So I heard on the radio today that a man is on a 3 million dollar bail because he had sex with 2 of his students, aged 15 and 16 if I remember correctly.  He was a high school teacher.  

So I've always felt that the punishment for having sex with 'minors' was quite severe.  Shouldn't it completely depend on the circumstances?  What if the young lady testified that she in fact was the one who made the advances and wanted nothing more than to hook up with her dreamy teacher?  

What if you are 30 years old and met someone that you found deeply interesting and intensely attractive and found out she was 17?  Should your attraction for her end immediately simply because you found out her age?  

What if you found out she was 16?  

Is it just as bad for a 20 year old to have sex with a 15 year old?  A 14 year old?  

It seems to me, some of this is quite arbitrary.  I teach piano and I have 2 young female students, aged 14 and 15 who are quite attractive for their age.  They are fun to work with.  The type of girls I know I would show interest in if they were closer to my age.  The 14 year old is an atheist and acts very mature for her age and is deeply interested in more mature piano pieces.  The 15 year old is almost 16 and just overall a total sweetheart.  

I understand that many people say that young girls can still be physically attractive, but their maturity levels are not at the same level as their looks usually are, therefore, starting a relationship with a young girl can be very detrimental to her.  But what if she was in love with the older guy and he treated her as perfectly as any guy could treat someone?  

Then you ask yourself the question...what about 11?  12?  Even I, who doesn't get squeamish easily come to a point when I would simply say 'Oh my god, no, that's way too young to even play devils advocate'.  

But I also can't quite pinpoint a reason 'why' I get to that point and immediately declare it's just kind of icky and gross.  

Opinions?  How young is too young?  At what age do you think one should have the right to consensual sex with someone even a few years, if not many years, older than they are?  

In other words, was Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus any less a cutie when she was 15 / 16 / 17 - Or did she immediately become 'cute' or 'hot' the precise moment she turned 18?  

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Oh, I know that our present system needs a few changes. I do think that things like statutory rape should be taken on a case by case basis. I do beleive that a lot of our present system is based on religious fanatasicm and a lot of our laws concering minors and sex, as well as our procedures for 'dealing' with the alleged perpetrators are skewed because of religious beliefs. Most of the laws we have now are just tools for parents to use if their underage child decides to have sex before the age of consent. It usually does not matter what the feelings of the young person are; they could be deeply in love with the older person they slept with, but we tend to discount the feelings of the young because we beleive that they don't really know what they're feeling. Enraged parents just want to get revenge on the person who deflowered their little girl. They think that it will make them look bad if they don't do something, even if their child does not want them to. Some kids will play the rape card in order to get out of trouble with their parents. Some people lie about their age and then other people get in trouble for it because the 16 year old (age of consent in my state) they slept with turned out to be 14 in reality. This happens all the time.

There is also the possibility that a young person will have sex with someone, get jilted by that person, for whatever reason, and then use statutory rape to get revenge for getting their heart broken. Not unheard of.

I do think our present system is flawed and riddled with problems and loopholes. I have known at least 2 people in my life who have gotten themselves into troulbe over sex with people younger than themselves. Not just guys, either.

I completely agree with you, actually. I am sorry if I initially missed the point of this post. I was really just trying to make a funny about keeping yourself out of jail.


Sure, but someone who looks like a big bad wolf isn't 'always' a big bad wolf.  :p  

I understand what you are saying about the persuasion, but tbh, college girls and even older women fall into the same trap.  Women like to be told certain things, have certain things done for them, so what's the difference?  If the guy knows what to say and what to do, it helps them more - Is that also 'creepy' if the female is the same age / older?  

I also disagree with your assertion that they are not 'more worldly'.  Plenty of 15 year olds show much more common sense, street smarts, maturity, intelligence, professionalism, etc than some females I have had known through work or friends of friends.  

You can't paint all teenagers with the same brush.  

I also agree about the waiting, though.  If in fact I was struck by an exceptional beauty whom I found to be just perfect in every way (And not a Christian heh), then I would so be willing to wait before I tried anything. 

Also, when I was 18, I had a 16 year old student who wore the lowest cut shirts and the sweetest perfumes - and damn, every time I had to move her or touch her hands, she giggled.  I couldn't help myself.  She was obviously trying to attract me and we dated for a while, but then stopped.  I have so much more restraint now...that I am 24 and not 18 any longer.  

