Want to be sure you’re engaging in safe, consensual sex? There’s an app for that.
Really. Yes To Sex, which launched on April 8, isn’t your typical sex conversation starter. The app allows potential partners to call a timeout before doing the deed to review consent facts, share any STD information, agree on protection (yes or no) before verbalizing and recording individual consent decisions on the app.
App founder Wendy Mandell-Geller, a mom of three college-aged students, is billing the app as “sex ed in your pocket." And like the giggle-inducing condom-on-a banana shtick, we’re guessing that it’s awkward and only somewhat effective.
Here’s how it works: Each partner can identify their sexual mood by choosing from words like “delicious,” “horny” and “sorry, not interested.” Then they can record a verbal statement of consent, including a safe word. If it’s a match, then they’re free to do the deed.
Mandell-Geller says she created the app to “empower teens and young adults to initiate conversations with their partner(s) about consent and the use of protection in a modern, approachable manner that fits into their lifestyles.” Geller points out that 25 percent of female students and 6-8 percent of male students are sexually assaulted each year on campuses. There’s murkiness around what consent means, and it’s undoubtedly a major issue.
But will recording consent help or complicate matters? There’s probably an entire Foucauldian essay on communication and language that could written about the app, but we’ll spare you. Simply consider that other consent apps like Good2Go have been roundly criticized. Even a "yes" prior to getting down doesn’t invalidate a "no" at any point further down the line — even with a safe word. Yes means yes, but also, no means no.