It’s long been a given that nerds do not understand sex. This has led to some painfully laughable or outright creepy attempts to mix sex and technology. But Good2Go, the “yes means yes” app, takes the cake.
A brief explanation is necessary here. “Yes means yes” is another term for “affirmative consent,” which has just been made law in California amid the usual freakouts you find among stuff like this. Basically, the other person has to show interest in sex with you for it not to be defined as sexual assault. Instead of “a lack of a no,” it’s about active interest. It’s worth noting, before we talk about this app, that this applies to actions, as well; i.e. if you want to have sex, and the person you’re making out with grabs your crotch, starts stripping your clothes off, or otherwise is trying to get you naked and get at your genitals, you can take that as a “yes.”
Essentially, “yes means yes” requires you to have some basic awareness of the other person who you’re playing tonsil hockey with. That’s not a hard bar to clear. That’s really about as low as bars get.
Now, here’s Good2Go, an app that misunderstands this concept almost completely! You could watch the three-minute instructional video, but we’ll let Slate explain it, because it’s an app only a lawyer who is also a virgin could love:
If the partner—let’s assume for the purposes of this blog post, partner is a she—indicates that she is “Good2Go,” she’s sent to a second screen that asks if she is “Sober,” “Mildly Intoxicated,” “Intoxicated but Good2Go,” or “Pretty Wasted.” If she chooses “Pretty Wasted,” the app informs her that she “cannot consent” and she’s instructed to return the phone back to its owner.
All other choices lead to a third screen, which asks the partner if she is an existing Good2Go user or a new one. If she’s a new user, she’s prompted to enter her phone number and a password, confirm that she is 18 years old, and press submit.
Then, she’ll fill out a fourth prompt, which asks her to input a six-digit code that’s just been texted to her own cellphone to verify her identity with that app. Once that level is complete, she returns the phone to its owner, who can view a message explaining the terms of the partner’s consent. Then, the instigator presses a button marked “Ok,” which reminds him again that yes can be changed to “NO at anytime!”
Oh yeah, nothing is sexier than automated flirting that uses legal mandates as a starting point. Or, for that matter, handing another human being concrete proof that you are completely incapable or unwilling to read social cues, and just want to rub genitals together without doing all the hard work!
Good2Go is yet another app designed by somebody who doesn’t understand why other human beings don’t just automatically jump them because they meet what that person thinks is some form of objective criteria. Trying to automate a process that’s profoundly personal and subjective is always going to fail; it’s why Netflix put up a $1 million prize to improve their recommendation engine and it’s still not great. And if you really don’t understand why you need to demonstrate to another human being that you’re not a psychopath before you rub parts, you probably should be looking for a therapist, not a hookup.
Also, one has to ask, does anybody actually have a problem figuring out if somebody you’re making out with doesn’t want to bang you? Provided you’re not a complete self-centered tool, it’s really not hard. They’ll let you know.
Still, this app serves a useful function, by identifying precisely the kind of people you should not have sex with. That may not be its real purpose, but that, in the end, is how it’ll be used.