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May 16 2007

The (new) page of consent

There have been numerous requests to resume the interrupted “consent” discussion, on accounta the old one got ruined by attention-seeking derailers.

Ask, O ye blamers, and ye shall receive. But first a brief recap:

Noticing that the American justice system seems to regard women as existing in a perpetual state of compliance, I posed a little thought experiment on the subject of rape. What I said was this: consider if lack of consent were the default position. Imagine if all women were considered a priori by the courts to have said “no.” In fact, “consent” would not apply to women at all; we would exist as inviolable entities, human beings with full personal sovereignty, the way men do now. We could have as much heterosex as we want, but the instant we don’t want, the dude becomes, in the eyes of the law, a rapist. This shifts to onus onto the dude not to be a barbarian. He can avoid jail by not having sex at all, and significantly reduce his risk of jail by ceasing to rape, prod, cajole, shame, or nag.

The original post has all the details.

Carry on.

309 comments

8 pings

  1. CannibalFemme

    Carrying on from the original post:

    Justicewalks just held forth on the question of whether the mechanics of obtaining consent are antithetical to romantic spontaneity by opining:

    “It occurs to me that the “intrique of romantic interlude and its concomitant communication ambiguities” are patriarchal constructs and NOT necessary for sex.”

    Speaking personally, WORD. Romantic intricacies and flirtatious behavior totally creep me out, and immediately inspire in me a deep desire to run away. To me it feels covert and disingenuous and passive-aggressive. I hate it.

    With that said, I know that many of my friends love that sort of carrying on to the extent that it’s a joy-defining thing, a make-or-break for their personal happiness. So I’m open to believing that it depends on the person.

    But I’ll never be free of my personal distrust. Any and all romantic finesse will ever be, for me, nothing more than a sophisticated attempt to tear off a piece. Color me creeped out.

  2. Feminist Avatar

    Romance and romantic love is inherently power ridden. Men are the lovers, women are loved. Men are the actors, women the passive recipient of love. It used to be said that men in courtship were on their knees as they offered up gestures of love to women who had the power to make or break their hopes. Yet, it was little recognised that the only choice women had was to reject. Women in the romantic framework of love react rather than act.

    I personally think that being asked, or asking, for consent before any romantic or sexual act is in fact incredibly desireable. (On a slightly disturbing tangent, I thought people talking explicitly about what they wanted in bed was considered to be very desireable- certainly in the pornocracy!)

  3. Cunning Allusionment?

    Before the original thread got derailed, we discussed how for a variety of reasons it’s common for women to buckle to patriarchal pressure and “relent” to sex (as opposed to “consent”). For that reason, this law would side-step the “but she said ‘yes’” defense by arguing that whether or not a woman relented to sex doesn’t supersede her right to charge dudes with rape. So to avoid confusion, I want to see if we can agree that the *law* isn’t about reworking what qualifies as consent (eg. “consent approval forms”), or who has to prove that consent was given or not in a court of law, or even whose responsibility it is in the moment to ensure that consent is given. The law is about ensuring that regardless of who said/did what, a woman has the right at any point before, during or after the fact to say “this is/was rape” and have the full support of the law. The reason the total removal of consent as it applies to sex is important is because structuring rape law around consent inevitably reduces it to “he said/she said” and we all know “he” wins that a suspiciously disproportionate amount of the time.
    So is there agreement on that point, or is the question of the importance of consent as it applies to het-sex something we should debate?

  4. ACS

    A lot of what wat . I am a fussy, technocratic nerd, and I realize that. I also realize that IBTP is not in the market for a second-string Mandos. This will be my last fussy, technocratic post, and my only post on this thread, unless I’m specifically invited to post again, which I don’t think will happen.

    I’m not concerned with an increase in false convictions. The vast majority of false rape convictions are in cases of stranger rape — cases where the issue of consent is either nonexistent or laughable: the police were simply incompetent (or malicious) and picked up the wrong guy. Changes to the legal standard of consent, in these cases, would have no effect: in current cases of stranger rape, there is seldom a claim of consent; the defense is usually “wrong guy,” and it is generally only “wrong guy” defenses that are correct.

    But then you get to the cases where there’s no argument about who raped whom. In those, there’s a reason that only 13% or fewer people report acquaintance rape: Western rape laws are designed specifically to disregard them; to pretend they don’t exist. The only reason acquaintance rapes are prosecutable at all is because of half-thought-out and furiously resisted reforms in the last thirty years.

    There are things that are being done, right now, to make serious improvements: some jurisdictions — and I’m not sure whether this is a trend or just an abortive half-measure — are making it clear that the mens rea requirement is negligence, not recklessness or malice. So, they’re asking questions about what the defendant did not do, rather than what the victim did do. Questions like this: Did you not take specific measures to find out whether your victim was consenting? No? Negligent. Rape. Did you not receive affirmative consent? No? Negligent. Rape. Did you use coercion? Yes? Reckless. Rape. This short-circuits the genre of rape defenses that begin with “Gosh, I’m sorry for what happened to you; I guess I was confused.”

    I think a lot of people have been using the Catherine MacKinnon’s idea that rape should be the default assumption of the court as a proxy for what Twisty actually proposed, which is that consent can be withdrawn retroactively: that is, if someone decides that they would not have consented given what they know at the moment they withdraw consent, then, retroactively, that sex becomes rape. For example: if a man unknowingly infected with a STD has (enthusiastically desired) sex with an uninfected woman, and she contracts that STD, then – theoretically – that should be chargeable, and punishable, as rape under the law. Should that be punishable? What about other cases involving unknown factors that would have been a deal-breaker if known at the time that the sex was enthusiastically consented to? Should there be a separate sub-category of offenses that “should” be reported, different from those that “can” be reported?

    It’s this category – not false reports, but offenses like this – that I was talking about on the other thread.

    – ACS

  5. Feminist Avatar

    Not an answer to the bigger question, but in the UK we recently jailed a man who knew he had AIDS for giving it to his then girlfriend, as he did not inform her or use protection. They didn’t call it rape, but the prosecution did argue that the victim would not have consented to sex had she known.

  6. PhysioProf

    “There are things that are being done, right now, to make serious improvements: some jurisdictions — and I’m not sure whether this is a trend or just an abortive half-measure — are making it clear that the mens rea requirement is negligence, not recklessness or malice.”

    Very interesting. Could you point me towards some sources of further information about this?

  7. Cunning Allusionment?

    “… the *law* isn’t about reworking what qualifies as consent (eg. “consent approval forms”), or who has to prove that consent was given or not in a court of law, or even whose responsibility it is in the moment to ensure that consent is given.” I just want to clarify that this statement about whose responsible for communication is in terms of the Twisty law. I wanted to include it so the “but I was acting really sensitive and shit” defense doesn’t apply. In the actual personal interactions between people, I agree with Feminist Avatar that open and honest communication is paramount.

    I also was hoping the legal experts around could answer a relevant question I had about “jury nullification.” I’ve read that juries can choose to acquit defendants who obviously broke the law. Can juries choose to convict defendants who technically didn’t? Is that also protected under jury nullification?

  8. Meredith

    Not an answer to the bigger question, but in the UK we recently jailed a man who knew he had AIDS for giving it to his then girlfriend, as he did not inform her or use protection. They didn’t call it rape, but the prosecution did argue that the victim would not have consented to sex had she known.

    Feminist Avatar, that is actually a really interesting part of the debate, and it ties into the recent Massachusetts case about the woman whose boyfriend’s brother had sex with her and it wasn’t considered rape even though she wouldn’t have had sex with him had she known. Fraudulent bases for sex weren’t considered rape in that ruling. I assume in the Twisty plan this would definitely be rape? If it is, I completely agree. Sex under false pretenses, be that a false identity or concealment of a (deadly or otherwise!) STI, where the perpetrator is purposefully concealing this pertinent information, should be rape.

  9. Tigs

    “The reason the total removal of consent as it applies to sex is important is because structuring rape law around consent inevitably reduces it to “he said/she said” and we all know “he” wins that a suspiciously disproportionate amount of the time.”

    Rather, the reason consent must be removed is because it inherently denies equal human standing to the woman.
    If rape is to be measured by consent, then sex is being something that is done TO the woman. In such a case, a woman cannot consent because the position of being an object (i.e., when something is done to a person, they are definitively objectified) removes the possibility of her being able to consent. No person can will their own oppression; therefore no woman can consent to heterosexual sex.

    By transforming the legal assumption from the location of consent into a position of individual sovereignty for all partners, sex becomes something that people do with each other. Any sex that is done to a person is rape, and the individuals engaging in this are the measure for judgment.

    The patriarchy will never see women as fully human. By transforming the legal supposition to non-consent, the legal system starts to look like a legal system without patriarchy. Of course it will still be imbued with patriarchy because women are going to some extent be objectified, which is why you need to deal in the language of consent v. non-consent. By asserting non-consent, women are able to have a semblance of legal self-determination while still existing under patriarchy.

    For me, the rub is how to continually push towards asserting determinate selfhood under patriarchy.

  10. Bird

    In Canada, former CFL (football) player Trevis Smith was recently convicted of aggravated sexual assault for not informing his consensual sex partners of his HIV-positive status.

    In the case of someone who is unaware of his STD status, I’d question whether it would qualify as sexual assault, considering that we don’t charge people with crimes for unintentionally spreading other serious diseases. But in the case of a known STD-positive condition, I’d say that’s as criminal as grabbing a syringe and injecting someone with infected blood.

    I think Canadian law (http://www.mun.ca/sexualharassment/Definitions4.html) clears up a lot of the rape/not rape issue by using the term “sexual assault.” It covers other forms of non-consensual sexual contact and behaviour, including everything from groping to penetrative rape. I also think the term “assault” puts it into the same category as other crimes against the body (like beating or killing someone) and takes it out of the context of property crime.

    Essentially, Trevis Smith was convicted under the same charge that would be used for any man who “wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant” in the course of a rape. Sure, they had consensual sex, but the women didn’t consent to the risk of HIV infection (neither of them are HIV positive from their contact either).

    I thought it was a triumph for women. If a man lies to you, he’s liable. I’d like to see more of that (like in that awful Massachusetts case).

    Not that we actually have a much better system to make women confident in pressing charges, although we also often protect the victim’s identity under our rape shield laws (which also restrict digging into a woman’s past and other nasty tricks on the part of the defense). Still, women in Canada face similar struggles in taking rapists to court as do their sisters around the world.

  11. Tigs

    Cunning Allusionment?:

    My understanding of jury nullification is that it comes out of the Common Law, and rather than being written as positive law is just something that is done in the name of liberal justice.
    Jury nullification is highly discouraged by judges and the establishment, but (or because) it has generally been done as a counter-majoritarian action because the jury thinks the law itself is unjust.
    The jury is nullifying the law.

    Under such a definition, I don’t think you can get convictions out of nullifications. A jury determined to convict without reasonable doubt would (if the jury’s deliberations were made public) be providing grounds for appeal or mistrial. Though technically, I don’t think that the jurors could be punished.

    When juries start convicting accused rapists without reasonable doubt on the basis that rape laws are unfair, then I think this issue will come up in the law review. Until then, I think that might be an issue of interest rather than policy import.

  12. ramou

    By defining it as assault, actual physical contact is not required. Gesture, or otherwise manifest intent is enough. That does goes outside the bounds of the original Twisty Law, even if it is an interesting and desirable point.

  13. Bubbas' Nightmare

    Feminist Avatar:

    Not an answer to the bigger question, but in the UK we recently jailed a man who knew he had AIDS for giving it to his then girlfriend, as he did not inform her or use protection. They didn’t call it rape, but the prosecution did argue that the victim would not have consented to sex had she known.

    IIRC, the proper charge for someone who exposes another to an “agent” which could likely result in death should be charged with attempted murder, or at the very least assault with a deadly weapon. A good prosecutor can work up a good 8- to 15-year sentence for something like that.

    I’d be interested in more discussion on how a disinterested third party (i.e., a jury) could determine whether a sexual act resulted from “consent” or “relent”.

  14. ACS

    IIRC, the proper charge for someone who exposes another to an “agent” which could likely result in death should be charged with attempted murder, or at the very least assault with a deadly weapon. A good prosecutor can work up a good 8- to 15-year sentence for something like that.

    This is the case for a lot of places: either exposing someone to HIV is folded into 1st degree assault/aggravated battery or exists as its own felony with comparable penalties.

    – aCS

  15. Foilwoman

    I think the whole concept of consent goes back to the idea that women only have the power to reject that Feminist Avatar stated. The whole idea, that women are acted upon rather than independent actors with their own wishes, needs, wants, and desires is the big part of the whole dynamic.

    My read of the prior post and the derailers’ arguments had a big “Aha!” moment for me. It dawned on me, later than it should have, but I still figured it out, that most men in the traditional patriarchal paradigm aren’t really seeking true consent, desire, or agreement. Or mutuality of any sort. Instead the lack of consent is the real turn on. Convincing a woman who doesn’t initially want to have sex to have sex (whether, in the end, she wants sex or not, or, indeed has satisfactory sex after “agreeing”) is the victory.

    Thus, the male ideal of a woman who needs to be pursued and won, who is elusive, but who is attainable. The woman who actually (I think I’m stealing this from someone else in the thread) is joyful and delighted at the prospect of sex with the guy is not that desirable. Better to chase after the elusive one.

    The whole construct discourages heterosexual women from being open and honest about desire (because he’s supposed to want you, not vice versa) and means men are chasing after women who don’t want them, thinking true “romance” is winning an initially unwillling woman.

    Ugh. I wish I were gay.

  16. Elimy

    The dynamic that Foilwoman is talking about is only reinforced by the way society talks about male vs. female sexuality. In health classes, for example, girls are taught not to explore their own sexuality, but rather to respond to an aggressive male sexuality. Boys will be the ones wanting sex, and girls must learn how to put on the brakes. Thus, boys learn that all women are merely playing hard to get and their “no” isn’t worth a damn.
    I think that’s why so many men rape, yet so few think of themselves as rapists.

  17. Bitch, Esquire

    CA: “I also was hoping the legal experts around could answer a relevant question I had about “jury nullification.” I’ve read that juries can choose to acquit defendants who obviously broke the law. Can juries choose to convict defendants who technically didn’t? Is that also protected under jury nullification?”

    Some intro stuff:

    The divide between judge and jury is the divide between interpretations of law and findings of fact. Judge makes the former, jury makes the latter. So, if a jury finds that X didn’t meet all the elements of a rape (and the argument frequently revolves around the consent element, IMO), the jury acquits b/c the facts don’t satisfy the legal requirement.

    Some other stuff:

    Now, there is a thing called a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (an “NOV” for the matching fussy latin). It happens when “the judge is convinced the judgment is not reasonably supported by the facts and/or the law. . . . Granting a motion for such a ruling means the court realizes it should have directed the jury to reach an opposite verdict in the first place.” [http://dictionary.law.com]

    I realize as I’m typing this that a judgment NOV is not something we talked a lot about in law school. But, working just from first principles, it’s going to have to be pretty damn obvious that there’s a problem with the jury’s fact-finding for a judge to be willing to do so, b/c there’s a LOT of deference to the fact-finder. So, there’s a mechanism for that deference to be overcome, i.e., this NOV business, but it wouldn’t be common. Not that you were asking that.

    I would expect a motion for judgment NOV in either scenario you described, whether its an acquittal or a finding of guilty, if the finding is “not reasonably supported”. It’s not going to matter which side the jury came down on.

    So, if someone was obviously innocent — the evidence didn’t reasonably support the jury’s finding of guilt — then the NOV is how a judge would recognize and act on that. And vice versa.

    Jury nullification is a term I’m not sure I ever heard until you mentioned it here, I had to look it up in Black’s Law Dictionary, and it’s not in the online law dictionary I posted to above. There is an entry on Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification], and it seems to fit with my definition in Black’s. I would see a judgment NOV as one way for a judge to counteract such an attempt by a jury to ‘nullify’ the law by refusing to find guilty/acquit someone who obviously is so, in order to make a social statement or avoid what the jury perceives as injustice. (Given the patriarchy, I wonder if there are any stats on NOVs for rape cases versus other crimes. It would be interesting to see if there are any identifiable trends.)

    I think, given the history of nullification, because it would be an injustice to find someone guilty when they weren’t, your second scenario, of a jury finding X guilty, wouldn’t be very likely. It kind of cuts against the grain of the underlying purpose of this nullification, which is to avoid, not perpetuate, injustice.

    Now that I’ve made what may be my maiden post (certainly as B, Esq.), after a lifetime of lurking, and been all geeky about legal technical stuff, let me just say that as annoying as trolls are, I’m really glad Mandos was in the comments on the original post, b/c it was Twisty’s referendum on him that made me read through all those comments, and I’m very glad I did.

    I’m *still* thinking about the “consent” thing, and I think the idea of assuming a default ‘no’ is a great one.

    I think, realistically, it would require a change in how women signal sexual interest, and about halfway through the comments I thought about how more ‘fringe’ sexual communities may have explicit negotiations (like a dom and a sub working out the context of their ‘scene’), so Twisty’s modest proposal here not only has the effect of making many trolls nervous, but also of making het sex a ‘fringe’ preference that must/should be negotiated.

    *light jazz plays in background*

    “Hey, listen, I just wanted to tell you . . . I’m straight. Are you OK with that?”

    “Um, yeah.”

    “And I think I’d like to have sex with you.”

    “Oh. Well, I appreciate the compliment. Uh, what did you have in mind?”

    [and so on]

    *more jazz*

    Cool!

  18. LS

    What does it mean to “tear off a piece?”

  19. justicewalks

    Thus, boys learn that all women are merely playing hard to get and their “no” isn’t worth a damn.

    Not only is it not worth a damn, it’s expected. It’s part of their script. We women were all born only to be thrust into some SM scene with no safe word.

  20. Feminist Avatar

    The interesting thing is that as a society we sell love as a neutral value free act. Love is the ultimate righter of wrongs. It ensures that men and women are equal.

    Yet, even a cursory exploration of the language of love highlights the power that is built into the system. The language of love highlights possession-

    Be my baby; be mine; I am yours; always yours.

    and of imposition-
    I love you- I act upon you with my love.

    Love is powerful!

  21. Laura

    Foilwoman, it took me too long to realize this too.

    The woman who actually (I think I’m stealing this from someone else in the thread) is joyful and delighted at the prospect of sex with the guy is not that desirable.

    Because, I guess, nice girls aren’t supposed to want sex. Is there a sick logic going on where nice girls never say yes too quickly? Nice girls always say no a couple of times before they say yes? Like, I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would allow me as a member, unless it was after I pestered and cajoled them into it?

    I guess that’s why we get phrases like “conquest” and “the thrill of the hunt.” It’s almost like their real pleasure comes from turning a no into a yes, and after that, the sex itself is just secondary.

    Sorry if I’m just stating th obvious, but the last thread was a big aha moment for me too, in realizing that consent should not be the measuring stick. Alex, from a few posts ago, was eventually getting forced “consent” from his poor girlfriend. In order for things to be truly right and non-rape, and to take away consent as the yardstick, she would be the one initiating sex (and not after weeks of him begging her to initiate sex, either). That’s probably a poor example, though, since there were so very many things wrong with that particular situation.

  22. Feminist Avatar

    I think it is also important to recognise that it is the whole system of love that is embedded with power. As a society, we like to think of love as value neutral and as wiping out power differentials. Love is seen as the opposite of violence.

    Yet love is a powerful act. Even a cursory look at the language of love highlights that power in action. Love is about possession: be mine, be my baby, always yours, I give you my heart and my hand etc.

    Love is about violence:
    I love you- I act my love upon you.

    My favourite example of this is benevolence, which is often translated as charitable love. But what it really means is: I have power over you and as a result I can be nice/charitable/loving, you cannot do the same as you do not have power.

  23. preying mantis

    What does it mean to “tear off a piece?”

    It’s a particularly commodifying euphemism for having sex. As in, the man is “tearing off a piece of that ass.” It’s also seen as “breaking off a piece.”

  24. Bubbas' Nightmare

    Feminist Avatar:

    Even a cursory look at the language of love highlights that power in action. Love is about possession: be mine, be my baby, always yours, I give you my heart and my hand etc.

    Love is about violence:
    I love you- I act my love upon you.

    I got words about that.

    Be careful not to confuse love with the language that surrounds the concept of love; they are not the same. The use of language is a construct of the culture that uses it; in other words, the Patriarchy permeates the language describing value-neutral concepts like “love” with its own spin.

    If you use a morally valid definition of love (such as “that condition in which another’s happiness is essential to your own”), it’s easier to see that that a statement like “Love is about violence” is how misogyny and its misbegotten offspring see love as a tool.

  25. roamaround

    Pardon me, or tell me I’m wrong, but I think comments here are missing a central point. Rape law and everything about the way women’s sexuality has been controlled under patriarchy since at least the Hammurabi codes has had no interest in women’s will.

    Women (wombs) are PROPERTY of fathers then husbands. Desire? Who cares? Consent? Only disproven by violent resistance and, preferably, death rather than violation of the vagina (since our entire worth IS our vagina). That’s why the law cares much less about other forms of sexual abuse and assault. Like most law, it’s designed to protect property.

    Things have changed a bit, but we delude ourselves too often by thinking that 5,000 year old constructs can be eliminated in a few decades. That’s why female sexual sovereignty as proposed by Twisty is so revolutionary. My body belongs to no one but me? Burn that witch!

  26. ramou

    I still feel that consent is a misleading direction. I think the whole scenario of sex should be considered without it. When thinking about having sex, the man should realize there is no consent, so he shouldn’t think about consent. He should think about not doing anything unless he’s damn sure that’s what the woman wants, on account of it being entirely his fault if she doesn’t want, now/during/after.

  27. trystero49

    Foilwoman does a good job of summing it up:

    “I still figured it out, that most men in the traditional patriarchal paradigm aren’t really seeking true consent, desire, or agreement. Or mutuality of any sort. Instead the lack of consent is the real turn on. Convincing a woman who doesn’t initially want to have sex to have sex (whether, in the end, she wants sex or not, or, indeed has satisfactory sex after “agreeing”) is the victory.”

    And if we add to that Laura’s comment:

    “Nice girls always say no a couple of times before they say yes? Like, I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would allow me as a member, unless it was after I pestered and cajoled them into it?”

    it reminds me of the rituals supposedly for investing a Bishop or the Pope back in the middle ages: when offered the title and position, he had to refuse three times, and the committee (or synod, or whatever it was) had to return to him and press him to take up the position three times. That way everyone was reassured of the new bishop or pope’s humility and lack of ambition/campaigning for the position. So we should consider that this notion of pressure and relenting in sex could be coming out of this other tradition and look into it more.

  28. trystero49

    Oh, and also, if patriarchy only had one model of femininity it would be easier to counteract and overthrow. On the Virgin side, we have women supposed to not like sex, to resist or passively endure sex, and to only have sex with a certain designated person. The exclusivity of ownership and pressuring ( leading ) her into sex are turn-ons, as is the notion that you (the husband) might be able to turn her into an angel in the house and a devil in the bedroom, but no one would know but you. On the Whore side, she is a turn on precisely because she is common property and many men have sex with her, which makes her seem dirty and transgressive. Not only does she love sex (so dirty!) but she will have it with anyone and will even initiate it. Basically, everything you do can be fit into one paradigm or the other, so you’re fucked coming and going.

  29. Twisty

    “Be careful not to confuse love with the language that surrounds the concept of love”

    Yeah, but the thing is, love is an idea, and language shapes ideas. How else would love become indistinguishable from sex, and sex indistinguishable from porn?

  30. Tyler D

    He should think about not doing anything unless he’s damn sure that’s what the woman wants,

    That seems like a good way for men to approach things sexual – the consent concept seems kind of grudging, like a negotiation. Conversely, if you approach things with mutual benefit / win-win scenarios in mind then it generally feels unpleasant and creepy to move your desire forward past where your partner is.

    It’s a particularly commodifying euphemism for having sex. As in, the man is “tearing off a piece of that ass.” It’s also seen as “breaking off a piece.”

    I first learned of that phrase via an unpleasant double entendre from reading Naked Lunch in high school – creepy, creepy book.

  31. Alex

    I think another significant issue here is the impact that such a change in legal theory would have on ‘age of consent’ laws. The idea of an age of consent, which almost always applies to a younger girl and an older guy, is that if the girl is under that age, she does not possess sufficient judgment capabilities in order to be able to say “yes” or “no”.

    However, in the eyes of the law, these still apply to in the older woman/younger boy case (e.g. teachers and their students), which was largely ignored until recent years. When a guy passes the age of consent, he is considered to always be in “yes” mode, as already established here. When a girl passes that age, she can now give consent, but whether or not she says “yes” is the question.

    So if we go with Twisty’s idea that we consider a girl to be saying “no” unless otherwise explicitly stated. Thus, we have girls saying “no” a priori and guys saying “yes” a priori. I may have made an error in logic, but doesn’t that still uphold the idea of the woman as being receiving/passive and the man being the active? It seems to me that the duality is still upheld. Granted, the idea was stated that the thinking is that all women are just playing hard to get and that you can eventually get them to say yes. In the eyes of the law, what Twisty is proposing would eliminate that, at least in the legal sense. However, it still seems to me that we are still working within the paradigm where the woman is passive and the male is active, that being the patriarchy.

  32. bigbalagan

    I think the discussion of consent is useful only to remove it from the new situation being proposed—after all, Twisty’s Law is designed to vaporize the whole consent issue. What interests me at the moment is how the new situation might look in action.

    First, forget about “romance” and “love”. The human spirit can soar, but not in those particular patriarchal coffins. What man can think about these concepts without an immediate context of hunt and chase? They are rooted in power-over and its uses, however witty and debonair.

    Next, men have to deal with the fact that in a universe that continuously oppresses women in every manner available, only explicit agreement can be a basis for entering a woman’s space in any manner, let alone an intimate manner. (I’m not shying away from saying “sex” here, I’m just not sure what it means in the context of the Twisty Law.) The notion that the default situation is “no” makes this totally transparent and concrete as a personal interaction. The fundamental counterproposition to any male whining here is ask who would want to enter another’s space, no matter how previously intimate, when in any doubt of one’s welcome? To me the only answer here is simple—a rapist. Sure, its a strong term in the more subtle cases, but (a) lets own it because we do it, and (b) the intrinsic issue doesn’t change with the level of “subtlety”.

    Furthermore, men who want to graduate to humanhood have to let go of our supposed right to “have sex”. This is just a removal of our object’s agency. (I mean, in terms of a “right” to “sex”, one can’t even speak of a “partner”.)

    Rather than scare up any more male logic-shpielers here, don’t trash this tread with more mens’ rumination but join the comment thread on my blog (click my name). I depend on the moderator to bar this comment if I’m violating net-etiquette in diverting male commentary.

  33. Twisty

    “Twisty’s idea that we consider a girl to be saying “no” unless otherwise explicitly stated.”

    This is not my idea at all. There is no other explicit statement. Read the post again.

  34. ramou

    Conversely, if you approach things with mutual benefit / win-win scenarios in mind then it generally feels unpleasant and creepy to move your desire forward past where your partner is.

    Tyler D, may I assume you’re asserting that this is as it should be? Just to clarify.

  35. Jim

    I recently came across an article by Eva Kittay in which she argues that the “contractual” model of consent should not apply to sex in the first place, and that sex should be viewed as a communicative action rather than as a conquest of one person by another. In that article she suggests that consent should be rethought as “mutual desire.” The problem with the contractual model, as many of the commenters have already pointed out, is that it ostensibly would require both parties to be autonomous agents, when, under patriarchy, women are not supposed to be autonomous agents. Thus, sex could not be consensual, if consent=contract. But I like Twisty’s suggestion even better than Kittay’s, because Kittay doesn’t really make it clear how women are suddenly going to have agency on the “consent=communication” model. If we added the stipulation that, legally, women have always already said no, and took “consent” out of the picture entirely, then this would perhaps provide the impetus needed for men to revise the ways in which they currently think about sex (i.e. as domination).

  36. Alex

    I was afraid I had put it incorrectly.
    After rereading this post and the original one, I believe I see it better. I found this passage most significant:
    But if, at any time during the course of the proceedings, up to and including the storied infinitesimal microsecond preceding the sacred spilling of dudely seed, the woman elects to biff off to the nearest taco stand; and if her egress from the sweaty tableau is in any way impeded by the pronger (such an impediment would include everything from “traditional” brute force, to that insistently whispered declamation “just a couple more minutes, I’m almost there” the dread seriousness of which the fervid oaf dramatizes by that ever-so-slight tightening of his grip on her wrist); or if, in three hours or three days or, perhaps in the case of childhood abuse, in 13 years it begins to dawn on her that she has been badly used by an opportunistic predator, she has simply to make a call.
    Presto! The dude is already a rapist, because, legally, consent never existed.