"You can't paint all teenagers with the same brush."

True, but if there is to be a policy, it has to err in favor of protecting those who aren't prepared, right?


Thank you. 

@Kasu   "What gives sex so much potential for harm is its social meaning, but I think anyone can predict what your response would be to that.  After all, you also advocate for the shaming of the naked human body in order to achieve a more exciting sex life."

I'm not clear on what you think my response to society causing much of the harm might be. (In terms of sex between adults and children not being "inherently" harmful, I'm not necessarily in disagreement with you.)

If you are referring to my stance on eroticism in the nudism discussion, yes, I do believe that erotic excitement is enhanced by reserving something for the private situation. I made no reference to shaming. If I find it exciting to undress a female and see her completely for the first time, I guess for you that would be, what?, shaming her? I don't get it. My experience has been that she typically enjoys this as much as I do. It's exciting and perhaps that feeling comes from the impression, illusion, or feeling we are doing something naughty. I'm truly sorry you apparently neither have nor, apparently, want to have this delicious experience. Shame, though? ...where's the shame?

So you are predicting that I think the guilt and shame a child feels from having sex with an adult in today's social context is desirable due to the excitement it gives the adult? No, I wouldn't say that. It's not desirable because of the harm it will almost certainly bring to the child in today's social context.

The discomfort of disrobing in front of others isn't necessarily shame. Just as we wouldn't want someone to invade our mind at will to read our every thought, which would be a huge invasion of our psychological privacy, so we like to decide what and when to reveal of our bodies. A need for setting and controlling our boundaries has little to do with shame.

In response to the argument of.. deeply interesting young people

If a 30 year old finds out someone deeply interesting is actually 16, he/she should just find someone their own age that is deeply interesting. Plenty of fish in the sea right? Typically people pursue younger kids because of physical features or they are limited in finding people their own age. There really is no other reason, because there are many many more people of age. 

As a high school teacher myself, even if I was interested in a student, I understand that it is socially unacceptable, illegal, and unprofessional, to pursue such a relationship. The high school teacher you mentioned knew this as well, so his bail is just. Nobody put a gun to his head and made him pursue. Even if the kid made a move, he is the adult and should know better than to reciprocate. 

I do feel that people who are falsely accused get unnecessarily lynched. 

Age gaps in relationships are something I'm quite familiar with-I've always dated older men.

I'm currently 19, and typically date men 8-12 years older than me, though I rarely date, and very rarely enter into a committed relationship. It isn't intentional, but the qualities I need in a partner typically aren't found in younger men.

I'm in no way typical of my age- I've supported myself fully since the age of 14 and am currently a full time psychology student in addition to maintaining a full time job. While I do understand the discomfort people may feel when imagining this sort of age gap, I think it needs to be noted that not all 'older' men are 'preying' upon younger women. The men of my 2 significant relationships were quite uncomfortable early on in our relationships- I bluntly told them I'd rather maintain a friendship than fail in a relationship, but both ended up accepting the age gap relatively quickly.To assume every teenage or young female is of the same maturity is ridiculous- maturity is based primarily off of life experience, and though a longer life usually affords more experiences, that doesn't mean it is impossible to have had extreme life experiences concentrated into a shorter time frame.

The societal prejudices against relationships with notable age gaps are huge. I've had complete strangers ask me ''Isn't he a little old for you?'', and people love to say (as if i'm too young to know subtraction) ''When you were 9 he was 18. Doesn't that disgust you?''  This carries over into my friendships as well, because (complete shock!) my friends are in the same age range.

The only way to truly determine maturity is through proper psychological evaluation, and even then it is still subjective. Those who are uncomfortable with age gap relationships are those who replace the maturity of the younger person with their immaturity while they were at this person's age.

Bluntly put: Do not project past (or present) immaturity onto others- mature 'young' people may be outliers, but nonetheless exist. 

From the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:

... Adolescents differ from adults in the way they behave, solve problems, and make decisions. There is a biological explanation for this difference. Studies have shown that brains continue to mature and develop throughout childhood and adolescence and well into early adulthood.

