Guys! Want to learn how to be the Don Juan on your generation? Need some tips for how to make the ladies love you? Are you dying to know the art of seduction? Well, look no further than your AM radio dial where thrice-divorced Rush Limbaugh is waxing seductive on how affirmative consent laws are ruining sex for guys like him. Gawker reports that on Monday, Mr. Limbaugh was so upset about new standards for sexual consent put forth by The Ohio State University* that he said this:
“Seduction used to be an art, now of course it’s “brutish” and it’s “predatory” … [According to Ohio State policy,] consent must be freely given, can be withdrawn anytime, and the absence of “no” does not mean “yes.” How many guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that no means yes if you know how to spot it? … Are these [policies] not lawsuits waiting to happen?”
ZOMG! Guys! What is this madness? Consent must be freely given! It can be withdrawn! No means no! THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN END!
In the interest of decorum, I’ll refrain from speculating what it tells us about Rush Limbaugh that he’s so accustomed to hearing women refuse to have sex with him that he has a full arsenal of coercion tactics to get laid. I’d like to instead pursue the question of what affirmative-consent opponents think will happen if people stop having sex if they’re not entirely convinced their partner wants them to continue.
If a couple is engaging in any sort of sexual activity or lead-up to sexual activity, and one party decides they’re done with said activity, the other party has a choice. The first choice is to stop with the activity. The outcome of that choice is that neither person is doing that particular thing any longer. This might leave one partner in need of a cold shower and some time to get over a case of resentment but other than that, no harm, no foul.
The second choice is for the other person to engage in acts of coercion or force to continue the activity. Doing this ranges from unethical to illegal. The outcome of coerced or forced sexual activity is emotional damage to the coerced or forced party, physical harm to the coerced or forced party, a report of sexual assault to the authorities which will result in an investigation that will be emotionally damaging to both parties, could have negative social consequences to one or both parties, and could result in jail time for the party committing the act of assault.
Now, given the choice between going home horny and annoyed or serving time for rape, wouldn’t it be smarter to take the word “no” at face value and live to hook up another day?
I believe we are at the beginning of a sea-change in the way we view sexuality. We are slowly abandoning the idea that men pursue sex and women resist it until they can’t resist anymore. The new paradigm is that sex is a mutual activity wherein both partners come at it with heavy breathing and cries of “Yes! More! Just like that!” Anything short of that is a call for pause, a chance for both parties to communicate their needs and desires and change the course of the activity. Sex should be good for everyone involved, it shouldn’t end with a campus hearing or a jail sentence or a lifetime of therapy. If Rush Limbaugh can’t understand that affirmative consent will only make sex better, well, I guess he doesn’t know much about good sex.
*In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that the author of this post holds a Masters Degree from The Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes!
Rebekah Kuschmider is a D.C. area mom with an over-developed sense of irreverence, socialist tendencies, a cable news addiction, and a blog. Rebekah has an undergraduate degree in theater and Master’s in Arts Policy and Administration and a decade of experience managing arts organizations and advocating in the public health sector. Rebekah also blogs about her life, her thoughts, and her opinions at StayAtHomePundit.com. She was voted one of the Top 25 Political Mom Blogs at Circle of Moms. Her work has also been seen at Babble.com , Salon.com, Redbook online, and the Huffington Post.