    From that, I will make the analogy that when someone is on trial for breaking into my house, there is no question if I asked them in or said it was perfectly fine they came in through the skywindow, the simple fact that I say now that I didn’t want them in then is sufficient. It’s like the reverse of the concept of “dropping charges.” Where I say, oh wait, it was just my jackass brother breaking into my house, I’ll deal with that on my own.
    A woman could find out she unknowingly got an STI from a man she had sex with and accuse him of rape on the grounds that he did not alert her to his STI status.
    Because of the circumstances that a woman grows up under in our society, the idea of consent upholds the passive position of the female, giving a false sense of power, for, in reality due to the male dominated system, she is not actually free and independent to give consent.
    Alright, then to age of consent laws, they would be eliminated, correct? Would we retain any sort of age restriction? What would it mean to be “of age”?

  37. Cunning Allusionment?

    “Rather, the reason consent must be removed is because it inherently denies equal human standing to the woman.” -Tigs

    I take it that you agree that the inherent bias of the “he said/she said” implied by consent-centric laws is important and that Twisty’s Law corrects this. What you talked about here seems to me to be a related but more fundamental problem with the issue of consent. I want to be sure that I understand you correctly on the reason “[consent] inherently denies equal human standing to the woman.” Obviously, people don’t need to consent to their own actions, so requiring women to consent to sex implies that sex isn’t an act of their own will. By removing women as an agent acting on their own behalf, sex becomes something men do *to* women. Since only free agents can provide consent in the first place, in this context in becomes impossible for women to consent to heterosexual sex. Do I have this right/almost right, or am I totally off/grossly offensive?

    Foilwoman: For what little it’s worth, I’m a guy whose always found the whole “pursuit” thing really disturbing. I could never figure out why my girl friends kept falling for the same assholish behavior over and over again. It was all so transparent and – even to my untrained eye – sexist, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The result was that my first kiss was when I was 21. I wonder if it’s kind of a vicious circle (though it’s obvious that women have the short end of the circle) in that young girls are trained to recognize predatory behavior as positive interest, and guys are trained to be predators. If someone from either gender rejects those models, they don’t get the “opportunity” (I say that with the bitter irony it deserves) to participate in the sex culture we’re all trained to want very much (even if girls are also taught to suppress any indication that they do). In retrospect, I can see that all I was “missing out” on was most likely a bunch of shallow, oppressive, and unhealthy “relationships.” But boy-howdy did it seem like I was missing out on a lot more at the time. IBTP.

    Feminist Avatar: RE: “Love is about violence”: To keep this short, I may have become unintelligible, I apologize. We’re accustomed to thinking of the present moment as occurring at the end of history, like a comet with the tail spreading out behind us. But we all know that this now is not the end of history for we live in its very midst. Love and violence have been slowly separating from each other over the last several thousand years. When I look at history I see that despite the concerted efforts of power, liberation and equality have been as inexorable as the wind. I suppose I’m just wondering if love can be more than what it is now. Is there good use to seeing love as part of a great arc of liberation that we live within? I see words as functional tools for conveying information and shaping thought. Different definitions of love are useful for different things. The way you defined love is useful for the task of illuminating the very real connections between love and violence and patriarchy’s role in maintaining those connections. Can we maintain consistency but also use a term like love in multiple ways? Are other definitions useful at all at this point in the liberation process?

  38. LMYC

    Hm. “Consent” == “You got something I want. Gimme. Okay gimme, please.”

    “Consentless” == “We’re simply doing something together, carrying out an act that requires two people to perform, in most common incarnations.”

  39. Trout

    Twisty, I think your paradigm is missing an essential element. Women facing the question of whether to have sex face a Catch-22 type situation. No matter whether they say “no” or “yes” there is the potential for serious trouble.

    If the woman says “yes,” initiates sex, or merely shows too much enthusiasm, she may be judged as a slut or “bad girl,” possibly triggering negative consequences. After saying “yes” to sex, a woman is no longer entitled to even those tiny bits of protection provided by the patriarchy to “nice girls.” Worse, if the woman judges herself by patriarchal rules, she may damage her own self-esteem by saying “yes.” In other words, “yes” is dangerous.

    Oppositely, if the woman says “no,” a bastard who doesn’t care how she feels might rape her regardless. The rape might even be worse, or possibly even murderous, because the woman said “no.” (Under patriarchal rules, *HURL* a woman who disobeys must be *HURL* punished.) On the other hand, the man might come from a culture where women never, ever say “yes” no matter how they feel, and attempt to force sex on her. (BTW, I’m not making excuses for a raping asshole, enumerating the hazards of this particular minefield.)

    There are other possible disadvantages to saying “no.” If the woman is interested in the man, but her patriarchal culture doesn’t allow her to express that interest, a man who doesn’t understand her culture might take her “no” seriously when he shouldn’t. He’s proved himself to be a “nice guy,” but “he doesn’t understand.” Or the woman might be inexperienced in saying “no” while signaling “yes” in other ways, resulting in poor communication. Alternately, the man might lose interest permanently after hearing a “no” that’s nothing more than an attempt to preserve “good-girl” status before “reluctantly” giving in.

    Very simply, most women don’t have the freedom to say “yes” or “no” based on their real feelings. Instead, they must evaluate the man, their culture, and the situation, then say whatever does the least damage. It’s like facing the choice of voting for Bill Clinton or Bob Dole, but much, much worse.

    I blame the patriarchy.

  40. Virago

    When a discussion about rape degenerates (ha!) into talk about “love and romance” and desire, it really underscores the point that, yes, for many/most/all(?) men, those things are all related.

    What do women think? For women is rape on a continuum that includes desire, love, and romance?

    Do we have to solve the question of why men relate these things to rape before we can end rape?

  41. alphabitch

    I do like the default = no consent concept, and I actually do think that — while it sounds crazy, it just might work. Eventually. But only if the default position of no consent applies to everyone, male and female and trans and whatever. Whomever. This is NOT a ‘what about the men’ quibble, but a much deeper thing. Call me sentimental, but I want not only to be able to grant (or withhold) my consent when I choose, I also want to be able to ask for sex when I want it, and I don’t necessarily want to be asking someone whose default = yes.

  42. Cunning Allusionment?

    I thought Feminist Avatar brought up love and romance?

  43. Cunning Allusionment?

    Nope sorry, Cannibal Femme started the love and romance discussion in the very first post.

  44. Virago

    I’m sorry, Trout, but is this your first experience with the dilemma that women face under the madonna/whore paradigm? If so, you might want to consider that perhaps Twisty didn’t address this explicitly because it’s something that all advanced patriarchy blamers understand from first-hand experience. In other words, it’s so painfully obvious to the women who have lived it (and continue to live it) that it often goes unsaid among us.

    And this:

    If the woman is interested in the man, but her patriarchal culture doesn’t allow her to express that interest, a man who doesn’t understand her culture might take her “no” seriously when he shouldn’t. He’s proved himself to be a “nice guy,” but “he doesn’t understand.”

    is more of the ol’ what-about-the-menz?! b.s. I think.

  45. Virago

    Actually, I was asking the women to chime in on their viewpoint about the rape/love/romance/desire continuum.

    Cannibal Femme may already have when she wrote:

    But I’ll never be free of my personal distrust. Any and all romantic finesse will ever be, for me, nothing more than a sophisticated attempt to tear off a piece. Color me creeped out.

  46. Virago

    And actually, I believe that Cannibal Femme was reacting to finnsmotel’s writing:

    “I’m merely calling for discussion on how to best secure consent without necessarily abandoning the intrigue of romantic interlude and its concomitant communication ambiguities.”

  47. wtf

    There seem to be several interpretations of the meaning behind the original post, and I must admit that I am thoroughly confused at this point. So I want to hear it from Twisty, just to make sure things are clarified. First of all, according to the new Twisty paradigm, is it possible for a man and a woman to completely agree to have sex or is that just an impossibility under the patriarchy? People have said here that every single instance of hetero sex is a case of rape. Is this part of the Twisty paradigm? Secondly, if it is possible for a man and a woman to completely agree to sexual intercourse, I’m curious as to how this would play out in said paradigm. Once and for all, is consent an issue? If so, what constitutes consent and how can it be proven in court? If the idea of the law is to eliminate the element of consent altogether, then what exactly constitutes an agreement between partners? Not trying to pick at the nits, but I really just want to be on equal footing so I know exactly what’s being said.

    On a slightly more specific note, I’m a little confused by the retro-active withdrawal of consent. It makes perfect sense in a case where a woman does not know at the time that she is being raped, and in hindsight realizes what happened to her and wants to put her rapist away. But is the proposed law suggesting that any case of heterosexual intercourse could potentially be rape if the woman wants to look back and call it that? Suppose a man and woman agree to have sex. For the sake of argument, let’s say the woman initiates, and she’s “jumping up and down” and screaming that she wants it, as was suggested earlier. So going into the act, there is no doubt from either party that this is a mutual agreement. Let’s say both parties enjoy the sex all the way until they’re finished, and at the end of it all they both express their enjoyment. Assuming that the woman was a free agent to enter into this agreement in the first place, years down the line, can she retro-actively claim it was rape? Is it at all possible for a man to have sex with a woman and be 100% sure that there isn’t a chance in hell he can be convicted of rape? Or is it simply that every single heterosexual act is already a case of rape? If someone, preferably Twisty, could clarify it would be most appreciated.

  48. CafeSiren

    Slightly tangential, but: This discussion reminds me of the horrid fact that, until about two decades ago in the U.S., there was no such thing as marital rape. Permanent and enduring consent was presumed as a part of the married state. De jure, it was presumed of both partners, but de facto, since cases of women raping men are so rare as to be almost nonexistent, this was just another manifestation of patriarchal privilege that has since been addressed by most states.

    However, one wonders how many women would lodge rape charges against their (non-estranged) husbands, even with the law on their side.

    /tangent

  49. Trout

    Virago, it wasn’t “What about the menz,” but an attempt to make explicit the nature of the minefield. I agree that the problems with both “yes” and “no” are obvious, but what isn’t obvious is that the ability to honestly state a heartfelt “yes” or “no” is a perequisite for the legal idea Twisty suggests.

    (Taking Twisty seriously may not always be the best idea, but her suggestion is interesting enough that I’m willing to play with it a little.)

  50. stekatz

    Glad to see the discussion resume. Not that I don’t care, but I’ll opt out of it for now to see where it goes. Darn responsibilities.

    Good stuff. Blame on.

  51. Virago

    In fact, it is a what-about-the-menz argument. You’re really just trying to say that it’s so confusing for us Nice Guys when you women say “no” and mean “yes”! What’s a Nice Guy to do?

    What about the menz Nice Guys (TM)?!

  52. Rozasharn

    Trout wrote: “I agree that the problems with both “yes” and “no” are obvious, but what isn’t obvious is that the ability to honestly state a heartfelt “yes” or “no” is a prerequisite for the legal idea Twisty suggests.”

    No it isn’t. It’s just a prerequisite to having sex under such circumstances.

    Any woman who can’t bring herself to say “yes” when she means yes can darn well remain celibate until such time as she learns.

    If she can’t say a heartfelt “no” or “yes”, then she is conflicted and not really eager to have sex.

    Arguments to the contrary are all forms of “But what about the men? They might miss a chance at getting off and that would be awful!”

    Your example of a “‘no’ that’s nothing more than an attempt to preserve ‘good-girl’ status before ‘reluctantly’ giving in” is indicative of someone who either A) will suffer if (when) it becomes known she’s having sex or B) is not fully into the idea. Either way, not having sex is the best outcome of such a situation.

  53. Rozasharn

    Trout wrote: “Very simply, most women don’t have the freedom to say “yes” or “no” based on their real feelings.”

    If that is the case, then they don’t have the freedom to decide the course of their own sex lives, and they really are being raped.

    I would like to think that at least most American women have more freedom than that most of the time.

  54. Xtina

    I don’t have much input here (though I’m reading avidly, when I have time), I just wanted to take this chance to leap in with a thank you.  So.

    Thank you, Twisty, for writing about this, and thank you to tinfoil hattie who rephrased the consent issue such that it lit huge light bulbs of “OH YES THAT THERE” in my head.  It’s currently on the back burner in my head.

    Just wanted to get that in while there was a chance of it getting seen.  :)

  55. Tefnut

    Trout,

    You’ve missed the point slightly – but just slightly. See, you seem to understand that women under the Patriarchy have to take a large number of parameters into account when deciding whether to “consent” to sex: the partner, the context, the culture, etc. But then you refer to women being unable to say “yes” to a man even if they genuinely want him…after you yourself have just established that a woman under Patriarchy never “just wants” a man.
    The situation, context, and culture might just all come together in a way that makes sex the “proper” choice, and with a bit of luck (OK, a lot of luck…) the experience might be positive and even enjoyable – but it is still never something that the woman chooses just because she wants the man (or other sexual partner). In a patriarchy a woman never “just wants a man” (or other sexual partner…) and fucks him (her, it, hyr).
    That’s why Virago attempted to tear you a new one when you said: If the woman is interested in the man, but her patriarchal culture doesn’t allow her to express that interest, a man who doesn’t understand her culture might take her “no” seriously when he shouldn’t. He’s proved himself to be a “nice guy,” but “he doesn’t understand.” Or the woman might be inexperienced in saying “no” while signaling “yes” in other ways, resulting in poor communication.
    Arrgh. You seem to think that there is some magical sexual “true desire/lack of desire” that is separate from the myriad Patriarchal considerations that you yourself ennumerated. You’ve basically said – Sure, women take all sorts of things into consideration…and they ALSO either REALLY want to have sex, or REALLY don’t want to. Unfortunately – it doesn’t quite work that way. Under Patriarchy, women are always conflicted and divided between all the elements that affect their decision to have sex. Whether they also happen to be horny for the guy (or etc.) is usually incidental, and often irrelevant. Therefore when you basically say “women say no when they mean yes and that leads to miscommunication and guys don’t know what to do but it’s OK becuase women aren’t allowed to say what they REALLY mean,” it comes off as either patronizing (which I don’t think it is) or, as Virago thinks, a whine of “but what about the meeeenz!!” (for the record, I don’t think that either. I think it’s simply very difficult for a man to understand what it’s like to be a woman in this world).
    Trout, women ALWAYS mean what they say. Whether they are conflicted with their choice (due to the million different and often conflicting parameters they have to consider), or it goes against what they think they might have done if they weren’t living in the Patriarchy (impossible and irrelevant – we ARE living under the Patriarchy, and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives), a woman’s “no” and her “yes” are EXACTLY what she meant to say at the time, because that’s what she decided was in her best interest. Any confusion that might result from that has to do with the fact that only half the human is forced to negotiate life as sex-class non-agents.

  56. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    I think Trout’s onto something, though I don’t know if I can grab hold of its tail.

    It’s what Twisty says over and over in different ways: Women in a patriarchy have no agency, no free will; it is literally impossible to remove ourselves from its context.

    How can we know when we’re having a single thought that is entirely untarred by the patriarchal brush? Answer: We can’t. Because our belief systems, the ideas we use to think with, the very words with which these concepts are constructed, are patriarchal in origin. Even the fabulous lexicon of language created here is largely in reaction to patriarchy, and so is therefore trapped in its cage.

    I’m sure someone else has already, and will again, say this better and more clearly than I apparently can. Jest tryin’ to wrap my noggin around a notion that is one slippery little bugger.

  57. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Ah. While I was busy straining away at my little thought, along came Tefnut and captured at least part of what I was trying to say:

    Under Patriarchy, women are always conflicted and divided between all the elements that affect their decision to have sex.

    And we are also ‘conflicted and divided’ by patriarchal considerations about practically any other decision you care to name as well.

    Though I must beg to differ with this comment: women ALWAYS mean what they say

    How many passive-aggressives (of either gender) have you known who say exactly the OPPOSITE of what they mean while relying on your sensitivity/empathy/magical powers of intuition to lead you to whatever’s hidden between the lines?

    Ok, must go sleepy-bye now.

  58. Virago

    I’ve not heard it said ’round these parts that “women have no agency, no free will.” In fact, women do have agency and free will, but all their choices are bounded by the patriarchy. We’re still choosing–but our choices are very, very limited. There’s a difference. (Additionally, women have been known to side with the patriarchy and the most anyone ’round here asks them to do is to make their choices with their eyes open.)

    Women’s choices–about sex, about finances, about shoes, about everydamnthing–are always framed in such a way as to have the best interests of men at heart, which is why it pains me to see a discussion about rape being served up with the ol’ “When she says ‘no’ she might mean ‘yes’ and then what are the menz–er, I mean, poor women–supposed to do?” with a side dish of “What happens to love/romance/desire if we have to worry about being rapists, er, I mean, about consent?”

    Those are arguments offered by a patriarchy that wants to keep up the current defenses of “She said no but she meant yes” and “Rape=porn=sex=love/romance/desire.”

  59. inspiredbycoffee

    Hey all. Apologies for wading in here with a great big quotation, but I happen to be reading Mackinnon’s “Toward a Feminist Theory of the State” at the moment, and I just got to the part about rape this evening. This passage (which I’m thinking – given the canonical nature of the book – is very possibly the root of much of what has already been said here and therefore pretty much old-hat to a lot of you, though still quite new to me) seems remarkably appropriate and therefore worth repeating. At the very least, I think it rather succinctly puts pay to the whole “what about the menz / nice guys” argument. Here goes then. Hope it resonates:

    “The deeper problem is that rape law’s assumption that a single, objective state of affairs existed, one that merely needs to be determined by evidence, when so many rapes involve honest men and violated women. When the reality is split, is the woman raped but not by a rapist? Under these conditions, the law is desinged to conclude that a rape did not occur.

    To attempt to solve this problem by adopoting reasonable belief as a standard without asking, on a substantive social basis, to whom the belief is reasonable and why – meaning, what conditions make it reasonable – is one-sided: male-sided.

    What is it reasonable for a man to believe concerning a woman’s desire for sex when heterosexuality is compulsory?

    What is reasonable for a man (accused or juror) to believe concerning a woman’s consent when he has been viewing positive-outcome-rape pornography?

    The one whose subjectivity becomes the objectivity of ‘what happened’ is a matter of social meaning, that is, a matter of sexual politics. One-sidedly erasing women’s violation or dissolving presumptions into the subjectivity of either side are the alternatives dictated by the terms of the object / subject split, respectively.

    These alternatives will only retrace that split to women’s detriment until its terms are confronted as gendered to the ground.”

    …which confrontation, it seemse to me, is exactly what’s going on here! No???

  60. delphyne

    “So if we go with Twisty’s idea that we consider a girl to be saying “no” unless otherwise explicitly stated. Thus, we have girls saying “no” a priori and guys saying “yes” a priori. I may have made an error in logic, but doesn’t that still uphold the idea of the woman as being receiving/passive and the man being the active?”

    I know that Twisty has already told you that this isn’t what she is arguing, but I think it’s a good illustration of the mindset that is being fought here.

    Why do you think that you get to consider anything about the woman? That’s really a general “you”, because most people take the same approach to rape. A woman is raped and suddenly everybody is considering her – look what happened to the Duke rape victim. She knew what those men did to her but from the way people behaved you’d think that everybody else knew better. Under Twisty’s law it’s the woman who decides whether she was raped or not. Her. Not you. Not Trout. Not the man who penetrated her. Not the court (although they will act against the man if he did rape her). The only idea this proposal would uphold is that a woman is sovereign over her own body. She decides what happens to her and what has happened to her. Your concerns about activity/passivity remain your own.

    Although just to add, this idea that men are “active” and women are “passive” about sex, that passivity is bad, and women should aspire to also being active to are actually euphemisms for the real state of affairs which is that men are trained to be rapists and that women basically have to suck it up. It’s the active part of the equation that’s problematic. Active meaning in practice that the man goes at a woman using every trick he has until he breaks down her defences, which of course is rape.

  61. kazdiva

    I heard Germaine Greer talking about the high incidence of rape and the low reporting rate, and even lower conviction rate. She wondered if reducing the penalties, but also reducing the burden of proof in court would increase the conviction rate.
    It would be like a deal with the devil, but would work by getting loads more rapists convicted. As part of the deal, a non-custodial sentence, or a shorter sentence would handed down. However, a conviction would place the rapist on an offender’s register. A web site showing the details, and photos of all convicted rapists would give women access to information on men that had raped.
    The suggestion to reduce penalties for rape drew a collective sharp intake of breath from the audience, but it’s a interesting possibility, don’t you think?

  62. Silence

    First of all, what we have to get away from is that sex is oh-so-very vital to one’s health and well-being. No, I don’t know how to go about it either, aside from nuking every television show and movie and magazine and taking children out of society altogether, but we have to stop convincing young folks (and others) that sex is the be-all end-all of human existance. Then they won’t feel so horribly deprived when they’re not getting some. Then maybe men will find more enjoyment taking walks with their spouses and girlfriends, or talking, or doing activities that do not involve rubbing your genitals together.

    I mean, am I the only one who is appalled that we sell make-up kits to eight year old girls? That kids as young as thirteen — or younger — are having sex? Shit, when I was thirteen, I wanted to romp around and play tug-of-war with my dog in the backyard. This pressure to make kids sexual has to be coming from the patriarchy. I think it’s another factor we need to examine in view of the whole problem.

    As for what Twisty’s proposing here, I think the core of the trouble has been very well articulated above. Men do not take it seriously when a woman says ‘no.’ Therefore, to have a woman saying ‘no’ as the starting point in a sexual encouter is almost beyond their comprehension. It’s something they’ve been trained to ignore since they hit puberty, and maybe earlier. So they’re coming up with all these ‘logical’ talking points and reasons for why Twisty’s proposition wouldn’t work in the real world.

    And it all boils down to this: It wouldn’t work in the real world because women are bitches and the grand majority are just waiting to take advantage of the Twisty Law and use it to put thousands of innocent, undeserving men in prison. So it’s much better to continue as we are and have men raping women and women raked over the grill, humiliated and disbelieved if they protest.

    And what is the flaw in this great argument? Twisty’s already pointed it out. If men treat women decently, they’re not going to get accused. Period. I’m really furious at all thses cries of ‘oh, the poor innocent men!’ because what it really means is: ‘women are a bunch of untrustworthy sluts.’

    And now I’m leaving on vacation and am doubtless going to miss endless fascinating posts. Blast. Ah, well, blame on everyone! I shall return.

  63. delphyne

    Well Greer based her assertion that it would be OK to reduce penalties for rape by arguing that rape can’t be so bad because if a woman had a choice between having her nose cut off and being raped she’d choose the rape, so what are we making such a fuss about?

    So my opinion for what it’s worth is no, it isn’t an interesting possibility.

  64. kiki

    I’m sorry to block quote so much, but my html isn’t good enough to find this quote on the page. This is from an archived Feministing posting that I happened to bookmark. I wonder what you advanced blamers make of this idea of a commodity model vs a performance model?

    I think the key to changing the rape culture is to change the view of sexuality from a commodity model to a performance model.

    What I mean by a commodity model is the view that sex is something women have and men get; what Amanda Marcotte refers to as the “pussy oversoul” that women are guardians of and that men make applications for access to. Sex is like a ticket; women have them and men try to get them. Women may give them away or may trade them for something valuable, but it’s a transaction in a good.

    The commodity model is shared in common by both the libertines and the prudes of a patriarchy. To the libertine, guys want to maximize their take of tickets. The prudes want women to keep the tickets to buy something really important: the spouse; provider, protector, etc.

    That whole model is wrong. Under that model, consent is not an affiramtive partnership. Instead, if someone tries to take a ticket and the owner doesn’t object, then the ticket is free for the taking. Under this way of thinking, consent is the absence of “no.” It is therefore economically rational to someone with this commodity concept of sex that it can be taken; rape is a property crime in that view. In the past, the crime was against the male owner of women (let’s not sugar-coat it; until very recently women were in a legal way very much male property and still are in many places and ways). Even among more enlightened folks, if one takes a commodity view of sex, rape is still basically a property crime against the victim.

    The better model is the performance model, where sex is a performance, and partnered sex is a collaboration between the partners; like dance or music.

    Under a performance model, consent is not the absence of “no.” Consent is affirmative participation. Who picks up a guitar and jams with a bassist who just stands there? Who dances with a partner who is just standing there and staring? In the absence of affirmative participation, there is no collaboration; forcing participation by coersion is not a property crime, but a crime of violence like kidnapping.

    Under this model, looking for affirmative participation is built into the conception. If our boys learn this from their pre-adolescence, then the idea that consent is affirmative rather than the absence of objection will be ingrained.

    The performance model has the added feature that it eliminates slut-baiting. A commodity is finite; if women give or trade away their tickets, they have lost something of value, and the relevant question is what they got in exchange. If sex is a performance, then the question is how well it worked out. There’s no finite commodity to run out of, and nobody gets called a slut for jamming with too many musicians.

  65. Luckynkl

    Pardon me, or tell me I’m wrong, but I think comments here are missing a central point. Rape law and everything about the way women’s sexuality has been controlled under patriarchy since at least the Hammurabi codes has had no interest in women’s will.

    Women (wombs) are PROPERTY of fathers then husbands. Desire? Who cares? Consent? Only disproven by violent resistance and, preferably, death rather than violation of the vagina (since our entire worth IS our vagina). That’s why the law cares much less about other forms of sexual abuse and assault. Like most law, it’s designed to protect property.

    Touché, Roamaround. I’ve been waiting for someone to connect the dots.

    Our laws are based on old English law. Rape was never considered to be a crime against women under the law. Women were considered property. The property of men. So the crime occurs when one man trespasses or infringes upon the property rights of another man. It is the property owners (the man) who is harmed, not the property itself (women). The property owners (men) are then awarded damages for the damaging of his goods (raped women) and compensated for his losses and the decreased value of his property. (Virginal women are considered to have much greater value). Not owned by any man? Then no harm or damage has been done.

    Our laws are a clear reflection of this. Those who think women aren’t considered property any more in this day and age haven’t been in a courtroom lately. I can assure you these barbaric views, attitdues and laws are very much alive and well in the kangeroo courts and nothing much has changed over the centuries. Women are still on trial. One can read verbatim from the transcripts of witch trials. Women are still held to the same standards as they were 500 years ago.

    Until we get that women are viewed as property by men and their system and laws, and that nothing much has changed in these views and attitudes over the centuries, women will be ill prepared to deal with the time warp they will be hurtled through, as they enter the Twilight Zone and are transported back to the days of Malleus Maleficarum. We’ve come a long way, baby? LOL. Hardly. Lip speak is just that. Lip speak. Actions say something quite different. Women are not considered human. Women are considered to be property. Property for men to buy, sell, steal and own. If men feel like setting fire to their property, then so be it. It’s his property to do with as he pleases. Not owned? Then it’s open season. You’re up for grabs. Whoever heard of property having sovereignty over itself and needing to give consent?

  66. slythwolf

    I’m a member of the forums at Indiebride.com, and for a while we were having a discussion about bachelor parties and the prevalence of the use of prostituted women by the assholes at these parties. Several of the women in the thread had experienced serious problems in their relationships due to their husbands’ bachelor parties and saw fit to warn others about the things that often go on at same. There were a couple of trolls in the thread, one of whom (if I recall correctly) berated me for “taking away [my fiancé's] God-given right to look at boobs” and told us all we were fucked up for thinking it was okay to end a relationship if a man overstepped the relationship’s boundaries at a bachelor party. Her position was that yes, it was wrong for a man to overstep the boundaries, but if the woman never explicitly told him she didn’t want him using prostituted women at his bachelor party, or watching them with each other, or eating food out of their vaginas, or whatever specific thing, how was he to know, and how dare she punish him for doing what his friends told him was okay.

    Indiebride.com’s forums have a lovely little button labeled “ignore this user”. We made use of it. If IBTP had such a button, maybe the trolls wouldn’t be able to derail threads so easily, because we’d just put them on “ignore” and talk around them.

    But I definitely think it’s much better just to send them away. They have no business fucking with us, in my opinion.

  67. slythwolf

    Damn, I’ve posted on the wrong post. Too many tabs open at a time.

