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Antioch Hall at Antioch College. Photo: The New York Times.

The Antioch Rules:
We Need Them Now More Than Ever

By Eric F. Coppolino

       In 1990, minuscule Antioch College changed the world when it introduced its rules of sexual conduct, after two alleged date rapes on the campus that year. The policy set forth specific guidelines for engagement, which include all parties to the sexual activity being sober at the time sex is initiated.

       The point of the rules is to stop all forms of nonconsensual sex, and this has finally put an end to drunk sex on campuses that adopted the guidelines.

       The rules, which are famous for requiring consent not only with each and every sexual experience, but also with each time the sexual experience is "escalated," have been subjected to harsh ridicule, though it's time to revisit them. Here in the age of Me Too, we need clear guidance.

You don’t need to ask consent to ask consent

       The Antioch rules are the most stringent ever written. According to Princeton University anthropology professor Dr. Mirkin Smedley, Ph.D., "We have seen nothing like this in human history. Finally, sex has gone beyond the age of the cave man, into an egalitarian evolutionary future."

       Katherine Rosman, writing about the rules in the Feb. 24, 2018 New York Times, said, "If you choose to permeate the bubble yourself and visit Antioch, you will be asked to sign a 'statement of understanding' that you will abide by a policy that requires enthusiastic verbal consent during every stage of every sexual interaction. (Reporters are also required to sign the statement.)"

       At long last, a college campus -- notably, the strictest in history -- has made clear provisions for accredited journalists to have sex with students.

       Remember: You don’t need to ask consent to ask consent. You can just dive in and propose what you want. That is the beauty of the Antioch rules. Seeking consent is always OK.

       The rules are highly specific, and omit any possibility for making assumptions or having expectations. Sex no longer "just happens." There will be no more "getting lucky." Everything will be by clear agreement. The days of "doing the nasty" are over. Now, we will do the proper.

       Consider Rule 2:

       "If sexual contact and/or conduct is not mutually and simultaneously initiated, then the person who initiates sexual contact/conduct is responsible for getting the verbal consent of the other individual(s) involved."

"All parties must have a clear and accurate understanding of the sexual activity."

       Finally, thanks to the rules, women will be polite enough to ask, and men will need to give clear answers, when the subject of sex comes up. They cannot just be coy.

       Most of the time people just jump into sex without a discussion. They just walk out of the bar laughing at 2 am and go home and have sex, even if one of them passes out first. That is no longer allowed under the Antioch rules.

       Rule 3, the most famous of the lot, takes that further, specifying:

       "Obtaining consent is an on-going process in any sexual interaction. Verbal consent should be obtained with each new level of physical and/or sexual contact/conduct in any given interaction, regardless of who initiates it. Asking 'Do you want to have sex with me?' is not enough. The request for consent must be specific to each act."

       This will require people to talk about what they are doing. No longer will it be possible for people to just zone out and have sex unconsciously. Other versions of the rules state, "All parties must have a clear and accurate understanding of the sexual activity." I reckon that could be on the biological, philosophical or political level, or perhaps all three.

       It will now be mandatory to say, "You look really good in those shorts. I want to lick your pussy. Can we do that?"

       A complete understanding of this activity would include how it would require her to remove her shorts, and her undies, after which time she will spread her legs to accommodate his face. At that time, he will commence the licking process, which will included imbibing some of her vaginal secretions. Permission should be sought in advance for tongue thrusting, since the licker will have his or her mouth full at the time that's about to happen.

       If he asks permission to kiss her after performing oral sex on her, she will need to understand that some of her vaginal secretions will be on his mouth, and she will receive some of them. They would also need to discuss the spiritual aspect of cunnilingus -- the mixing of water that can never be undone. Oral sex is the bond of sacred aquatic matrimony.

       This action has political implications. Just 50 short years ago, many men considered female genitalia disgusting, and now, it seems, most men cannot get enough. A full understanding of this act would acknowledge that fact, and women would need to thank men for the progress they've made.

Must the first partner to approach orgasm ask the permission of the other?

