Sex Ed @ CA High Schools: “Yes” means “Yes”

Source: NYTimes, Oct 2015

The “no means no” mantra of a generation ago is being eclipsed by “yes means yes” as more young people all over the country are told that they must have explicit permission from the object of their desire before they engage in any touching, kissing or other sexual activity. With Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on a bill this month, California became the first state to require that all high school health education classes give lessons on affirmative consent, which includes explaining that someone who is drunk or asleep cannot grant consent.

“What’s really important to know is that sex is not always super smooth,” she told her 10th graders. “It can be awkward, and that’s actually normal and shows things are O.K.”

The students did not seem convinced. They sat in groups to brainstorm ways to ask for affirmative consent. They crossed off a list of options: “Can I touch you there?” Too clinical. “Do you want to do this?” Too tentative. “Do you like that?” Not direct enough.

“They’re all really awkward and bizarre,” one girl said.

“Did you come up with any on your own?” Ms. Zaloom asked.

One boy offered up two words: “You good?”

That drew nearly unanimous nods of approval.

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