LegalFling wants to bring consent into relationships — with an app.
Back in 2014, a consensual sex app came out hoping to encourage better and clearer communication between potential partners. That app is long gone — shocker.
In its place comes a similar concept from a Dutch digital contract company. The all-men co-founders present LegalFlings, a yet-to-be released app that uses blockchain technology to decentralize your private information about whether you’d like to have sex with someone or not.
It’s not clear if the LegalFlings creators looked at the many think-pieces detailing the problems with high-tech sexual consent, but the app claims to “redefine” safe sex. Already it’s stirring up the same issues as its predecessors.
LegalFling hopes to appeal to would-be couples as a simple app, and features a Tinder-esque button to confirm whether or not you consent to sex, or other terms drawn up beforehand. Since it comes from a legal document tracking company, it makes sense that most of the app is focused on a creating a legally binding agreement between partners.
The company’s website somewhat acknowledges the unrealistic expectation of dealing with legal documents in these situations: “Asking someone to sign a contract before the fun starts is a little uncomfortable. A simple swipe is easy as 1,2,3,” it explains.
It’s getting dragged online before it’s even released, both for the impracticality and the dubious ethical considerations of the app.
Consent isn’t quite as simple as these apps and others before would like to make it out to be, especially since changing your mind about sex and consent should never feel like a hassle or burden — or something you can’t do. LegalFling does say it leaves room to change your response or to include terms for what you consider a safe consensual experience.
“‘No’ means ‘no’ at any time. Being passed out means ‘no’ at any time. This is explicitly described in the agreement. Additionally you can withdraw consent going forward through the LegalFling app with a single click,” the website outlines.
Even with all these “features” built into the technology, the same problems about preemptively consenting and removing necessary conversations remain. It’s also murky how these apps play out in real situations, especially one in which someone wants to withdraw consent.
For starters let’s point out the fact they chose to call this “legalfling” thus positioning the issue of getting consent as a defense against being charged for sexual assault rather than because consent is a prerequisite to sex and sexual assault is gross violence
— TREAD MENACE