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It may take trial and error to figure out how you feel comfortable phrasing those questions, or even talking about what kinds of sex are on the table.
But that’s not an excuse not to have them, or to foist the effort off onto an app which, at best, can only prompt users for responses.
The app’s description in its press release is telling: “Launched in 2016, YES to SEX helps students avoid the awkwardness of discussing ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to sex.” Firstly, I don’t believe it actually helps them avoid the discussion, because you still have to get the other person to engage with the app, but more importantly: why would we to discourage them?
These vital conversations aren’t ones we should want to short-circuit or oversimplify; figuring out what form of protection is best for you is probably going to require more than a few seconds.
If a person agreed to X act via app but later changed their mind, could their use of the app be used to disqualify their later objection?
The very notion that we should be turning such a personal conversation over to technology rightly aggravated many commentators.
If sexual consent boils down to a question with a simple yes/no answer then why on earth do you need an app for that?Choosing “sorry, not interested” at the start or failing to affirm your consent closes the app.The app’s founder, Wendy Mandell-Geller, was inspired by her three college-age children and recent statistics about STI transmission, stating, “I want to empower teens and young adults to initiate conversations with their partner(s) about consent and the use of protection in a modern, approachable manner that fits into their lifestyles.”I believe that Mandell-Geller has good intentions with this app; however, I don’t think even the most sophisticated app, which Yes to Sex is not, is ever going to solve the problem of sexual consent or STI transmission.Mandell-Geller certainly has reason to be concerned about the issue of sexual consent, especially on college campuses.A 2015 National Institute of Justice report noted that, “college administrators might be disturbed to learn that for every 1,000 women attending their institutions, there may well be 35 incidents of rape in a given academic year.” Most campus sexual assaults take place in the dorms, according to Clery Act data.