Sexual consent forms have been used as punchlines — questionable ones — for television shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and South Park. The scenario is the same in each instance; consent forms are handed out at a college party, and the audience is unsure if the joke is made at the expense of consent movements or those confused about consent. A new blockchain app, LegalFling, is about to make consent via contract a reality.
Created by Dutch tech company LegalThings, the app enters partners into a legally binding agreement where they can note their sexual "do's and dont's." There are many things wrong with this app, but let's start with the obvious: consent isn't a one-and-done deal, one "OK" doesn't qualify as consent. The website does acknowledge that if either partner is uncomfortable they can opt out, but that certainly doesn't cut the damage of reducing consent to a swipe.
What's more, the app gives users free reign to "request consent" from anyone on their contact list. "Sit back and relax while your fling confirms," the Awesome Features page reads. I can assure you this app was not built with your "fling" in mind. Rather, it detaches users from actually understanding sexual consent and their responsibility. LegalFling's About section says, "sex should be fun and safe, but nowadays a lot of things can go wrong." This is like saying, "sexual consent is tricky, right? There's an app for that."
This isn't a new idea though: The Next Web points out other consent apps like SaSie and We-Consent. Here's an idea: how about we forget the digital contracts and focus on teaching continual consent and communication?