  68. lawbitch

    Not only are women are quasi-property in our culture, women are not considered very valuable. To wit:

    “…[T]he national average sentence for men who kill their female partners is two to six years in prison. Criminal justice systems and juries do not, on average, treat the murder of women by their husbands terribly seriously. In contrast, women who kill their male partners are sentenced to an average of 15 years, three times as much as male defendants, despite the fact that many of these women killed in self-defense.”

    http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/otheropinions/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1179120053203970.xml&coll=1

    AND that’s for killing women, not merely prodding them.

  69. TinaH

    Under a performance model, consent is not the absence of “no.” Consent is affirmative participation. Who picks up a guitar and jams with a bassist who just stands there? Who dances with a partner who is just standing there and staring? In the absence of affirmative participation, there is no collaboration; forcing participation by coersion is not a property crime, but a crime of violence like kidnapping.

    Under this model, looking for affirmative participation is built into the conception. If our boys learn this from their pre-adolescence, then the idea that consent is affirmative rather than the absence of objection will be ingrained.

    Emphasis mine.

    Part of why I hang out here is because I am not extremely well versed in academic feminism and am sucking down the learning like a flower in the desert. I’m raising a son and don’t want him to be an asshole. The above is a significant tool I can use and for that, I thank you.

  70. lawbitch

    Good ideas posted here on the new thread. I agree that lowering sentences is a bad idea. I like the idea of creating *real* consequences, though. How about posting these guys on a website? All rapists on a website accessible to all women. No privacy arguments–rapists lose that when they rape. How about those electronic monitored ankle things? Not only do they track, women can see them. In short, treat these rapists like the predators and social rejects that they are.

  71. Virago

    All convicted rapists are currently online, accessible to all. The listing includes each man’s name, aliases, address, job location, precise conviction(s), and a photograph. Some websites even have a map where you can see how close you live to a convicted rapist.

  72. tinfoil hattie

    Thread hijack alert:

    Lately I have been jokingly thanking Twisty for “ruining” my life with IBTP.

    Now, I have to say I actually did have a friendship fracture over my steadfast refusal to unquestioningly accept to patriarchal constructs any longer. My best friend, whom I’ve known for 25 years, told me I’m too strident and that I have an anger emanating from me, and this is contributing to the “noise” in her life.

    I said you’re damn right I’m angry, and you act like that’s a bad thing, and I don’t think it is.

    Believe me, I won’t be sharing the “consent” thread with her.

    Wow. I am reeling from this casualty of my life.

    Thank goodness for all of you here.

  73. lawbitch

    The availability of sex offender info on-line varies by state. In Texas, there is a readily accessible website, and you can search by zip code. In Colorado, I had to make a trip to the constable’s office and make a written request to obtain a list of sex offenders. It seems that Colorado makes the sex offender’s privacy a bigger priority than the safety of the general public. I was primiarly interested in pedophiles since I have kids.

    I’m suggesting that *all* states make access available to sex offender information. Although there are sex offenders out there who are not registered, it makes sense to know the convicted offenders.

  74. lawbitch

    Tinfoil Hattie, my condolences. As we age, some people stop growing. “Noise”=anxiety about looking at my own life in a different way, flexibility and change. Sucks.

  75. Tigs

    Cunning Allusionment?:
    “Obviously, people don’t need to consent to their own actions, so requiring women to consent to sex implies that sex isn’t an act of their own will. By removing women as an agent acting on their own behalf, sex becomes something men do *to* women. Since only free agents can provide consent in the first place, in this context in becomes impossible for women to consent to heterosexual sex.”

    Yup, that’s what I mean with big stress on the “in this context”

    The part I struggle with is the vicious balancing act of asserting self-hood under patriarchy. Patriarchy limits women’s ability to act as self-determinate beings, but this does not remove all possibility for autonomous action because a woman is able to see the lie and act against it.
    Only when women see patriarchal society for what it is, see the limitations and the chinks in the wall, can heterosexual sex even begin to be not-rape.

    On a side note:
    The existentialists have a lot to say about living in the face of death that is useful for thinking about this. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that de Beauvoir came from there.

  76. ACS

    Very interesting. Could you point me towards some sources of further information about this?

    Susan Estrich proposed a new crime of “negligent rape”: a crime where the perpetrator did not know whether their partner was consenting, or did not take appropriate measures to determine whether their partner was able to consent. A prosecution of negligent rape would focus on the perpetrator’s actions with regard to determining consent, rather than an endless parsing of the victim’s communication of consent or non-consent. The question is not “did the victim do enough to communicate that they didn’t consent?” but rather “did the perpetrator do enough to determine whether their partner did consent?”

    I’m a little skeptical of this one, because it seems to create a situation where negligent rape is to rape as manslaughter is to murder. I would much prefer that all rapes (in the current system) be prosecuted using negligence liability.

    I believe the crime already exists in Norway, and is called “gross negligent rape”?

    A few months ago, at a conference, I ran into a prosecutor at the King County (Seattle) prosecutor’s office, who was excited about using this theory to attempt rape prosecutions using a modified form of negligence liability. The article I’ve liked has caused a certain amount of stir amongst sexual assault prosecutors; I’m fairly sure more than one state court of appeals is going to be hearing appeals on cases convicted under this theory sometime in the next couple years.

    – ACS

  77. BubbasNightmare

    Twisty:

    Yeah, but the thing is, love is an idea, and language shapes ideas. How else would love become indistinguishable from sex, and sex indistinguishable from porn?

    Because the concept of love is philosophical (moral) in nature, not linguistic. If you define “love” in moral terms (as I did in my comment), and ignore how patriarchy-influenced linguistics warps “love” into “sex” (as it does), you have a bedrock to which you can rationally anchor the idea of “love” in your life. The same holds true for concepts like “value”, “duty”, and “good”. (My favorite question I ever got from my children: “What’s ‘good’?”

    Sex indistinguishable from porn? They’re two entirely different things, at least in my world. However, that’s not a luxury available to all.

  78. Viveth

    Twisty’s proposal would certainly be an improvement, but something about it still bothers me.

    By considering women to be in a “no” state by default also assumes that they are in the “sought after sexually” state. And by codifying that, are we saying that it’s ok for women to be in a constant state of being sought-after? The law would certainly help shift the burden of the “no” somewhat from her to the state, but it’s still there. Women would still be living in a world where they are pursued as objects, where they require a legal halo of protection from violation, even if it’s one in which she gets to decide if she’s been violated.

    I would rather see a justice system where women not only have sovereignty, but that they aren’t forced into a constant defensive position.

    Why should it be ok for men to be by default in pursuit?

  79. DG

    To PhysioProf way back up in the beginning:

    New Jersey’s rape laws are quite “progressive” as these things go. The legislature changed their rape laws under advisement from NOW and a few other organizations. The result is a law that does a fair amount to shift the burden of proof from women to men. Basically, men have to prove the presence of consent, and negligence is sufficient mens rea.

    One of the ugly side effects of this has been an increase in the submission of superfluous evidence – i.e. “she was wearing a short skirt”, “she was seen to have kissed some other guy the same night”, etc. This type of evidence has become less common in districts with more “old school” rape laws.

    The hydraulic between relatively good laws and the submission of character-based evidence is a frustrating one. On paper New Jersey is an oasis in a sea of very anti-woman laws. In reality the end results are no different because the legal system has compensated for the gains by allowing judges and lawyers to use their “discretion” in interpreting evidentiary and procedural laws.

  80. Feminist Avatar

    Cunning Alusionment?: I would like to think that ‘love’ can be rehabilitated just like I believe in a post-patriarchal world. I also think that Twisty’s point is really important, concepts rely on language to shape them, so I think that until we can reframe how we talk about love that it will remain ‘powerful’.

    On a different note, I notice that there is a tension in some of the comments relating to agency. If I understand Twisty, she says that women cannot have agency or choice under the patriarchy, whereas Virago, if i understand her, argues that women do have agency, but it is very constrained or limited.

    I have always found the issue of female agency important as I want to believe that we can offer resistance to the patriarchy and attempt to negotiate the terms of our oppression, even if the terms on which we negotiate are incredibly restricted. At the same time,I recognise that we cannot escape the patriarchy as our sense of self is created by the patriarchy.

    Any thoughts?

  81. Bird

    I like the “sex as communication” model proposed. It takes sex from something that is done to a woman to a dialogue: do you want to do this, I enjoy that, let’s try this instead, tonight let’s just curl up and enjoy being close instead, I have an idea, you seem uncomfortable—should I stop, and so on. Why do we think we have to be a bunch of psychics in the bedroom?

    The discovery that sex can be like this has been quite the awakening for me. But I think most men are simply unable to wrap their minds around the idea that sex might actually be better for both partners if it follows the “performance” model. They’re so conditioned to see it as conquest that they really cannot conceive of the idea, even if they are more open-minded and are careful about consent.

    Their language around sex is about getting, taking and possessing, and that construct leaves no room for a shared experience. People who have no word for something will have a hard time even picturing its existence, at least in any way that resembles the reality—one must know something to have real language for it. Men are aroused by forceful sex (physical or otherwise) because they have no other context, and they’re mostly convinced that our way just won’t work for them because they have never understood sex in any way but as dominance. Even the “enlightened” sorts are generally hung up on it. Why else would they be so afraid of the idea that not only does no mean no, but only a clear yes means yes?

    To find a male partner who uses words like surrounding instead of penetrating, who talks about a woman taking him inside rather than him entering her, who considers more than just penetration and ejaculation to be sex, who genuinely sees the act as one of shared pleasure, well, it’s not impossible. But I think until that becomes common language and normal thinking, most het sex will always have the shadings of rape, with the only difference being the severity of the violation.

    I think that’s a key issue in defining rape. When does that shading become severe enough that we consider the act legally non-consensual? If a woman says yes because she doesn’t feel like it but she figures she’ll just let her husband do it and get done, or if she resists but then relents because she just wants to get some sleep, or if she actively says no but he holds her down and does it anyways, at what point do we draw the line?

    I like Twisty’s proposal because defining that line now ends up in the hands of the woman. She gets to say when she felt the violation occurred, rather than the court system. In the active/passive debate, allowing women themselves to define the line gives them power as actors in their own lives.

    I still believe that any person accused of rape should have the right to a trial. But he shouldn’t have the right to say “But she didn’t say no!” anymore.

  82. finnsmotel

    From Twisty’s original post:

    “I grasp that, technically, the plan criminalizes all male participants in heterosexual sex.”

    It’s this part of the plan that appears to cause the legal scholar (or pre-law wannabe) to dive off into discussions about legality and fairness that assume such things are possible within patriarchy. To which the response is simple (if not necessarily watertight legally): it hasn’t been fair up to this point, patriarchy isn’t fair by default, so if we’re stuck with that paradigm, let’s try a different approach that might actually achieve fairness.

    So, yeah, the plan plainly criminalizes what has heretofore been considered the defacto standard behavior. Of course we guys, who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo (i.e. our freedom to walk about the Earth unimprisoned) are going to cry foul at this suggestion. But, that’s no surprise. We own the courts, we own the legislature, we wrote the laws based on our belief that patriarchy was right and good. What would you expect us to say?

    I say, let’s put away the concern about whether it’s fair to men or not, at least for the time being.

    Instead, let’s ask what else could we possibly do to produce fair results within a paradigm that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon?

    In fact, let’s ask, how does one propose to change the paradigm if not by enacting laws that may well appear absurd while viewed through the lens of that paradigm?

    -finn

  83. Feminist Avatar

    My post just disapeared, so I am reposting; if it reappears I apologise for saying the same thing twice.

    Cunning Allusionment?: I believe in a post-patriarchal love, just as I believe in a post-patriarchal society. I think Twisty’s point about language is key here: until we reframe the language of love, it will remain ‘powerful’.

    On another note, I notice a tension on the topic of female agency. As I understand Twisty, there is no such thing as female agency or choice under the patriarchy, whereas for Virago, if I understand her, female agency does exist but in a very restricted or limited sense.

    I have always thought that female agency was important as I believe that women can offer resistance against the patriarchy, or negotiate the terms of their oppression, even if in a very constrained way. On the otherhand, I believe that it is impossible to escape the patriarchy as it is part of our sense of self.

    Any thoughts?

  84. cycles

    The thing with love = sex = porn. Yes!

    It strikes me how the patriarchy defines couples by their sexual activities. You may have intensely close relationships with your friends and family, but you don’t boink them. That particular resource is reserved for your partner, and it’s something you’re expected to trade in a “normal” relationship. If you’re not making use of that commodity, you might as well be “just friends.”

    When sex is an activity rather than a commodity, it’s on the same level as other optional activities Twisty mentioned a few posts ago: “There’s other shit people can do together. Go get some fucking sushi. Go fishing. Play a hand of gin. Jesus fucking christ.” That was an aha moment for me. I chose somebody to spend my life with, but that relationship does not need to be defined by the sex.

    Oh, but the patriarchy loves to wield sex as weapon, punishment, and reward. It’s a special magical wonderful thing. It’s not just some pastime that humans do when they want to. Oh, heavens, no. Power, control, conquest. Boo-yah.

  85. delphyne

    You know it isn’t the patriarchy who wields sex as a weapon, punishment and reward *against women*. It’s men. Sorry to be picky but it really isn’t as abstract as people here have been trying to make it.

  86. ramou

    On a slightly more specific note, I’m a little confused by the retro-active withdrawal of consent. It makes perfect sense in a case where a woman does not know at the time that she is being raped, and in hindsight realizes what happened to her and wants to put her rapist away. But is the proposed law suggesting that any case of heterosexual intercourse could potentially be rape if the woman wants to look back and call it that? –wtf

    There is no withdrawal of consent. It was never given. There’s no 100% surety that a woman will not decide something is rape in the future. That’s the idea. The man should keep it in his pants unless he’s comfortable with that risk. So yes, the law is suggesting that it’s rape if the woman says it is. Period.

  87. Nymphalidae

    I must admit my surprise upon reading your first post upon realizing that I didn’t already exist in that state of Keep-The-Fuck-Off-Me. Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised. But that realization made me think your idea a fantastic one.

  88. PhysioProf

    To ACS and DG:

    Thanks for elaborating on the negligent rape concept.

  89. Bird

    Feminist Avatar, I’ve been thinking a lot about women’s agency lately, particularly as it appears in popular culture. People will so often tell me a film has great women characters, but when you see it , they have no real power or agency of their own and re instead continually portrayed as responding to the actions of men. I’m sort of caught up in looking at this stuff right now, and it’s an ongoing consideration of what our role is as shown in the pop media. That ultimately carries through to real life. So I have some (still muddled) thinking on the issue.

    In reality, women’s agency is severely restricted, but I have trouble with the statement that we have none. If women truly have no agency under the patriarchy, then we have no power to affect the changes we are demanding. A complete lack of agency means, for me, that we will never be able to bring to fruition the destruction of patriarchal structures, no matter how hard we try, because the lack of agency makes our efforts futile and ineffectual.

    I may be a youthful optimist, but I refuse to accept that I have no power to bring about change or to direct my own life. Yes, that power is curtailed by a number of sociocultural factors, but it still exists, even if it’s only the ability to spit in the face of the oppressors (please note this is a metaphor—I don’t go around spitting at people) or to act on my own desires even if those actions fall outside the rules. Even small defiant moments and small independent decisions are agency and action, and the collective impact of millions of women acting even in tiny ways will mount up to change.

    In my books, that’s agency. Agency is my ability to live my life as much outside patriarchy’s box as possible. Yes, my actions and choices will be framed in patriarchy, since we can’t really get outside those structures, but I ultimately decide how to act and how to live. Sure, some of that will be reacting, but some of those choices really are mine—there is some small corner of my soul that really is my own.

    Feel free to use your (non)agency to disagree, though. I’m good with that.

  90. LouisaMayAlcott

    Delphyne,

    I agree.

    And: men aren’t going to stop weilding sex as a weapon just because we hand them an abstraction.

  91. LouisaMayAlcott

    OK.

    “i” before “e” except after “c”

    Sorry.

  92. Feminist Avatar

    Bird, I think I share your position on agency, but perhaps I too am a youthful optimist!

  93. bigbalagan

    Cycles, not only “that relationship does not need to be defined by the sex”, but lets get rid of the term altogether. That is, just don’t have sex. By which I mean, do whatever some number of people from 1 to infinity agree to do with each other (I mean, you can’t even define it as ‘physical’ vs. ‘mental’ vs. ‘spritual’, can ya?) but don’t “have sex”.

    My thought is that, short of trying to invent a whole new set of terms a la Mary Daly (which is a wonderful but un-bloggingly time-consuming overhead), let’s not risk any conceptual contamination we can avoid by using a different word. So far, I’ve been saying and thinking ‘intimacy’, which is basically openended (but also something to which males believe they have automatic entitlement).

  94. delphyne

    Why not keep the same terms, but men stop having sex with women who don’t want to have sex with them? It’s not the terms that are the problem, it’s men’s behaviour.

  95. Feminist Avatar

    Ok another question, does agency imply consent? (Not necessarily to sex.) As Twist once noted, I cannot consent to my own oppression, but does having agency imply I can? Is female agency entirely reactive, in the sense that we can resist and negotiate and desperately try to stop ourselves from drowning, but we cannot be active agents?

    What about where power hierarchies intertwine. Can I not consent to my own oppression, but consent to oppress gay people or black people?

  96. ramou

    Is female agency entirely reactive That doesn’t sound like agency. Not that reactive behavior is outside the scope of agency, but it certainly isn’t its entirety. I think that a qualification of the semantics is essentially redefining the term, so isn’t too worthwhile (if we define agency as eating potatoes, it’s no longer agency)

    What about where power hierarchies intertwine. Can I not consent to my own oppression, but consent to oppress gay people or black people? Please clarify. I didn’t understand what you meant by this part.

  97. cycles

    One thing that squicks me out is the opposite of “if it’s rape to her, it’s rape period” – no matter what it is to her, some men consider it a quasi-rape, or at least a triumph of their own power. Mutually initiated and enjoyed sexual activities become one-sided penile victories after the fact. Blech.

  98. ramou

    I note that while <q></q> appears to quote properly in the preview, they quotes are stripped upone posting. back to <blockqoute></blockqoute> :(

    Off topic, but hopefully useful, as everyone is quoting everyone else all the time.

  99. skyscraper

    ramou
    re: retro-active withdrawal of consent
    I think this means don’t lie, cheat, or steal to have sex. Oh! let me jazz that up! Criminalizing the action of people who engage in dishonest, fraudulent practices to engage in sexual intercourse.

  100. Feminist Avatar

    Sorry Ramou, the ramblings of a confused mind. I’ll have another go.

    I guess what I am thinking about is power. There is an sense in which everyone has power and perhaps in the right context we call that agency. Power can be manifested in various forms, including through oppression of women, oppression of gay people and oppression of black people. These manifestations of power can intertwine so that being a women does not preclude you from being racist.

    I guess my question is: what is the relationship between power and consent? And, is this complicated by the fact that we all have power in certain contexts?

  101. wtf

    “There is no withdrawal of consent. It was never given. There’s no 100% surety that a woman will not decide something is rape in the future. That’s the idea. The man should keep it in his pants unless he’s comfortable with that risk. So yes, the law is suggesting that it’s rape if the woman says it is. Period.” – Ramou

    Thanks for clearing that up, Ramou. See, this is where I have to disagree with the proposed law. I just don’t understand how an act that is completely agreed upon by both parties can magically become rape days, weeks or months later. As I said before, I’m all for it if the woman looks back and realizes she was not in a position to make a clear choice, i.e. she was drugged up or whatever. But how can any heterosexual act later be seen as rape if both parties fully agree to it at the time? Can anyone claim rape if the person they were with turns out to be different than they initially said they were?

  102. delphyne

    I think the idea that women are suddenly going to start charging men with rape when sex was agreed is nothing more than a sexist fantasy, based on the idea that women are irrational and vengeful. As if a woman would wake up one morning and decide to charge a guy with rape, in the same way she might decide to have toast for breakfast rather than a boiled egg.

    In reality what it would prevent happening is this kind of thing (taken from a 1989 UK rape trial) -

    Prosecuting Counsel: And did you say she consented?
    Defendant: I didn’t say she consented?
    Prosecuting Counsel: Did she agree?
    Defendant: She didn’t agree
    Prosecuting Counsel: Having said no at first, she just gave in?
    Defendant: She enjoyed it
    Judge intervenes: The enjoyment wiped out her initial resistance – is that what you are saying?
    Defendant: Yes

    The defendant didn’t even have to prove consent, he just had to decide his victim enjoyed it and Bingo! he’s not guilty.

  103. Marcy

    Maybe I’m silly for liking a bit of romance, but if I need to give enthusiastic consent before ANYTHING happens, then nothing much is going to happen. Humans, both men and women, have two different types of libidos. There’s the active libido which tells you that you are in the mood for sex and go seek it out. This is what happens when someone initiates sex. But lots of times, a person might not be in the mood specifically, but could be put in the mood. Let’s say that you’re sitting there watching a movie and you’re curled up together and you’re not thinking about sex or in the mood for sex, but your partner starts stroking your arms and saying things or whatever, then you get in the mood, so you have sex. That’s fine, too. And sometimes your partner tries to warm you up, but it doesn’t work. That’s fine, too.

    There’s nothing wrong with warming up to sex. Wanting it bad enough to initiate it is fine, but being seduced is fine, too.

    If women relent to sex to get the guy to leave them alone, then that’s a problem. It’s a problem b/c the man is a jackass who hasn’t learned to respect his partner’s boundaries. And if the woman is relenting without voicing any dislike, then that’s a problem.

    When I’m in a relationship, I very rarely turn down sex, because I have a high libido and I happen to like sex. But I will turn it down if I’m not in the mood, or if I can’t be gotten in the mood. I remember lying in bed with my boyfriend, and he started kissing me. “Hmm, this is nice,” I thouht. Then he climbed on top of me and kissed me some more, and I thought, “Nah, I don’t want this tonight.” So, I said, “I’m sorry, but I’m not in the mood.” My boyfriend said, “Oh, OK. Maybe some other night,” and climbed off me and went to sleep. No worries. And that’s the way it should be. I should be allowed to explore and see if I might get in the mood. And I should be allowed to withdraw consent even though up to that point, my going along with the kissing was consent (at least consent to kiss).

    I just don’t like the idea of someone specifically asking me, “Can I kiss you?” “Would you like to have sex?” That’s so unromantic and makes the guy seem weak. Although, “Wanna fuck?” works sometimes, depending on the mood I’m in.

  104. Lisa KS

    I have read over the whole thread but only in disjointed bits and pieces because I’m actually supposed to be working. Luckily I am about 99.9999% sure my boss has never even heard of this blog so my slacking off should go undetected.

    wtf–I was thinking that too, but then realized that the only reason that would become a real mess of an issue is if one partner is the only one who can retroactively withdraw consent. If both partners can, then the point becomes moot. Sure, somebody out there will abuse it. There’s no inherent human right that somebody someplace can’t manage to abuse in some fashion, but the answer is never ever to limit those inherent human rights by law. (at least it’s never the right answer, I of course realize that it’s frequently the practiced answer, bleh)

  105. LMYC

    I just don’t understand how an act that is completely agreed upon by both parties can magically become rape days, weeks or months later.

    The point is, wtf, that it CAN’T. But if the man doubts that is the case, then he should keep it in his pants, period.

    What we’re saying is that we live in a society where “completely agreed upon by both parties” and “grudging consent given after relentless pestering or out of fear that he’ll get angry if you say no” cannot be told apart.

    Period. Full stop. Men do not know what consent looks like, and as a consequence, they cannot be trusted to know whether she consetned or not.

    That’s how something that he believes was completely agreed upon magically “becomes” rape. It started out as rape, but he was too fucking clueless to know it. That’s what it means.

    Look down a bit to the whole “I judge that she enjoyed it so therefore it wasn’t rape.” Rape retroactively becomes “rough sex that she enjoyed” all the time. Why so anxious about a little turnabout?

  106. Bird

    Feminist Avatar, I see women’s oppression generally as being akin to rape. We (in the vast majority) do not want to be oppressed, and we don’t consent to it. But we are oppressed despite that. Some of us are oppressed under the “well, if it gets him off so he leaves me alone” type of pseudo-consent, and some of us are beaten into submission. Like rape, it’s a matter of degree, not of kind.

    Is it possible to consent to oppression? I’d argue that the answer is no, not in a healthy mind. Unfortunately, the patriarchy has made a lot of people’s minds very unhealthy. So we get the “But I love him!” the “What about the menz?” and the “God made it that way!” responses from so many women. Stockholm syndrome.

    And yes, power varies for women too, as has been stated in a lot of places around here lately. I’m white, which means that I am seen as having more social value than a Native woman in Canada. I’m straight, so I’ll face less prejudice than my lesbian friends. Without being vigilant of my own actions, I could slip into being part of the oppressor group in relation to any of these “others.” That doesn’t make me less hated for being a woman. Power’s a complicated dynamic.

  107. Frumious B

    I can’t even convince my sister that there is a societal trend which encourages men who do not hear a “no” while asking a woman out to assume a “yes” must therefore be implied. I despair of ever convincing a larger audience that men should wait to hear a “yes” before sex when I can’t even convince my own flesh and blood that men assume assent even when they don’t hear it.

  108. Marcy

    The better model is the performance model, where sex is a performance, and partnered sex is a collaboration between the partners; like dance or music.

    Under a performance model, consent is not the absence of “no.” Consent is affirmative participation. Who picks up a guitar and jams with a bassist who just stands there? Who dances with a partner who is just standing there and staring? In the absence of affirmative participation, there is no collaboration;

    Ah, now this is something I can agree to wholeheartedly. And I guess I was trying to allude to it in my former comment but didn’t quite make it.

    Yes, my consent is my active participation. Men who constantly ask me, “Is this OK?” “Does it bother you if I touch you here?” “Do you want firmer pressure or a lighter touch?” Gawd. I just want to scream, “Shut the fuck up and lick my pussy already!” It comes across as weak and spineless, and most importantly, unintuitive. A guy should know if what he’s doing is OK by gauging my response. Not that verbal communication never comes into it, because that’s often necessary, but if the guy is constantly stopping and asking, it ruins the mood and shows him for the clueless moron he is.

  109. wtf

    Delphyne, that’s not where I’m coming from. I’m not concerned with how many women are suddenly going to turn their ex’s in out of spite, and I agree that the thought of it is blown out of proportion. What bothers me is that something that is effectively not rape can suddenly be seen as rape if one partner retro-actively decides it is so. This strikes me as a fundamental flaw.

    As to what Lisa said, it’s true that if both partners can retro-actively withdraw their agreement it adds another dimension to sexual activity, but I don’t know if that necessarily solves anything. Besides, is that what is being said here? Can a man look back and decide that a woman slept with him under false pretenses and call it rape?

    I think some sort of line needs to be drawn with the idea of sex under false pretenses as automatic rape anyway. Yeah, if a man tells a blind woman he is her boyfriend and has sex with her, that’s absolutely rape. But if a man tells a woman he is a doctor when he is not in the hope that it will get her to sleep with him, is that actually rape? If all else is equal and they both agree to have sex, if she looks back and say, “hey, that bastard said he was a doctor!” should he go to jail as a rapist for it? Asshole yes, but rapist?

  110. Twisty

    Hello, O my young onions! Once again: according to my scheme there is no ‘consent’. It never existed, so it is not a matter of it being “retroactively withdrawn.”

    In order to grasp this concept you must first be able to cognitively step out of the current paradigm and into one in which heterosex is not predicated on dominance and submission. If you cannot do this — if, for example, you believe that heterosex at its essence contains elements of seduction — you need to do some more reading. The knowledge you seek is remedial to the thrust of this thread.

  111. CannibalFemme

    Feminist Avatar: you’ve sparked a thought for me.

    When I am in company with women of color, I take it upon myself to remember that my apparent whiteness puts me in a privileged position, and that what that means for me is that I get to be responsible, mindful, and respectful. For me that means listening before I talk, staying open to ideas and concepts which may be initially uncomfortable for me to hear about, and basically trying not to be an ass, verbally or otherwise.

    I need to do this not because of my whiteness or their color, but because there is an existing and established hierarchical power disparity. This particular disparity directly benefits, empowers and enriches me, an apparently white woman. Nevertheless, I want it *gone*. As soon as possible. And if I ever want to have that disparity be historical rather than a very current event, I need to be responsible for my part of it.

    For my own comfort and well-being, I request this same kind of responsibility and mindfulness from the men in my life, vis-a-vis power disparity. Those who are not willing to shoulder that burden are not needed in my life.

