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Lying To Get Laid Is Not Sexual Assault – Here’s Why

Anyone remember that episode of 'Sex and the City' where Miranda pretends to be a flight attendant?

Tired of watching her potential dates’ eyes glaze over when she reveals her true vocation as a lawyer (the horror!), she fibs and feigns a “sexy” career -- and snags a hot doctor for her efforts.

If the NSW Law Reform Commission continues down its current path, what Miranda did during that fictional date could be considered sexual assault. Her lover could actually be charged, too; he wasn’t an ER physician as he claimed, but a lowly Foot Locker sales assistant.

This particular reform recommendation, Section 6.48 in the commission's draft proposal reviewing sexual consent within criminal law, states: “We propose that the law should provide that a person who is fraudulently induced to participate in sexual activity does not, in law, consent to sexual activity.”

If this pushes through, it would become a crime to lie to someone in order to entice them to have sex with you.

Hugh Riminton

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Lying To Have Sex With Someone Could Soon Be Considered Sexual Assault

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

If a woman falsely says she’s an internationally touring dancer, for instance, and under that pretence, another person agrees to have sex with her, it could be considered sexual assault.

Or if a man claims he’s single and afterward it’s discovered that he’s actually married, that could be considered sexual assault.

If the recommendation pushes through, your lying date could be laid... with criminal charges.  (Image: Getty)

Put simply: this reform would give cause for any kind of deception before a sexual experience to potentially become “assault”.

I’m all for strengthening the laws and creating clarity around what isn’t and what isn’t sexual assault. But this reform, to me, seems like it only muddies the waters.

Love

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Bill. Bill. Bill. Why would you lie to Ali about dating Dog Park Amy?

Finding out that the hot pilot you slept with isn't actually a captain with Qantas, but an Uber driver who works in a call centre... that is misleading and disappointing. But it doesn't transform what was an enjoyable, consensual sexual experience into assault.

Most one-night stands are a fantasy, to a degree, at least. That’s part of the appeal: you get to recreate yourself, if only for one night.

When we’re dating, there are dozens of lies (both big and small) that we tell in order to project a better version of ourselves. (Image: Getty)

There’s only so much you can get to know someone in a few hours and if you decide to take things further, it’s because you’re attracted to the perception you have of a person in that moment -- not because you genuinely know them.

Moreover when we’re dating, there are dozens of lies (both big and small) that we tell in order to project a better version of ourselves.

“I studied marketing”… though I dropped out after the first year.

“I’ve travelled to Europe”… but I only went to Paris, and I was with my family, and I was 12.

“I work in the entertainment industry”… as an unpaid intern, mainly serving coffees.

“I own my own apartment in the city”… although really, my parents bought it for me.

It could even be argued that the filters, angles and lighting we use to pretty up our Tinder snaps and profile pics are a form of lying.

If this proposal becomes reality, does it mean that being caught out in any of these falsehoods leaves us open to being charged with a sexual crime? (Image: Getty)

And let’s not forget social media, which allows us to create, curate and project the tiny pieces of our lives that we choose to highlight. They’re often entirely false. We might look like we’re the life of the party, socialising every weekend, living our best life -- when in reality, we suffer debilitating anxiety that forces us to cancel constantly, or ghost out 20 minutes after arriving.

If this proposal becomes reality, does it mean that being caught out in any of these falsehoods leaves us open to being charged with a sexual crime?

Sarah Megginson

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WARNING: Discusses sexual assault and child abuse.

To be clear: lying to get someone into bed is definitely dodgy.

If you’ve been lied to, you might rightly feel mislead, deceived, disappointed or humiliated.

But to equate lying before a consensual sexual act, with genuine sexual assault, isn’t just perplexing -- it’s reckless.

As well as being virtually impossible to police, this reform (which could impact as many women as men, if enforced) could even make adultery a crime.

To equate lying before a consensual sexual act, with genuine sexual assault, isn’t just perplexing -- it’s reckless. (Image: Getty)

All of which seems wholly unnecessary and worse, it’s a distraction that deflects attention from the more meaningful aspects of this conversation that we need to have.

Aspects like enthusiastic consent.

Right now in Queensland and New South Wales, there is an archaic law known as the "mistake of fact" defence. Sexual assault defendants can use it to argue that, even if the complainant did not consent -- because they were unconscious or they don’t clearly say the word ‘no’ -- the defendant honestly and reasonably (but mistakenly) believed they did consent.

"I didn’t hear no, so that must mean yes.”

Jane Caro

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Jane Caro: Why Just Speaking Up About Sexual Assault Isn't The Solution

I believe in the principle that everyone is innocent until they are proven guilty.

Enthusiastic consent calls for an understanding that ‘it’s not yes, unless it’s HELL YES!’ (Hint: clear signals of consent are not that difficult to spot. If your sexual partner is a) conscious and b) appears to be enjoying themselves and c) is actively participating in the activity, then you’re likely good to go.)

At a time when the national and global conversation around sexual assault and consent is becoming more diverse and important than ever, enthusiastic consent -- not lying to get laid -- is the issue we need to keep firmly on the agenda.