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enthusiastic consent


is it possible to be a sex-positive Christian? [part three]

This post is the last of three posts in this series. You can fine part one here, and part two here.

IV. Do No Harm

The benefit of framing my sense of ethics around questions such as “is this loving?” and “could this cause harm?” is that many things in my life have become simpler. My life is less fraught with that catch I used to feel when I’d wonder “is this a sin? how can I know if this is a sin? God– will I die if I take communion while not realizing that there’s sin I haven’t repented of because I didn’t realize it was a sin at all?”

Verses like James 4:17 were small comfort when God could strike me down for eating a cracker. I can get the anxiety that prompts a lot of the Boundless reader questions about “CAN I HAVE THE SEX?! CAN WE DO THE KISSING?! OMG HAND HOLDING MAY I TOUCH THEM?!”

However, in some ways, things have gotten a lot more complicated. When the answer to “is this moral?” is no longer an unequivocal “yes” or “no,” but “it depends,” there’s a lot more reflection, self-examination, and attentiveness required of me. However, that is exactly what I love about these questions in regard to a sexual ethic: in order to answer the question I posed in my first post (“could having sex cause harm?”) I have to know myself, I have to understand the situation, and I have to be aware of the other people involved, who may not be just the person I want to have sex with. All of this perhaps conflicting information has to be weighed and balanced.

For me, one of the most important responsibilities of being a sex-positive Christian feminist is education. I believe in giving young people and adults the abilities, information, and tools to make responsible and loving decisions regarding sex.

The most important idea to understand, of course, is consent. I believe in enthusiastic consent, specifically. Someone may be technically consenting, but if they do not seem engaged and willing– even eager and aroused– then I think pursuing sex should be very carefully re-evaluated. Sex should take place between people who want it to happen, not just between someone who wants it and someone who feels ambivalent. There will always be exceptions– libidos don’t always match up; sometimes an asexual person may agree to sex because they like doing that for their partner, even if they’re not particularly interested in sex. I believe that it is eminently loving to prioritize enthusiastic participation all around, but that can be weighed in balance with another person wanting to show love by having sex regardless of how they feel about it.

There’s also other considerations, most of which I believe are rooted in where you are and who you are as a person.

Example: I am extremely monogamous. Every time I enter the mental place of “I am in a committed relationship,” it’s like other people drop off the face of the planet. I can still notice when someone is attractive, of course, or if I find them desirable, but it’s nothing like when I’m single. When I’m in a relationship, entertaining the thought of being in a relationship with someone else is … just bizarre. I can’t even picture it. It’s why I have trouble reading books and watching movies about affairs, or sympathizing with those characters. I loved The Duchess, but even though she’s in a loveless marriage with an asshole, I still couldn’t really wrap my brain around her falling in love with someone else. Or Outlander. I tried reading it and just … couldn’t.

This is something I have always understood about myself, and it is the reason why I am just not interested in casual sex. Depending on the people and the situation, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, I just don’t want to experience it. I want sex to take place inside the fence of a monogamous relationship, and would feel weird and uncomfortable with anything else. If you’re the sort of person that doesn’t need the intimate connection of a long-term relationship, awesome, but that should be something you decide by yourself, away from the pressures of hormones and people.

There are other things that need to be thought through and discussed with your potential partner, as well. Timing is an important thing to get right for you, I think, and there’s other extremely realistic questions about contraception and risk and trust. It’s impossible to predict how you or anyone else will respond to any particular event, like sex, until it happens, but it’s still important to evaluate what you think could happen and if you’re ok with those consequences.

There’s a lot of overblown “information” about sex and the effects it can have thanks to purity culture, and that needs to be hashed out, too. Nothing about you can be altered by having sex anymore than eating chocolate cake for the first time changes you as a person. It’s one more experience that makes up who you are, and that’s really it. You’re not guaranteed to be forever in love, it can’t affect your value and worth, and it probably won’t change the course of history, either.

That’s not to say it won’t change anything. You just have to figure out what they could be and if you think those changes are good and loving for you and your partner. There isn’t only one model for this– it could like waiting for marriage to have sex. It could be waiting until you’re engaged, or exclusive, or just in love– or not in love at all. As long as you’re not causing harm and you believe that having sex would be good, beneficial, loving, enjoyable … then in my book, you’re golden.


is it possible to be a sex-positive Christian? [part one]

If you’ve spent any time in feminist circles, you’ve probably bumped into the term sex-positive. It gets thrown around a bit, and one thing I’ve noticed is that it can occasionally be difficult to nail down what the writer/speaker means when they use it, so I’m going to offer a definition for what I mean when I use it.