    I’m afraid I am *not* an optimist. I would love to encourage whole bunches of the menz to take responsibility for their own privilege and see what might be there for them on the other side of it, but I’m pretty sure they’d basically want to know whether or not that meant the chick they’re pronging could really send them to jail for rape.

    Jeez.

  112. LouisaMayAlcott

    OK, My previous post got deleted. Let’s try again.

    Delphyne said:

    “You know it isn’t the patriarchy who wields sex as a weapon, punishment and reward *against women*. It’s men. Sorry to be picky but it really isn’t as abstract as people here have been trying to make it.”

    I said,

    Delphyne, your right.

    Men aren’t going to stop wielding sex against us as a weapon just because we present them with an abstraction.

  113. Twisty

    wtf, your remarks reflect an incomplete comprehension of the issue. Please stop thrashing around.

  114. lawbitch

    It’s the “cognitively step out of the current paradigm and into one in which heterosex is not predicated on dominance and submission” that we’re having the problem with. This thread makes me realize how intertwined sex and power (or lackthereof) are in our culture.

  115. Bird

    Turn that idea around for a minute, Marcy. Let’s see, “Well, she moaned, so I thought she wanted it” has been used as an excuse for rape by a lot of men.

    You may not want to give him a road map, but a man who asks if what he’s doing is okay and makes sure that you like it is a man with a clue. Maybe he’s clumsy about how he checks, but at least he’s not simply assuming you like what he’s doing and pushing on with it whether or not you’re really okay (you know, young rapist Alex style).

    And calling a man weak for trying to be sure he’s doing the right thing just perpetuates the patriarchal bullshit. He needs to be strong enough to just know what you want, huh? I find that extremely troubling. It implies that only weak and spineless men value communication during sex and leads to the idea that tough guys don’t ask—they just decide for themselves whether or not you like it.

    I’ll take men who ask, thanks. Unintuitive, perhaps, but far less likely to leave you huddled on the floor of the shower deciding whether or not you should call the cops.

  116. bigbalagan

    To delphyne’s earlier comment, I still think I need to be careful with the words. They are all loaded with partriarchy (“sex” for example, vs. “intimacy”). Using other words can sometimes help to step out of the paradigm. (Obviously it is not the words that are ultimately the problem, it’s the rape.)

  117. kiki

    I just don’t like the idea of someone specifically asking me, “Can I kiss you?” “Would you like to have sex?” That’s so unromantic and makes the guy seem weak.

    I cannot imagine settling for anything less and in fact,even after 20 something years together, I still require more. The fact that you see this as “weak” and presumably the opposite as “strong”(and desirable!) is truly disturbing. As for “romantic” I admit that I’m a weathered old woman but I was taught that romance is nothing more than a fancy word for coercion.

  118. delphyne

    “What bothers me is that something that is effectively not rape”

    But you don’t get to decide what is “effectively not rape”, the woman does that, wtf. What you are going to have to do is take her word for it.

    How are you in a better position to judge whether something was rape or not than the woman herself?

  119. vera

    In order to grasp this concept you must first be able to cognitively step out of the current paradigm [...]

    This to me is the dividend you get from investing time in this thread. It facilitates the difficult work of getting your brain out of the patriarchal paradigm. How many readers have had “Aha!” moments from reading this post? This is revolutionary writing.

    (Back to lurking — I have to wait till the wee hours to really read this discussion, since things have heated up at work. My lack of comment does not reflect any lack of interest!)

  120. Holly

    Know what? This is a really good idea! I’m a novice blamer, and needed to re-read Twisty’s post and mull the comments a bit to realize it, but this measure would help break down a lot of patriarchical seeking/resisting/insisting/relenting power plays that women endure.

    Simply put, the end of consent as a concept might actually make men think about women as people with desires and goals, not just the latest receptacle for their sperm. Women would no longer be robots they have to push the right buttons to get into their pants, but people who have to actually choose to like the man for himself (not the lies that can be later seen through).

    And if some men are scared away from casual sex, awesome! Welcome to the world of not trusting strangers with your genitals!

  121. ramou

    Thank you, Feminist Avatar. That I understood (by which I mean my brain recognized it as a big question to ponder, set the hamsters to work, and told me to come back later).

  122. Bird

    IBTP for my vanishing posts. Why? Because they deserve it. Anyways.

    Turn that idea around for a minute, Marcy. Let’s see, “Well, she moaned, so I thought she wanted it” has been used as an excuse for rape by a lot of men.

    You may not want to give him a road map, but a man who asks if what he’s doing is okay and makes sure that you like it is a man with a clue. Maybe he’s clumsy about how he checks, but at least he’s not simply assuming you like what he’s doing and pushing on with it whether or not you’re really okay (you know, young rapist Alex style).

    And calling a man weak for trying to be sure he’s doing the right thing just perpetuates the patriarchal bullshit. He needs to be strong enough to just know what you want, huh? I find that extremely troubling. It implies that only weak and spineless men value communication during sex and leads to the idea that tough guys don’t ask—they just decide for themselves whether or not you like it.

    I’ll take men who ask, thanks. Unintuitive, perhaps, but far less likely to leave you huddled on the floor of the shower deciding whether or not you should call the cops.

  123. finnsmotel

    “It’s the “cognitively step out of the current paradigm and into one in which heterosex is not predicated on dominance and submission” that we’re having the problem with.”

    It seems one of the hardest parts is not only cognitively stepping away from the things we dislike about the current paradigm, but, developing a willingness to release our grip on the things we like about it.

    I’m not sure I’m entirely capable of doing so.

  124. Marcy

    Me: I just don’t like the idea of someone specifically asking me, “Can I kiss you?” “Would you like to have sex?” That’s so unromantic and makes the guy seem weak.

    Kiki: I cannot imagine settling for anything less and in fact,even after 20 something years together, I still require more. The fact that you see this as “weak” and presumably the opposite as “strong”(and desirable!) is truly disturbing.

    Not at all. Maybe I’m just more intuitive than other people. I pick up on social cues and I adjust my behavior accordingly. I don’t have to constantly ask people if I can do certain things. I just do it. Sure, you might step on some toes once in a while, but that’s to be expected.

    A coworker’s cat died a while ago. We were talking at work, and she said something about having to put Yo-Yo down the day before. I moved toward my coworker, said, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” and opened my arms up to give her a hug. Had she not also opened up her arms, I would’ve stopped. It’s something that happens in mere nanoseconds. I wouldn’t think to say, “Can I give you a hug?” I mean, really, some things are just expected in certain situations. You physically comfort grieving people, you reach out to touch people you’re sexually attracted to. If you were standing on a street corner waiting the cross and there was an elderly woman next to you, and she misstepped off the sidewalk and started to fall down, would you say, “Do you mind if I reach out to steady you, ma’am?” Hell, no. You would just do it. Yeah, some fussy types would say, “Get your hands off me!” but like I said, that comes with the territory.

    Yeah, I don’t want someone, even someone I’m dating or married to, to just start pawing at me out of the blue. But if he says, “Do you want to go upstairs,” and that’s our codeword for sex, and I say, “Sure,” and we’re on the bed making out, consent for sex is there, and if he keeps asking me, “Can I touch your breasts now, can I put my hands lower on your back now?” that’s just creepy in my opinion.

  125. mearl

    ACS said, “For example: if a man unknowingly infected with a STD has (enthusiastically desired) sex with an uninfected woman, and she contracts that STD, then – theoretically – that should be chargeable, and punishable, as rape under the law. Should that be punishable? What about other cases involving unknown factors that would have been a deal-breaker if known at the time that the sex was enthusiastically consented to?”

    This is a late comment, but I would imagine that if Twisty’s legal model were the norm, every guy out there would be using condoms religiously, getting regular STD tests, and taking birth control; not to mention pulling back from all the coercion and trickery that men currently resort to in order to use women’s holes and get away with it. Men would not sleep with drunk women or underage women unless they were in a solid relationship with a woman and decided to take that risk of trusting her enough to have sex after she had been drinking. If the onus was on men to protect their own asses from a heavy jail sentance and the law supported women by default, it would be up to men to clean up their acts. Fucking fantastic idea, Twisty!
    And as for details, well, there are plenty of errors with the current system, and millions of rapes don’t even get REPORTED. This harms women and supports rapists, which does nothing to benefit society. As someone proposed on another thread, why can’t we try it Twisty’s way for the next 5000 years, and if there are a few casualties, well, what of it?

  126. ramou

    That’s so unromantic and makes the guy seem weak –Marcy

    I’m afraid, Marcy, that that is just the patriarchy asserting itself in your thought process. An awful tool that it uses women to encourage men not to be “weak”, joyfully making them a party to their own oppression. S’okay, we’re all brainwashed, but take a look to see it, and you’re doing all women a great service. Perhaps what you mean is that bad communication is a problem, not that communication is bad.

    I regret that this sounds like an attack, it is not, but: “Maybe I’m just more intuitive than other people. I pick up on social cues and I adjust my behavior accordingly.” is clearly not as true as you might think if you’ve missed that the vast majority of people are not so good at this, willfully or otherwise. I think a lot of what you’re saying is based on simple semantic misinterpretation (you’re reading some things too literally), and what you are writing is being taken at face value too, even if that might not be what you mean.

    If both partners can, then the point becomes moot. –Lisa KS

    The purpose of the law is to improve the lot of women. There is no motivating factor to change it such that it helps men too, men have been helping themselves forever.

    What we’re saying is that we live in a society where “completely agreed upon by both parties” and “grudging consent given after relentless pestering or out of fear that he’ll get angry if you say no” cannot be told apart. –LMYC

    Yes!

    mearl, right on.

  127. Patti

    Marcy, you’re extrapolating to situations that don’t have the same patriarchal load.

  128. Bird

    Marcy, in that context, I can understand your response. But there are a lot of times when people don’t have that level of communication.

    Certainly, my partner and I know certain other non-verbal or codeword cues from each other: the times he can look at me and know that I’m upset even when I’m trying to fake it and just reach out to hold me, or the way he rolls over in bed when he’s hoping I’ll rub his back. Our catch words: smooshy, punctuation, unfair, wrong guy, let go. They mean specific things that an outsider doesn’t understand.

    In a healthy relationship, those cues become unspoken or coded like that. It’s the same way that I can often have a conversation with my best women friends without ever speaking a word. Intimacy (and I mean this in a personal, emotional sense, not sexually) means that people are far more likely to get it.

    But particularly in the case of sex with a less familiar partner, asking questions isn’t weak or spineless. It shouldn’t be a turnoff. It’s a damn good indicator that someone is paying attention to what you and he are doing, and it likely indicates a decreased chance that you’ll be considering filing a police report in the morning. Sometimes it’s clumsy, and it might not be “intuitive,” but it’s safer.

    Not all of us have a high emotional IQ. I frequently misinterpret stuff, to the point that my shrink finally told me to stop trying to be a damn psychic and just ask people what they mean. I’m not an aspie, but I grew up with a father and two brothers who are, and I think they rubbed off a bit, because when it comes to people, I’m hopeless. It saves me a lot of trouble to ask, and it saves my partner the same if he simply asks me.

    Yeah, these days, we know what the other person likes. But you know what? Even as much as we each know the other’s tastes, we still sometimes check in. It’s that whole sex-as-communication idea. We still sometimes use our words (and personally, I like that).

  129. Twisty

    Man I love that ‘patriarchal load’! That’s my next band name.

  130. WishfulThinking

    I’ve been lurking for a long time, but I was just wondering what you all think about an article I wrote on this topic in off our backs a few years back: “Imagine a world where rape makes no sense” (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3693/is_200209/ai_n9087870/pg_1)

    I think it relates to this discussion about a world without rape. Toward the end of the article, I wrote:

    “None of the sick ways of thinking we have about sex make sense when we think about hugging. I think hugging is a pretty good model of what sex might look like if we valued the humanity of people and if we could acknowledge that what we long for, ache for, and hope for is real intimacy and connection….

    “Rape is possible only to the extent that healthy sexuality is impossible. That may sound simplistic, but healthy intimate sexuality is precisely what patriarchy works overtime to make practically unattainable. …

    “In order to eradicate rape, we must first create a healthy sexuality. Although patriarchy does anything and everything to distract us from finding a way to create intimate and connected sexual relationships, I think we need to keep our eyes on the prize. Only when we find a way to experience sex as connection with the whole of another human being, will rape wither away, as irrelevant and beside-the-point as a forced hug.”

    Feedback is appreciated!

  131. Twisty

    Not that y’all’s pillow talk isn’t fascinating, but we seem to be veering from “Imagine a World Where Consent Does Not Exist” to “Improve Your Hetsex Through Communication.” Focus, ladies!

  132. RadFemHedonist

    I just don’t like the idea of someone specifically asking me, “Can I kiss you?” “Would you like to have sex?” That’s so unromantic and makes the guy seem weak.

    That’s one of the biggest turn-ons ever, if someone didn’t ask about everything before doing it I’d ask them to stop and explain why they had to ask once and if they didn’t get it, they’d be out the door.

    By the way, my dad tried that “but he’s about to come” bullshit on me, I almost bought it, but I thought about it “I can stop when I’m in the middle of it, so why can’t another person, I could stop mid-come if someone didn’t want me to continue, so what is this bullshit?” Basically exercise some reflexes people! He actually brought out the crap argument about “pressing charges for regretted consensual sex” and praised the spanish thing where if women aren’t keen they slap men in the face (apparently, they used to do this) because of course it isn’t reprehensible that people don’t understand no means no, for crap’s sake that’s a fucked up bunch of bullshit.

  133. ramou

    WishfulThinking, I now just want a hug, in the most achingly awful way.

    Not at all related to Twisty’s Law, but a very interesting perspective.

  134. Bird

    Sorry, Twisty. I think I was getting at the idea that somehow someone asking questions was a turnoff and how messed up I think that is.

    In a world with no concept of consent, all het sex would have to include those questions. Not “Am I allowed to do this?” but “Do you want this?” Maybe they’d become less explicit between long-term partners, but they’d always be there.

    I don’t know, I don’t find the idea of the default “no” a hard concept to grasp. If I hit someone on the street, it’s not okay. If I beat up my partner, it’s illegal, even if he or she doesn’t actually say no. I don’t get to say, “Oh, but I thought he wanted that black eye.” Under the law, the default response to getting hit is always no unless explicitly stated otherwise. If I’m in the dojang and someone says “Let’s spar!” and I agree, then it’s good fun for all involved. Plus we have established guidelines at the start: no head shots, for example, or light contact only. If somebody steps outside those lines, they’re liable. If I say “Stop!” then they have to stop, no “But I’m almost done!” Nobody rational seems to think this should be otherwise.

    Physical assault is always seen as a default “no” situation unless specific conditions exist where both participants say yes. Why is it such a stretch for some people to see sexual assault the same way? Violation of a person’s body is a crime, plain and simple.

  135. Jerry

    My understanding is that if the state determines that a felony (such as rape) has been committed, the victim doesn’t need to bring charges; the state will in theory prosecute regardless. Under the Twisty definition there’d need to be some sort of escape clause so that parents (ok, fathers) wouldn’t be incriminating themselves just by having a kid.
    Now that I think about it, isn’t not reporting the commission of a felony itself a felony? So any sexually active woman would herself be liable for not immediately turning in her lover(s). We’d have to put rape in some other category or redefine felony.
    Or have I just been watching too many Law & Orders?

  136. Feminist Avatar

    Jerry: I think Bird’s example is perfect here. The law doesn’t need the victim to complain about felony assault, but the police don’t generally go around arresting everybody who practices contact sports.

    I would also like to say to the commentators who have been engaging with my questions, thank you. I am reading, I just haven’t got anything exciting to add at the moment; the hamsters are working.

  137. su

    I thought twisty’s point was to remove the entire notion of consent from the hetsex act and restore to us our bodies as inviolable under law so I’m confused that so much is being said about “yes” vs “no”. Is it facile to make a comparison with the legal changes in Sweden which outlawed physical punishment of children? In effect at least I see a similarity in that children’s bodies were made inviolable under law. From what I have heard this legal change has had a great impact on revolutionising attitudes toward children. Assault of children has become “unthinkable” in the sense that the default assumption is that “I will never strike a child.”

    I see twisty’s idea of removing the notion of consent as making rape “unthinkable” in the same sense. A woman’s body is inviolable (like a man’s) and so society would assume “I will never rape”.

    I’m not an experienced blamer but to me the (manufactured by the patriarchy)confusion between rape and sex and love is absolutely key. I hope I’m not stretching the analogy too far to say that it is like confusing striking a child with stroking a child. That too is unthinkable.

  138. mearl

    Of course, we’d take the Twisty model under the assumption that women would be overjoyed at the prospect of bodily integrity, as most of the posters here would be. The problem would be all those women who would chime in with the “but it sounds so WEAK AND UNMANLY when he asks” garbage. Sure, in a safe and happy relationship, it sounds “weak and unmanly” for a guy to ask if you know full well that you want him to touch you. But the larger context of all the OTHER existing men (potential rapists) has to be acknowledged. Just ask a survivor of rape if she enjoys guys getting into her personal space without permission and thinks it “unmanly” if they don’t. I can’t speak to this, but I assume that would be on the extreme end of unsettling, given that a rape survivor has lived through the experience of having her consent blatantly ignored, and having her “no” ignored as well. I would be happy to give up the idea of “manliness” for a larger context of safety for all women.

    Bird, your example of physical assault is so bang on. Here’s something else that your comment triggered for me: again, the idea that the social context would have to be turned around for women to accept the Twisty model. When you said, “Physical assault is always seen as a default “no” situation unless specific conditions exist where both participants say yes,” I thought about how the BDSM thing works, and again it struck me as so unbelievably sick. It’s sex-as- physical-assault-for-fun, which supports men’s deep desire to hurt and humiliate women, with the ruse of a “safe word” and “consent” as the underlying principle. Plenty of women could well be coerced into a BDSM-style scenario with a “safe word” under the Twisty model, or that excuse could be made in court.

    IMO, the thing to do would be to educate women and men alike on the subject of bodily integrity with the Twisty model as the ideal example. Otherwise, if you just threw it into the law, things would get messy.

  139. MzNicky

    Jerry: Yes, it is the state that decides whether to prosecute crimes. But as with other crimes, in the case of rape the state’s case depends upon the victim’s words, and unlike with other crimes, there’s usually little other evidence to use, such as with a burgled house or a shooting. Thus rape cases often devolve into the victim’s “proving” that she was raped: was there DNA evidence, does it match that of the accused rapist, did she fight hard enough, was she bloodied sufficiently to prove that she fought back, ad nauseum. The victim herself is, I think, usually compelled to testify in court, leaving her vulnerable to cross-examination by the rapist’s attorney. History is replete with examples of how well that usually turns out for the victim.

    I also find your observation that, in a world in which “consent” is meaningless, women who fail to report their rapes would become felons themselves, unamusing at the least, and offensive at the most. Or perhaps you were cracking wise. If so, you failed miserably. Please do not Mandos the thread.

  140. Bird

    Mearl, I had assumed that the Twisty model did include a shift in social context as an necessary step towards implementation. Obviously, from the postings on this thread, getting men to acknowledge that this was a legitimate way to view sex is going to be pretty rough—hell, we can’t even get women to see the point. Good luck passing that into law as things stand.

    I can certainly see where it could be abused by BDSM creeps, too. But I think you’re wrong about the safe word thing. Safe words are used to withdraw consent for the “scene.” Until then, the submissive is assumed to be in a position of consent. It’s the extreme of what Twisty points out as society’s assumption that women are always in a default “yes” situation. In a dom-sub relationship, the sub is always consenting to it all, and even the word “no” doesn’t mean no in that context. Instead, you have to make up special words to show that you really mean it. It’s the default yes taken to the nth degree.

    I think the warping would instead come from the idea that the sub initially said yes to the degradation and agreed that the normal “no” would not be regarded, thus creating the consent paradigm in an otherwise consentless framework. But that’s already a problem under the current model.

    What I do think is that the culture shift that would allow for the Twisty model to become the norm would also mean that we would redefine how we see BDSM, and a lot more people would realize the deep cultural sickness that produces most of that behaviour.

    Dumping the Twisty law on our patriarchy as it currently exists would be sadly ineffective. They’d just find a way to distort it as badly as the consent model. After all, Canada’s consent model says that only yes means yes (essentially what Twisty is advocating), yet it still doesn’t serve women all that well because the societal view of sexual assault is so deeply messed up.

  141. justicewalks

    I moved toward my coworker, said, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” and opened my arms up to give her a hug. Had she not also opened up her arms, I would’ve stopped. It’s something that happens in mere nanoseconds.

    All I can think about when I read this is how uncomfortable I feel when someone opens her arms to me in what she considers genuine concern and affection, but which, to me, is a horrible faux pas, one over which I have now been thrust into the position of smoothing.

    Now, my instinct is to leave my arms at my side, but social convention has it that only assholes actually refuse someone’s wide open arms. Since I need my job, I can’t afford to be seen as an asshole in addition to being a hairy-legged man-hating feminist, so that option’s off the table. The only way to save face for the both of us is to return the hug. And be hugged by someone I’d rather not be touching, but who has so cunningly, and socially acceptably, I might add, imposed herself on me that I have no choice but to reciprocate. And reciprocate while feigning a reasonable facsimile of soothed content, at that. Sweet baby Jesus, I hate that shit.

    Everyone walks away fully convinced that I wanted the hug, or at least that I consented to it, which, to them, is exactly the same thing, and Patriarchy smiles down on the scene from his unseen perch.

  142. Twisty

    I dug what Cunning Allusionment said about the historical continuum; it is possible, is it not, that, like everything else, the practice of “sex” is in a state of flux, that it won’t always be about porn or ownership or violence or heteronormativity? I sure hope so, because if it isn’t, we’re sunk. Because right now “sex” = “(contempt for) women.”

    Because all heterosexual boinking is currently performed under the auspices of patriarchy — a paradigm, I remind you, declaring that women are sex — ‘consent’ is meaningless. Women exist in a perpetual state of “yes,” not because we are hot to trot 24/7, but because patriarchy absolutely and unequivocally precludes “no.” A woman, says patriarchy, is an object that exists as and for sex; it cannot abdicate its true nature any more than a chair can stop being a chair and start being a table. This is why it seems so ludicrous to suggest that a woman might ever expect to observe for herself whether a man has raped her. It seems fantastic to imagine that a ‘judgement’ like that should not be left to “impartial third parties” who trot out all this ‘consent’ nonsense.

    A woman’s body is a crime scene.

  143. Patti

    Bird and Mearl, the thing that strikes me about consent and safe words in the BDSM scene, is that invoking the safe word comes at a huge cost to the sub – it really means that she has failed in proper submission to the dom. The prevailing myth is that the sub is the one actually in control, that the sub holds all the power because she can always stop the scene. And that it empowers women because everything is spelled out and defined and negotiated in advance. So it would look like consent is freely and consciously given, but it really does just give the dom a paper trail.

  144. Bird

    Patti, been there, done that, got the psychological scars to prove it. I’m not a voice you’ll ever hear defending BDSM. It’s truly and deeply fucked up in a way that I still don’t have the right words to explain, even several years later. The idea of real consent in a BDSM relationship is a myth; most subs are very vulnerable people who confuse abuse with love and are willing to take damn near anything to keep their place. It’s a scary world.

  145. Feminist Avatar

    How we understand sex and sexuality is entirely historically specific. In Europe until the early eighteenth century, women were the sexually aggressive sex and for that matter there was only one ‘sex’. Women were physically inadequate men who did not contain enough heat to expel their genitals. They desired sex as their bodies desired the heat they received from sperm. Women who did not get sex could become ill. (Remember in Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet’s father says she looks a little green and proposes to marry her off- he is referring to ‘greensickness’- a condition that inflicted virgins and cured by ‘marriage’).

    Similarly, sexuality was a lot more fluid as men who had sex with men were not pathologised or labelled homosexual, but were suffering from a lack of heat that they recieved from men.

    Of course this did not meant there was no patriarchy. Women’s lack of heat made her inferior and thus in need of control by men. ‘Real’ men should not be on the ‘passive’ end of homosexual sex as it showed weakness and unmanliness. The power differentials remained: the reason behind them differed.

    In the eighteenth century, medical developments suggested that men and women were different sexes rather than versions of the same sex, and the two sex model and the active/passive paradigm became the norm. And the patriarchy continued under a different form.

    I am sure that sex won’t always be about porn, the question is will the patriarchy manifest itself in another form?

  146. Patti

    Yes, Bird, your words always ring especially true to me – sorry if I sounded like I thought you would defend BDSM, I meant quite the opposite. The relationship I was in did more damage to me than any other rotten thing in my life. I’m starting to see that scene as a meta of the vanilla relationship world.

  147. LMYC

    Justicewalks, I SO agree with you regards the hug thing.

    Also? All you women who supposedly hate it when a guy actually has the good sense and intellect to ASK first? I’m sorry, but that’s poison. There’s no bigger grossout that a guy who stops thinking when he starts fucking, sorry. At least a milquetoast has a snail’s chance in Hades of listening once in a while.

  148. Bird

    Patti, we’re good. Sending friendly, non-space-threatening overtures of friendship and comfort your way (insert hug, handshake, or sad het-girl imitation of B. Dagger Lee’s chin nod—your preference—here).

  149. thebewilderness

    justicewalks,
    I too object to being touched against my will. I particularly object to non verbal hug demands by people I am not intimate with. The thing about that comment that bothered me more though, was dismissing the potential learning experience when people did not respond positivly to being grabbed.
    Marcy seems to be of the opinion that it doesn’t matter when some people object, and that just because people sometimes object is no reason to alter her behavior.
    Marcy, I hope you will rethink that.

  150. english_rosebud, a lurker

    This discussion is fascinating to me, as it’s probing things I’ve recently been thinking about regarding BDSM. There is nothing kinky or surprising about BDSM, for it is simply patriarchal sex – and indeed, all patriarchal interaction – taken to its logical conclusion. Patriarchy eroticises the space between male and female, and it is this eroticised sense of difference that defines sex inside of the patriarchal framework within which we operate. Power is perhaps the defining manifestation of this difference, and thus, patriarchal sex is essentially the aestheticisation of power and subordination – in other words, domination and submission.

    I’ve been thinking about this recently for a uni course I’m taking. This discussion on IBtP is hammering home to me the words of Kathryn Gravdal, in her book ‘Ravishing Maidens’, written about how rape in medieval French literature is aestheticised into romance: ‘A close reading of female sensuality and male brutality in Chretien discloses the essence fo the power play behind “romantic love”. The resistant reader of medieval romance perceives the ways in which male domination and female submission are coded as emotionally satisfying and aesthetically pleasing.’ (p15) I sympathise with Marcy, for I have to admit that this sense of the sexiness of seduction and dominance is one that has been seared into me from an early age. While I find them intellectually abhorrent, on a raw emotional level, I have to admit that I respond sexually to the idea of rough sex and rape. I’m a young radical feminist evolving from the conservative fundamentalist Christian household in which I grew up, and evidently its mark is still on me. Yet unlike Marcy, I think that we can attempt to recondition our sensibilities, which is what I’m trying to do.

  151. LMYC

    Back to the hug thing — JW, the only response you get to that is that if you were normal and well-adjusted (or whatever psych buzzword they’re using nowdays), you’d like it, so only awful people out of touch with themselves would refuse the Kind And Well-Meant Hug Of Concern! “Here, let me teach you how to want hugs, so you can be just like me! I can adjust your deformities where you deviate from what I want, and then you’ll be happy and normal like me, and won’t that be grand?”

    Somehow, someone else transgressing on your boundaries has become your “problem.” What the problem was was that the person didn’t fucking ask first. Hey — big shock here — not everyone feels just like you. The world is in fact populated by a whole ton of people who aren’t you. Sure, you can tell a lot about a person after you’ve know them for a while, but this “I can magically and instantly sense what a person really wants because I’m so socially in touch with everyone’s emotions” is just kidding oneself. I’ve got a damned good sense for what people want; in fact, I’ve never in my life met anyone who is better at sensing that sort of thing — what someone needs to hear to understand, what someone wants to have happen, whether they want that hug or not, LONG before I’ve actually made the social faux pas of compelling it upon them. Most people with my weird combination of personality traits and neurological oddities can sense these things almost without trying.

    And you know what I’ve learned through all this? You ask first, just to be sure, because people can surprise you. And that most often, when you aren’t sure, you will commit the grave error of filling in your uncertainty with your OWN wishes and reflexes. You will, in fact, assume that the other person wants what you want because well, all NORMAL people are just like me inside, aren’t they?

