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.
But 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?