Sex, lies and legal consent: Can deceit turn sex into rape?
Unfortunately, far too many believed removing pregnancy from the equation was all that’s needed for women to behave like men. Sex, people thought, would become a free-for-all.Tell that to all the men—not the Harvey Weinsteins but men like Ansari—who’ve been accused of “assaulting” women by taking them at their word and assuming women want what men want.
How dare they believe what women and society told them all these years?
If the presumption of innocence is rooted in the idea that it is better to let ten guilty people go free than risk jailing one innocent person, then the policing of sex seems to assume that it’s better to have ten times less sex than to risk having a nonconsensual sexual experience. The problem is not just that this reduces the amount of sex people are likely to be having; it also serves to blur the boundaries between rape, nonviolent sexual coercion, and bad, fumbling, drunken sex. The effect is both to criminalize bad sex and trivialize rape.
To suggest that the initial placement of a hand is in itself assault, however, completely betrays this contract and willfully ignores that consent can work differently in different contexts
For women, sex remained “a bargaining tool”—something too socially significant to be casual, and something that could be taken, possibly by violence. At The Club, by contrast, everybody really was after the same thing: sex for the sake of sex. Brute coercion didn’t appear to be an issue. She walked away wishing that she had her own bathhouse to go to—that such free pleasure might be possible for women, too. And yet something still nagged at her. “Is this fuck palace the ultimate conclusion of sexist logic,” she wondered, “or is it erotic freedom?”