But you’d need a legal contract to have sex!Posted: March 5, 2011
Many feminists promote the idea of active consent or enthusiastic consent – basically, the idea that you can’t have sex with someone, or touch someone in a sexual way, unless they have said that they consent to this. One of the commonly-heard arguments against this is: “But you’d need a legal contract to have sex!”
This is a (deliberate?) misrepresentation of the idea of enthusiastic consent, since no-one is suggesting that you’d need a legal contract, merely verbal consent. But let’s go with this silly idea: let’s image an alternate universe in which a law is passed making it illegal to have sex without both parties signing a legal document expressing their consent. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of this.
The disadvantages are obvious: people would have to carry a pre-written contract everywhere, just in case. If you think having to remember to bring condoms with you is annoying, just imagine having to carry a 20-page legal document. And, in another similarity with condoms, a lot of people would find that having to stop what you’re doing, get out the contract and sign it (two copies, I suppose, one for each person) would spoil the mood. (On the other hand perhaps some would find this process to be a turn-on).
But suppose that, along with being generally a hassle, the contract system lowered the overall incidence of rape. This seems likely: after all in the real world many people are raped by a friend, date, or boyfriend while they are unconscious or too drunk or drugged to talk, and these rapes are often treated as if they weren’t “really” rape. Often the victim doesn’t come forward, thinking that they won’t be believed. In the sex contract universe it would be very clear: there’s no contract, so it’s rape. Furthermore, in the real world many people are told that their rape wasn’t “real” rape because they didn’t say “no” or didn’t fight back (often out of shock or fear). Again, in the sex contract universe it would be clear: the victim didn’t sign the contract, so it was rape. It would be much harder for rapists to rape someone and get away with it, and so the rate of rape would go down.
So, cost-benefit analysis: the cost is that you have to carry a contract everywhere which is annoying, and before having sex with someone you have to get out the contract and sign it, which is even more annoying and spoils the mood. Benefit: fewer people get raped.
Conclusion: holy shit, we need sex contract legislation right now! Feminists: I know we never said people should need a contract to have sex, I know that idea was made up by trolls in order to make us look stupid, but this idea is seriously awesome! Look at the cost-benefit analysis: fewer people get raped, and the only downside is that people are inconvenienced. We need to start the Make Sex Without A Legal Contract Illegal campaign right now!