To me, being sex-positive means that sex can be a good and healthy part of human experience. Not everyone wants sex a lot — or at all — and that is also good and healthy. Being sex-positive means I believe in educating people about sex, about safe sex, about contraception, about STIs, about how to give and experience sexual pleasure, and I believe in removing stigmas and myths from sex (such as “virgin women bleed the first time“). Being sex-positive means that I believe in seeking enthusiastic consent, and that consent is the most basic, fundamental, necessary part of sex, as it is the only thing that separates sex from rape. I believe in educating people about being a responsible sex partner, giving young people especially the tools to make complicated, nuanced decisions regarding sex.

It also means that I don’t shame, judge, or condemn those who are (or are not) having sex, regardless of their life circumstances.

Including whether or not they are married.

And that is where I and probably most Christians part ways. To many Christians, the only conversation to be had about sex is in the context of heterosexual (and, in same cases, such as Matthew Vines, homosexual) marriage. The gold standard in evangelical conversations about sex is abstinence, and it is typically the only information and encouragement unmarried people receive.

However, just because I disagree with many (if not most) Christians about this doesn’t mean that I don’t have access to either Christian tradition or the Bible to make my argument. I’m going to lay out my argument in a few posts, with today’s focusing on laying some groundwork.

A note before I begin: I am a progressive Christian, and that does mean I interact with Scripture differently than an evangelical who believes in inerrancy and takes a literalist approach. I don’t want to hash that all out, so if you’re curious about how I see the Bible, Peter Enns’ The Bible Tells Me So is a good book to start with. For more controversial reading, Forged by Bart Ehrman was interesting.


I. Sin

The question that I have to start with, as a Christian, is “is pre-marital sex a sin?”, but the most relevant part of that question is our definition of sin. In many Christian conversations about what sin is, it seems to be assumed that “sin is a transgression of the law of God.” In a sense, I agree with this definition, but it’s because I believe that “the law of God” can be summed up in “to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.” Where I disagree with this definition is in its common application: many Christians preach and act as though “sin” is “doing something that God says you’re not allowed to do.”

That application is non-sensical to me because the Bible doesn’t cover that much ground, really, and there’s a whole lot of things we can do that is never addressed– so how are we supposed to know God’s stance on it? Especially when what we do have in the Bible has God apparently telling people to commit genocide and infanticide … repeatedly. I think we’d all agree that genocide is a moral evil, but the Bible shows God commanding it, which is disturbing. Personally, I believe that either a) the people who wrote the Old Testament believed that God told them to do that, regardless of whether or not he did, or b) they said God had commanded it to justify it. “B” makes the most sense to me, as people have used their deity to justify all sorts of evil things through history.

This is why I believe that it’s important to have a more consistent sense of ethics than my deity (dis)approves of this action. Personally, my ethics and morals are guided by the question could this action or inaction cause harm? This aligns with my understanding of “love your neighbor as yourself,” and “they shall know you be how you love one another.” This question allows a lot of room for nuance and complexity, as not every situation and person is going to require the same response from me. Does my deity approve of this action? is very black-and-white and does not allow for circumstance, but could this cause harm? does.

So, for me, the question “is pre-marital sex a sin?” becomes “will having sex cause harm?” It’s extremely important to note that this question applies inside of marriage, as well as out of it. This is not a question we can stop asking just because we signed a piece of paper.


II. Rejecting the Premise

The Bible is a very old collection of books. I wish that’s something that didn’t need to be mentioned, but it is. It is very old. Ancient, in fact. Directions in Deuteronomy about stoning women who didn’t bleed on their wedding night are from 700 BCE, possibly. Conversations about “fornication” or “sexual immorality” from the Pauline epistles are from the first century. These facts mean that there is some historical context we have to situate ourselves in before we can even begin having a biblically-based conversation about sex.

On its face, it seems as though the New Testament consistently condemns all forms of extra-marital sex, but I think it’s important to ask the question why? It’s also important to address the problem that what the New Testament writers had in mind may not be a 1-for-1 correlation to our modern-day situation, and for us to seek the “eternal principle” that can apply to us. I believe that the consistent morality presented in Scripture is rooted in love and not causing harm to others, and I’ll get to why I believe that specifically applies to sex on Friday.

