‘Consent condoms’? No thanks

What happens if a woman is happy to have sex after the first glass of wine and thumbs her approval, only to change her mind three glasses later?

Ray Crowley

Topics Politics

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Imagine that, after a night out, you share a taxi home with a handsome stranger. Imagine you are just about to make like Will Smith and get jiggy.

Imagine the look on your face when Mr ‘he was good looking…really’ requests your already greasy thumbprint on the plastic insert of his box of ‘consent condoms’.

Consent condoms are newly invented special rubber friends. Not only do they guard against the standard horrors of sex, like warts, viruses, babies – they also protect wearers against false convictions of date rape.

The condoms are printed with ‘Yes – I agree to have sex with you’ on them, and there is a piece of plastic in the box for the woman to mark with her thumbprint (using her free hand). This will prove her willingness to make the beast with two backs, should the question later arise.

The inventor of consent condoms has been accused of thinking with his little head rather than his big head, for several obvious reasons. If somebody can force a woman to have sex, surely they can also force her to put a digit on a piece of plastic? What happens if a woman is happy to have sex after the first glass of wine and thumbs her approval, only to change her mind three glasses later? Would one thumbprint be valid for all the condoms in a box, or does each encounter of the night need a separate stamp of approval?

You can see a few major legal problems arising. It seems to me that the issue of consent in date rape cases is already complicated enough. ‘Consent condoms’ are unlikely to change that.

What’s more, who would happily whip out a box of these rubbers in front of the person they were trying to seduce? David Morrow, the inventor of consent condoms, has agreed that they are a passion killer, and defends them as ‘a product of our times’ (1). Unfortunately, he’s quite right. The really worrying thing about his invention is not the short-fallings of consent condoms, but the fact that they were invented at all.

Are we really living in a time when we need to be so suspicious of other people? Is every one-night stand a potential rapist or false accuser? Is millennium sex so dangerous that we must police our most intimate and passionate acts in order to avoid disaster? I don’t think so – but if we are going to do something as laughable as using consent condoms, let’s at least do it properly.

For a start, these consent condoms are not orifice specific. Message variation, such as ‘Yes – I agree to have sex with you (but not up the bum)’, is surely essential. Also, men come (if you’ll excuse the pun) in many different shapes and sizes. Problems could arise for ladies with less well-endowed partners. Where ‘Yes – I agree to have sex with you’ due to lack of space reads ‘Yes- I agree’, there is certainly scope for confusion. And talking of size what about the small print? ‘This agreement will only become valid after exactly 10 minutes of foreplay’, for example.

Or why not go the whole way and enclose a felt tip in the box? That way the full requirements of the session could be agreed before commencement.

(1) London Evening Standard, 2 July 2001

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Topics Politics


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