Various articles about consent apps for sex.
Not only are they far from sexy, which can hamper use, they miss the mark on discussing what consent actually is.
(Link): Saying OK to Sex? There’s an App for That – WSJ
Smartphone apps We-Consent and Sa-Sie were among the first to attempt a digital solution with apps that allowed partners to check “yes” when they agreed to sex.
Now, LegalFling is joining the consent-by-click market, with the added cachet of being blockchain-based. The company says it will be available for download in the Apple and Android app stores in the next month.
Sure, it can be awkward to stop and talk about consent in the heat of the moment, which is why partners rely on non-verbal cues to give and interpret it.
A 2015 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll of current and recent college students found that at least 40% said undressing, getting a condom or nodding yes establishes consent for more sexual activity.
At the same time, at least 40% disagreed, saying those same actions do not translate into consent. It’s to that kind of confusion LegalFling co-founder Arnold Daniels hopes folks will say, “Hey, first let’s fling” before they get down to business.
By that he means prospective sexual partners will reach for their phones and fire up the LegalFling app, previously populated with each party’s terms and conditions.
One of you requires use of a condom and is OK with explicit photos? The app will let you know exactly what you have agreed to for each encounter — or as Daniels says, each partner will “clearly see your do’s and don’ts without having to voice them.”
Click “agree” and Daniels say you’ll have entered a legally binding contract, with an encrypted transaction stamp verifiable using blockchain technology.
If one of you breaches the agreement, say by not using a condom or sharing photos online, you could end up in court with a breach of contract lawsuit, says Daniels. And if he is right, LegalFling might provide the evidence you need — though some experts in assault had doubts about its legal merits. The app is free, but the company plans to charge for its “live contracts” service.
In Sweden, this kind of app could help if a proposed new law that would require people to give explicit consent before they have sex gets passed. Otherwise any unapproved behavior could be considered rape.
But what about in the U.S.? Ari Moskowitz, an editor and novelist, says he thinks it’s “a cool idea, theoretically” although he foresees practical issues. (“Hold on, lemme charge my phone so you can sign a contract!”)
…Women I spoke with had reservations, to say the least. Many echoed Sherry Boschert, who is writing a history of Title IX (the law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools receiving any type of federal funding). She worries “that someone who is coercing a vulnerable person into sex will figure out a way to coerce a click on the app first.”
…Here’s the real hang-up in the app’s premise. If consent changes verbally but both partners don’t update the app, they are back to square one — a verbal agreement. But including an app in the mix could open the door to actually hurting a potential victim’s case if an assault occurs.
Victims who already face an uphill battle proving assault would have a much harder time if an assailant used an app to prove consent — even if that consent was withdrawn verbally a moment later.
“It will be really difficult to document that consent was withdrawn if you used this app,” said Sandra Park, a senior attorney at the ACLU Women’s Rights Project.