‘Yes to Sex’ app asks partners to record giving consent

(Courtesy: WATE)
(Courtesy: WATE)

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.  (WATE) – The free app “Yes to Sex” is encouraging people to give and get consent before engaging in sexual activity. Some students at the University of Tennessee like the idea of this app, while others find it unnecessary and say it won’t be very effective.

“It takes away the confusion between two people who decide to have sex,” said S’ance Lloyd, a student at the University of Tennessee.

Lloyd approves of the app because it makes partners choose what mood they are in. The app also makes partners read a list of facts and then allows them to confirm they’re giving consent. Finally, it records a verbal yes or no to sex.

“Both of y’all are on the same terms. Both of y’all have the same understanding,” said Lloyd.

She also feels it could help people who are afraid to say no face-to-face.

“Then they can say no on the phone. They can say what they really feel,” said Lloyd.

Other students are not in favor of it.

“It’s supposed to be something special. Doing something like this means well but it shouldn’t be necessary,” said Michael Sanderson, a student at the University of Tennessee.

Students may disagree on the app but many agree it will not be very effective. Some say it will not change the sexual assault climate on college campuses.

“If somebody has it in their head that they are going to do something like that, they are going to do it no matter what,” said Sanderson.

Some students also say many people will not take the time to use the app.

“I think they would rather say yes face-to-face than download the app,” said Lloyd.

Especially, they say, if the partners are intoxicated.

“I don’t think anybody under the influence is going to take the time to go through an app,” said Sanderson.

Professionals at the University of Tennessee’s Health Center think the app could start more conversation about consent. However, some do not think it is something students should rely on.

“Consent has to be ongoing,” said Ashley Blamey, the Director of the Center of Health Education and Wellness at the University of Tennessee.

Blamey says someone can change their mind at any time. However, since this app asks partners to give consent before any interaction, it makes her concerned.

“That is a component I would be very concerned about, specifically relying on an app for communication,” said Blamey.

Blamey would feel uncomfortable having students rely on this app to get and give consent.

“Recorded verbal agreement of something in a moment of time as consent from here till the end of this interaction I just think would be naive,” said Blamey.

WATE 6 On Your Side Legal Analyst Greg Isaacs says legally, a recording of someone giving consent to sex may not mean much.

“Consent is something that is not forever or permanent,” said Greg Isaacs.

Isaacs says there could be other problems with recorded consent in certain scenarios.

“If they are not of age. If they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” said Isaacs.

However, Isaacs said this documentation could be useful in court. He does not see why a lawyer would not use a recording of someone giving consent if the person represented was accused of date rape. Although, he says the recording does not prove if the consent was voluntary or not.