For today, the most important idea to keep in front of us is that the New Testament does not reject the practice of owning people as property. Property law, it can be argued, was the foundation of Roman society (and, by influence, Western civilization. See: white police officers being more concerned with the destruction of property than the destruction of human life in places like Ferguson). At the time St. Paul was writing, the paterfamilias, the head of the household, was able to order his life and by extension society because he owned people. He owned his wife, he owned his children, he owned his slaves. We see this in the way that several biblical passages are organized around the Greco-Roman Household Codes.

Paul doesn’t directly challenge this system in his epistle to Philemon, although he doesn’t exactly endorse it, either. Owning people as property just … existed. Paul might not have been happy with it, but it was there. The NT almost seems to shrug it off in some ways– explaining to Christians how to live in this system while practicing love and doing no harm. Paul even made the shocking suggestion to the paterfamilias that he was morally obligated to take good care of his property. For its time, these letters were progressive. However, we’ve gone farther. Most of us have decided that slavery is a moral evil and that, specifically, women are capable people and are not possessions attached to their husbands.

In this system, in a society where women are either the property of their fathers, husbands, the government, or religion, we could be damaged. If we “lost” our virginity, we were quite literally worth less, and, as such, had been harmed. The fathers who owned us were also harmed because they’d lost their ability to sell us for an ‘unsullied’ price. Because of this, it’s easy to see why the NT seems to so roundly condemn extra-marital sex. When a woman’s value is directly attached to whether or not she’s had sex with or been raped by a man, having sex with her is harmful, and should not be done.

However, that’s not where we are today. Today, women aren’t property. Marriage isn’t about a sale. We don’t care about things like dowries and ensuring the existence of legal heirs. The context has changed, although the basic question (“would having sex be harmful?”) hasn’t.

Photo by Sarah Reid

Buffy, Xander, and consent

buffy xander

So I’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time, and I’ve made it most of the way through season two. Yesterday I got to “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” and I have thoughts.

Quick summary:

Xander wants revenge on his ex-girlfriend for dumping him at the Valentine’s Day dance, so he blackmails a witch into making a love potion so he can reject her. The love spell backfires, and every single woman on the show becomes completely obsessed with him to the point of violence, including Buffy. When Buffy comes on to him, Xander says this:

It’s not that I don’t want to. Sometimes the remote impossible possibility that you might like me was all that sustained me. But not now. Not like this. This isn’t real to you. You’re only here because of a spell. I mean, if I thought you had one clue what it would mean to me . . . But you don’t. So I can’t.

At the end of the episode, Buffy thanks Xander for not taking advantage of her, and the implication of the whole conversation is that Xander is a really, really great guy.

Ok, so . . . problems.

Marti Noxon– who has written for Mad Men, Prison Break, Grey’s Anatomy, and Glee— wrote an episode structured completely around the idea of consent. And while I appreciate what she was trying to do, I think the episode failed mostly because of this particular line of dialog. Xander ultimately rebuffs Buffy not because it’s the right thing to do because he knows she would never do this willingly and she’s incapable of giving consent, but because it’s not what he wants– because she “doesn’t know what it would mean to him.”

Essentially, the episode is one gigantic metaphor for drunk sex, and Marti is arguing not good, don’t do it. But the reason why she says it’s not a good idea isn’t because you’d be a rapist for using alcohol to overrule consent, but because don’t you want someone to want you for you?

Which, ok, that is a valid question. I’ve asked it here. It’s one of the ideas behind getting enthusiastic consent– the sex you should want is sex where they want you. But the reason why having “sex” with someone incapable of giving consent is wrong isn’t that oh, they’re not really into it, but because it’s rape. If Xander hadn’t said no, he wouldn’t have been “taking advantage” of her, he would have been raping her, and I don’t think the episode showed that– at all.

Marti, the directer, and Joss Whedon all had a fantastic opportunity with this episode. They could have brought in the idea of bystander intervention with Giles, they could have shown how rapists aren’t the mysterious monsters hiding in dark corners and that ordinary, likable people like Xander are capable of rape.

Instead, they spent the entire episode focusing on how all of this made Xander feel. It recenters a conversation that should have been about consent and rape back onto how does this make the man feel, when the focus should have been look, see, this is how you don’t rape people.

Update 7-13-14: I would like to add that my thoughts about this episode do not only stem from Xander’s comment in the quoted portion– as some have noted, that Xander is an immature jackass is not new territory for the show. What makes this episode so poorly handled (in my opinion) isn’t only Xander’s behavior, but the way the writers chose to have the other characters respond.

