There are some groups going around colleges trying to convince people that drunken consensual sex is rape. Yes, seriously. This is my response to them:
Ever since humans and alcohol have mixed, there has been drunken sex. People usually enjoy it, and they also often regret it. However, regretting something you consented to after the fact is not rape, it’s just part of life as an adult human.
The lack of a “yes” is also not rape, as most casual sexual encounters have people being attracted to each other, making out, and then having sex. They don’t usually stop and say, “Would you like to have sexual intercourse with me right now?”
“Why, yes, thank you! That would be swell!”
“Alrighty, then! Let me put this condom on my penis and then let’s begin, shall we?”
“Yes! Let’s shall!”
By definition, in order for it to be rape, one of the people involved must make it clearly known that they do not want to have sex. Usually this can be done by simply saying, “Look, I don’t want to have sex. We need to stop.” At that point, the other person must stop, for if they continue after permission has been specifically denied, then it’s rape. By definition.
Of course, it should also be pointed out that it’s generally not nice to let someone think they’re going to have sex and get to the point where they’re just about to, and then stop. If you don’t want to have sex, keep your clothes on, or have oral sex, or somehow make it known that you don’t want sex before things get too far. The sad fact is that there are a lot of people who, once extremely aroused, may not have the willpower to stop. Simply don’t get into that situation. Of course, it should go without saying (but people being what they are, I must point it out anyway) that a “no” at ANY point is still a “no” and should be heeded.
The very first time hands go under the clothes, the intent should be made clear if you do not want to have sex. If nothing is said, then the other person has no reason to think otherwise, and they would feel quite frustrated if things were allowed to go further, only to be denied at the last second. It’s just plain rude. This is called “teasing” and whether it’s intentional or not, it’s something more people should be conscientious about.
And, no, someone teasing another does not deserve to be raped. Just so we’re clear.
If we start saying that a drunk person is incapable of giving consent to sex, then that opens up a whole can of worms. If they are unable to consent to sex, then they must be unable to consent to anything, by that logic. Also, it can create a witch hunt mentality where girls can have drunken sex with a guy, and if he’s a jerk and doesn’t call them, they turn around and accuse him of rape. This kind of terrible manipulation would be unconscionable to enable in any way.
It’s completely understandable if a woman likes a man and then has sex with him, and then is hurt because he’s lost interest, but welcome to adulthood, baby. That doesn’t make him a rapist, just an asshole. He may deserve a lot of things, but not prison.
So, while it is understood that there should be a promotion of understanding about rape, we also need to place responsibility on the shoulders of all involved. If you are an adult, and you have consensual sex (“consensual” being the key word), drunken or otherwise, it isn’t rape, end of story. If you find yourself regretting a lot of one night stands, perhaps it’s time to reexamine your lifestyle. That’s a nice way of saying don’t be such a drunken slut, and you might end up having more sex that you don’t regret. It’s called responsibility.
© 2015 William Suphan
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