    In fact — no! They’re not. With one exception, the human race is not you, and where you fill in the gaps in your knoweldge of other people with yourself, you commit a grave error and an offense against them.

    The other thing that I’ve learned is that people who go on about how much they can “sense” about people with their mystical abilities are usually entirely clueless. They generally fill in the vast gaping holes in their knowledge with stereotypes, slapdash half-truths won from cheap self-help books, and their own failings. People are there to be learned about, and it’s a process that takes time, not one that can usually be intuited. You can make good guesses, but you have to be prepared to be proven wrong — and when it comes to breaking people’s physical boundaries, it’s enough of a risk and offensive enough to certain people that you just goddamned ask first.

    You don’t do it, and then absolve yourself by appealing to the obviously repressed and introverted and not with-it nature of the person whose boundaries you brokeby mistake. You just fucking ASK. One stupid little sentence, and it can obviate so much annoyance — what the hell is wrong with saying it? What is WRONG with words, people? They’re nice — subverbal communication is a good thing, but when you’re talking about breaking a set of personal boundaries, why not be sure?

    Oh, it kills the romance, it kills the mood, it kills the “concern” — it kills your romantic mental image of yourself as some sort of mystical psychic, in other words. Let that die — you’re dealing with another person, here. Language breaks us all out of our tiny little skulls and allows us to bridge the otherwise vast and unbridgeable chasm between us all. Fucking USE IT. It’s gorgeous — brilliant, the most perfect and luscious of all the emergent things ever created by our stupid little ape brains. Why the allergic reaction to employing it?

    This all reminds me of those certain kinds of people (who I do my best to avoid, because when we so much as talk about the weather, it’s not pretty) who act like understanding things like rainbows and solar eclipses “kills the mystery” or some such crap. Please. Acting like other than a mindless animal kills mystery? Using things like intelligence and language to interact with the universe kills the mystery? PLEASE. Mystery is a lot bigger than that, and — here’s a news flash — understanding it only makes it bigger and grander.

    Think, and use words, people. It’s actually quite nice, and more importantly, it acknowledges your finiteness and the fact that you might make a mistake here and there. No thought, no words — no self-improvement.

    Urk, where the hell did THAT rant come from?

  152. english_rosebud, a lurker

    One more thing. I’m liking what Bird recently said about BDSM. BDSM operates on the same dynamics of patriarchal sex (i.e. on eroticising power differentials), but pushes the ideas that underpin it as far as they will go. The whole idea of a ‘safe word’ in BDSM underscores what’s wrong with the model of consent in het sex – viz., that sex is something that a man does to a woman, rather than a shared experience, and that her consent is assumed unless she explicitly halts the proceedings. Although it may seem as though the submissive one (i.e. the one performing femininity) is in control, this is, in fact, a logical impossibility. As Twisty recently said about women in porn, ‘When you’re already oppressed, it is, in fact, impossible to volunteer for oppression.’ Consent and capitulation cannot be differentiated.

  153. Tigs

    Feminist Avatar – I am also really interested in thinking about agency as well as the dual position of oppressed and oppressor. I just need to think harder about it before spouting. I hope the opportunity will return shortly, and please know that I also think that is a really essential question.

  154. tfkw

    One interesting note is that, assuming I understand the proposal correctly, it is equivalent to the protection afforded minors under statutory rape laws. We are pretty familiar with those, so it’s really no stretch to make everyone a minor. The only differences seem to be these:

    1. Unless I’m confused, this proposal requires an actual participant/victim to press charges, not a third party. That’s a huge objection to statutory rape laws, but also one of their strengths — you don’t want disempowered people to get intimidated into not pressing charges, so you throw discretion back to the prosecutor as to whether to press charges. You get risks of them not doing it when they should, and I’m not sure what to do about that (that’s a problem under our current legal system). For a victim who wants to press ahead, there are civil cases, but if you have a genuinely evil rapist then civil suits don’t do much in the way of getting them off the streets. I think parents can sue on behalf of their minor children in most jurisdictions; I’m not sure you want _that_ to persist for life, but maybe you do? But I think you absolutely need to have third-parties who can press charges (prosecutors or family members) in order for this scheme to work.

    2. Gender. This proposal limits things to heterosexual rape. Male victims are not protected. Trans folk are also a problem. It seems like to work properly and equitably the rule has to be strict liability for everybody all the time, no matter who they are. With statutory rape you have a specified hierarchy of who is defined as the victim (by age), but if all sex were strict liability you would have to come up with a big chart. You can’t just use some sort of balancing test with criminal law (although you could for civil suits).

    A second thing to remember about the proposal is that it doesn’t solve the physical proof problems that rape cases are stuck with — you still need DNA evidence, or third-party witnesses, or suffer through a swearing contest in court.

  155. Shakes

    english_rosebud – Have you read Ovid’s “Art of Love”? It is simply teeming with imagery that likens sex to war, doesn’t even try to differentiate between seduction and rape, and plainly states more than once that the men get their jollies by hurting the women. The more the women struggle, the better it is for their rapists. Thousands of years have passed and the mentality hasn’t changed a whit.

  156. BSLT, Yet Another Lurker

    I recently happened upon this place just as I was wondering about all these mysteries, all these questions that I’ve had for quite some time, but which came to a head about a month ago. I was doing my thing, being the local ballbreaker on a usenet ng, when the dudes flipped their cookies over my “wild assertions about men”. The context was the Duke rape case, misogynist dog-whistle bar none, so I’ve discovered.

    Here for your consideration, are my wild assertions, which seem related to this discussion:

    - Given that most women somehow manage to have non-consensual sex before they’re done, and also given that they had this sex with men they knew, rather than strangers, the overwhelming majority of men must not have a problem with non-consensual sex. (Anybody know the present statistics? I’d also be interested in what the blamers think is the likely number of dudes who’re perps.)

    - Blaming the victim = good, old-fashioned enabling of rape. (On this one, there was the major stumbling block of at least one dude who would not be civil and/or rational unless one agreed with him that there was no rape in this case, period.)

    - Since men as a group are primarily responsible for nearly all the rape, they own this problem. Women as a group cannot change this particular behavior that men own, so the men should take charge of eradicating the problem behavior, that is, if they were decent human beings.

    So, of course, I was called all the usual things ranging from tower of righteousness, a moron, full of shit, ad nauseum. Am I plum loco wrt to above assertions?

    I got to know the inner pigs on the ng as they were liberated one by one, but one of the most mind-boggling things that occurred was when the dudes were on about false rape accusations, and the bulb went off over one of their heads that if this resulted in actual incarceration (what’re the chances?!), a dude could actually get raped through no fault of his own! Horrors! That was about the only empathy with women displayed on their part, save for a notable exception. I aint ever seen the such, and I don’t want to get to know their inner pigs any better than I already have. WTF?!

  157. Cunning Allusionment?

    Wow, this blog is exploding my head and it’s fantastic. I mean you all are rocking my world so hard, thank you!

    When I was a freshman in college, I had a friend named Melody and she taught me a lot about hugs. Hugging her made me realize that when most people huge each other, it’s for less than a second — like they’re actually afraid of touching you for too long — and have you ever noticed how few people (almost no one really) hug with their whole body? Everyone kind of leans into it so it’s only the shoulders and upper torso that get a good firm hug. When Melody hugs you, she hugs you with her whole body, and she doesn’t pull away until you do (15 minute hugs weren’t unusual). This is special time with Melody and you. Her hugs weren’t “erotic,” they were intentional (which, in a healthy society would be considered way more erotic than what is).

    it is possible, is it not, that, like everything else, the practice of “sex” is in a state of flux, that it won’t always be about porn or ownership or violence or heteronormativity?

    I think it’s not only possible, but inevitable. I think there’s very strong historical evidence that in all aspects of life, liberation and equality overcome all obstacles. I don’t think it belittles how bad things are now to say that they are better than they were. Of course there are many, many places in the world where women’s lives haven’t gotten much better in the last hundred years, but even the most abrupt social changes spread in waves. Places like this are on the leading edge, and it’s easy to look around and see how far behind most of the world is, but I think it’s important to remember how much larger and farther out the leading edge is now then it ever has been before and we’re not losing momentum, we’re gaining it. What thrills me is the thought that though the revolution cannot be completed in my lifetime (because the death of everyone raised in a patriarchal society is a necessary last step I think), I may live to see the shore on which this ancient, slow building wave will break after I’m gone. Like the color of the horizon when land lies just beyond, this blog is a glimpse of it, maybe more.

    I’m reminded of an Andrea Gibson poem “Water Drips Through Stone.”

  158. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    This struck me as so ironic:

    I just don’t like the idea of someone specifically asking me, “Can I kiss you?” “Would you like to have sex?” That’s so unromantic and makes the guy seem weak.

    I mean, here we are debating the finer points of consent and agency and just how the heck do we get men to take some responsibility for making sure we’ve actually said ‘yes’, and someone complains that a man who asks questions during sex is WEAK.

    Fer cryin’ out loud, isn’t this the perfect example of how brainwashed we all are? We want them to treat us with respect, but not be wusses.

    This is how women contribute directly to the status quo.

  159. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Marcy, I think you’re overstating the ‘naturalness’ of people’s ability to read social cues. I meet lots of folks who’ll grab me and give me a hug even if I don’t show any interest whatsoever in reciprocating. (Among the many other situations that people, in my experience, misread regularly.)

    And at the risk of making a broad, sweeping unsubstantiated remark, various studies have been made of women’s vs. men’s abilities to read body language and facial expressions, and in the articles I’ve read, men always come up short, by a significant margin. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t some men who are exquisitely sensitive and responsive and therefore a delight to be around; but in my personal experience they’re a distinct minority. And there are plenty of women who are utterly boneheaded and clueless at reading another person’s vibe.

    And isn’t that what we’re talking about? Men’s inability, on average, to recognize whether a woman is agreeing to sex (or anything else) or not. Hence it becomes an issue of ‘consent’ rather than agreement, because the (average) man’s default assumption is that he should get what he wants, and it’s just a matter of overcoming the woman’s resistance.

    So yes, until men get better at reading social cues, and women get consistently good at protecting our own boundaries, I think there should be lots of question-asking and discussion.

  160. mearl

    I meant that by law under the Twisty model, men would not be able to avoid prosecution even if they tried to say, “but we were just playing with the idea of sex and we had a safe word!” I realise that this wouldn’t be POSSIBLE in court with this model. However, I saw a glimpse of the possibility that, unless all women were on the same page when it came to bodily integrity, those women who capitulate to men’s sick wants would be the ones who would still have misogynistic sex with the guys who wanted it, and would just never take the guys to court. In my head, I flipped the law around, but saw the same outcome for those women who are brainwashed by the patriarchy or have no anchor in a world where they are abused from birth. Of course, the law would fully support all women who DID get raped or coerced or what have you, and the implication of the law would cause men to be hesitant and responsible rather than predatory and flippant. The threat of law would keep them from even enacting “aggressive” sexual tactics upon any woman. I’m not trying to find holes, but the thought just crossed my mind. Then I argued against my own thought: if our whole society put the onus on men to respect women, then I would imagine that far fewer women would feel like it was the norm to be in relationships of any sort that would abuse their bodily integrity.

    Bird, I was agreeing with you on the BDSM thing. Your description of the default “no” in reference to physical abuse just made me think of a BDSM scenario, where physical abuse is a default “yes.” Your example was so clear that it really hit home for me. I was thinking how completely fucked up one would have to be to put oneself into a situation with a guy where the rules were the OPPOSITE of the Twisty proposal: a default “yes, do anything you like to me until I say no.” I can’t wrap my head around how any woman would support the sick and pervasive desire of men to abuse them and think it was fun and harmless. Call me crazy!

    I still love Twisty’s proposal.

  161. DonaQuixote

    Wow. I just have to jump out of my lurk for a second and note that this is the only place I have ever been on the “Internets” where people choose to mull things over carefully and admit their ideas are in a state of development rather than arrogantly spouting off the first thoughts that come into their heads.

    Ya’ll impress me mightily.

  162. Jeff

    There’s nothing wrong with warming up to sex. Wanting it bad enough to initiate it is fine, but being seduced is fine, too.

    In an egalitarian society, this might be true. But in a patriarchy that assigns the “active libido” to men and the “reactive libido” to women, this simply doesn’t work. There’s too much of a strain between “warming up” and “relenting,” and I don’t trust anyone in our society to reliably tell the difference.

    I just don’t like the idea of someone specifically asking me, “Can I kiss you?” “Would you like to have sex?” That’s so unromantic and makes the guy seem weak.

    Fuck that. Anyone who thinks that establishing mutualism is weak and unromantic can go let their strong hand take charge of the situation, or go seek out some battery-powered romance.

  163. TruthAndDare

    A closely-related literary intrusion, if I dare (and I usually do). This, from a monologue from a play I’ve been working on for years. The speaker is in her mid 20′s, trying to figure out the world around her, and looking back on a college relationship she only now understands to have been abusive.

    >> Actually, I know I thought I loved him; I can tell by some of the stupid shit I pulled. Like, on his 19th birthday I offered him 19 orgasms. Jesus–I thought I was so cool. Shit man, I didn’t even know from personal experience what an orgasm was. Hummmnh. Obviously, I thought I felt sexual about him, and I thought this gift would be really sexy, and being sexy was the most important thing to me. So, we had sex 19 times over the next several days.

    If that’s what you call it. I looked it up in the dictionary once–sex, that is–and this is what it said: “sex–anything connected to sexual gratification or reproduction or the urge for these: sexual intercourse leading to orgasm” I guess all of that was true for him, so he had sex 19 times, with various parts of my body. I don’t know what it is I had. What do you call it when a man has sex on a woman or in a woman or around a woman or…anything but with a woman. “With” would imply she was having sex too, and that just wasn’t the case. What would you call that, the thing a woman has when a man has sex in her or on her? I’m not talkin about what a woman has when a man has what he calls sex but what is really rape: I know the name for that–it’s terror. I want a name for what it is when a woman wants to be having sex with a man, or at least has clearly given her consent to his want to have sex but by any definition of sex she is not having it. That’s a name we need. Oh, boy, he really wouldn’t like that word–no man would. But if I had it maybe me and Kim and Janis and Lori–maybe if we had it, we could of really talked about what we were feeling instead of all that damn hinting about disappointment. Man, we all just thought we hadn’t found the guy we loved enough yet, when really we were experiencing was simply (gesture implying what there is no word for).

    Oh, wait, here’s an idea. He wasn’t having sex with me. (laugh) He was having sex assisted by me. Wow. Can you imagine saying that? “Jon had sex 19 times assisted by me. Tomorrow, Bill will have sex assisted by Lori. Yesterday, Fritz had sex assisted by Kim. Great assist, Kim!” All our studly boys would shit. Like — like, I remember, even though I was really young, I remember when women’s libbers starting calling men sexist pigs. They really hated the way women used the word pig. I know, cause I called boys that on the playground and they’d scream their heads off about what their dads said about that word. And that was just their first reaction. Next they’d try to hit me, even though they’d only try once. And then you could tell when they stopped being just pissy and started actually hating it. Know how you could tell? Cause they made it into a huge fuckin joke. I knew that by age 9, even though I forgot until too recently, that when men start making jokes, you’ve got them on the run. >>

  164. Bird

    Mearl, it is a very fucked-up place to come from, and I’m very glad that you don’t understand it, actually. For most women who enter into those sorts of relationships, there is a history of abuse and misery that means that the submissive sees love where there is really only degradation and hate.

    Many of them, like prostituted women, have histories of physical, sexual or severe emotional abuse. They have self-esteem issues on a level that most people can’t begin to understand. They often have other emotional problems—eating disorders, obsessive behaviours, etc.

    And they don’t think it’s harmless fun. There’s a weird philosophy of self-denial, the beauty of suffering, and all kinds of other things that people use to rationalize their situation. There’s a fervent intensity to the participants’ ideas around BDSM. It’s much like the “liberation” described by women in fundamentalist churches and involves the same sort of obliteration of the self that you see in certain ascetic movements. And people often embrace BDSM in the same way that others embrace the extremes of religion (and will even use similar language).

    In full-time BDSM relationships, the sub often effaces herself to the point where she doesn’t spell her name with a capital letter, she doesn’t dress without his consent, and she may do other things including such bizarre acts as only eating from his hand or a bowl at his feet. She may agree to be sexually available to anyone he chooses. It gets darker and darker the further you go.

    It really is the ultimate expression of the patriarchal version of sex and patriarchal “love”. It takes the ownership of women to the absolute literal extreme.

  165. Patti

    I don’t understand it, and I lived it for a year and a half. Part of me was kicking and screaming the whole way, part of me fell into it as a refuge. It DOES get darker and darker the further you go, well put. The whole time I was there, I was questioning and looking for anything written about the dynamics, and not finding anything within the scene that was self-critical at all. I’m left with a huge amount of guilt and shame and disgust with myself. But I’m understanding it more, where it came from in my childhood. It’s why I will probably never be involved with a man again – I’ve seen it written a few times that some men can pick the vulnerable women out from across the room, that they can see that part of us somehow, and I’ve found that to be true. Any man who is attracted to me and, even more sadly, any man I’m attracted to, is not going to be healthy for me.

  166. TruthAndDare

    I’ve been thinking and writing about this stuff for years, but usually really alone, and seeing this amazing group of women willing to wrestle with such a core issue is so astounding. Here’s another bit of something on this I wrote once, for the master’s thesis for my MS in Women’s Studies. It ends with a word coined by Selma Miriam but definitely worthy of Twisty herself…

  167. TruthAndDare

    ooops — hidden coding problems, such that the excerpt itself didn’t come up. Let me try again, copied from plain text:

    Within U.S. culture, and the culture of identity politics that exists within it, sex carries a tremendous social, emotional and symbolic power. The truth about this power is disguised by a mythology that says sex is by definition good, that more sex is better, and that sexual experiences are always positive. The only allowable exception to this is if one participant came into the experience with clear and documentable criminal intent, clear enough that the encounter can be removed from the realm of sex into the realm of crime, thereby keeping the definition of sex as inherently good unchallenged. This mythology is so necessary for maintaining male power and is so indoctrinated as to be unquestionable reality. It intentionally hides that fact that sexual experiences are not always positive even for people (especially women people) who choose to engage in them. The mythology also tells a grand lie about orgasms, proclaiming that their emotional and physiologic aspects are indivisible; there is, as Sheila Jeffreys points out, no word in English for having an orgasm from which one feels no pleasure and may even feel revulsion. Yet this experience happens to many women, who find themselves being physically aroused by images of violence done to them,(see note) and I’ve read accounts by Vietnam vets who now must live with tremendous shame that they were aroused by the violence they perpetrated.

    Our job is to challenge this ruling mythology, to point out that the actual boundaries of “sex” include much that is violent, coercive, and is not perceived (by the victim– rapists have orgasms) as pleasurable.

    note: Selma Miriam, of the BloodRoot Collective, hearing Sheila Jeffreys describe this absence in a speech at BloodRoot Restaurant, coined for it the concept of a “dis-rotic” experience

  168. Frumious B

    Because all heterosexual boinking is currently performed under the auspices of patriarchy.

    Homosexual boinking, on the other hand, is completely patriarchy free.

  169. TruthAndDare

    re: Frumious’ “homosexual boinking is completely patriarchy free”

    Sigh. If only.

  170. Twisty

    Frumious, I believe you’ve been around here long enough to know that I don’t consider anything to be patriarchy-free, and that though the current discussion may be about heterosex, the application of the theory to homosex, or any other sex, is not only implicit, but encouraged. So whyfore the sarcasm?

  171. Shakes

    This only really relates tangentially, but y’know that song “I Wanna Fuck You” by Akon? The radio-edit of the song changes the lyrics to “I wanna love you.” This strikes me as very bizarre, as it changes the entire meaning of the song. Are “fuck” and “love” really that interchangeable?

    I recently went into an internet chat room. Just for kicks. As with so many internet chat rooms, the participants were pre-teens and “tweens” and the conversation turned to sex. The second thing these inquisitive internetians asked me (the first being a/s/l?) was, “When was your first time?” I didn’t see any harm in answering truthfully, so I told them it was last December. One of my interlocutors said something to the tune of, “Aww, with the love your life?” (I’ve taken the liberty of adding punctuation and proper spelling.) “No,” I said. The immediate response was “OMG you were raped??” I told them that I was not. This exchange was something of an “Aha” moment for me. Or rather, a “Huh” moment. The man in question was my first boyfriend. We never talked about love. I did not have sex with him because I loved him or because I thought he loved me. I don’t know if either was true. But is that the typical adolescent notion? Sex happens because of either “true love” or rape?

    Even more recently, I came across this article ( http://www.livescience.com/health/050531_love_sex.html ), entitled “Love More Powerful than Sex, Study Claims.” The article is total bullshit, as many of the articles on the site are (another article claims that men die younger than women because of the energy exerted in the effort of wooing a mate), but it is provocative nonetheless. It opens with, “Sex and romance may seem inextricably linked, but the human brain clearly distinguishes between the two, according to a new study. The upshot: Love is the more powerful emotion.” The implication of love being “the more powerful emotion” is that sex is also an emotion. What? Sex is an emotion? It goes on to say that the study involved “17 young men and women, all of whom had recently fallen madly in love.” (“Madly in love” is, of course, a scientific quantification.) This pseudo-study pits sex *against* love, unlike the subjects in my informal field work for whom sex without love can only be rape.

    I realized this isn’t really a science and that I can’t really use math to prove a point here, but humor me. The mathematical expression of my chat room findings is sex-love=rape. If we substitute (sex-consent) for rape, then sex-love=sex-consent, therefore love=consent. Since this is not true, the original expression of sex-love=rape must be false. Another reworking of that equation is rape love=sex. If sex requires love, then consent doesn’t even enter the formula. And the moral of the story is that internet chat rooms are no place for rational thought, and that Akon should be allowed to say fuck on the radio.

    (On a somewhat related note, the sitcom answer to the question of where babies come from usually starts off with, “Well, when a man and a woman love each other very much…” The laugh track then usually cuts off the rest of the explanation. This oddity is humorously illustrated in this comic: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=543#comic )

  172. Marcy

    I had two comments disappear into the ether yesterday, so I’ll make this one short and sweet.

    I just wanted to thank everyone for their input regarding my comments yesterday. It’s giving me a lot to think about.

  173. LCforevah

    LMYC,when I was a child, I KNEW that I couldn’t read other people’s expressions or anticipate their needs like everybody else seemed to do. I hung back and couldn’t “spontaneously” hug my peers or adults. For this, I was known as standoffish and regarded as “not nice.” It took a long time to realize that people who claimed to know what everybody was thinking usually didn’t know anymore than I did.

    To this day I keep my physical distance around new people, and most get the idea that I don’t want to engage in anything touchy-feely. It took a long time to get my physical stance to say “do not tresspas” and have people honor it.

  174. RadFemHedonist

    LYMC, totally, I love to talk to people and ask first about stuff, I don’t presume that people want to be touched by me or anyone else. It’s really insulting when people presume you want to be touched, which is interesting, because I am actually very comfortable with being touched, but I don’t presume people want it from me. Like every other person on the planet, I cannot talk to other species of animal, but I try my best not to presume with them either, I try and pay attention to their body language, this seems to work.

  175. RadFemHedonist

    “In full-time BDSM relationships, the sub often effaces herself to the point where she doesn’t spell her name with a capital letter, she doesn’t dress without his consent, and she may do other things including such bizarre acts as only eating from his hand or a bowl at his feet. She may agree to be sexually available to anyone he chooses. It gets darker and darker the further you go.”

    Whaa??? I knew it involved miserable sex that involved a bunch of insulting and wearing jail clothes and shit (that description will come back and… yeah) , I didn’t know about all this. This is attempted enslavement, denial of self, that is the word for it. They are being raped… why aren’t they brought in for psychiatric treatment? If I was a counsellor and I found out someone was doing this, it would be a serious emergency, it’s a form of self harm.

  176. Cunning Allusionment?

    I apologize if I’m repeating something others have said already, I haven’t had time to read the sudden hugeness of this thread.

    I agree completely that if physical contact makes someone uncomfortable, it’s not okay to touch/hug them anyway because you think you know better. Ideally, no one should get to decide for anyone else what they need personally. Generally speaking I don’t think it’s unfair to wonder if the reason so many people dislike casual physical contact has to do with patriarchal discouragement of intimacy. Even if this is the case I don’t think it’s okay to encourage people to feel bad about their discomfort, if for no other more empathic reason, because shame isn’t an effective tool for helping people deal with their distress. As I think someone said earlier, just listening to people without judgment or advice can be a really powerful tool.

  177. Jerry

    MzNicky, I apologize if I have offended you or anyone else here. But what I said and what you said that I said were not necessarily the same.

    My point was that anyone having noncoercive, nonviolent, voluntary sex is liable under the Twisty model. Just having a kid would be sufficient evidence to convict. And that felonies can be (and have been) prosecuted without a victim’s help and even against a victim’s wishes.

    I saw this not as a flaw in the Twisty model but as an incompatibility with existing law. Bird actually addressed this very well with her “We’re in the dojo, let’s spar” example (comment #62821), but because she posted while I was composing my post, I hadn’t seen it yet.

  178. Bird

    This is what Twisty said:

    We could have as much heterosex as we want, but the instant we don’t want, the dude becomes, in the eyes of the law, a rapist.

    She did not say “Let’s make all heterosex illegal!”

    What she said is that women should be considered to be always saying no to sex unless they actually say yes. That was the point of my example. Combat to which both parties agree in appropriate circumstances is not illegal, but hitting someone any other time is. It’s the “default no” position. That doesn’t mean heterosex would become illegal, it just means that only a clear yes, given under honest, non-coercive circumstances, should be the legal prerequisite for heterosex (and, I would assume, for homosex as well).

    Jerry, you need to go re-read Twisty’s words carefully and then comment, mmm-kay?

  179. LMYC

    Jerry, a kid wouldn’t be ANY evidence to convict — if the woman didn’t bring charges. Period. That’s what this means.

    If you have reason to fear that this particular woman you’re trying to score off of may have any reason at all not to like what you’re doing to her, then you keep it zipped. That is the only end result here.

  180. Twisty

    “If you have reason to fear that this particular woman you’re trying to score off of may have any reason at all not to like what you’re doing to her, then you keep it zipped. That is the only end result here.”

    Exactly. Why is everyone trying to make it so complicated?

  181. Twisty

    I mean, I have to say I’m amazed that these consent threads generated over 500 responses. When I really just expected everyone to say, “Yup, that makes sense. Next?”

  182. Jerry

    Hi Bird, didn’t Twisty say at some point that there was no consent? I have been reading carefully, and thought I understood the “consent cannot exist under the Patriarchy” concept. But now this sounds like backpedaling.

    I quote Twisty’s original post:

    I grasp that, technically, the plan criminalizes all male participants in heterosexual sex. Well, what of it?

    Why indulge in such a grand thought experiment if not to explore the implications? There are more end results than the simple “keep it zipped” because the law is built on technicality. Like it or not, this idea, Twisty’s model, does become complicated, when evaluated in the context of the current legal system. IBTP.

  183. Virago

    I think, Jerry, that you’re mixing up two (or more) distinct thoughts. One is that consent doesn’t currently exist under patriarchy–or at least consent is so problematic because of patriarchy that it is essentially meaningless, is trampled upon at will by men. The other is that under Twisty’s proposal no consent would be required because the default would always be “no.”

    Interesting that the idea that women should “exist as inviolable entities, human beings with full personal sovereignty, the way men do now” (Twisty) is nothing more than a “grand thought experiment” (Jerry).

  184. mearl

    Hey Jerry: “Just having a kid would be sufficient evidence to convict,” is a flimsy argument, given the existence of this crazy thing called artificial insemination. Both men and women can be divorced at their own will from their reproductive cells, and women can exercise uncoerced choice (sometimes) about makin’ babies without their bodily integrity being violated by a moving, thinking, Other male entity.

    Anyways, I was about to say to TruthAndDare that ah loves your play excerpt. Ah loves it. I’ve been using the expression “assisted masturbation” for a couple of years now, but I have never had occasion to put it as thoughtfully and eloquently as you have. Let us know when your play gets shown so we can all attend and have an IBTP reception, complete with 50 varieties of tacos, afterwards.