At the end of the episode, Cordelia is flattered that Xander wanted to overrule her consent– she thought it was sweet and romantic. One could argue that this is in character for Cordelia, and I would agree. However, simply because these behaviors are consistent with the way a character has been written does not mean they are not open to critique and analysis. That Cordelia’s character has been written in such a way to be flattered by an action that is, essentially, an act of violence and sexual aggression is part of a larger cultural narrative, and we see it in other places– Gale from The Hunger Games, Edward from Twilight, Noah from The Notebook, and Four from Divergent are all thought of as “sweet” and “romantic,” even though some (or many) of the actions they take are coercive or abusive. Women are told on a daily basis that aggressive, manipulative, consent-violating actions are to be interpreted as “sweet” instead of the gender-coded micro-aggressions that they are.

Also, Buffy’s reaction at the end of the episode is to thank Xander for not taking advantage of her– the implication of the entire exchange is that Xander is just an incredibly awesome gentleman, and he is so wonderful and deserves all of the cookies. The problem with this is that Xander does not deserve any cookies at all. He wanted to take away a woman’s ability to consent and remove her free will. He also does not get a cookie for not doing something illegal. He does not deserve to be rewarded– which, he ultimately is by “winning Cordelia”– for not raping Buffy. The fact that the writer structured the “thank you” this way implies that if Xander had, in fact, raped Buffy, it wouldn’t have been thought of, or portrayed, as rape. He just would have been “taking advantage” of her.


let's talk about drunk people and sex, take two


Back in November I wrote a post laying out some of the biggest questions I have about the “having sex while intoxicated” question; mainly that “how drunk is too drunk?” is a fundamentally flawed question and what we should be examining is “isn’t it predatory for people (usually men, not always) to target intoxicated people (usually women, not always)?” and “why isn’t enthusiastic consent the standard?” Neither of those questions are rhetorical, and I highly encourage you to check out the discussion in the comments– I think it was one of the best conversations I’ve had on my blog to date.

At the time I wrote it I was sort-of-not-really responding to the Emily Yoffe disaster, but yesterday something else started cropping up in my various news feeds: James Taranto essentially making the argument that if a drunk man rapes a drunk woman, there’s no crime (link is to an analysis, not original). In his view, both people– the rapist and the victim– should be held equally responsible, or not responsible at all. I barely managed to make it through Taranto’s Washington Post column; it took me a couple of tries to get all the way to the end.

So, I’m going to be responding to this general idea, but not really Taranto in particular, because it’s the narrative that makes his argument believable to people that concerns me.

Taranto compares rape to two drunk drivers who get into a car accident. This is not a new comparison, at least not to me– and if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard it trip glibly off the tongue of someone who is hilariously uninformed . . .

There is a premise backing up this statement, and it is a premise that a horrifying number of people– of all genders– believe. It is the idea that women who say they were raped while intoxicated are actually lying about having sex because they regret it. You can easily stumble across this argument almost anywhere– in living rooms, in bars, on the internet. This argument only exists because there is something even more insidious hiding beneath it, and this is the real problem with how Americans, at least, think and talk about sex:

Women only say no to sex because they are supposed to; it is the man’s job to do whatever he can to override that no. Women actually want to say yes, even when they are saying no.

That is the belief that allows us to believe all of the others– that the woman’s only job is to be the chaste, asexual gatekeeper, and men are the lustful, lascivious animals who are willing to go to any length– coercion, deceit, force — to achieve the ultimate goal of The I Had Sex with Her Trophy. It is the underlying rape-culture idea behind songs like Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

Another fact that Taranto seems to be completely unaware of is that rapists are not just “people who are too drunk to realize what they’re doing and stop.” Rapists are predators. People who rape– and they are usually men, but not always– are a rather small slice of the population (3%-10%), depending on the study you read and the country you’re in. However, all the studies reveal a common pattern: predators and rapists target specific victims with only one goal in mind: to get away with it.

  • They spend time identifying vulnerable people.
  • They use cultural narratives in their favor. They find people who, by cultural standards, “deserve” to be raped– gay people, trans people, drunk people, alone people, “slutty” people . . .
  • They become acquaintances– or even friends– of the victim. They insinuate themselves into the victim’s group and deliberately communicate an image of being a “nice guy,” someone who is trustworthy.
  • They use whatever circumstances they can– making sure the victim is seen “flirting” with them, making sure their victim is drunk. . .
  • They do whatever they can in order to make sure their victim is discredited.

