"Yes Means Yes" Sex Education for Teens Gets Closer to Reality
California lawmakers want to teach teens how to say yes to sex.
And the state Assembly just passed the bill that would do just that. SB 695 by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León of L.A. and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara would require high schools to teach the "yes means yes" "affirmative consent standard" as well as "skills pupils use to establish boundaries in peer and dating relationships."
The standard established by De León's headline-grabbing bill last year requires state colleges to adopt the rule that says "'affirmative consent' means affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity," according to the 2014 legislation.
It could apply to high school "sexual assault and violence" education, which teens would have to pass in order to graduate.
The idea is to make sure that young men in particular are taught that lack of consent (silence, drunken or drug-induced blackouts) does not mean consent: Someone must say yes for sex to be legit.
"As it stands, we are not doing nearly enough," De León said previously. "We can and must educate the youth of our state, especially our young men, about affirmative consent and healthy relationships. This bill represents the next step in the fight to change behavior toward young women."
His office notes that women ages 18 to 24 experience the highest number of sex crimes. "High school students are the most vulnerable population, and the importance of educating them early on these issues is paramount to reducing the number of incidents," his office states.
"By teaching our youth about affirmative consent and healthy relationships, we can build a foundation for safer schools and streets for years to come," de León said yesterday.
The bill goes to the Senate for final approval before heading to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown for his consideration.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.