“Are you good to go?” This is what males who wish to have consensual sex with me will (once again) have to ask out loud—now that Apple removed the Good2Go app from its store today. Launching just two weeks ago, Good2Go embodied good intentions gone bad. While the founder Lee Ann Allman says she just wanted to use simple technology to decrease sexual violence—potential havers of sex were supposed to consent by clicking, documenting their level of drunkenness along the way, in accordance with California’s new law for college students—Good2Go functioned much more effectively as satire of what intimacy looks like in a digital era than it did as a tool with actual use.
If the discussion about “affirmative consent” did anything, it showed how complicated of an issue consent actually is—it’s not the kind of thing that an app can solve. “No” really always does mean “no,” but as the new law makes clear, consent is something that needs to be monitored throughout a sexual experience. In order to be fully effective, Good2Go users would have had to whip out their phones throughout a hookup in order to check back in with their partners about where their experience was headed, rather than talking to him or her. Another bizarre thing about the app: it tells a girl she “cannot consent” to sex after she’s selected its “pretty wasted” designation, which seems a bit like an overreaction. (Some people like drunk sex, right?)
I respect the way Good2Go attempted to use the preferred technology of sexually emergent young people as a platform to get them thinking about consent. But what I appreciate even more than catering to digital natives is disrupting and teaching them. We can’t teach that consent, the crux of both the legality and fun of a sexual experience, is something that should be worked out on a phone. Sexting is one thing, but “yes” and “no” should be spoken—or better yet, shouted—out loud.