The Beauty of Yes

"Suppose someone you know slightly arrives at your home, baggage and all, and just barges in and stays overnight. When you protest, the response is, “Well, you didn’t say no.”  Or imagine that a man breaks into your home while you sleep off a night of drunken revelry, and robs you blind. Did your drinking imply consent?  Until now, this has been the state of affairs in our nation’s laws on sexual assault. Invading bodies has been taken less seriously by the law than invading private property, even though body-invasion is far more traumatic. This has remained an unspoken bias of patriarchal law. After all, women were property until very recently. In some countries, they still are. Even in America, women’s human right to make decisions about their own bodies remains controversial, especially when it comes to sex and reproduction."  

In "'Yes’ Is Better Than ‘No’" -, Michael Kimmel and Gloria Steinem's article highlights an important aspect of a particularly important time in young adults sex lives.  

They write about college age kids (at Anitoch where rules were instituted in the 1990's), "while doomsayers lamented that the new rules would destroy the mystery of campus sex, the students took it in stride. Instead of, “Do you want to have sex?” they simply asked, “Do you want to implement the policy?”  

As a therapist in New York, I know that arriving to the humor and acceptance of such an articulation for a young person can be challenging, and that is often what therapy can do-- help get us to the solution-- very frequently through humor.  And working as a couples therapist for those with sexual issues, I have seen the "coming to terms about emotion" or let's call it humor approach, be the magic touch that leads to a true consensual YES.  

The beautiful Joyce quotation the authors use at the end of the article is worth re-iterating here:

"One of literature’s most enduring works, James Joyce’s 'Ulysses,' concludes with Molly Bloom’s affirmative declaration of desire (considered so erotic, in fact, that it was banned for more than a decade after publication): 'and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.'"

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