What is this "yes means yes" all about?

Okay, forgive me my ignorance but I don't really get this whole thing about casual sex at American colleges and yes means yes and so forth. The first time I've actually heard about this social movement and the news laws was on GaG. I am European and while I like to believe that western Europe is generally progressive on women's rights, this is a complete non-issue in my country and I think in all the neighboring countries around me. Nobody here has ever suggested that there should be an official affirmation on the part of the woman to have sex. I'm at the very left of the political spectrum and I consider myself a feminist and yet... I find these laws incredibly strange, silly and bewildering (at least from what I know so far).

Let me explain. Sometimes I feel like the US has rules and laws for things that in continental Europe, we would simply consider common sense. This whole "yes means yes" campaign is a perfect example of that. In my country, college students date and if they're single they like to have some casual sex. Usually, this goes without any troubles for anyone because everyone just behaves in a common sense way. If I want to have sex with my girlfriend, I don't need to have her official, verbal agreement because I can easily tell from her non-verbal reaction. If I come on to her and she responds by kissing me, saying something sweet, petting my butt etc. I can savely assume that she wants it too. If she acts distant, doesn't respond to my touches or suddenly starts talking about her grandma's hospital bill, I can assume she doesn't feel like it at the moment. Common sense. I don't quite understand why that doesn't work for American college students. Sure, sometimes a guy might accidentally misjudge the situation and go on despite her disapproval but then the girl can just say "sorry, I don't feel like it" and things are clear and settled. Why do you need a law for such common sense things?


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Most Helpful Girl

  • I'm not going to argue that these aren't common sense things because they totally are, but there are a whole host of problems that I think led to it. I feel like culturally North America is a step behind Europe... but I don't know a lot about it. I can think of a few things that would give rise to the whole "yes means yes" thing.

    1. Wrongful acquittals. A lot of people aren't charged with rape crimes they've committed because the victims were too scared to come forward while there was still physical evidence, leaving most situations a he said she said scenario where the onus is on the victim to prove that they were really raped. Somehow this is a known statistic and yet it still happens.

    2. I don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg because I don't remember hearing much about yes means yes before, and I don't know that the two are even directly related, but I do remember a Yale fraternity in the United States promoting "no means yes, yes means anal" soo...

    To speak to what you said about a girl being able to tell him she's not interested if he makes a move and she's not interested - that makes sense if the him in question is a normal guy and she's used to normal guys. But men can be very intimidating. This is especially true of the rape-y kind. An unwanted advance could be seen as a threat, because either a) it is a threat or b) that's just what she expects to happen. In both cases she'll try to snake out without giving any clear sign of her intentions. The yes means yes might be an attempt to get better results in cases.

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    • Sorry aren't convicted - there are also incidences where they aren't charged because the victim never comes forward

Most Helpful Guy

  • It all boils down to the fact that
    1) we have a fantastic excess of unemployed unemployable lawyers in America. Truly we have more lawyers than the rest of the world combined.
    2) we actually young adults from several pretty different cultures coming together and having sex while using a mix of drugs.
    3) we have some of the most ignorant citizens on earth
    4) due to the massive excess of lawyers see #1, we have come to believe that everything must have a law attached to define it.

    Welcome to America!

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    • Forget the McDonald's "hot coffee" suit.
      A friend of mine's grandmother used oven cleaner (very caustic stuff) then stuck her head in the oven to clean it. Guess what? Some of the fumes got to her lungs and she had to be hospitalized. The company paid her 100,000 (out of court) for her trouble because the can didn't say, "Don't stick your head in the oven while spraying a very caustic solution meant to dissolve baked-on grease." D'uh!

    • When I was younger I used to pray that they would temporarily sterilize everyone at birth until it was clear that they weren't an idiot. Now I realize that the human race would die out in 100 years if that were the case.

What Girls Said 2

  • The basic idea is, a lot of guys think if they don't get a clear "no I don't want to have sex", it's the same as saying yes. So they think if they can badger/harass/intimidate a woman into not saying no, then they're good.

    I think it's definitely a good message to send to guys that it's not ok behavior to try to get into a girl's pants no matter what - although I'm not 100% sure if it should be law (I think there's a lot of shitty sexual behavior that shouldn't be illegal).

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    • Okay, that makes sense. Thank you. Although I still don't think that works as a law. I mean, hypothetically, I could also just pressure a girl into saying yes. I might not be a passionate yes but it's still a yes... (just playing the devil's advocate, not disagreeing with you)

  • Blame the feminazis.

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    • Only comment if you actually read the question

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    • **There is a rape culture in some countries in the middle east + Africa.

    • @SunsetRose Yes, I'm currently studying at university. There are no rapes happening at universities in my country. Partially because parents are not control freaks and we let our teenagers be sexually active in high school, so they have less steam to blow off when they get to college. I haven't studied at a college in America, so I can't judge how bad the rape rates are. However, I just don't see why such a law would be necessary. Let's see I go home with a girl I met at a party. I've never had an ONS so I don't really know how this works but I assume you get home and start making out in the hallway. Now, let's say the girl doesn't respond to my kisses. That already tells me she doesn't want it, so I stop and ask what's wrong. But let's say I'm a very insensitive guy and I don't get the hint. She eventually pushes me away and says "sorry, I don't feel like it. I thought I did but I don't feel quite ready yet". Even an insensitive guy will understand this message. Problem solved.

What Guys Said 2

  • People's understanding of social cues have become sooo fucked up that movements want to require a word the definitively entails affirmative action.

    This tells you social education is on a decline. It's become neglected in America.

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  • Technically you rape her on a regular basis. Some crazy pussy is all about that.

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