Culture Magazine

Sex, Talk, and the Future

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
Sex has bedeviled humankind ever since there WAS humankind, and perhaps a bit before. Who knows? California has just passed a new law governing sexual conduct among college students that is likely to have who knows what effects on actual conduct. What interests me is whether or not and how the law alters the relationship between conscious deliberation and intuitive action in sexual (and other?) interactions.
Are we learning new ways to behave? I don’t know.
Conor Friedersdorf has an article in The Atlantic in which he presents a bunch of scenarios:
As California's colleges and universities adjust to a new state law mandating a standard of "affirmative consent" in sexual assault and rape cases—as well as campus judicial proceedings with a "preponderance of the evidence" standard of guilt—observers are trying to anticipate how these policy changes will affect the lived culture of sexual acts among students, most in their late teens or early 20s. The law's effect on campus culture will determine whether it advances the ends sought by supporters, who hope to reduce the incidence of sex crimes. Yet there is broad disagreement about whether and how sexual culture will adapt to the new regime. Even those who agree that the law is good or bad disagree about its likely effects.
What follows are some of the wildly divergent forecasts, some hopeful, others cautionary. Taken together, they illuminate different notions of human nature, the reach of public policy, and what life on California's many college campuses is actually like. The scenarios that they anticipate are not always mutually exclusive.
He introduces each scenario with a brief title phrase, which I’ve collected below:
It Will Be Harder to Get Away With Rape
Sex Will Be Hotter and More Enjoyable
Sex Will Be Scary and Anxiety-Inducing
Hookup Culture Will Wither Under Neo-Victorianism
Misogyny on Campus Will Increase
Sexual Harassment Will Change
Women Will Face Charges More Often Than Expected
Sexual Assault Will Become a Sometimes Less Serious Charge

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