Remember, the ultimate goal is that no one believes their victim and that they get away with it. Rapists are not stupid. This is one of the reasons why so many rapes are linked to intoxication on college campuses: alcohol has become another weapon in a rapist’s arsenal– just like roofies, just like coercion, just like threats,  just like violence. They can use alcohol in order to get away with raping someone, because they know campus officials and police officers will ask “were you drunk?” and then dismiss anything else their victims say.


Before we get into the discussion, I’d like to circumvent a few possible questions.

There is a gray area when we start talking about sex and alcohol. I’m not dismissing that. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when we talk about rape by intoxication.

First, if a person says “no” or “stop” or “I don’t want this” even if they have engaged in other sexual activities, anything that follows that “no” is rape. End of story. There is no other explanation, no surrounding circumstances, nothing. If they say no, it does not matter how drunk they are, it does not matter if they have been making out with you for an hour or just gave you oral, it does not matter. It’s rape.

Second, if a person is unconscious and you engage in sexual activities with them, you are raping them. That should be obvious, but thanks to things like Steubenville we know it’s not. It’s beyond all sense and reason that I even have to say this, but this is the world we live in, apparently.

Thirdly, the fact that they didn’t say “no” doesn’t mean they consented. Rape is sexual behavior that the other person did not consent to. Them “not saying no” doesn’t count. It’s insane that the only time we think of “consent” as being “they didn’t say no” is when we’re talking about sex. If some company dumps poison into my water supply, they can’t walk into court and say “welp, they didn’t say don’t dump poison into our water!” and get away with it. The same principle applies to sex: if they did not consent, then, legally, it’s rape. Consent is “yes, I want to have sex with you.”

And here is exactly where we run into the gray area, because consent can sound like and look like a lot of different things depending on the people involved in the situation. My partner and I don’t give verbal consent like that because we don’t need to– we know each other well enough where body language is enough. If you don’t have a trust-based relationship with the person you’re about to have sex with, make sure you get explicit, verbal consent. This is why I’m such a fan of enthusiastic consent— and why I’ve talked about it so much.

I want to address, specifically, this concept that people have sex, wake up in the morning, regret it, and then claim that they were raped. I’m not going to make the case that this never ever happens, but we do know beyond all doubt that it is incredibly rare. People have sex when they’re drunk and then regret it the next day all of the time. People have sex when they’re not drunk and then regret it all of the time, too. People make mistakes. They do things they regret. They also don’t usually wake up in the morning and say “I’m going to go accuse this person of rape for no reason!”

When a woman, especially, accuses someone of rape, it is an excruciating process. She is frequently ostracized and isolated. Her friends abandon her. The police intimidate and frighten her, and frequently accuse her of being a liar or an attention whore. She is slut-shamed, victim-blamed. Her entire life can be destroyed. Coming forward and saying this person raped me usually comes with so much risk and danger that most rape victims never report their rape.

There are probably a hundred other circumstances we could talk about concerning sex and alcohol, and they’re worth the conversation. I’m not going to say that having sex with a drunk person is always rape, because it’s not. Plenty of people have sex while intoxicated and it’s perfectly ok. However, and this is so important I’m going to be shouting about it the rest of my life, if you want to have sex with someone, get their clear consent. It really is that simple.


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let's talk about drunk women and sex

enthusiasic consent

I just want to ask a quick question, because it’s something that I wonder every time I’m a part of a conversation about consent.

I am a huge, sign-waving fan of enthusiastic consent— also known as “yes means yes.” But, as Elfity noticed, many people seem either wholly skeptical of the idea, or they’re suspicious and downright antagonistic– and this reaction isn’t limited to Male Rights Activists (MRAs) and the red pill crowd (and no, no links. If you’re honestly curious, google. I won’t grace any of those places with traffic from my blog).

The basic difference between the “yes means yes” model and the “just say no” model is the difference between passive reception and active participation. One of the biggest proponents calls the “yes means yes” way of approaching sex as the “performance model.” You don’t waltz with a woman by dragging her marble  statue body around a stage. You don’t perform in a band where the other people are stone-faced automotons that don’t create the music with you.

When I have sex with my husband, “I don’t just lay there, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Sometimes, I initiate. Sometimes he does. We rely mostly on physical cues– if he can tell that I’m not feeling well, he doesn’t push, and I do the same for him. Sometimes, though, if I haven’t been feeling well, he gently initiates something– slowly and tenderly, and always pays close attention to my response. He can tell, because he’s watching, that yes, I want sex, or no, rubbing my back is really nice, please keep doing that. We’ve established trust, and we know each other, and we can read each other. There are all kinds of ways that we can identify consent.