  185. kate

    Roazasharn: “If that is the case, then they [woman] don’t have the freedom to decide the course of their own sex lives, and they really are being raped. I would like to think that at least most American women have more freedom than that most of the time. “

    I cut this early on in reading, but I think most people have addressed this issue; I would add that I think many American women don’t have such freedom nor do could they even grasp, much less imagine a what such would be like.

    Kazdiva: “I heard Germaine Greer talking about the high incidence of rape and the low reporting rate, and even lower conviction rate. She wondered if reducing the penalties, but also reducing the burden of proof in court would increase the conviction rate.”

    I think Greer is attempting to politely get discussion around what rape means and its ramifications. I have a problem with the suggestion of reducing burden of proof which would seem to me a slippery constitutional slope to tread. But changing where the burden of proof lies and what exactly that burden of proof is, is the real meat of the legal end of the discussion.

    Luckynyl brought up women as property, which I agree is the crux here. Throughout my reading I have been thinking about how women’s agency is diminished in degrees by economics.

    Rape is a property crime in the way that was very well explained in prior comments; the violation of a woman’s purity reduces her desirability as something (womb) able to produce heirs unquestionably of the husband and not of the violator. A man who has a violated woman is seen as having lesser property with heirs of questionable lineage (calling into question what clan/family owns property). When rape as seen as the property crime that it grew from, it is easy to understand the male attraction to rape; it is also a way to degrade their male opponents or aggressors.

    This goes on today in general circles, a perfect example is the contractor forums that I go on to review professional issues with my trade. Obviously they all are 99% male. Quite often someone will discuss unethical or illegal behavior on the part of a customer or business associate, which caused them harm or loss. Almost always, every one out of ten comments will include, “Go get his wife pregnant.” There was in fact one site in which the man bragged that he did just that to a neighbor who had wronged him, he had an affair with the man’s wife and impregnated her. The others gloated in approving glee at this man’s ‘winning’ the battle. Notice I said, “did that to” the neighbor, as there existed in these discussions no consideration of whether the wife wanted the sexual encounter(s), but whether or not the men could ‘get a piece’, as if biting off a plug of chewing tobacco.

    Women are seen as property, as property of men and therefore, their behavior must be guarded, controlled and protected to protect them man’s stature. Men economically well off can afford to keep their women better (keep her own and non-working and well primped) and lower status men are judged accordingly next to their wives. Therefore, wives are pressured to assume behavior that wins favor of men most able to protect them/provide for them and in exchange they bear children.

    I don’t think much has changed with the fundamentals in the few thousand years.

    But, as women’s view as property to control and protect diminishes over time and social progression, would then the tendency for rape to fetishized to the point that it is be reduced? Also, it would seem, yes romance as seen today would need to be renegotiated, but I don’t see this as the end of courtship, it just means a change and possibly a much shorter span of such a process, as pressure and pursuit would no longer be approved.

    Then I also got to wondering, would marriage as we know it also go out the window as now women having agency over their bodies? I mean, if women were seen as full human beings, then I would see them able to enjoy the infinite possibilities of self fulfillment that have nothing to do with one’s uterus.

    And isn’t sex itself over rated when tangled within this power structure and once such is broken down would sex finally be relegated back to the basic, animal activity that it is? I mean, nothing against sex, but I see it now sought after by many as a release or road to acquisition to power. If sex had no implication of oppression, then I’d assume also that BDSM and even rape itself would cease to be fetishized as well.

  186. RadFemHedonist

    wtf–I was thinking that too, but then realized that the only reason that would become a real mess of an issue is if one partner is the only one who can retroactively withdraw consent. If both partners can, then the point becomes moot. Sure, somebody out there will abuse it. There’s no inherent human right that somebody someplace can’t manage to abuse in some fashion, but the answer is never ever to limit those inherent human rights by law. (at least it’s never the right answer, I of course realize that it’s frequently the practiced answer, bleh)

    depends on whether you are actually talking about an inherent right or not, “parental rights” for instance are a lie, no-one gets to violate anyone else regardless of age.

  187. Cunning Allusionment?

    Then I also got to wondering, would marriage as we know it also go out the window as now women having agency over their bodies? I mean, if women were seen as full human beings, then I would see them able to enjoy the infinite possibilities of self fulfillment that have nothing to do with one’s uterus. – kate

    Marriage doesn’t have to have anything to do with uteri. Since I started reading this blog, I’ve begun to think that in the future the kind of emotional intimacy we would ideally have with a marriage partner will become divorced from sexual dependency. Relatedly, I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to be healthily sex-positive in a patriarchal society. Maybe patriarchy and sex-violence need to be completely dismantled before true sex-positivism is even possible.

    My point was that anyone having noncoercive, nonviolent, voluntary sex is liable under the Twisty model. Just having a kid would be sufficient evidence to convict. And that felonies can be (and have been) prosecuted without a victim’s help and even against a victim’s wishes. – Jerry

    My understanding of Twisty’s proposal is that all that’s needed to convict a man of rape is for a woman with whom he had some kind of sexual contact with to say at any time before, during, or after the fact that it is/was rape. Twisty said that this basically criminalizes all heterosexual sex, but I don’t think it does. It just criminalizes all het-sex that a woman at some point calls rape. So you’re concern about the government automatically convicting all sexually active heterosexual men, isn’t relevant.

    Color me the naive whooz’mabobbin’ I am, but am I the only person who thinks this law could actually get legislated? It’d have to start locally of course, but I think it could be “sold” to enough voters (especially women) in some places to get on the books.

  188. Jerry

    Hi Virago! “Thought experiment” are the words of Twisty herself, as taken from the top of this very page. Actually she calls it a little thought experiment. I call it grand.

    I may be confusing the two thoughts. (It does seem [to my patriarchy-washed brain] difficult to process the idea of a consent that can be retroactively revoked.) But Twisty says, “In fact, ‘consent’ would not apply to women at all” at the top of this page. Her word “would” implies that not only is there no consent now under the patriarchy, there would be no consent under Twisty’s proposal.

    Hi mearl! I’d thought of artificial insemination when I posted, but dismissed it as a factor because AI is still relatively rare and always produces oodles of records. Still, the burden of proof would be on the state to show that AI had not occurred, and not on the hapless parent(s) to show that it had. So your point is an excellent one.

  189. CannibalFemme

    Cunning Allusionment? said:

    “Since I started reading this blog, I’ve begun to think that in the future the kind of emotional intimacy we would ideally have with a marriage partner will become divorced from sexual dependency.”

    All I can say is, it works for me. I’ve been married to the same guy for fifteen years, but after four years I discovered that my grand experiment with the wacky concept of heterosexual monogamy was just not for me. I let him know that, and we remained partnered. Still are. The initial discussion about my choice to no longer engage with men sexually was a tender one, as of course he was inclined to think it was something he did or didn’t do (other than posessing a penis, that is). But that was no more rocky than any other general shift in a long-term relationship, where change is inevitable.

    At this time, I don’t know anyone else who has this particular kind of partnership, and most ‘normal’ people around me who find out about it are horrified on my partner’s behalf, as he is fully responsible for half of all of the expense and work associated with the household, but he never gets laid–of *course* that’s where the horror sets in. My father, however, seems to think that I’ve hit on a miraculous and magical formula that could singlehandedly wipe out most of the pain and problems most folks experience in relationships, and has joked that I should patent this before the world catches on.

    At any rate, yeah, it works for me. My .02.

  190. Kairos Rae

    I’ve been sitting here thinking about the perils of living in a patriarchy and the resulting unavoidable innate quality that we, as women, as sexual objects of desire. We cannot get away with it. We are considered a priori to have given consent because we are seen as something that gets the patriarchy off. Look at the media. Everythinng about a woman is exploited, commodified, and sexually objectified in advertisements.

    I want with all of my heart to say that if we just took the power back from within, if we just considered ourselves to have given no consent whatsoever in any given circumstance until we make the conscious decision to do so, then things will be fine. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy because we do live in a patriarchy. That is why women, time and again, have tried to demand our power back but failed. It never works because we always have to fight for it. We have to tell men we do not consent. They don’t just get it because we are not equal to them. If they saw us as equal to them, they would understand immediately that, of course, we don’t consent until we say we do. What a ridiculous idea.

    They don’t understand, though, so here we are, stuck in the fight for something we won’t win until we revolutionize the structures of the society itself.

    Le sigh.

  191. MzNicky

    Jerry: If I may say so, and I may: You’re still examining this whole concept of the irrelevancy of “consent” from within the blinkered confines of patriarchy. This would explain your insistence upon focusing on potential legalistic potholes in terms of how we currently understand law and “consent” with regard to rape. Which seems to be distracting you (and here I hesitate, but only slightly, to hurl at you the ugly accusation of attempted thread derailment) from the notion that unwanted sex would be likened to unwanted thievery or unwanted murder. If I am a victim of those crimes, isn’t it implicit that I did not give my “consent”?

    Does this mean sex becomes “criminalized”? Yes. Yes, it does. That’s because men have made it so. This would be your wake-up call.

  192. Jerry

    Hi MsNicky: My “insistence” has mostly been predicated upon being told twice to “go back and read, mmm-kay?” In a moment of weakness, I felt compelled to go back and defend my original post with actual Twisty quotes. I didn’t intend to make umpteen posts on the subject, but I concede that the end result could be construed as harping on the subject.

    My original post was essentially following Twisty’s instructions. Consider. Imagine. And attempting to answer her original question: “What of it?” I.e. What consequences come out of this idea? If trying to respond to this is derailment, then I am guilty as charged.

  193. Virago

    Jerry, Of course, I apologize if I put Twisty’s words in your mouth. However, you are still confusing two separate concepts. Once you iron that little wrinkle out, you might find that all your doubts just melt away.

    As far as retro-revoking goes, the idea of a retro-revoke was dealt with in the last thread on this topic. (Did you read that thread? No? Well, let me shorthand it a bit for you.) In the original post, Twisty suggests that this would apply, for example, to the cases where children have been raped. The sad fact is that many raped children do not fully realize the damage done to their bodies and psyches until years after the rapes have occured. In that case, they should also have recourse to justice, something that the current law does not afford them. The same is true with women who leave abusive relationships or who, for example, are drugged before being raped. Often, in these instances, the woman cannot seek justice until they are out of danger or, in the case of having been drugged, the drug wears off and they recover some memory of the event. Sometime, in that time frame, physical evidence may have been lost (the drug, for example, is out of their system) or they’ve showered, etc. The retro-revoke would apply in such cases.

    So before you get all “but my, er, I mean, some bitter ex might say she was raped and then what do the poor menz do??”, you might want to consider what raped women and children (yes, the victim of those poor menz) might’ve gone through.

  194. L.B

    OK you had me. I didn’t think this was a joke at first but reading your follow up comments it has to be, right?

    I don’t suppose someone who actually thinks that this is a good idea would have developed the mental faculties to read and write.

  195. Mar Iguana

    “I don’t suppose someone who actually thinks that this is a good idea would have developed the mental faculties to read and write.” L.B

    Unlike yourself, who apparently thinks this is some swell sentence structuring. Pitiful.

  196. SP

    Under this law, if a woman has had sex with a man, she would be able to rape him any time she wants, with no consequences. Here’s how it would work. A woman initiates sex one time and the man goes along with it. Later, the woman says “Since we have had sex, I can put you in prison for 15 years any time I want unless you have sex with me whenever I want it.” If he says no, she has him arrested for rape. This isn’t a false accusation or blackmail because sex is now a crime. He’s had sex with her so if she charges him, he’s guilty under this law, even though she initiated the sex. So he can either have sex with her or go to jail for 15 years.

    I definitely think rape is wrong, and this proposal legalizes the rape of men by women.

  197. j

    This proposal legalizes the rape of men by women? Are you insane?

  198. SP

    No, I’m not insane. Read the scenario I posted. Isn’t that rape? If a man has had consensual sex with a woman once, she can blackmail him into having sex with her any time she wants, under threat of years in prison. Any woman who has had sex with a man could do it. Why isn’t that rape?

  199. Virago

    Hahaha! You’ve figured it out, SB! We women don’t really want full personal sovereignty or freedom from rape. What we women really want are all you hott schlubs to be our own personal sex slaves!

    Yeah. Because it’s so difficult for a woman to find a hetsex partner these days.

    The greatest feminist minds of our times have been slapped down by SB. The movement’s over, my friends. SB has shown us in our true light.

  200. thebewilderness

    sb,
    He could report it to the police the first time she raped him. You know, when he went along with it, consented instead of agreeing and participating.

  201. SP

    thebewilderness, I thought only men would be subject to this law. Otherwise, men could accuse women of rape and send them to jail any time they had sex. Would Twisty find this acceptable?

    Virago, just because women can find a partner doesn’t mean they can’t rape. Football stars can easily find willing female partners and they still rape women.

    And Men really do have unwanted sex. I have male friends who have had situations where they didn’t want to have sex and their girlfriend did, and their girlfriend got very upset, so the men relented. They did consent though so it’s not legally rape. I’m curious though if you would consider that rape.

  202. SP

    In the previous thread, Twisty said, “No no, the woman is never the criminal. Her status remains static and her soveriegnty unquestioned.” So it’s clear that if a woman pressures a man to have sex and then says she was raped, then under this idea, the man legally raped the woman. Interestingly, if the woman tries to blackmail the man into having sex with her and he declines, he will likely be raped in prison. So the innocent man is facing rape either way. I’m for equality, so I cannot support this idea. I refuse to support a law that would legalize the rape of men by women. Or any rape, for that matter.

  203. Virago

    Again, sb offers the argument that transcends fact and trumps feminism! No finer argument for the continued sexual slavery of women exists, sb! You have won me over to your side. From now on, I fully support men’s right to rape because–what was it?–oh, right, I don’t want the poor menz to suffer because supporting women = supporting rape.

    Blamers, it’s like the veil has been lifted from my eyes!

    sb triumphant argument has all the philosophical finesse of a Chick Tract.

  204. Mar Iguana

    “This proposal legalizes the rape of men by women? Are you insane?” j

    No more than about 99% of the rest of the boys in this asylum, AKA Earth.

  205. SB

    How does my “side” “support men’s right to rape?” That’s rediculous. I am against all rape. That’s pretty clear in my posts.

  206. Virago

    Just following your “logic,” sb.

    Praise glory! I’ve seen the light! Blamers, lower your blame shields and allow the menz to board! We’ve been wrong all along! Please, forthwith focus your efforts on keeping the menz from getting raped by the women! Only your efforts will save them!

  207. Jerry

    Hey SP, if you’re talking about blackmail, why focus on this rather bizarre “woman rapes man” possibility? If you’re going to blackmail someone, why not just settle for cash or lifelong servitude or something?

    I’m not saying that it (woman rapes man) is or isn’t possible. I’m wondering why this particularly? Irony? Poetic justice?

    In any case I thought we were assuming that any abuse by women of the Twisty proposal would be no worse than what men do under the current version of the patriarchy.

  208. justicewalks

    What is clear from your posts, sb, is that you somehow seem to think that being falsely convicted of a crime is the exact same thing as rape. What is it with this pernicious false equivalency? Being falsely accused of rape is like being falsely accused of anything else. It might grate, but the accusation isn’t rape.

    What would be possible under this law is for any woman, at any time, to come forward with rape charges against any man who has penetrated her. Therefore, any sexually active man might be a rapist. The solution, for men so frightened that a woman might someday decide that their encounter constituted rape, is to simply refrain from sexual intercourse. If a man were afraid of being blackmailed in the way you outline, he could refrain from sexual intercourse. If he were truly afraid of being raped in prison, he could prevent ending up there (on rape charges anyway) by refraining from sexual intercourse while outside its confines.

    What is it that women can do under the current system to guarantee that they won’t be raped? I’ll wait.

    In that men would only need to restrain themselves in one insignificant aspect of life (sex) in order to completely avoid the risk of jail, while women have, over the years, had to cloister themselves in attics, burqas, and convents just to minimize, not eliminate, the risk of rape, it seems to me that Twisty’s idea is a lot more fair to men, in that it gives them a rather obvious “out,” than the current system is to women.

    You say, “I’m for equality, so I cannot support this idea,” but where are your tirades against the inequality and injustice of the current system then? If it’s really equality you’re after (and I have my doubts), you’d be outraged at the current state of affairs. That you’re aren’t quite so concerned with inequality when it skews in your favor might just be what has other commenters consigning you to the misogynist (ie, pro-rape) creep heap. You can’t be “for equality” and, with any intellectual honesty anyway, support the current highly unequal system at the same time, after all.

    Plus, under Twisty’s system, men raped in prison will also be assumed to have uttered an a priori “no,” so at least the man raped in prison under those hypothetical circumstances would have reliable legal recourse, unlike the current real-life situation for women.

    I will have you know, though, that not all male-on-male sexual intercourse in prisons is rape (does anyone know a reliable source for statistics? I’d be interested to see what percentage of prison intercourse is consensual, though situation-specific). I think that’s what really terrifies you men about ending up in prison. It’s not that you’re afraid of being raped; it’s that you’re afraid that, in a single-sex environment without patriarchy-approved receptacles nearby, the veneer of total heterosexuality will wear thin enough that you’ll actually consent to homosexual activity.

  209. TP

    I just can’t stand reading all these manly man posts. I really hate men. They complain, they argue, they whine, they defend the indefensible, they split hairs, they use false logic.

  210. Virago

    Word, TP. And these are the concern trolls and the Nice Guys TM. Don’t give in and agree with their rape-apologist agenda? They’ll start calling us names, threatening us with violence, telling us how lucky we’d be if anyone even wanted to rape women like us.

    How ’bout a big ol’ cup of STFU, jerry and sb, huh?

  211. Jerry

    “…one insignificant aspect of life (sex)…”?

  212. pandapan

    Yes, sex really is that insignificant, contrary to what the patriarchy would have you believe. If you can’t control your dudely urges, do us all a favor and remove yourself from civilized society. Women do not exist for your entertainment. If sex is really that important, you’d better be damn certain you have consent.

  213. wtf

    You, of course, are the only moral authority capable of telling other people what should be significant in their lives.

    “They complain, they argue, they whine, they defend the indefensible, they split hairs, they use false logic.”

    Isn’t that what this site’s all about?

  214. Virago

    They’re really going against type here, don’t you think, TP?

    Boys, see also Chris Clarke’s advice for men.

  215. thebewilderness

    Boys,
    I would like to add that you do not know what we are talking about here, you just think you do. Get educated before you attempt to join the conversation. We already know what you think. We have heard it a kazillion times.

  216. Tyler D

    They’re really going against type here, don’t you think, TP?

    Boys, see also Chris Clarke’s advice for men.

    As a man, I have also found this article to be a brief and to the point intro for men interested in feminism.

  217. Brain

    Interesting discussion. I shall be thinking about this for a while. For all the blamers who read this far, here’s an Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit quote which came to mind during this thread…

    “There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other’s names. Naming is a difficult and time-consuming process; it concerns essences, and it means power. But on wild nights who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name. Romantic love has been diluted into paperback form and has sold thousands and millions of copies. Somewhere it is still in the original, written on tablets of stone. I would cross seas and suffer sunstroke and give away all I have, but not for a man, because they want to be the destroyer and never be destroyed. That is why they are unfit for romantic love. There are exceptions and I hope they are happy.”

  218. justicewalks

    You, of course, are the only moral authority capable of telling other people what should be significant in their lives.

    I tell a man that it would be moral to consider the rights of women and children not to be raped, and he balks. I imagine white people also thought it was immoral to consider the rights of the slaves. “I mean, sure, it mustn’t be nice to be beaten, raped, starved, and worked to death, but can’t you imagine the significance of all that cotton? Who are you to tell that cotton, King Cotton, isn’t more significant than something so trite as freedom for black people? I mean, what else are they going to do? They should feel lucky we took notice of them.”

    Of course, a superior morality would value men’s “significant” “right” to get some poontang over women’s right not to be raped or otherwise violated. Thanks for putting into such stark relief.

    My friends don’t believe me when I tell them men hate women, but when it comes down to a choice between the risk of committing rape and having to get themselves off, they’ll choose to rape some woman every single time. That’s how significant rape is to them. It’s not the thought of being a rapist that bothers them; it’s the thought of going to jail for it and, perhaps, suffering some poetic justice while they’re there. Thanks for illustrating your hatred of women so plainly.

    I can’t be the only one ready for lb, sb, and wtf to be shown the door, can I?

  219. LouisaMayAlcott

    *Opening the door wide*

    Bugger off, pr!cks.

  220. Silence

    You know, I am a hundred percent behind Twisty here. Yep, this proposition works, let’s forget about all these ideas about ‘consent’ and move on to something else. I haven’t read a single decent protestation against the ruling. You don’t like it when a man asks you if you want to be touched? I think you should reconsider your position, but fine. Go ahead and have your usual sex and nothing will change. Twisty’s Law will not apply to your relationship. As she has pointed out several times, nothing will change for people in healthy relationships. Her law is structured to penalize child molesters, men who bang drunken women, men who nag women into giving them reluctant sex, men who beat up women and force sex on them — well, the list could go on, but basically it boils down to “creeps.”

    In short, men who are not creeps would not suffer any penalty whatsoever under the Twisty Law. Can we please shitcan this fantasy of all the sweet, innocent nice men who are going to be unfairly imprisoned on the accusation of their vengeful ex-girlfriends? Because it’s just all more of that patriarchal woman-hating bullshit. Some people just can’t get it into their heads that women are not untrustworthy man-hating, lying harpies. I know there’s about a thousand years of literature that says otherwise, but most of it was written by entitled dudes, so don’t take it as gospel, okay? We really have better things to do with our lives than come up with evil schemes to make males miserable. Thank you.

    I suggest we move on to discuss why sex is so fucking important in the first place that we need to kick up such a stink about it the first place. I mean, one of the objections I’ve heard raised is that Twisty’s Law would mean people might fuck a bit less. I say so what? What’s wrong with talking, taking a walk, gardening, eating chocolate, or a million other things you can do with your time? Why, in this society, do children as young as twelve or thirteen feel the need to have sexual intercourse? Why are we so bloody sex-obsessed when, as has been pointed out, it’s often not so wonderful as it’s cracked up to be? I’m quite certain this hyper-sexualization of society serves the patriarchy, because everything does. How about we talk about that for a while?

  221. justicewalks

    I suggest we move on to discuss why sex is so fucking important in the first place that we need to kick up such a stink about it the first place.

    And the sad thing is, it isn’t even sex altogether that would be targetted by Twisty’s law, it’s penile intercourse. It’s sex that says a woman’s sex organ is her vagina, not her clitoris, because looking at sex that way maximizes the differences between men and women and puts women at risk of pregnancy, which further differentiates men and women. Non-intercourse sex, while still influenced by patriarchy, as all things are, does a better job of recognizing the similarities between men’s and women’s bodies and doesn’t attempt to equate penetrating with being penetrated. They are not equivalent and it only serves men’s purposes to suggest so.

    Let’s talk about why this particular version of sex, in which a man uses another person’s (or animal’s) orifice to masturbate and ejaculate into, is so prioritized.

    Let’s stop pretending as if radical feminists want to see less heterosexual sex altogether (although I admit, for the willful or oblivious patriarchy cheerleader, sex and penile intercourse are so conflated as to be indistinguishable), rather than less sex that fetishizes mounting [claiming victory over] and fucking (to the protestations of the mounted and fucked, of course) and puts women in danger of pregnancy and higher STD transmission rates than men.

  222. MedeaOnCrack

    Amazing isn’t it. They can’t conceive of sex as anything but drilling with some porn image in their heads. Don’t distract them. Now if they had to go through about ¾ of their sex experience doing it for someone else, with no orgasm in sight as women do with penetration, and nothing but yeast infections and pregnancies for it–well it’s unthinkable! Justicewalks I’m reading you and nodding and thank you.

  223. MedeaOnCrack

    By the way, yesterday I learned the Oxford Thesaurus has “rape” as a synonym for “sex”.

  224. SP

    Let’s try a thought experiment by reversing genders. So now we live in a world where this Twisty’s idea is the law.
    First, I’m going to make the assumption that men and women are intrinsically equal. That means that some individual men and some individual woman have a capacity for evil; women are not naturally morally superior or morally inferior to men. (some of you might see this as a misogynist view, but it isn’t. It merely says, men and women are equal).

    With Twisty’s law, suppose a woman chooses to have sex with a man (she may have initiated it or he may have initiated it but she was a happy and willing participant). So now she has unlimited power over the man, backed up by the state, because heterosexual sex is a crime for men. Now, we know that when men have power, a certain fraction of them will abuse that. It stands to reason that if women have similar power, some of them will abuse it, because men and women are equal. Theoretically, if she wants, she can black mail him into having sex with her (which might be common because the dynamics of sex could completely change, not that that’s a bad thing) or paying her financially, under threat of prison. Or can send him to prison because she’s mad, or whatever.

    Sounds good, right? What do you care about men? You’re a WRA(Women’s Rights Activist). Ok here’s the interesting part. Men are now fed up with the current system under Twisty’s law. They’re tired of being blackmailed. They’re sick of spending years in prison for having consensual sex and having no legal recourse. A masculist blog, “I blame the Matriarchy,” comes up with this idea that men should only be charged with rape if the woman can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she said no. Sure, more women might be raped. But it’s no worse than the current system, right? I mean, under this new system, rape is still illegal and women still have a recourse. But men would no longer be second class citizens, subject to being imprisoned whenever a woman wants, as long as they’ve had sex. So it would obviously be better than Twisty’s law, or so the masculists say.

    Would you support the Masculists in this instance? I doubt it. But that’s the exact reverse of Twisty’s law. Obviously we need to find a solution that respect’s everyone’s rights. Both Men’s and Women’s.

  225. Cunning Allusionment?

    Obviously we need to find a solution that respect’s everyone’s rights. Both Men’s and Women’s.

    I agree. Unfortunately, your argument is predicated on two falsehoods.
    1) Men have a right to have sex.
    We don’t. More specifically, no one has a right to have sex, people only have the right to not have sex if they don’t want to.
    2) A significant fraction of rape charges will be “unjust” in that the sex acts in question were “actually” consensual.
    This ignores the huge and previously stated problems with consent to sex in general, and women’s consent to sex in a patriarchal context specifically. It also ignores that this hypothetical — that women, drunk with the power of their sexual liberation, will turn on their erstwhile oppressors and start handing out rape charges like party fliers to innocent men — is absurd.
    Twisty’s law doesn’t disrespect anyone’s rights, it merely provides strong, non-negotiable enforcement of women’s human right to not have sex if they don’t want to.
    At the risk of exposing myself for the sadly naive privilege-drunk guy I am, does anyone else think this (or something very similar to it) could really be legislated?

  226. MedeaOnCrack

    “Let’s try a thought experiment … .”

    That’s what this whole blog is you moron

  227. SP

    For Cunning Allusionment,

    #1: I don’t assume that men have a right to have sex. I assume that *if* men and women have consensual sex, the man has a right to defend himself against a rape charge in some way. No man or woman has an intrinsic right to have sex, but they have a right to defend themselves legally when accused of a crime.

    #2: I’m merely assuming that men and women are morally equal. If some individual men abuse power when they have it, why wouldn’t some individual women do so?

    Also, men are actually under a lot of social pressure to have sex they might not want. If they turn down sex, people assume there must be something wrong with them. And they could easily be blackmailed into having unwanted sex under Twisty’s proposal, in the same way a boss could blackmail a secretary into having sex with him if that was legal.

    For MedeaOnCrack, if this whole blog is a thought experiment, then my post should fit right in.

  228. justicewalks

    Oh, MedeaOnCrack, I had forgotted all about the yeast infections. In my boinking days, I wasted countless hours and co-pays in gynecologists’ offices being prodded and medicated for oscillating yeast and bacterial infections, which ailments I only had to become celibate to eliminate completely. I mean, I was at the gynecologist at least once a month. I barely know what to do with all my free time and money these days.

    Of course, sex and rape are synonyms in a rape culture. I wish I could say I was surprised.

    SP, men could prevent accusations of rape entirely by refraining from sex. In the event that they decided, against all reason, to risk rape allegations by fucking someone, they’d have to rely on physical evidence to prove that they did not, in fact, penetrate an unwilling victim. The burden of proof would lie with the defense.

    Can we add sp and jerry to the list of men (lb, sb, and wtf) needing to be shown the way out? Aside from providing fresh examples of men’s hatred for women (of which we gathered here need no reminder), they have added nothing to the discussion.

