Don’t Vex About Sex Or Guess About “Yes”

There’s been a lot of activity lately, in the legislative arena and on college campuses, about what constitutes consent to sexual activity.

In California, colleges must require “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity,” and consent can be communicated through a verbal agreement or through actions.  Consent must be given at every step, so agreement to kissing or “heavy petting” is not consent to actual intercourse.  The underlying idea, of course, is to ensure that all parties to the sexual activity agree to move forward before matters escalate.

nastroeniya-devushka-paren-6966But if you’re concerned about complying with state law while at the same time wanting to be absolutely sure that no one will claim that you’ve exceeded the boundaries of their consent, how do you memorialize the consent in a way that will hold up?  Do you draft up a written agreement, or try to make a recording?  What are college students supposed to have at hand when passion strikes?

Leave it to a Mom to develop a smartphone app that attempts to solve the dilemma by allowing the participants to the contemplated sexual activity to log their consent.  With the “Yes to Sex” app on their phones, students can access the app when the moment arrives, walk through their agreements through the touch of a button, get a “safe word” to use when they want their partner to stop, and record an audio consent — all of which gets stored on encrypted servers in the event a disagreement arises in the future.

I guess it was inevitable that we would get to the point where people would be using their phones to document, in a legally meaningful way, that they’re engaging in sex by mutual consent.  Why not?  Phones are used for everything else these days.  Why stop at selfies?

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Heroin In The Buckeye State

Today I learned that my old home town, Akron, Ohio, has a serious problem with heroin.

I first saw a story about a 16-year-old boy named Andrew Frye who died of a heroin overdose.  His mother and grandmother have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and other crimes in the case because they supplied the heroin and fentanyl that he, and they, and two of their friends used together at a “party” in a motel room.   What kind of mother and grandmother would give a child heroin?  The story explains that both the mother and grandmother, and the other two friends in the hotel room, have a history of drug-related crime.

heroin-0904-06The death in a hotel room happened in Akron — and the story explains that heroin use is sweeping across the Buckeye State like the scythe of the Grim Reaper.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ohio had the second-highest number of drug overdose deaths in the country in 2014, primarily from heroin and pain-killer opioids; more than 2,744 Ohioans died from overdoses that year.  A Google search reveals other brutal family stories, like the one about a father and son who died of heroin overdoses in an Akron attic and weren’t found until six days later.

Akron had three times as many heroin deaths as homicides last year, and Akron police have formed a special unit that investigates every heroin death and tries to determine who supplied the drugs that produced the fatal overdoses.  The unit has had some successes — including prosecuting one reprobate who was selling heroin and fentanyl to people attending Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings — but the problem seems overwhelming, and this year heroin-related deaths seem to be rising.

Many of us live in worlds that aren’t exposed to heroin and drug-addicted mothers, but because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  It just means we’re lucky, and kids like Andrew Frye weren’t.