Yale University, America's sex palace, has issued a memo that attempts to clarify what constitutes "consensual" and "nonconsensual" sex. Immature readers may find this memo's hypothetical scenarios "hilarious," or even "ROFLMAO." Allow us to make things more clear.
The memo, which we highly recommend reading aloud at your next party, describes eight different made-up sexual encounters, and then clarifies whether or not those encounters were permissible, by Yale Sex Rules. A few ABSOLUTELY REAL examples, from this memo, which was composed by adminstrators at America's third-best university. First, the "right" way to do things:
Jessie and Vic have been flirting all semester, and agree to meet at a party. After dancing closely together for a while, Vic proposes going to one of their rooms and Jessie agrees. On the walk to Jessie’s room, they send a few texts, letting Vic’s friends know not to worry and asking Jessie’s roommate to please sleep somewhere else. Once in the room, they begin touching. Each is interested in hearing what the other wants, and each is paying attention to the other’s signals. They reach and sustain clear agreement upon mutually desired sexual activities.
This is consensual sex: Vic and Jessie reached positive, voluntary, unambiguous agreement to engage in sexual conduct together.
Now, the wrong way:
Sidney and Harper are dating. On several occasions they are physically intimate, but within limits set by Sidney, who is opposed to having sex at this stage of their relationship. One night, when they are being intimate within their mutually agreed upon boundaries, Harper begins to cross them. Sidney expresses concern, but Harper is encouraging, saying “it will be okay just this once.” Sidney replies “we shouldn’t do this,” but continues to touch Harper in an intimate way. As Harper initiates sex, Sidney says “this is a bad idea” and begins to cry, but embraces Harper and the two proceed to have sex.
Initial consent was followed by ambiguity. Sidney’s acquiescence to sex was accompanied by too much dismay to constitute unambiguous agreement, especially given Sidney’s longstanding prior refusal to engage in sex. The UWC penalty would likely fall in the range of probation to suspension.
Alexis and Riley are studying together in Riley’s room. During a break in their studying, they rub each other’s shoulders. Alexis then introduces some intimate touching. Riley moves closer and says “Okay, but I don’t want to go too far – we still have a lot of work to do.” Alexis continues to touch Riley in an intimate way. Riley willingly agrees to some contact, but mostly sets boundaries. Alexis jokes that they deserve to have sex as a reward for their hard work studying; Riley laughs. After their studying is done, Alexis suggests again that they should have sex. Riley responds they should probably get some sleep but continues to touch Alexis. After a few more minutes, Alexis asks once more. Riley pauses, then says okay and pulls Alexis closer. They have sex.
This is consensual sex. Despite initial hesitation, the ultimate agreement to have sex was voluntary and unambiguous. There is no violation of the sexual misconduct policy. The UWC would likely counsel Alexis about the inappropriateness of sexual pressure, and recommend SHARE’s sensitivity training program.
Morgan and Kai are friends who begin dancing and kissing at a party. They are both drunk, although not to the point of incapacitation. Together they decide to go to Kai’s room. They undress each other and begin touching each other. Morgan moves as if to engage in oral sex and looks up at Kai questioningly. Kai nods in agreement and Morgan proceeds. Subsequently, without pausing to check for further agreement, Kai begins to perform oral sex on Morgan. Morgan lies still for a few minutes, then moves away, saying it is late and they should sleep.
There was initial agreement, but the bounds of that agreement were not clear. Kai may have thought that Morgan had consented to reciprocal oral sex, but took no steps to obtain unambiguous agreement. The UWC penalty would likely be a reprimand.
Hmm. Still confused? We've come up with a few more scenarios to help make things absolutely clear.
- Chai and Soupy are in the library. They look up the word "sex" in the dictionary. "It means 'coitus,'" says Soupy. "Huh."
Soupy would be expelled.
- Murph and Shabouya sit next to one another in Gender Studies class. They talk often, and flirt in the hallways sometimes. One night, they encounter one another at a party. Murph is very drunk. "I am sooooooooo fucking drunk," he says. "I'm only kinda drunk," replies Shabouya. "I bet I can get as drunk as you." They proceed to do shots together until they both black out. Several weeks later, Shabouya submits a final paper for the Gender Studies class with the thesis, "Patriarchal power structures do in fact persist in both political and economic realms, though evidence of progress towards gender equality over the past three decades is inarguable."
Shabouya would receive a "C."
- Hype and Lancimanda are dating. One night, when they're alone, Hype says, "I have a confession— I'm a virgin." "That's okay," says Lancimanda, stroking Hype's cheek with tender affection. "I'm not going to pressure you at all. We can take this as slow as you want. You can tell me exactly what your desires are, and your limits. We won't do anything together without mutual consent."
"What?" replied Hype, distracted. He'd been masturbating the whole time.
Hype and Lancimanda attend Yale University.
Everyone stay safe—and sexy—out there.
[Image by Jim Cooke]