  229. justicewalks

    *forgotteN*

  230. delphyne

    “I assume that *if* men and women have consensual sex, the man has a right to defend himself against a rape charge in some way. No man or woman has an intrinsic right to have sex, but they have a right to defend themselves legally when accused of a crime.”

    This proposal is directed to all the men who are having non-consensual sex with women at the moment and getting away with it. Why are you missing that fundamental point?

    If women were so likely to blackmail men regarding sex, we could do it right now by threatening to accuse someone of rape if we wanted to. Funnily enough women don’t do this. Quite a lot of men do blackmail and coerce women into sex however. Why are you confusing the behaviour of the respective sexes?

  231. Virago

    Word, delphyne!

    Men are so fucked up that they can’t see a world in which they don’t have the right to threaten or harass women (for sex or anydamnthing), so of course they assume that if women had any power, we’d turn around and do the same thing they do. It’s a small mind that thinks this way.

    Are these men feminists? No. Do they want to be? No. It’s the same ol’ tired patriarchal b.s.

    Boys, you don’t belong on a feminist blog.

  232. SP

    “Men are so fucked up that they can’t see a world in which they don’t have the right to threaten or harass women (for sex or anydamnthing), so of course they assume that if women had any power, we’d turn around and do the same thing they do. It’s a small mind that thinks this way.”

    I don’t threaten or harass anyone for sex, nor do I want sex at all. “Men” are not one entity and neither are “Women.” Everyone is an individual person, and occasionally individual people are predisposed to commit evil acts when they have the power to do so.

    Frankly, my view seems more feminist than yours, because it assumes that men and women are morally equal and treats everyone as an individual with equal rights. It says that women aren’t genetically morally superior to men, but are in fact equal to men, and that some individuals have the capacity to do bad things, whether they’re male or female.

    “If women were so likely to blackmail men regarding sex, we could do it right now by threatening to accuse someone of rape if we wanted to.”

    I’ve heard of that very thing happening. But it would be much easier to do under Twisty’s law, because if a man and a woman have had sex, he’s technically guilty even if he can demonstrate she was a willing participant. So there would be no such thing as a “false” rape charge (if sex has occurred).

  233. CannibalFemme

    Dear fellows without a clue:

    As the spectre of mass false rape accusations by power-crazed evil bitches continues to haunt your psyches, and you have been reminded over and over again that all power-crazed evil bitches are *fully capable* of accusing you of rape right now with or without the legality of Twisty’s Law, I can only conclude that you must truly believe that the only thing protecting your privileged asses right now is how ‘inconvenient’ the existing system has made it for a woman to accuse her rapist. And I, for one, would not at all be surprised if you were right.

    From there I extrapolate that you must believe that women, when unchecked, are out to cause you as much damage and pain as possible. And from thence I proceed towards the idea that you are all on perfectly good terms with your inner rapist.

    Your fear is half misplaced: not all women hate you. In fact, there are plenty of women–a majority of them, even–who probably think you’re the bees’ knees and everything that a manly fellow should be and all that plus a bag of chips. Women who you could prevail upon for sex when they were drunk or tired or sick or afraid of you or not in the mood or not attracted to you and who would never, ever even *dream* of considering letting you know that you’re a fucking rapist scumbag.

    But those women are not here. And you shouldn’t be, either.

  234. Cunning Allusionment?

    Frankly, my view seems more feminist than yours, because it assumes that men and women are morally equal and treats everyone as an individual with equal rights.

    Whether or not men and women are equally capable of moral bankruptcy in theory is irrelevant in actual social contexts dominated by patriarchy. As I understand it (or misunderstand it), feminism isn’t an abstract theoretical exercise, it’s a practical movement to liberate women from patriarchal domination. As it happens, in the real world this law would help eliminate ye olde tradition of sexual predation that men have used to control women for thousands of years.

    Virago: RE: Chris Clarke’s excellent advice: This finally resolved something for me that until just now I never understood. Most of my girl friends throughout my life, at one point or another told me that I was not “a guy” at all, that they saw me as androgynous. Reading Chris’ article made me wonder if they viewed me this way because I’d devoted myself to being a totally safe person and that feelings of fear and insecurity were so closely connected to their definition of “guy” that I didn’t fit in that category. I remember one conversation in particular when my fried said she wished she could find a guy like me, to which I said, “I’m a guy like me.” She laughed and said, “but you don’t count, you’re not a guy.” (To be “dispassionate and rational” as per Chris’ article though, I must admit to the possibility that they found me unattractive for other, unrelated reasons.)

  235. delphyne

    “I’ve heard of that very thing happening.”

    Of course you have. Where? When?

  236. MedeaOnCrack

    Octaglore that you?

  237. Virago

    Women tell them “no” (No, you’re not welcome here. No, you don’t understand the discussion. No, you’re not a feminist. No. No. No.) And these boys are still here. They’re still pushing their views, their rape apologies, their “I’m more feminist than you (because I believe that women are all vindictive bitches who would, given the chance, cry rape and put the innocent menz in jail where they would be RAPED).”

    Men who don’t listen to the word no, who don’t feel that women’s “NO” doesn’t apply to them are why Twisty wrote this post.

    Women say “NO,” and men think, oh, I can school them.

    Women hear “NO,” and men think, oh, I can teach them.

    Women say “NO,” and these men think, oh, here is a place where I am welcome, a place where I can express my views, where there are only women saying “NO,” so here is a place for me!

  238. Inverarity

    Frankly, my view seems more feminist than yours, because it assumes that men and women are morally equal and treats everyone as an individual with equal rights.

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

    It’s all very well to propose treating everyone “equally” if we were operating in an “equal” environment, but we are not.

    Your protestations are akin to folks who find affirmative action so very objectionable because “We should treat everyone equally and judge them only on their qualifications.”

    Sure you’re a feminist. I’ll bet you’re one of those guys who “doesn’t see color” too, right?

  239. Virago

    So true, Inverarity.

    This kind of “I don’t see color; you’re all just imagining racism” thinking has been covered, named, by The Unapologetic Mexican. He calls it The Fallacious Flip.

    †the fallacious flip- The reflex some people have to invert an example regarding racial issues to show how it is unfair that POC are claiming things (rights) or saying things (self empowerment in the face of oppressive and derisive societal memes) or afraid of things (contact with police, store security guards, speaking boldly in defense of their People) or “assuming” things (like when you walk past cars and hear doors locking, or are in a conversation suddenly rife with the same old racist arguments always leveled at you). It is a wholly invalid framing, because it assumes that all ethnicities have the same history in this land, the same power, the same struggle to claim personhood, the same assumptions leveled on them. In this light, The Fallacious Flip is nothing but more oppression and privileged (un)thinking; an attempt to shut down the POC from gaining equality.

    Easily translatable to feminism, I think.

  240. Mar Iguana

    Men are equal to women?! Snort. In your dreams, boyos.

  241. Tyler D

    Tyler D, may I assume you’re asserting that this is as it should be? Just to clarify.

    ramou:
    This response is awfully late – I’m not sure how I missed your question.

    In any case, what I meant was – taking the conventional macho approach of “pushing, pushing, pushing for sex until your partner is uncomfortable” would feel pretty unpleasant if your goal is to have a mutually positive experience and be emotionally in tune with said partner. (And yes, that’s my goal, so I don’t do things the macho man way.)

    I do think enjoying an experience together is a good thing when compared to the alternative of “get around the bases”, or “score” or “get off” or whatever. (Amazing how many adversarial sporting/war metaphors come into play.)

  242. Cathy

    Twisty,

    A previous post about the trickle-down (!) culture of rape got me thinking along these lines, also. Naturally, any mention of rape will indeed bring countless Googler perverts to your blog, and they will be incensed that you fail to provide any pics or vids.

    I had thought it might be fair if sex were considered non-consensual unless there were a written contract stating that it would be allowed, on a certain day(s), and signed by both participants (over the age of 18, I’d say). Any promises made would have to be included in the document. Kind of a pre-sex prenup. Maybe there should also be a 24-hour waiting period, like that sometimes imposed on unfortunate females requiring an abortion.

    Oh, the guys will whine that would take the spontaneity and “romance” out of it – worse than putting a “raincoat” on the poor boner. What would really bother them is that it would remove their favorite part of the experience: the conquest/rape/dominance.

    Not holding my breath.

  243. mearl

    “Frankly, my view seems more feminist than yours, because it assumes that men and women are morally equal and treats everyone as an individual with equal rights.”

    “I am more of a feminist than the numerous and very female feminists here; despite not having read the post, the FAQ, the What About the Men? section, and any feminist literature whatsoever!”

    SP, fuck off! Before you go, here’s something to chew upon: have a look at crime, war, and rape stats. Check out who causes most of the problems in this world, and who are the casualties. Despite being raised to be honest, strong, selfless, considerate and loving by their mothers (and possibly their fathers), a good portion of the world’s men turn into monsters upon entering adulthood, and enact the worst of the crimes of all humanity upon both men and women, and if you take a look at history, men have always done this. Mothers don’t teach men to be that way, and women don’t encourage it as wives, girlfriends, community members, coworkers, daughters, or victims. You can nitpick about the exceptions all you want, but look at the GROUP STATS. Don’t even fucking well START about how women would all be rapists if we had the chance. Women don’t give a shit about men except to try and survive dealing with them, and we don’t really give all that much of a shit about having sex with men. Maybe this scares you more than you think, and that’s why you’re coughing up this desperate line of thinking.

    These dudes are so rediculous.

  244. Silence

    Don’t do anything until the woman says “yes, you can.”

    Stop as soon as the woman says “no.”

    Damn, those instructions are hard to follow, aren’t they?

  245. Cathy

    t makes perfect sense to me that certain dudes would get their drawers in a wad over the thought of false accusations of rape. The regular male Blamers have nothing to worry about, but the Trolls here are horrified at the idea of going to prison for a crime they “didn’t” commit. Prison is worse than death to these guys, because they might get raped! All their lives they have been told that nothing is worse than being like a female (like being on the receiving end of a rape, for which they can suddenly define consent quite well). “You throw like a girl!” PE coach/sergeant: “Come on ladies, this ain’t no tea party!” Little boys don’t want to read stinkin’ books about girls, though girls are willing to read about boys. They still want the clubhouse sign to read, “No girlz allowed.” So if we dare to show our faces in public, we’re fair game.

    The old “innocent until proven guilty” point will be hard to change, I see. Some men can’t see that the current system flips it and assumes the accuser is guilty of being a lying slut until proven innocent.

    Again, the tea party is over before I even show up (I blame exhaustion); I hope my $.02 doesn’t inconvenience. This topic is personal and I must comment, although the old hat Blamers cover it very well. God, I’m so pissed but you guys make me laugh anyway. Someday I hope to catch up, but I am reading all of this because I don’t want to miss any of your perfectly aimed snark.

  246. Cathy

    Sorry, I meant to turn off italics after the might get raped!

  247. Eurosabra

    Justicewalks: [In the event men had sex]…”they’d have to rely on physical evidence that they did not penetrate an unwilling victim…”

    Umm, they’d have to use physical evidence to demonstrate that no penetration of any kind by anyone took place, which is still problematic under Twisty Laws of evidence (cf. Duke Lacrosse and the lack of DNA evidence, because it doesn’t rule out sexual assault), which is an impossibility if the woman had penetrative sex with ANYONE during that time period, especially with the man in question. The only possibly successful defenses would be “No penetration” in the absence of DNA, or “Wrong guy” in the presence of DNA evidence. Since consent is not a defense under the Twisty Law, you’ve essentially handed all women a put-a-guy-in-jail-free card vis-a-vis any man with whom they’ve had penetrative sex. So, yes, you’re relying on women not to abuse privilege and reversing the “presumption of innocence” restriction on state power in the Anglosphere.

  248. mearl

    Uh, yeah, pretty much how women leave the house, or go out alone and unarmed with guys all the time, relying on men not to abuse their physical advantage and the laxity of the current laws, and rape us. Does y’all get it yet?

  249. Artemis

    This comment by justicewalks is so important I’m quoting the whole thing and seconding her call to talk about the prioritization of one meaning of the word “sex.” Thank you, justicewalks, for bringing this out and saying it so well:

    it isn’t even sex altogether that would be targetted by Twisty’s law, it’s penile intercourse. It’s sex that says a woman’s sex organ is her vagina, not her clitoris, because looking at sex that way maximizes the differences between men and women and puts women at risk of pregnancy, which further differentiates men and women. Non-intercourse sex, while still influenced by patriarchy, as all things are, does a better job of recognizing the similarities between men’s and women’s bodies and doesn’t attempt to equate penetrating with being penetrated. They are not equivalent and it only serves men’s purposes to suggest so.

    Let’s talk about why this particular version of sex, in which a man uses another person’s (or animal’s) orifice to masturbate and ejaculate into, is so prioritized.

    Let’s stop pretending as if radical feminists want to see less heterosexual sex altogether (although I admit, for the willful or oblivious patriarchy cheerleader, sex and penile intercourse are so conflated as to be indistinguishable), rather than less sex that fetishizes mounting [claiming victory over] and fucking (to the protestations of the mounted and fucked, of course) and puts women in danger of pregnancy and higher STD transmission rates than men.”

    By being precise with which sex we mean, we can be much more precise: penile penetration = rape.

    The word “sex” has been heteronormalized to mean penile penetration but there is a vast range of sexual experience that doesn’t include that or the concomitant domination and subjugation.

  250. Eurosabra

    The tension of universal potential victimization must be well-nigh unbearable. And women are not of superhuman strength, though patriarchal societies demand it.

    Yeah, I get it, but you’re essentially reviving lettres de cachet, in a very roundabout way, and we work in a non-Roman law system. You’re permanently criminalizing a certain form of sex, like the old sodomy statutes. Since the law applies exclusively to men, we can kiss the equal protection clause goodbye. Are you aware of the stunningly illiberal history in the West of past law in the light of these measures you’re proposing, de jure, with the only flip side being that they now discriminate against straight men?

    But I must commend justicewalks for “outing” the anti-P-in-V preoccupation of this blog. Are you all good Gramscians who argue that the perception of straight women who might see vaginal penetration as a connection or mutual exchange or mutual possession by equals is mere false consciousness? (Yes.) Undoubtedly, you’ve all read all your Dworkin, and MacKinnon, and while we’re at it, French and Solana, but THANK GOD you don’t get to legislate sexuality…yet. I mean, this is a non-issue, because you’ve got a theoretical frame that lets you outlaw penetrative hetero sex, period. There is NO argument I can make against that when you control the discourse and the forum. And yes, sex in the Occident is defined in an excessively reductionist manner.

    “Two legs good, three legs bad.”–”Long Live Twisty Farm!”

  251. Eurosabra

    Why is it prioritized? Because we live in a culture that has basically done-to-death the idea of a full-body sensuality, that precludes the cultivation of a broad spectrum of touch as a form of connection with others, that reduces sex to the mechanics of penetration. I’m being deliberately dense here, perhaps, but the immense pr0nification of our society is undoubtedly a factor. But as a topic, it’s too big to even get a grip on, and rather than quote someone like Alex Comfort, Nina Hartley, or Susie Bright, I’ll shut up.

  252. Virago

    “You’re permanently criminalizing a certain form of sex, like the old sodomy statutes.”

    Wha-huh?

    No, the proposal is that rape would be effectively and permanently criminalized.

    I’m all for extending that to men, too. Despite what you may think, I don’t think that any woman on this blog would agree that only women should be safe from rape.

  253. Eurosabra

    Cute end-run around the statute by redefining “consent” out of existence, making sex = rape. Very feminist of you. The alternate form of eliminating consent as a legal concept, a blanket declaration that women are *always* consenting, is NOT the current state of the law, however miserable the laws may be.

  254. delphyne

    Eurosabra, you don’t seem to get it. How many times does it have to be repeated that it only applies to men who *rape* women.

    To use me as an example, if this law came into force tomorrow I would be able to get the guy who raped me prosecuted because I wouldn’t have the bullshit “she consented” thrown in my face. On the other hand the men I’ve had sex with would be walking around free BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T RAPE ME.

    Why are there so men here who unable to tell the difference between sex and rape? In your case maybe it’s because you read Alex Comfort Eurosabra – he based his ideas of sexuality on transactions between prostituted women and the johns who use them. That could give you some screwed up beliefs about consent.

  255. justicewalks

    Oh, Virago, clearly they’re scared they’re going to rape someone, walk away telling themselves it was consensual, and, yet, have to pay the price for it anyway. You see, it’s the telling-themselves-it-was-consensual part they think should keep them out of jail. That’s what keeps them out of it now, in fact. Under Twisty’s Law that wouldn’t work, and they have a hard time imagining how else to avoid being treated like the rapists they are.

    I only have two suggestions, and I’m positive they’ve been offered on this very thread by posters more astute than I. To those I’ve failed to tip a proper hat, my apologies. My suggestions:

    1. Bother to get to know a woman fully before even entertaining the thought of fucking her. I’m talking about a long, long time. Long enough for those initial butterflies to flutter off on their merry way, I guarantee you. I’m thinking your safest bet for non-rape intercourse in a Twisty-governed world MIGHT be a woman still seeking, for some reason, to get knocked up the old-fashioned way.

    2. Refrain from ever using someone else’s (or an animal’s; I feel horrible that I need to add that, but I’m observant enough to know that I do) orifice for your masturbatory and ejaculatory pleasure. The world abounds with other things to do, even sexually.

    Artemis, thanks for taking notice. I mean, I guess we all know why men’s rutting like dogs is so prioritized in this culture, but it really is just almost enough to send me over the edge that men refuse even to consider letting some of it go. When I think of what women do for the sake of humanity, just by being here, bleeding* for us all every month, so that humanity might continue, I wonder what it is that men have done that wasn’t for themselves alone, even though women might sometimes also have been given a trickled down crumb or two. I think of our sacrifices, caring for us all, feeding us all, literally, sometimes from our own bodies. You think I haven’t seen full-grown feral male dogs in South American towns tossing a bitch’s pups aside to feed off of her? Men have done that too, and what have they done for us? Really, what? Not for themselves, with grudging allowance for some women to benefit from male luxuries because they simply must to keep a few handy for fucking, no way around that, but, really, what have they done with their mothers’ and daughters’ best interests in mind?

    So, we offer them a suggestion. We say, how about since we ovulate, shed, gestate, abort, birth, nurse, nurture, clothe, raise, and feed all of us (many of which, not just the one, might actually be physically painful), would you mind not raping us while we’re at it? And, of course, having never done ANYTHING purely for someone else’s benefit, they say no.

    No, they don’t want the sex we’d freely offer. They’d rather continue raping us.

    *I know not every woman has a period. But some do, painful ones even. Please do not be offended; periods are but one of the many, many things women do for the benefit of people who aren’t themselves.

  256. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    Euro, why don’t you cut out the fancy, showoffish wordplay and just say what you mean?

    The tension of universal potential victimization must be well-nigh unbearable.

    Yes, that’s it exactly. Which is why we so badly want to see the shoe on the other foot. When, exactly, is enough enough? You speak of this (as so many wearing the mantle of privilege do) as if the fact that women live in a permanent state of red alert is, hm, well, unfortunate.

    But god forbid that remedying that state of essential unfairness (which has been the status quo since as far back as anybody was paying attention) should even scratch the paint on the entitled, road-hogging monster SUV that is patriarchy.

    “What???” He says incredulously. “You want a frickin’ BIKE LANE?? Alongside my 12-lane, 80-mile-an-hour, nonstop interstate highway?? No way. No how. Not in this lifetime. I am NOT going to share the road with you whining, tree-hugging liberals. This world was made for ME, and I’ll dang well use it any old way I see fit, including using it up entirely, without any consideration whatsoever for y’all’s (?) needs. So there, neener neener.”

    With that kind of attitude, is it any wonder that we don’t much care if the process of leveling the playing field takes out a few entitled males?

    Call it collateral damage.

  257. Eurosabra

    It’s more than “unfortunate”, it’s an effin’ permanent diversion of womanpower that stunts the growth of all humankind, stress that is, as you keep reminding us, completely UNimaginable for the XY-humans among us. I’ll skip the implication that men, as a class, want to rape with impunity, and the SUV metaphors, thankyouverymuchly, and I think you underestimate men’s capacity for empathy on the whole.

    If we look at exonerations via the Innocence Project, we find that misidentification of the perpetrator is a major factor in erroneous rape convictions, and even under Twisty’s Law, DNA exoneration would be possible. So one real, actual, tabulated (rather than hypothetical) cause of false convictions would be wholly unaffected, or at least not worsened, and possibly ameliorated. TL would also eliminate the (ludicrous) consent defense that was successful in the recent Orange County case, which was (OMFG) videotaped by the perps themselves. So you have two general types of cases where the effect of TL would be negligible-to-positive.

  258. Eurosabra

    “among us” should read “including me.” Wrong preposition, wrong pronoun. Too many languages, not enough grammar.

  259. Virago

    Thank you, delphyn, curiouserandcuriouser, and justicewalks, for seeing through the most recent thicket of bullshit.

    Just thinking over the responses of the men (and make no mistake, Eurosabre, you were pegged as a man the moment you posted your first comment) to this thread (not even taking into account the original, Mandos-tainted thread), I see these trends:

    Men relate rape to romance and love (finnsmotel).

    Men believe that women want the right to rape (sb).

    Men believe that women use sex as a weapon, and, if given any power will use that weapon to destroy men’s lives (sb, jerry).

    Men believe that if a woman reflects on a man’s actions, it almost invariably result in a charge of rape (wtf, jerry, sb).

    Men believe that women think all heterosexual sex is criminal and that, futhermore, women want to criminalize all sex (Eurosabre).

    Why do men think these things? Because they hate women. Because they fear women. Because they fear retribution for their past actions. Because they can’t imagine sex or romance or love without domination. Because they want to retain the right to rape.

  260. CuriouserAndCuriouser

    See, what’s annoying about your approach is that you’re – ewww – oily. Unctuous. You try to soften us up with fancy language, knowing how enamored we all are of Twisty’s way with words. And you oh-so-graciously drop us a crumb, hoping to distract us from your true mission:

    It’s more than “unfortunate”, it’s an effin’ permanent diversion of womanpower that stunts the growth of all humankind,

    But you immediately betray your true intent, not even pausing the length of a full stop before leaping on to your self-defense. Have you asked yourself: What are you defending? Why so quick to pick holes in Twisty’s attempts to right the wrongs of millenia? If innocent, why so hair-trigger, lightning quick to make sure your side isn’t drowned out?

    Look, sweetie, we know all your stories, all your lines, your defenses, your whyfors and whereases. We’ve heard ‘em all, individually and collectively, a million billion zillion times.

    So you have two general types of cases where the effect of TL would be negligible-to-positive.

    So what? Who cares? Why do you bore us with your tedious trotting-out of the same ol’, same ol’? At least give us new and interesting arguments.

    And if I underestimate men’s capacity for empathy on the whole, whose fault is that? We wouldn’t be having this whole argument if there weren’t a whole bunch of us who’d been hit on the head, repeatedly, by the silver hammer of patriarchy’s much-vaunted ‘compassion’.

    The scales are tipped so far out of whack you’re forced into these convoluted and specious arguments to inflate your scant handful of scarcely comparable ‘inequities’ into something that sounds relevant.

    Can you say, “the Emperor’s naked”? Or perhaps, “Ooh, look behind this curtain, that big scary wizard is really just a little bald man with a smoke-and-mirror machine”?

  261. Eurosabra

    I specifically cited a case that was a gross miscarriage of justice (where the perps walked in Orange County, CA after _videotaping_ a mass rape, because the jury bought the line that the victim consented to some kind of “amateur pr0n” filming) where Twisty’s proposed law could only have helped to secure justice, and cited witness misidentification of a stranger as a REAL major factor (as opposed to hypotheticals) in erroneous rape convictions, again a scenario where TF’s proposed law would probably be neutral. So there are (at least) two broad types of real-world cases where the TL can probably only help victims (in one type) and would make little-to-no difference to the real-world erroneously accused in the other.* In other words, most significant erroneous accusations are a result of honest misidentification, not of malicious accusation. Am I getting too circular here?

    *that is, the type of case where DNA exoneration is possible, when the accused’s defense is that someone else, as ascertainable by DNA evidence, committed the crime in question.

  262. Eurosabra

    Shorter: Really innocent accused dudes tend to use the “wasn’t me” defense, and can prove it because the DNA found isn’t theirs. Twisty’s Law affects them not.

  263. Mar Iguana

    “But as a topic, it’s too big to even get a grip on…” Eurosabra

    What a fun line to touch with a ten-foot pole.

  264. Virago

    “Shorter: Really innocent accused dudes tend to use the “wasn’t me” defense, and can prove it because the DNA found isn’t theirs. Twisty’s Law affects them not.”

    Translation: I don’t understand “Twisty’s Law.”

  265. Virago

    This sounds suspiciously like the original thread’s Mr. Rather All Women Should Be Raped Than a Single Innocent Man Go To Jail.

    Either that, or Mandos’s spent his banning reading his thesaurus.

  266. mearl

    Yackity yackity yack, in the abstract. What’s clear is that men fear the shoe BEING on the other foot for once, and god forbid even ONE woman get away with locking up an innocent man for the good of all women and humankind. Like I said, I have faith that my gender would simply be happy with a lawfully protected bodily integrity, and we heterosexual women would continue to have sex, but only with those men we chose and loved and felt comfortable with, WHEN WE FELT LIKE IT, not when THEY felt like it. Men dread the idea that they wouldn’t get as much sex as they want (and here I expect a loud mewl to rise from the testicular masses that “they don’t get enough sex ALREADY!” to which I reply, Maybe you should try thinking about sex as something more than what you can GET from women); that they couldn’t always get ‘penetrative’ sex (their fave kind); basically that women would be in control of our bodies and the law would make it so that we would not ever be coerced into sex when we didn’t want it. The Menz here are not tabulating the extent that the Twisty Law would force them to change their social behaviour. Perhaps a world where women had power is unimaginable to them.

  267. Eurosabra

    What am I not getting here? The most significant real source of erroneous conviction is misidentification by an honest witness/victim, so consent as a defense is irrelevant, therefore Twisty’s Law is NOT going to help or harm the (empirically) largest class of erroneously-accused/convicted defendants. If anything, that should bolster the case against the MRA “vengeful ex” objection. Likewise, it would nullify the defenses of the loathesome men who videotape their crimes and then try a consent defense. (There are rather a lot of them in the press at the moment.) Unless of course you object to ANY analysis of the potential impact on the TRULY erroneously accused, those who can back up their innocence with physical evidence. If “What about the innocent?” is still too much of a “What about the menz?” question, that’s problematic. But thanks for clarifying.

  268. mearl

    justicewalks: hell yeah.

  269. Twisty

    Crikey! I go away for a day, and the cretins crawl out of the rotting log.

    To the fucking pedantic assholes: Christ, did the Beer Football Rapist Blog just kick out all the liberal sexists, and you had nowhere else to go? Put a fucking sock in it.

  270. MzNicky

    Eurosabra: What are you not getting? How about: everything.

    It’s really simplicity itself. Hey men: Don’t rape. No problem.

    The fucking pedantic assholes are all in a tizzy, turning themselves inside out (yiiii, now there’s an image for you) over the potential damage to teh menz’ exemplary lives and reputations in the event of retrospective revocation, and it’s not a pretty sight. Notice how this is the primary source of their comments—not, “Hey, great idea!That way perhaps women won’t get raped as much!”; but, “Hey, waitaminnit, what about the menz? That should be the main focus, as always, after all! What if some poor guy gets unjustly accused? What if, what if, what if?”

    Under Twisty’s law (which, guyz, unwad your boxers, it’ll never happen anyway), if, for a seismic change, men keep their dicks to themselves unless and until they’re invited to share (which of course all men with exemplary lives and reputations do anyway, right?), then everything’s for the best, and will be for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.

    Now do you get it, saber-man?

  271. delphyne

    “Really innocent accused dudes tend to use the “wasn’t me” defense, and can prove it because the DNA found isn’t theirs. Twisty’s Law affects them not.”

    I can’t understand what point you are trying to make here. We don’t want innocent men convicted, so why even bring that scenario up?

    Most rapes are committed by men women know. Their defense is normally “she consented”. It happens time and again. To take another example, in the UK the notorious child-killer Ian Huntley was accused of rape and sexual assault eleven times before he murdered two little girls and was finally imprisoned for his crimes. His defence (actually none of his crimes ever got to court) every time was that the women and girls he had attacked had consented. The police were quite happy to take him at his word, and even though he was a serial sex attacker never did anything about him. This law wouldn’t have allowed him to make that claim about his victims and would have seen him in jail long before he was able to kill.

