this day and age, but the latest high-profile rape trial in Steubenville, Ohio makes it patently obvious that rape culture is still alive and well.
Rape culture is defined as “a concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape.” There is some disagreement on what exactly rape culture is–or even if such a culture exists–but this article will proceed from the framework that not only accepts that there is such a thing as rape culture, but that anyone who acts if they do not understand what it means to consent to sex is participating in rape culture.
Last August a young black girl went to a party in Steubenville, Ohio, where she either got drunk enough to pass out, was drugged, or possibly both, and at least two boys are alleged to have taken advantage of her weakened state as an opportunity to rape her. The girl claims to have no idea as to what happened to her at the party until the next day when she friends and non-friends alike asked her to explain her previous nights’ activities. Two boys are now on trial for rape and their defense is that not that she consented to have sex with both boys, but that she and the boys were heavily intoxicated and since she does not remember exactly what happened then it cannot be proven that she was raped. The Atlantic has full coverage of both the ongoing trial which commenced just last week and the flurry of events which took place since last August and led up to the trial.
I didn’t write this post to talk about the trial in Steubenville. I am writing this post to define what it means for a woman to consent to sex, since some people–namely rape apologists–insist on acting as if they still don’t understand what consent is or isn’t.
So here goes…
A women does not consent to have sex with a man just because she had sex with 20 or even 200 men in the past. Even if a woman had sex with 1000 different men and then she gets to you and decides that she does not want to have sex with you her previous sexual activities do not give you the right to have sex with her.
If a woman talks about sex non-stop that does not give you the right to have sex with her. And no, nice guys do not commit rape even if a woman has been discussing sex with said Nice Guy ™ all night long. A man who commits rape is automatically relegated to the ‘not a nice guy’ pile.
If a woman dresses provocatively that does not give you the right to have sex with her.
If a woman leaves her home sans underwear and then bends over in the middle of the street to show her labia that does not give you the right to have sex with her.
If a woman has a ‘reputation’ that does not give you the right to have sex with her.
If a woman is not a virgin that does not give you the right to have sex with her.
If a woman gets so drunk that she falls down off a bar stool, hits her head and passes out, that does not give you the right to have sex wit her. Obviously acting like a stupid, immature, trashy lush in public does not make the woman look good. However being a stupid, immature, trashy lush does not mean that you have given anyone consent to have sex with you.
If a woman is a former porn star that does not give you the right to have sex with her.
If a woman had sex with you in the past that does not give you the right to have sex with her in the present.
If a woman is comatose or passed out she cannot consent to have sex with you, even if she said yes before she passed out her consent is now null and void now that she is no longer in a cognizant state.
There is nothing that a woman can do to let you know that she wants to have sex with you besides 1) telling you she wants to have sex with you and/or 2) actively and enthusiastically responding to your sexual advances with sexual advances of her own. Subliminal messages that only you can understand do not count as consent.
I don’t want to ever have to give this explanation of what consent means again, but something tells me that somewhere in America there is another rapist-in-training who either honestly doesn’t know what it means to consent or is hoping that he can fool other people in thinking that the rapist-in-training doesn’t know what constitutes consent.