As #MeToo discourse continues to ripple out, well past the hashtag, we’re hearing a lot of discussion about a “grey area” of consent. From the viral New Yorker story Cat Person to Babe’s controversial reporting of an unnamed woman’s date with comedian/TV auteur Aziz Ansari, coerced (though not technically unlawful) sexual encounters have been thrust under the spotlight.
Vaguely described as “sexual misconduct” or “bad sex”, these experiences have many grasping for understanding. If it’s not assault, but it’s not a positive, comfortable sexual experience either, then what is it? How can we place it in the current debate, if we can’t settle on a name for it first?