  272. Silence

    Their misogyny is so upfront and blantant that it’s sickening. Why are they so concerned about false accusations? Because deep down they’re certain that all women are vengeful lying sluts. Oh, and possibly because men DO lie about sex all the time.

    “Did you force sex on her?” asks the smart young lawyer.

    “Why no,” answers the man in the three piece suit, blinking his eyes innocently. “We had sex and then she suddenly started screaming at me and trying to claw my eyes out. I don’t know what that was about.”

    And the jury nods sagely, because everyone knows women are all out of whack anyway, what with all those hormones affecting their brains and all. Besides, the women was a slut, she’d had at least a dozen boyfriends before. So the man walks off free as air and the woman is left shamed, unavenged, with all the personal details of her past sexual life exposed. And that’s what justice is in this day and age. That’s what you blokes are wailing to keep intact and unchanged.

    And you wonder why we’re furious and want to see you in the hotseat for a while? Assholes.

  273. delphyne

    It’s a complete reversal isn’t it? Everything that is true about men and men’s behaviour, they project on to women.

    So when we hear about lying vengeful women who want to rape men, we need to be aware that they are talking about lying, vengeful men who want to rape women.

    I’m not so keen on putting them in the hot-seat however, as if our positions were somehow equal. That sounds like revenge – I want justice.

  274. MzNicky

    The incident being discussed now on the “and/or random things” thread could serve as a good theoretical case study of Twisty’s Law, I think. Wherein: a passle of male students repeatedly rape a drunken 17-year-old girl until the gang-bang is broken up by a throng of female students. The guys walk because the “prosecutors felt the case could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    Under TL, with the specious concept of “consent” no longer at play, what do you think would happen?

  275. Silence

    Justice would be right and proper and yes, I want it too.

    But you know what? There are times when I hear stories like the one MzNicky just related above and I’d take revenge. Better than just taking it, like we’ve had to do for centuries.

  276. Vera Venom

    “There are times when I hear stories like the one MzNicky just related above and I’d take revenge.”

    RE: that horrible, nightmarish story – I hope the identities of the RAPIST baseball players are known. Those rapists have learned that rape isn’t illegal -esp not when it’s a gangrape. They’ve learned that this country doesn’t give a shit about women. And so, they are going to do it again. And again. And again. I deeply fear for any women who comes within ten feet of these evil rapists pigs.

    That the rapists even pretend to be the victims makes me want to buy another gun.

  277. Shabnam

    I have never studied Law. In the previous thread, there was lots of nit-picking of Twisty’s proposal. Being a mathematician, nit-picking is second nature to me, but when it comes to discussions about Law, I am continually astounded. The whole thing seems to be somewhat probabilistic – hope for a good lawyer, judge, jury, a society which favours your kind of person. So when I hear about cases such as the one MzNicky writes about above, and learn that the men were acquitted because the “prosecutors felt the case could not be proved beyond resaonable doubt”, I conclude that the law, as it stands, is based on the whims of current societal norms. Where the fuck is the “doubt” in that case, where a throng of female students had to intervene to stop a gamg of men preying on a barely conscious 17 year old girl? Not enough witnesses? A “throng” of women stepping in to stop rape, is insufficient! Even there is doubt, how can it possible be described as “reasonable”? Only in a porn-poisoned patriarchy. There is an entirely badly-defined parameter here this “reasonable doubt” which seems to be excessively and ridiculously in favour of the alleged perpetrator, at the moment. To me Twisty’s proposal could be implemented tomorrow wwithout a change in the Law if somehow judges, juries were to cease being misogynists overnight. Twisty’s propsal seems to be that if a woman claims to be raped, and there is proof that intercourse occurred, then it is REASONABLE to assume that it was in fact rape. Twisty’s proposal is a redefinition of what is considered “reasonable” in our society.

  278. justicewalks

    That sounds like revenge – I want justice.

    I don’t think vengeance precludes justice. Sometimes – I’d even go so far as to say often – they are one and the same. If we were to draw a Venn diagram of “revenge” and “justice,” my hunch is that the 2 would overlap significantly.

  279. delphyne

    What I’m trying to say is that something that is entirely reasonable (wanting laws that *stop* men raping women and punish those who do) is being portrayed as vengeful and retaliatory, rather than something that would help women achieve full humanity in the eyes of society and something, that if we did have full humanity, that would probably exist already.

    On the other hand if people felt the need to take vengance on those young men who committed the rape in De Anza I would have no problems at all. It’s not like they’re going to be punished any other way is it?

  280. mearl

    Humph. Looks like no matter what women do, the justice system doesn’t work for us, in reality or in theory. I’d have to say that I could make use of it just as it is, since men enjoy doing the same. If some asshole ever dared to invade my body and rape me, and *I* was certain of this beyond any reasonable doubt, I’d simply cut off his reproductive organs and put them in a blender so he could never reattach them, then when the case came to court, I’d plead insanity. Naturally, I would expect to get convicted, but in my little jail cell, I’d feel that justice had been done. THAT is how angry the whole thing makes me, and god help the asshole who tries to rape me.

  281. L.B.

    “Twisty’s propsal seems to be that if a woman claims to be raped, and there is proof that intercourse occurred”

    Just out of interest, how would you prove intercourse occured if the “rape” took place over a year ago?

  282. Kali

    “There is an entirely badly-defined parameter here this “reasonable doubt” which seems to be excessively and ridiculously in favour of the alleged perpetrator, at the moment.”

    Couldn’t agree more!

  283. Cathy

    wtf asked:

    Is it at all possible for a man to have sex with a woman and be 100% sure that there isn’t a chance in hell he can be convicted of rape? Or is it simply that every single heterosexual act is already a case of rape?

    I’m not Twisty, but I think the answers are 1)No and 2)Yes.
    To answer the question with a question, hopefully getting you to think:

    Is it at all possible for a woman to go on a date with a man and be 100% sure that there isn’t a chance in hell he could turn out to be a rapist?

    I know it’s very hard to put yourself in a woman’s shoes; they’re so uncomfortable. But she is taking chances with you. You might turn out to be a psychopath who ties her up and invites his friends in for gang-banging, and they can take movies, etc. How is SHE supposed to know you are the Nice Guy you pretend to be?

    Twisty is saying, maybe if YOU had some of the risks for once, maybe you’d be a little more responsible. Maybe you’d just be polite, kiss her goodnight, go home and whip out that tube sock.

    That would also help to reduce the problems of unwanted pregnancies and overpopulation.

  284. Cathy

    Jerry and wtf really can’t handle the idea that sex might be an insignificant aspect of life. Face it, like 99.9% of men, they can’t think about anything else.

  285. WTF

    [Comment deleted by Twisty on grounds that it contained the most astonishingly asinine crap I've read this week]

  286. Virago

    Hee-hee!

    You made someone sputter in anger, Cathy! And you were condemned in the same post with LMYC and Twisty! Good on you!

  287. Cathy

    I’m honored.

    And I stand corrected. wtf is not a man. She probably is a woman, who judging by her comments, is a very empowerful “feminist” who strips for money. I sure hope she isn’t the mother of any sons.

  288. Yeny

    Wow, what an absolute idiot. And she thinks that we’re the ones spewing hatred??

  289. L.B

    “Twisty’s propsal seems to be that if a woman claims to be raped, and there is proof that intercourse occurred”

    Just out of interest, how would you prove intercourse occured if the “rape” took place over a year ago?

    I assume you admit that it’s not possible then and you would just like to be able to imprison men on a whim.

  290. Twisty

    My ‘proposal’ includes no provision whatsoever for ‘proving that intercourse occurred.’ Where’d you get that idea? There’s no proof required at all.

    ‘Men’ would not be ‘imprisoned on a whim.’ Rapists would be imprisoned because they raped. See the difference? Some people, although apparently not you, do not believe that all men are rapists, and therefore this distinction is made.

    FYI, intercourse is not a prerequisite of rape.

  291. RadFemHedonist

    WTF, did it occur to you that not everyone on this blog agrees with what everyone else on this blog says?

    I retch whenever I read comment advocating castration or whatever, but I’m still interested in hearing what is said, I get annoyed when I hear people spouting anti-masturbation crap, but starting large flame wars that last for hours until Twisty closes the comments is probably not the way to go. I’m not always sure what I want to say anyway, but I do mention when I disagree, I post frustratedly sometimes. I do think some of the stuff (very small percentage) on here is crap, but I also think there is a lot worth hearing, the answer to your question is I meet people full of shit every day, patriarchy is everywhere, a bit of matriarchy too (notice the reluctance to criticise parents). There is a lot of women hating easily observable in society, and this is a good place to come to have it torn apart.

  292. Shabnam

    Twisty, I’m sorry, I might have inadvertently watered down your proposal. I never thought such a mild reading (such as mine) of Twisty’s Law could cause such an outraged response as this:
    /
    ‘I assume you admit that it’s not possible then and you would just like to be able to imprison men on a whim.’
    /
    L.B., it is possible even under the current law, which is highly favourable to rapists, to be convicted of a rape which occurred more than a year ago. Indeed some paedophiles are charged for offenses committed decades ago. Do you think they are charged on the whim of their victims?
    /
    In my last post, I merely wanted to point out that even without a change in the law, but only an adoption of say “Twisty’s Principle” could be quite beneficial. For instance, in the numerous cases where there is agreement that some form of heterosex occurred, and even DNA evidence, but the only point of contention is the woman’s word against the man’s in terms of whether the encounter was a rape, then the woman is to automatically hold the trump card. I would say, in cases such as this, it is REASONABLE to assume it was rape.
    /
    Indeed why have I never heard of men being aggressively questioned with regard to rape? Questions such as: “You had only met the woman 4 hours ago on your dinner date, she was virtually a stranger, yet you had the audacity to believe she ‘non-verbally’ consented to sex with you? How could you possible know her well enough to figure out her non-verbal cues? Shouldn’t you have been more careful? What were you doing prowling about in the streets late at night talking to women you don’t know? Weren’t you giving out signals of being threatening? Isn’t it a bit unrealistic to assume that she consented? Why would any human being consent to something like that”
    /
    At the moment, women are being told, “Sorry Honey, yeah, it might have indeed been rape, and it’s clear that you sustained all those awful injuries, and were covered in his DNA, but HE THOUGHT you wanted that, so we have to let him go.”

  293. Shabnam

    Or more succinctly: If there is ever a dispute over whether a certain sexual encounter was rape or consensual, it should under most circumstances be ‘reasonable’ to take the side of the victim.

  294. Anna Ng

    “What I said was this: consider if lack of consent were the default position. Imagine if all women were considered a priori by the courts to have said “no.” In fact, “consent” would not apply to women at all; we would exist as inviolable entities, human beings with full personal sovereignty, the way men do now. We could have as much heterosex as we want, but the instant we don’t want, the dude becomes, in the eyes of the law, a rapist. This shifts to onus onto the dude not to be a barbarian. He can avoid jail by not having sex at all, and significantly reduce his risk of jail by ceasing to rape, prod, cajole, shame, or nag.”

    This is just ridiculous.

    Basically, you’re just saying women should have special rights. Are you saying that a woman could rape or flirt with a man and not get in trouble? Because that certainly seems to be what you think.

    And…making FLIRTATION illegal? That’s ridiculous. Remember, girls flirt too. Oh, but I’m guessing you don’t have a problem with that. *rolls eyes*

  295. Vera Venom

    Oh lookie! Another brand new clueless misogynist dipshit rape apologist come to show up how little reading comprehension they have! Hooray!!

    Funny that paragraph doesn’t a a damn word about flirting or making it illegal. But “Anna” apparently believes that “rape, prod, cajole, shame, or nag” = flirting. Nothing creepy and sickening about that! It says that women should have the same boldily integrity rights that men have and “Anna” thinks that means women will have “special rights” – but “Anna” has no problem with men having those “special rights”. And “Anna” thinks it’s “ridiculous” that men might be able to not be barbarians.

    “Anna” hates men as much as it hates women. But “Anna” sure loves it some rape.

    Goodness. You’d think these women-hating trolls would at least try not to be so transparent.

  296. E. LaGrene

    From a feminist perspective, I have a few fundamental problems with this model. First of all, consent has meaning. To deny the validity of informed consent which has been freely given is to undermine the legitimacy of self determination and – ultimately – to remove any consenting party’s power within their own sexuality. We can question the validity of certain instances of consent; consent acquired under physical or psychological duress, consent given without the party being permitted critical perspective or information about what that consent allows, &c., but what you propose would illegitimise consent in toto, which denies any possibility of agency on the part of women in determining their own sexuality.

    Secondly: The patriarchy informs our reality, it doesn’t control it. Your analysis seems to rely on interpreting the fact that the patriarchy and our culture’s misogyny both inform our social framework (and thus our basis for constituting events and forms intelligibly) as meaning that every sexual encounter between a man and a woman is – having been informed by misogyny – abusive. This analysis is flawed in two serious ways: First, it takes the general (patriarchal privilege and hierarchy informs our self conception and comprehension of interrelations) and applies it uncritically to the particular (this man is given patriarchal privilege, the patriarchy is violent, therefore all of his actions in relation to women are violence). And, second, it superficially accepts this leap without following it to its conclusions. If the framework of our society can be applied in terms of culpability to the actions they inform on no greater basis than that they are so informed, then the location of those individuals’ genders would not be mitigating factors. Sex, whenever it occurs in our society – no matter who it occurs between – is located within a patriarchal society, and thus it would all be rape. Lesbian sex would be a form of heterosexual rape. Similarly, all speech would be misogynist vituperation. And of course we are also informed by white-skin privilege, so all interactions would also be ethnic hate crimes.

    Privilege is not a de facto abuse of privilege. The one delineation (which you didn’t draw, but I’m guessing is there) that would make your given scenario separate from “all actions informed by the patriarchy” would be the allocation of privilege. In any person, those aspects about them which can be located as “male” will allow them more privilege, and in an interaction between someone whose gender performance is socially coherent as “male” and someone who is equally intelligible as “female,” their degrees of privilege will be at markedly disparate levels. However you have skipped straight from “the patriarchy exists” to “everything which the patriarchy endorses is irredeemable,” which lays a culpability on the wrong party in that exchange. “The Patriarchy” is not an alien force exerted by “The Patriarchs,” who can be identified by the fact that they have been endorsed by “The Patriarchy” (how circular is that?), it is that facet of our society as whole – constituted from people of all points in the gendering spectrum – which recognises and endorses that definition of privilege. It is the very fact that this privilege, this recognition, and this endorsement are meted out on the basis of features which are not themselves meriting of it and which have taken no role in earning it which defines their perpetuation as bigotry, and to lay culpability for their existence on those who receive that privilege would deny that dislocation.

    You have also legitimised your position in two ways which I find rather underhanded: by initially framing it as being an argument for a system whereby “lack of consent were the default.” Which is – when it is functional – what we already have, and is certainly our current ideal. If one person were to initiate sex with someone else while they were unconscious, that person would certainly never make any statement barring the rapist from proceeding, but it would still be rape since lack of consent is the default, and it is only by giving that consent that it becomes permissible.
    You also draw a false connection between your own definition of all consent as illegitimate and all (heterosexual) sex as rape with the spectre of childhood sexual abuse, since children often give consent and then are faced with having to “rescind” that consent years later. However that connection would only be legitimate if adult sexuality and child sexual abuse were themselves equal, since what makes child sexual abuse so horrific is specific to the issue of consent: a child’s consent – having no perspective, being too young and immature and presexual to understand the consequences and meaning of the situation – is not informed consent. To use child abuse as an argument for this model puts the sexualisation of children on par with the sexuality of a mature woman.

  297. Brain Washed Teen

    I disagree with this, I have to say. It’s bordering on man-hate(is the a word for a male form of misogyny?) to me. It would be so easy for a woman to just sleep with a man and then go to the police and say “he raped me”, without him having done it.

    You’re relying a lot on the fairness of the woman, and that’s kind of stupid in my opinion.

    I thought we were fighting for equality, and this doesn’t sound like it at all.

  298. Aine

    Regarding the “what about the menz” posts-

    I understand that some of you guys here and on the original thread are trying to make a reasonable point, by worrying about the “My ex will say I raped her to get back at me” kind of nonsense you’re afraid will happen under this kind of change.

    What I say is, if the default position is no, if consent has to be proven by the accused, if a man knows he will face consequences for doing what he *knows* is wrong but has been rationalizing ot himself- women will be freer. Our power will not depend on sex- if it ceases to be a commodity, and becomes a form of communication, it is no longer a tool to be used for revenge or anything similar. Women will have fewer assholes troubling them, and the tiny number who might be crazy revenge-seeking exes will not develop that type of screwy personality. It takes away the “I have to say no so you don’t htink I’m a slut” AND the “I have to say yes or you won’t like me” and makes it “Well, I’m interested so I’ll just TELL him” and “I don’t have to put on an act. He has to interact with me in such a way that will make me want him, AND HE KNOWS THIS.”

    Basically, when you know you don’t have to worry to begin with, all those little patriarchy-induced neuroses disappear.

    On an unrelated note, these discussions make me grateful for my boyfriend- he gets it, and he gets it better than I do sometimes.

  299. Metal Guru

    I know this is so late as to be completely pointless, but I figured I’d comment anyway.

    As far as I can tell, most of the people worrying about the legions of poor, innocent men getting sent to jail or — gasp! — not having sex at any time they deem appropriate because us vengeful bitches are going to rat them out don’t actually take rape seriously. Oh, they’ll say that they think rape is wrong and that given the chance they’d kick any rapist’s ass and other tough guy shit. Once you propose actually doing something about rape, however, the mask slips. “Wait, you think we should actually prosecute these rapists? Don’t you think that’s a little rash?” To them, rape is a painful inconvenience that they will most likely never have to deal with*. They don’t see rape as the ultimate expression of patriarchal contempt for women; they see it as some individual dude’s assholery/social ineptitude.

    Because they don’t understand the inner workings of rape culture, they assume we don’t either. Of course Twisty’s Law sounds crazy to them! They don’t understand how close they are to being rapists because they’ve managed to separate themselves from the herd. They’re special. Only a handful of sociopaths — of which they can’t be a part, of course! — are truly capable of raping, so tilting the law just to get back at a few crazy people seems ridiculous.

    Or hell, maybe they DO know how close they are to being rapists. It’s so hard to tell with some of them. The point that I’m trying to make is that these people don’t understand that women, in general, take rape pretty fucking seriously. In fact, we (shockingly!) take it even more seriously than someone stealing our crap or hitting our car! When some asshole slams into your car, do the cops have to make sure that you didn’t really want a big dent in your car? Maybe you asked this person to do it for the insurance money! When someone walks off with your laptop, do the cops refuse to help you out unless you can provide documentation confirming you had a laptop in the first place? Maybe you’re just looking for a little attention.

    Rape is a crime that not only violates a person’s bodily autonomy but reinforces the fucked up idea that Non-Male Persons are the equivalent of a cheap McDonald’s Kids’ Meal toy to “The People”. The fact that it is considered less worthy of justice by society at large is sick. I’m sure some day some rape apologist will find this and try to argue that they DO take rape more seriously than the theft of a laptop, and that I’m just setting up strawmen. Riddle me this, Future Rape Apologist: Why do you not like Twisty’s Law, then? It simply puts rape in the same category as any other crime. It assumes that any person claiming to have been raped is telling the truth unless proven otherwise.

    I’m not going to deny that there probably are a few people who would make false accusations of rape to “get back” at an ex-partner. In the same way, some people — even Male People! — will make false allegations of physical assault against someone they feel has wronged them. Strangely enough, I don’t hear anyone crying out in support of the falsely accused in general. I don’t hear anyone fighting against all those laws that assume victims are truthful at the expense of potentially innocent people. The fact of the matter is that rape occurs a hell of a lot more often than false allegations of rape do, just as physical assault happens more often than false allegations of physical assault do. The fact of the matter is that rape victims are the only victims ever considered guilty until proven innocent. To argue that rape cases should be treated differently from murder or physical assault or jaywalking or anything is stupid at best, but most likely misogynistic.

    *Bad news for the ladies who agree with this viewpoint, at any rate!

  300. Metal Guru

    Ugh, I’ve been mulling over what I wrote above and I want to redact the part about fake rape testimonies. I think it comes off as giving a lot more credence to the assholes who are whining about them than I intended. I meant it in more of an “if that were an actual problem, it would be comparable to this situation” sort of way, but it reads as “this is an actual problem, but whatever.” Obviously, I’m aware that the false allegations of rape thing is just a “What about the dudes???” red herring. I’m sorry if anyone actually read it and was offended.

  301. AileenWuornos

    As a woman who’s tried to press rape charges herself and knows how totally FUCKED the system is against the victim (even though I fucking HATE using that word) this sounds fucking awesome.
    Because the rapists who rape and get away with it WILL do it again, and again, and again.

  302. Baf

    The whole vengeful-ex thing is a smokescreen. If there are people who are going to abuse Twisty’s Law, it’s going to be third parties. There are people working in politics and corporate law whose entire job is to destroy people’s lives, and they probably have greater power to get the state to bring charges than the hypothetical “crazy bitches” do. And here’s the kicker: If consent isn’t a defense, then it won’t make a difference if the alleged victim testifies in his defense. If the patriarchy wants to put your male lover in jail against your will, Twisty’s Law gives them that power.

    I mean, sure, it’s not a fatal flaw. You could probably come up with a patch to prevent this kind of abuse if you feel it’s necessary. I just want to point out that false accusations, unlike true ones, can come from any quarter. So it doesn’t speak well of a man when his main fear from this proposal is of accusations of rape from the people he’s had sex with.

  303. ellecain

    I can’t tell you how much this post makes me laugh given the kind of crazy reactions to your proposal. People (over at another site) raising the alarm as if you’re going to enact this law immediately and acting as if it will be enforced tomorrow (rather than realising that hey, this is a spinster aunt’s hypothetical solution to the current state of affairs). The hostility to the mere idea (and the messenger) is comedy gold. Truly funny stuff. I have to tell you, their over-reaction just makes me appreciate this post more.

  304. Agasaya

    Twisty, you were quite clear on the consent hypothesis so this comment refers to your statement that ”Because all heterosexual boinking is currently performed under the auspices of patriarchy — a paradigm, I remind you, declaring that women are sex — ‘consent’ is meaningless.”

    Everything happens under a patriarchal model but a few women still engage in commerce without duress, abuse or encountering a glass ceiling. The contracts they make are made without question by their consent. There are such heterosexual arrangements as well. I come from a culture which is certainly patriarchal, yet was taught that the rules required women to determine when and how often sex occurs in a relationship. Complete denial of sex was grounds for divorce by either party, but it was all at the woman’s behest. It doesn’t make the patriarchal model any less objectionable nor does it mean all the guys play by those rules. It just says rape isn’t allowable under that particular model of gender inequality. Marriage is not a state of implied, continuous consent. Heterosexual relations are not, by default, a crime against women.

    For legal purposes, definitions matter. The issue of retroactive consent is moot. Injury done to the woman post-consent is battery. From an STD to rough sex, it is an injury and there is no need to label it rape for it to be a crime. Verbal abuse or physical menacing in a sexual manner is indecent assault. As for consent, we can look at the concept of entrapment where cops seduce prostitutes. They have to first elicit an actual invitation to sex for money. They are not allowed to assume it and arrest on that basis. Males should wait to be invited instead of looking for ‘signals’ because ‘good girls’ wouldn’t think of inviting sex. Heterosexual women need to issue their own invitations and avoid men who find that objectionable. We have to learn to find actual (versus implied) consent to be erotic or we are selecting men who are really turned on by the concept of coercion. Men should get used to going without if women aren’t inviting them. Hopefully they won’t feel safe in sexual relations without such explicit consent.

    Women who are into the Madonna complex and can’t be openly complicit in the sex act without feeling guilty, are never actually consenting to sex. Getting away from it until you are clear about its effects upon you is a good idea. Marcy, take note that seduction itself is a game for already established lovers where it is welcome and can be turned into a ‘no’ at any time. It is not a model for equality or consent between new lovers of any gender pairing but a post-consent form of play. If you switch partners in future, don’t assume it’s a safe game to play with the next guy. Trusting a man and finding a man to be trustworthy, are two different things. The power and the privilege…

  305. JoBjoHo

    Disclosure: that I have not read all of the comments for the same reason I have not read the FAQ twice, namely that the posts are legion and I DO have responsibilities to attend to today. So I may be repeating an issue/question already addressed and if I am I would be grateful if someone directed me to the appropriate area.

    That having been said, as much as I think the post is a valuable and worthwhile thought experiment, doesn’t the prosecution of rape, like other crimes, come down to the issue of evidence? Which is to say, at any point be it the day after or 13 years down the road wouldn’t a woman still need physical proof that she had intercourse with the male she’s prosecuting?

    Which is to stress, if you think you might have been raped you should see a SANE nurse immediately? I think if a woman has proof that she had sex with a man and says she did not give consent that should be sufficient. Though, I’ll grant the “collection of evidence” is a very nice way of saying something extremely unpleasant to go through. Nor does my point do anything about jury bias which, I believe, Twisty is trying to address in her post? It’s also possible I have a facile understanding how rape accusations are processed in our legal system…

  306. Jill

    “Disclosure: that I have not read all of the comments for the same reason I have not read the FAQ twice, namely that the posts are legion and I DO have responsibilities to attend to today. So I may be repeating an issue/question already addressed and if I am I would be grateful if someone directed me to the appropriate area.”

    In other words, you have not complied with the Terms Of Use Agreement despite the fact that when you clicked “Blame” you affirmed that you had, and your time is very valuable, so would I mind bringing you up to speed on my time?

    Ha!

  307. JoBjoHo

    Fair enough, I am male. I’ll shut up.

  308. Jezebella

    Oh my god, what a whiner you are! You think you were told to “shut up” because you’re *male*? Reading comprehension FAIL. Try again.

  309. JoBjoHo

    My faults are legion, but whining and poor reading comprehension are not among them.

    1. From the post-titled “Dear god what about the dudes?!” which is “Required reading for first-time dude commenters.” And I quote:

    “Male persons who wish to leave comments on this blog are strongly encouraged not to.”

    “But really, it would be better if men just didn’t post in the first place. Really.”

    2. From Comrade PhsyioProf’s Handy-Dandy Guide For D00dly Commenters:

    “(3) If you are using the words “should” or “useful”, you are almost certainly fucking up.

    (4) If you are telling people that talking about this, that, or the other issue is fine, but also asking them what they are doing about this issue, you are almost certainly fucking up.”

    3. Finally, from “Guidelines for Commenters at I Blame The Patriarchy”:

    “If you find yourself commenting more than 2 or 3 times on a given post, please consider shutting the old piehole.”

    So, as you can see, I broke rules 1 and 2 in my first post. With this post I have proceeded to break rule number 3. And now I’m done posting and never even got a chance to do some good ol’ fashioned internet ad hominem attack spewing. But, at least my reputation for not whining, being illiterate or having particularly valuable time is intact.

  1. Reverse Paranoia | the cat lady speaks

    [...] There’s been a robust thread about consent over at IBTP that I’ve been watching eagerly, because sexual consent is probably one of the haziest issues a feminist can think on – and the one dearest to me, maybe for exactly that reason. [...]

  2. trailer park feminist

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  3. The De Anza case: men really hate drunk teenage girls at I Blame The Patriarchy

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  5. Feministing, Men, Feminism, and Consent Controversy « Editorializing the Editors

    [...] and plenty of conversations on a radfem forum about the call. After the forums, I read The New Page of Consent at IBTP and Theriomorph’s “My Yes is Not More Important Than Her Often-Impossible [...]

  6. Blogging for Choice « Queer Lady

    [...] for enthusiastic consent by all parties involved in a sexual encounter, as written about here and here. Not just heterosex, but all [...]

  7. Spinster aunt quotes self at I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] largely of a comment I posted yesterday on Feministing, which comment more or less summarizes my previously published ideas on the concept of “consent” as it relates to women and rape, so those of you who are tired of that crap should probably look for entertainment [...]

  8. The War on Terr’r Part 6: The Wiener as a Weapon (On Rape, Sexual Assault, and Patriarchy) « Rage Against the Man-chine

    [...] including spousal rape, is a whole ‘nother story. Because of the way our legal system works, women are assumed to have consented to sex unless they can prove otherwise, which is a fucking travesty if there ever was one. Lack of consent in a stranger rape is easier to [...]

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