Scientists have identified a specific region of the brain called the amygdala which is responsible for instinctual reactions including fear and aggressive behavior. This region develops early. However, the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls reasoning and helps us think before we act, develops later. This part of the brain is still changing and maturing well into adulthood.

Pictures of the brain in action show that adolescents’ brains function differently than adults when decision-making and problem solving. Their actions are guided more by the amygdala and less by the frontal cortex ...

Based on the stage of their brain development, adolescents are more likely to:

  • act on impulse
  • misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions
  • get into accidents of all kinds
  • get involved in fights
  • engage in dangerous or risky behavior

Adolescents are less likely to:

  • think before they act
  • pause to consider the potential consequences of their actions
  • modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors

These brain differences don’t mean that young people can’t make good decisions or tell the difference between right and wrong. It also doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. But an awareness of these differences can help parents, teachers, advocates, and policy makers understand, anticipate, and manage the behavior of adolescents.

(emphasis added)

Psychology 101: adolescents are prone to poor decision making, and the younger the worse.

the issue here for most of us is the manner in which harm is assessed

I agree. I was simply stating that the brain differences in developing adolescents, the way they use their brains, and the way they make decisions wholesale is different than with adults. It is relevant to the why of the conversation... why is this even an issue? Because adolescents and adults are not the same in ways which are relevant to decision making.

You can't generalize.

Actually we can generalize things which do not have demonstrable exceptions. That example summary does not make any claims which exceed valid unexceptional claims.

And there is a considerable body of research much more extensive than what the AACAP relied on for what anyone familiar with the AACAP knows is a politically compromised statement which you quoted

I used that particular quote for its succinctness in summarizing current research into the adolescent brain. I do not use AACAP as a source of information, otherwise. A quick google scholar result:

... provides hundreds of examples of articles which observe exactly what was stated by the AACAP. This view is taught wholesale in every every liberal arts psychology class I've attended (Intro, Learning Behavior Mod., Physio Psyc), both by the books and the professors (previous one being an atheist neuroscience major with a PhD). Maybe you are taking more out of the AACAP quote than what it actually says? Simply put: The brain (particularly the frontal cortex) does not stop developing until years after the growth of the body. If you can provide a peer reviewed study which offers evidence to the contrary, then by all means post it here and I will concede that the popular view is wrong (or at least implies more than it should).

what do you mean by "example summary"?

The text I posted properly summarizes modern research into the adolescent brain and I used it as an example due to its succinct wording and structure. It was an example as in they made a useful correct statement about a topic I was familiar with, but for the purposes of researching a topic I always read from studies and their conclusions themselves.

 If you can provide a peer reviewed study which offers evidence to the contrary, then by all means post it here and I will concede that the popular view is wrong (or at least implies more than it should).

And I will respond to the literature as I did before by pointing out that the burden is on *you* to prove the lack of variability

Your burden of proof is backwards: I cannot prove a negative. You only need to demonstrate that the prevailing view (that the frontal cortex does not complete development, and that the amygdala is used more by persons before their early twenties) suffers caveats sufficient to remove this as (one of the) reasonable basis for determining an age of consent.

If by variability you mean that one imaging shows a certain 22 year old with a 2.2% below average volume of cortex and another shows a certain 19 year old with a 1.6% below average volume... is this really sufficient reason to reject the information it provides, supporting an age which is a little too restrictive for a minority of people, enacting a more complex, certainly more expensive, (imo, likely more failure prone) system for the sake of fairness to adolescents that will certainly get over the lack of sex in 1 or 2 years when they come of age?

One final point on this is that we are probably going to end up disagreeing on the empirical aspect for the simple reason that I do not give much weight to the soft sciences to start with

Psychology as a branch is only a "soft science" in where it departs from the physical, measurable aspects of biology. How neurons connect and fire, growth patterns in the brain, (i.e. physical traits) are not "soft science", but rather establish-able through direct observation with clearly defined operable variables.

Sexual relationships have consequences, including pregnancy, STIs, emotional baggage, domestic abuse, and a plethora of others. People who make decisions more on impulse than reasoning are not the best able to avoid the consequences of sex. Also, how do we best protect our young from exploitation in a young-old relationship? People who make decisions more on impulse than reasoning are not the best judge of whether they are being exploited. An outside authority is necessary. Kir's family scenario is interesting, but not all children have such a family infrastructure.


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