A relatively recent Supreme Court of Canada decision has ruled it is a sexual assault to initiate sex while your partner is sleeping. Needless to say this has sent shock waves through my household.
While I understand the decision in theory, I have a number of practical questions that don’t seem to be addressed in the ruling.
(Link to Supreme Court of Canada decision: http://tinyurl.com/nlmfyka)
What’s the definition of “sleep”?
There are many stages of sleep. Waking a person from REM sleep for any reason – whether it is to initiate sex or just to stop their snoring – should be subject to capital punishment. But what about during other stages of the sleep cycle?
Question: Is groping and hoping for sex in the “barely asleep” or “almost awake” phase the same as initiating it with someone in the “comatose REM” stage?
What if you suspect your partner is faking sleep?
I bet I’m not the only person on the planet who has faked sleep to get out of sex. Let’s face it; there are times when sex with even Brad Pitt would seem like a chore.
Question: Does initiating sex with someone who is fake sleeping rather than really sleeping constitute sexual assault? Shouldn’t it be ok to call my partner’s bluff?
What if you fall asleep during sex?
One can see how this can happen. Sex may seem like a great idea at the time but then the exhaustion of working full time, scaring up dinner, schlepping the kids to soccer practice followed by staying up late to watch the season finale of The Apprentice makes it impossible to stay awake.
Question: Does having sex with someone who consented to sex and then falls asleep during it count as sexual assault?
I have a vested financial interest in there being a tough on crime stance to all of my questions. I’m married to a criminal lawyer and our younger kid needs braces. But as a post-feminist I think the ruling goes too far.
Of course sex should be a consensual thing – no question. However, shouldn’t it be my decision alone to give my husband consent to suggestively nudge me awake when he’s in the mood? And, if it turns out that I’m not feeling amorous? Well, then, I have the option to fake sleep – and I know he’ll get the message.
Next: May-December romance: Should we care if he’s not in it for the conversation?