       If the two parties are women, they could acknowledge the tremendous gains made by the LGBT community, and thank the Supreme Court for finally overturning Bowers v Hardwick, a 1986 decision that criminalized consensual oral sex.

       One thing about pussy licking is that it can lead to ejaculation. Ladies, you must be polite and say when you're about to squirt. Don't just do it onto your partner's face; you could drown them. Make sure you get permission first. For this purpose only, enthusiastically grunting a reply is an acceptable form of saying “yes." Even if you mean “no,” you’re gettin’ it.

       Now for a more complex issue. Sometimes when someone licks a woman's vulva, they also want to lick her ass. For some people, this is only natural. For others, this time-honored tradition is controversial. Here, we have a question of whether this would constitute "escalation" of sexual activity. Going from licking pussy to licking ass is not covered in the first base, second base, third base, homer model of sex. Under the baseball rules, each additional base is considered a level of escalation.

       It would be prudent to consider going from licking the vulva to licking the anus a potential escalation, however, in which case the licker would need to say: "I'm thoroughly enjoying licking your vulva, and it seems like you are too. May I please lick your ass? I trust that you keep your body clean. This would involve various acts of swirling, licking and light nibbling. You may want to surrender deeply to my loving ministrations. Would that be OK with you?"

       Then they would come to an agreement whether or not that is acceptable. Preferably, this would be put into writing. Please refer to the Antioch Analingus Agreement Form, AAAF8755-1990 (a classic), which must be signed by both parties, notarized and placed on file in the registrar’s office.

       Sexual intercourse is perhaps the most important of the activities that might be covered by the rules. Most date rapists don't want to stop at oral sex. Therefore, it would be necessary to say, "I find you appealing, and we're having a fun evening. How about we go back to [my place, your place, Motel 6, Birch Hall 2nd floor lounge, etc.] and engage in sexual intercourse."

       They would need to do a quick review and make sure that, before either party gives consent, everyone has a clear understanding of that activity. She might say, clarifying that: "While this might be done with clothes on, I would prefer if we both are naked. Once we are, I will ask you whether we might engage in other activities, such as kissing, breast sucking, cuddling, and eye-gazing. Then, when we are both ready, my vagina will be will be moist and your penis will hopefully erect. Then you will slide your penis into my vagina, wearing a condom of course. I will encourage you to thrust into me, or I will ride you. Do you understand what you would be agreeing to? Do you consent to that?"

Prior to having sex, the woman may require the man to give up some of his institutional power, such as his Eagle Scout rank.

       It does not matter if they had this conversation yesterday. The conversation must be repeated with each new sexual encounter. A true understanding of sex must consider the political implications of male-superior versus female-superior. Also, both parties should consider the philosophy of Andrea Dworkin, who theorized that since society is a patriarchy, all forms of sex that involve a man and a woman are rape. Prior to having sex, the woman may require the man to give up some of his institutional power, such as his Eagle Scout rank, or his seat on the local United Way board of directors.

       It should be clear that, according to one version of the rules, "Body movements and nonverbal responses such as moans are not consent." Therefore, even if she is moaning, she will need to say, clearly so he understands, "Keep thrusting! Keep fucking me!" If, however, she says to stop, then he must stop immediately.

       Now we come to the problem of orgasm, which definitely involves an escalation of sexual excitement. Who should get and give permission? Must the first partner to approach orgasm ask the permission of the other? If one person loses control and orgasms, does that make the incident date rape, as nonconsensual climax? This matter will be discussed next Thursday in a panel discussion in South Hall, titled, “Should nonconsensual orgasm be punished as a form of rape?”

       These rules present certain pragmatic issues. For example, let's say there is a language barrier, where a Senegalese man and a Spanish woman want to have sex. Sex is considered the "universal language," however, we would now be introducing several other languages. I would suggest a national Antioch Translation Hotline (ATH), where both parties could connect by conference call to a specially trained simultaneous interpreter, who could make it clear to each party what the other is proposing. This would be a form of sexwork, costing approximately $500 an hour, which would have to be split evenly by the people involved.

       That is a small price to pay for fantastic international sex. ++


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