Drunk consent isn’t consent at all
By IDA DUNN-MOORE
A packed Schneebeck hall listened eagerly to the two presenters from the Babeland sex shop last Monday.
The topic – consent.
The message – any sexual act requires volitional consent from all parties involved.
The event’s main photo on Facebook read: “Only an informed, sober, freely-given, ongoing, enthusiastic ‘Yes!’ is consent.
That in mind, it was strange to see the presenters struggle to give a clear answer to a question about consent while under the influence of alcohol.
Most of the presentation focused on consent from the standpoint of sobriety, or on consent in an established relationship.
Washington state laws as well as University policy declare that one cannot consent to a sexual while under the influence of drugs including alcohol.
This is a line that should not be crossed.
Therein lays a major problem on colleges’ campuses where partying and hooking-up can be nearly synonymous.
However, the intersection between consumption of drugs and alcohol and sexual activity leads to a precarious spot – one with possible legal, physical and emotional consequences – each at a potentially drastic level.
If college students are so down to hook up, but can’t consent while intoxicated, why is there such an aversion to a more sober hookup culture?
Alcohol is a social lubricant as it is scientifically linked to loss of impulse control, thus it can be the impetus to make decisions that wouldn’t necessarily be made while sober.
A source told this author that he “had to be drunk” for a party because it would be “easier to get laid.”
Without judgment, it’s a habit that is worth exploration, as he consciously accepts both parties more limited inhibition-control.
The statement came from a good looking guy is who confident and conversation, yet he still reverts to alcohol-inspired sex.
Without alcohol he can worry less about rejection. He has an excuse the next day, either in justifying his act or explaining to his partner why it won’t happen again.
A female source postulated insecurity on the subject of sex with a potential partner during sober conversation.
Alcohol is an easy way to get around any anxiety or nervousness about the subject.
Additionally, she noted that college is a transitional period, one when people often explore their sexuality. Without a doubt, this venture into new territory is aided by lower inhibitions.
She also noted that the link between alcohol and sex is situational.
Alcohol is usually consumed at times when students are actively not thinking about other classes or other obligations, thus the topic has more freedom to come up.
In sober conversations, the context is also different because they more often take place in different environments where sex is not likely to follow.
In the best case scenario following a drunk hookup, both parties were neither too impaired to have a poor time or to regret what they did the next morning, but that’s rare.
Alcohol affects performance, but that’s nearly irrelevant next to the possibility of one party waking up the next morning knowing they did not consent and pressing charges.
This could be compounded with waking up pregnant or with an STI.
These consequences are negative, can be life-changing and are not worth the possible fun that could have been had sober.
A senior, finds America’s repressed views of sexuality to be a major reason consent is devalued.
We are taught not to talk about sex, and even if we see the benefits behind having frank, honest conversations, we are socialized to be uncomfortable and afraid of these conversations.
A little fear and discomfort can be good in keeping us in line, but too much is debilitating. If we’re taught to seek challenges, to embrace difficulty and work hard to get what we want, the same should be true with our sexual relationships.
Legally, we become adults when we turn 18; however we accept this independence and the responsibility that comes with it in college.
Acceptance of adulthood necessitates a change in our behavior. To recognize what we want – be it casual sex, a serious relationship or anything in between – and take the steps to make it happen in a mature, responsible manner.
As the generation that lives like we only live once, let’s look at it not as an excuse to do stupid things, but to ensure that when we really want something, we do what’s necessary to make it happen.