thank you for this powerful and touching conversation. so much of it resonated with me. it felt like gentle layers of truth. i have ordered the book and am really look forward to reading it.

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So what is the solution then? Should we apply the Entrapment (sorry, "Nordic") Model to ALL heterosexual sex, period? Or even non-heterosexual sex as well?

Or perhaps require a binding contract for all sexual activities? (Which can clearly backfire on women as well, as the past several thousand years of history has all too clearly shown in regards to marriage and widespread marital rape.)

Legally, there are only four possible alternatives for what constitutes sexual assault:

Force Standard (archaic): "No Means Yes"

Consent Standard (current): "No Means No"

Affirmative Consent Standard (emerging): "(Only) Yes Means Yes"

Utopian Standard: "Yes Means No"

Among those four, all of which are arguably crappy to one degree or another, the third one, Affirmative Consent, is the least worst one. Or rather, the worst one except for all of the others, as Churchill famously said about democracy relative to other forms of government.

Setting the bar a bit higher to "enthusiastic consent" would also be fine as well. That is, if it's not a "Hell Yeah!", that should be taken as a NO. And the onus to be sure one has consent before proceeding should always fall on the initiator (or escalator) of a given sex act, regardless of gender.

But that last one ("utopian", "desire", or even "MacDworkinist" standard), where even the most enthusiastic consent is no longer a defense, would quite bad whether it is gender neutral or not. If it is gender neutral, it will backfire on women, and if it is not gender neutral, it will be sexist against men, putting an undue burden on men while infantilizing women and robbing them of agency. And as per Horseshoe Theory, it is not much of a leap for "Yes Means No" to ultimately come full circle to....."No Means Yes". After all, why even bother to be sure one has consent (aside from the goodwill of one's better nature, which a man may or may not have) if consent is no longer a defense against a sexual assault charge?

And finally, the related idea of perhaps raising the age of consent to higher than the legal age of majority is also highly problematic as well. Not only is that utterly infantilizing to women, but also disregards the proven fact that the male brain takes significantly longer to fully develop than the female brain. Regardless, the idea of "old enough to be tried and punished as an adult for rape, but too young to consent themself" is far too riddled with internal contradictions and hypocrisy. (At the very least, regardless of what the age limit is set at, in the interest of simple justice, there needs to be a close in age exemption.)

True, consent needs to be the FLOOR, not the ceiling, of sexual ethics. We also need mutuality, respect, empathy, honesty, human dignity, autonomy, agency, and so on. Just like in every other area of life, and perhaps even a fortiori. But legally, affirmative consent or enthusiastic consent is the least worst standard there is. Slopes on all sides of this mountain are far more slippery than they appear.

(Mic drop)

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