Anyway, when I talk about consent– here on my blog, in real life, on other internet spaces– I frequently bump into something that honestly, at this point, I find incredibly disturbing. The internet has exploded about this topic in particular, and I  just want to throw something out there.

Lots of people are asking about sex and alcohol. And, something that I’ve noticed a lot is that men have a problem with being told that having sex with a woman too drunk to consent is either a) a horrifically bad idea or b) rape. I think this issue is worth talking about, and I don’t have a hard-and-fast answer. I just have a question:

Men, why do you so vehemently defend your desire to have sex with unresponsive women?

Why is it that this comes up so much? What is it about having sex with a semi-unconscious woman that’s so damn appealing? What is it about having sex with a woman who won’t remember who you are the next day, or her memories of her experience with you are vague and non-specific?

Why do you want to have sex like that? Doesn’t that seem really predatory to you?

To me, this demonstrates that men seem to be much more interested in shoving their penis into someone–anyone’s– vagina a couple of times than they are in having a mutually pleasurable experience. One night stands where you never see each other again, one night stands that lead into something more– whatever, that’s up to you. But what is it about sex with women who are so drunk that you’re not entirely sure if she wants to have sex with you but hey, she’s not saying no, so let’s just have terrible, terrible “sex”? Why is that something you so vociferously defend?

Is there something about having sex with a woman who is enthusiastic about having sex with you that’s a turn off? Why isn’t having sex with women who want to have sex with you something we’re not framing as a really fantastic, awesome goal? Why does it seem to be the goal to get women so drunk that they are “willing” to have sex with you that they wouldn’t be willing to have with you sober?

I’m genuinely confused about this. Why is the bar so incredibly low?

I’m not comfortable with calling every single sexual encounter a person has with an inebriated person rape. I’m still wrestling with this issue, and I think that “it depends” is going to be as close an answer that I ever arrive at. However, I don’t think that focusing on “when is it rape?” is really the most productive thing we can be doing. I think we should be re-framing the entire conversation. I think we should be encouraging people to have amazing sex. I think we should be encouraging a model of sex where the participants are involved, and interested, and having a fun time.

I think that as long as we keep trying to hammer how “how drunk does she have to be in order for it to be rape?” we’re going to be running in circles. Instead, why aren’t we asking the question– isn’t it predatory behavior for a man (or woman) to target drunk women (or men), regardless of whether or not it’s rape? Because that’s what it comes down to for me. Having sex with someone who can’t be an active, interested, enthusiastic participant is a bad idea. And yes, that includes the fact that it is very often not just terrible sex, but rape.

Just to be crystal clear: the law defines rape as including the inability to give consent to sex, and that removes any possibility for a woman to give consent to sex while intoxicated. Legally, having sex with someone incapable of giving consent is rape. Period. Full stop. That is the legal definition of rape, and that is how the law prosecutes rapists.

Whether or not the woman involved feels that it is rape and decides to press chargers– entirely up to her. If she decides to press charges, though, it does not matter what the man thought about her consent the night before. If he had sex with an intoxicated woman, in the eyes of the law, he raped her. This is called rape by intoxication. Look it up.

However, I still think it’s important to talk about this issue as not necessarily that black-and-white. The law is black and white. People are not. We have to make decisions in the day-to-day, and that means that things are going to occasionally look gray. So, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves: why do men want to have sex with women who wouldn’t consent to having sex with them sober? Why is it a socially acceptable goal for men to get women drunk in order to have sex with them? Why is this behavior that we encourage? Why do we think this is ok when what we’re encouraging is really horrible, terrible, one-sided sex at the very best, and rape at the very worst?

And why do we defend their “right” to do this? And no, “because men are horny” is not a good enough answer. Women are horny, too, women want sex, too, and women are having just as many one-night stands as men are, so don’t give me that bull. Straight men are having sex with straight women every single time they do it, so this is just really basic math.

Our culture is built on men being predators, and this seems to be something we do our dead-level best to defend. Why?


I am very interested in having a conversation about this. I hammered this out really quickly, so I’m open to you taking issue with my wordings as well as my argument. Show me I’m wrong– from either point of view. Maybe I’m being to permissive about intoxicated sex. Maybe you think the opposite. Let me know.