It is safe to say, that nowadays, sexual gratification is fraught with danger. It’s probably always been that way for adulterers, rapists and those who eschew contraception; but for the rest of us, sex used to be fairly straightforward, even an occasionally enjoyable diversion. But no longer. Now, an hour in the sack can take a lifetime to recover from. And that’s just your reputation.
This week, Philip Queree, a 37-year-old, mature medical student in the UK, who politely accepted an offer to have consensual sex with a woman he met on the dating website Tinder, was successfully prosecuted for over-enthusiastically squeezing her breasts, resulting in, (wait for it), bruising. The judge found the would-have-been doctor guilty of sexual assault, and the accused will have to perform 120 hours of community service and spend five years of his life on the Sexual Offender’s Register.
Quite a big boob actually when you consider that his career as a doctor is now over before it had begun and his future work prospects are looking severely limited. For now, he is languishing on the dole. I imagine his contemporaries must be asking themselves just how much ‘consent’ should be sought before they initiate any advances of an intimate nature, lest they provoke a criminal conviction and permanent job insecurity. (Surely a course of lessons in bedroom etiquette would have been a less draconian penalty and a better example to those lacking a certain finesse in that department?).
Worryingly, a new age of consent has arrived. And its rules are questionable. If bruising is the new standard that rouses the ire of the authorities, what about the formerly humble love bite that can turn a neck from pink to purple in seconds? Should leaving the imprint of your lips during consensual hanky-panky be criminalised? Why stop there? Trendy young men could be making the worst mistake of their lives if they bring their five o’clock shadow out on date night. Carelessly assaulting your new girl with designer stubble, causing a nasty outbreak of shaving rash could not only be the end of the fledgeling relationship but that job you are so fond of too. Don’t even contemplate the ramifications of a partner reacting unfavourably to your pungent aftershave the morning after the night before. I doubt it will be worth the worry or the lingering bad smell.
Perhaps we can now anticipate a whole new pandemic of performance anxiety.
What about those few extra kilos (on top of those few extra kilos) that you had been intending to launch on top of a willing partner this evening? It’s a weighty question and one that could cost you your freedom if the courts decide it’s more than your poor partner should have to bear. And what about the content of your whispered nothings that now have to be reconfigured into legal permissions? It would quite likely put you off your stroke. “Can I please caress the upper-left quadrant of your inner-right thigh?” “Yes, but only 427 grams of pressure please, or the local constabulary will want to be involved”. And what of the poor S&M mob who are actually into domineering personality types? One would have to assume that their days of innocent(ish) pleasure are over.
American universities are fast gaining the reputation as unsafe spaces for students whose dates decide that when they said “yes”, sex was the last thing on their minds. One young man, who police declined to prosecute as they said there was no case to answer; was punished by his university regardless. They actually refused to let him graduate, despite him passing and paying for an extremely expensive degree course. Apparently, his crime – he thought it was consensual sex, but she changed her mind – was to have broken the university’s code of conduct. He took them to court (at great expense) and won (tab involuntarily picked up by the Ivy League establishment in question).
Australian students hoping to study at university in the USA should consider what form of protection they use, before getting hot and bothered in ways they had never contemplated. And I’m not talking prophylactics. How about getting the girl or guy to sign a consent form prior to any questionable activity? This agreement could be witnessed by filming it on a phone so as not to involve a third party. It seems a better plan than the safer alternative – celibacy.
While the powers that be the world over are busily deciding how we should act in bed, something far more sinister is taking place here in Australia. Right now, plans are being developed to decriminalise what is genuinely dangerous, even lethal, sexual behaviour.
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard is preparing legislation to make it unnecessary for the sexually active to inform new partners of their HIV AIDS positive status.
Last week in the UK, hairdresser Daryl Rowe, 26, was successfully prosecuted for failing to tell ten partners that we know of, that they were exchanging bodily fluids with a man suffering from HIV, who had stopped taking retroviral drugs that suppress the viral load and make the life-long condition easier to pass on. Four of them are now infected.
I wish I could say this was an isolated case, but the internet is littered with them.
Hmm, squeezing a breast too hard or deliberately infecting a partner with HIV, I know which one I’d call a criminal act.
Illustration: YouTube/UniversalPictures/Focus Features.
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