Regulating Sex on Campus
The Times is right to question legislative attempts to micromanage sex on campus, like California's SB 967, which would "tell young people what steps they must take in the privacy of their own dorm rooms" by requiring "affirmative consent." ("Sex and college students: Should the Legislature be in the mix too?," Editorial, May 28)
The legislation's affirmative consent requirement doesn't apply just to sex. It covers all physical contact for which consent is required by a college's sexual assault policy, like intimate touching. In real life, such contact is welcomed after it begins, not affirmatively consented to in advance. Because of that, the legislation would result in most student couples being deemed guilty of sexual assault.
Consent should include acquiescence, not just affirmative permission. My wife and daughter hug me without advance permission, but it's consensual because they know I will welcome it.