What is a Sex Agreement?
Just when you thought modern dating couldn’t become any more complicated, sexual consent contracts have added another layer. What exactly is a sexual consent contract or a sex agreement? It’s exactly what it sounds like—a signed contract stating that both people (or maybe multiple participants depending on what they’re into) consent to having sex. If your first reaction was, 'Wait, what?' please stick with us here.
“The idea of a consent contract is not new at all,” Alison Berke Morano, the co-founder of The Affirmative Consent Project, says. “The military, athletes, musicians, actors, and other people who have experienced that sexual encounters sometimes get complicated have been using consent agreements for years.”
The Affirmative Consent Project offers “#consentgear” on its website ranging from a consent contract and a guide to ‘Yes Means Yes!’ for $0.35 (as not part of the full kit) to three consent kits for $15, which each include “affirmative consent guidelines written out, along with a condom and a couple of mints – so you can ‘take a minute, and take a breath,’” Berke Morano says.
When it Makes Sense
Could a sexual consent form have protected Kobe Bryant and Patrick Kane? Both star athletes were involved in high profile sexual assault investigations—Bryant in 2003 and Kane this past year. While the case against Bryant was ultimately dismissed (he did settle a civil lawsuit with his accuser) and Kane wasn’t charged, there’s no doubt that their reputations are now tainted.
“All of these celebrities have groupies that will do just about anything to have sex with them, but not all of them can be trusted and some may lie about the sex act being consensual,” Dr. Cadell says. “Consequently, they could threaten to sue or worse still, make an accusation about sexual assault when it didn’t happen. So these celebrities can protect themselves with condoms from STD’s and unwanted pregnancy, but another form of protection is to have a signed sexual consent form before having any sex.”
However, the consent contracts or sex agreements are not legally binding documents. Dr. Cadell says, “The sexual consent form is a cautionary way for one person to ask permission to have sex with another.” And there’s a disclaimer at the bottom of The Affirmative Consent Project’s site, which reads: “This website contains general information about legal matters. The information on this website is not advice, and should not be treated as such. The products are not legally binding. You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider.”
Dr. Cadell still stands behind her sexual consent form and recommends them for anyone and everyone from celebrities to average Joes, while The Affirmative Consent Project spends a lot of time trying to get their consent kits onto college campuses.
“Of course any contract is contestable, including a surgery consent form, prenuptial, or will,” Dr. Cadell says. “But if I were accused, I would rather go to court with a signed sexual consent form than without one. The sexual consent form would be admissible and relevant as evidence of consent if signed by the alleged victim. As for the argument that a woman can be forced into signing it, I contend that a handwriting expert could probably identify a forced signature.”