"How could anyone ever trust a ‘yes’ in your consent model?" Well, that’s exactly the question, isn’t it?
This is a for-real thing that was said on Twitter.MRA CONCERN TROLL: it’s the idea that you can retroactively revoke consent to sex that is worrisome. from “Ooh baby, do it to me!” to “i didn’t consent even though I said, ‘ooh baby do it to me’ so it was rape.” how could someone ever possibly trust a “yes” in your consent model?
ME: Well, that’s exactly the question, isn’t it? The whole point is that “yes” is necessary but not sufficient for consent. How do you trust an utterance that’s made in any other context where you don’t have a contract? Certainly, no reasonable person would argue that just because a given interaction or relationship lacks an enforceable contract, nobody in that interaction can ever trust what the other person says to them.
But you develop that trust in a sexual relationship the same way you develop it in any other relationship. If someone says “ooh baby, do it to me” and *still* feels like their boundaries were violated by the way you did it to them afterwards, that suggests there are some real problems in your relationship. And those problems might be more important ones to address than whether or not you technically had permission.
Ultimately, I don’t think you’re asking the right question. People retroactively realize their boundaries were violated all the time, regardless of what we say about it. (We’re just saying it’s okay to talk about that.) So, the important question isn’t, “How can you ever have sex if you don’t trust your partner’s yes?” It’s “If you don’t trust someone’s yes, why would you ever have sex with them?”
MAYMAY: This exchange perfectly showcases what we’ve been saying. Objections to Consent-as-Felt are coming from folks who want to have sex more than they want to have even a minimally respectful relationship, even and arguably especially if that r’ship spans only one sexual encounter. Their problem is “but consent is such a *hassle*!” That’s why Consent-as-Felt is so useful right now, today. Asking ppl about it is like using a rapist detector.
The full thread(s) on Twitter are epic. Start here and scroll down. And get popcorn.