Let’s face it, we’ve all done it at one time or another. Shared a cab home with someone we shouldn’t have; invited the wrong guy in for coffee.
Unless you’re a saint, the chances of getting through life without making at least one disastrous sexual choice are very small.
The point is to live and to learn. To acknowledge when you’ve made a mess of things, and to avoid making the same mistakes again.
This is never easy, especially the part where you have to take a long, hard look at yourself and admit that, ultimately, you don’t much like what you see.
There is, of course, another way. You can blame someone else. You can make excuses. You can attempt to alleviate your own feelings of guilt and self-loathing by pinning responsibility on another.
And, in this day and age, that means crying rape.
It used to be that women who made stupid mistakes with men, who had non-violent sexual encounters in dodgy circumstances — while drunk or otherwise intoxicated, in the heat of the moment or for a million other reasons — did not wake up the next morning and decide they had been raped.
They took a shower, gave themselves a stern talking to, maybe told a friend about it, had a bit of a cry — and then moved on as best they could, vowing along the way never to end up in that kind of damn stupid situation again.
Now, in our modern it’s-anybody’s-fault-but-mine culture, there’s a far easier option. Blame the bloke.
Forget that minutes before the alleged assault you were twirling your bra around your head, or twerking in his face, or entwining yourself in his legs, or quoting from Fifty Shades Of Grey.
Even as you urged him on — yes, yes, yes! — you still meant no, didn’t you?
That, at least, would seem to be the view of Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, who yesterday said the time has come to move beyond the idea of ‘no means no’.
In other words, date-rape suspects will have to prove they obtained explicit consent.
Not only is this laughably absurd: ‘Hang on a moment, would you mind awfully just signing this pre-prepared document?
‘If you could just place a tick in the boxes next to the acts that you do consent to, just leave the others blank, and sign and date here, then we can proceed. Now, if you’d care to resume the position . . .’
But, more worryingly, won’t men in rape cases automatically be presumed guilty until they can prove they have obtained consent? However appalling a crime rape may be, this cannot be right.
What makes this still more shocking is that it seems to be part of a political attempt to push up rape conviction rates and meet targets.
Because although reports of rape have risen sharply in recent years, actual convictions are lagging behind. And that doesn’t suit the so-called ‘vagenda’: the all-men-are-rapists brigade, top feministas like Harriet Harman and the femi-fascist Twitter mob who, increasingly, seem to hold sway in public policy.
After 2005, when conviction rates hovered between five and six per cent, Harman and others made clear their determination to push up conviction rates.
The politically correct Alison Saunders has now taken on the cause.
And so, instead of initiating an intelligent conversation about, say, whether the proliferation of free-to-view violent pornography on the internet is having a negative effect on people’s sexual and social morals, or why it is that young people consider getting blind drunk and insensible to be a normal part of social interaction, our DPP comes up with ridiculous suggestions like this one.
Take the path of least resistance, why don’t you? After all, they’re only men. Who cares if they don’t get a fair trial?
Already it’s pretty hard for a man who is even just suspected of rape. His identity is public; that of his alleged victim is not.
The moment he is arrested, he loses his right to anonymity — even if charges are never brought.
This is because, the police and pressure groups argue, protecting the identity of the victim encourages others to come forward.
Yet it is not infallible. Last year, in the case of Ben Sullivan — the Oxford Union president who was accused of rape by a fellow student — it turned out to have been a misunderstanding among students. He, however, remains forever tainted.
That is not to say that, when bad things happen, the perpetrators should not be held to account.
In the recent controversial Ched Evans case, the former Sheffield United footballer was convicted of raping a young woman whom his friend had picked up in a fast-food restaurant.
The girl in question was very drunk, so drunk, in fact, that she remembers very little of what happened, and was unable to say whether or not she gave consent.
Nevertheless, it would be hard to argue that what Evans did was anything other than a vile act of sexual exploitation.
But if you take the Saunders world view, the girl herself is wholly without reproach.
This is clearly not the case. No one forced her to get blind drunk and in so doing place herself in danger. Actions have consequences. Women need to understand that.
In August last year, Judge Mary Jane Mowat, who spent 18 years on the bench in Oxford before retiring, claimed the rape conviction rate would not improve until women stopped drinking so heavily.
‘I’m not saying it’s right to rape a drunken women,’ she added. ‘I’m not saying that it’s allowable to take advantage of a drunken woman.’
She simply explained that a jury in a case where a woman can’t remember what she was doing ‘because she was off her head’ is less likely to convict.
She was speaking a basic truth. For her trouble she was vilified by the feministas.
In fact, far from making it easier for women to accuse men of rape, we should be making it harder.
Not by going back to the bad old days of misogynist judges and sexist juries; but by ensuring that the charge really is rape, and not just a change of heart, a change of circumstance, an act of revenge or simply an attempt to appease a sense of guilt or self-loathing.
Changing the parameters of what can be construed as rape to serve a clear politically correct agenda — not just to improve conviction rates for rape, but also to appease hard-line feminists — is very dangerous.
Not only is it deeply insulting to those women who, through war or religious bigotry find themselves victims of rape, it will not help safeguard women from violent sexual offenders such as serial rapists.
Nor will it make any difference whatsoever to domestic abuse cases — the average wife-beater doesn’t generally ask for permission in triplicate before he smashes his woman’s face in.
It will, however, destroy the lives of young men who are not habitual sexual offenders, but who pay for one act of grotesque idiocy by having their lives and reputations forever destroyed.
I, for one, fail to see how that can be construed as justice.