Yes, you read that headline correctly, and yes, it is as ridiculous as you thought.
The University of Southern California held a "Consent Carnival" on Thursday to try and teach students how to have sex under the new intrusive and authoritarian "affirmative consent" standards. These standards mandate that sex be more of a contractual agreement than a passionate act, requiring students to engage in a question-and-answer session for every type of sexual activity, even hand-holding and kissing.
One of the booths featured at the carnival was a "kissing booth," which provided students with a five-step checklist to kissing someone without sexually assaulting them. The checklist states that consent is:
Affirmative: We're really excited to share this kiss with you and we're letting you know!
Coherent: We're present and able to recognize exactly what's happening when we give this kiss to you.
Willing: We made the decision to give you this kiss ourselves, without pressure or manipulation from you or anybody else.
Ongoing: Should you come back for another kiss, check in to see if we'd still like to give you one.
Mutual: Sure, we offered you a kiss, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it. Coming over to our table doesn't forfeit your right to say no.
Notice the fourth step, about coming back for another kiss. This is where opponents of affirmative consent stop in their tracks. In theory, this means that for each kiss, both participants have to continually ask, "May I kiss you?" In practice, only the man is responsible for asking.
It takes all the romance — and sanity — out of sexual activity, turning it into some forbidden and taboo act rather than an act that unites two people together, as it's always been defined.
The College Fix talked to several students present at the carnival, including Katie Hardin, who thought funding would be better spent on resources for victims than "events that many people would find uncomfortable and not want to attend."
Another student, Caroline Westchester, thought the absence of any information about drunken hookups was telling.
"I was surprised that they did not talk about alcohol at all, because it is definitely a major cause of many sexual assault cases," Westchester said. "I think a lot of people don't want to bring it up because that would be blaming the victim, but I think it's important to acknowledge."
She's absolutely correct, and that is sad. Alcohol is the top factor in sexual assault accusations. Telling women to tone down their drinking so that they don't get into a situation where they consent when they wouldn't have done so sober is viewed as "victim blaming," when in fact it is common sense. It's not victim blaming if one is not a victim.
There are two main kinds of sexual assault accusations happening on college campuses these days: One involes an accusing student who did not consent, and another involves an accusing student who consented at the time but later claimed she did not or that she regretted her decision.
Drinking until you don't know what's going on around you is not a good idea for anyone — woman or man. Colleges need to stop tiptoeing around this issue if they're going to reduce the number of sexual assault accusations (which are already very low). Infantilizing women and teaching them that they are not in control of their actions when they are drunk is dangerous and counterproductive, and leads to a victimhood culture.
Further, turning sex into a contractual agreement creates a culture of fear and distrust among students, who become more concerned with ensuring they won't be accused or assaulted than connecting with another human being.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.