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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I think the explicit chronological age restriction approach is really an historical product of histrionic, religious hand waving and not a scheme founded in reason.

Religion certainly demonizes sexuality (particularly for females, and particularly outside of marriage) but I completely disagree that the age restrictions are a product of religion. Just a few hundred years ago (and in some places still today) religion condoned everything from the buying and selling of young females as property to rape. Age restrictions and sexual abuse laws in recent years have come about through reason in modern societies, not religion.

Why don't you check the religiosity in the countries that still allow prepubescent girls to be sold into marriage and get back to me.

Legislation regarding ages of consent are a very recent thing in society. These laws certainly don't come from holy books.

Yes, the age of reason (when children are old enough to begin to understand right from wrong) was decided to be 7 in some sects of Christianity around the 12 century, but children were allowed to be married before then. It wasn't until much more recently that ages of consent for sex or marriage were legally decided upon.

there is a very strong correlation between religiosity and restrictive, knee jerk, reactionary legislation regarding human sexuality.

The bible condones raping 12 year old girls and then buying them for 50 shekels. Most modern societies have banned not only rape of anyone, but even consensual sex with 12 year olds. You're welcome to disagree with this, but I fail to see how you can claim these historically recent age of consent laws stem from religion. They stem from rational discussions by modern societies concerned for the well being of children, who are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse from adults.

It's a matter of how to handle this issue, and I believe it is absolutely inappropriate and harmful to handle it by framing the restriction as an age of "consent," invariably labeling violations of this rule as non-consensual.

Yes. I've gotten used to calling it "consent" owing to our laws' usage of the term, as well as thinking of problems stemming from inappropriate sexual contact with minors being partially due to their often insufficient ability to make sound judgments in regards to sexual[ relationship] activity.

I have already linked academic articles about sexual agency, the modern concept of adolescence, and the iatrogenic nature of the child sex abuse discourse, all suggesting that the modern approach to this issue is fundamentally flawed.

I will read these when I have time. I do not prescribe to "the iatrogenic nature of the child sex abuse discourse" [interesting choice of word], owing to a seemingly bias driven selection and interpretation of data in studies and articles discussing the topic.


I have to ask...  Specifically, in what ways does the age of consent solution "work"?  Also, there is a lot to be said for the influence of society, independent of the law.

Minus the loose use of the word "consent", it works in terms of being a good age, imo, in the sense that it is unambiguous, covers the majority of cases (i.e. most persons are mostly mature at the age of 18), and solves what I see as the biggest consequence of "underage" sex: young women (and rarely young men) not completing high school due to a pregnancy. This is only in as much as it is enforced.

Obviously, having parents that do not teach or uphold the law, and the inability of law enforcement to prevent teenagers from having sex (unless we are prepared to hire "chastity police") makes any laws limiting the private behavior of the children themselves insufficient as a protective measure. This is a problem that any law or restriction will suffer from, though this does not mean that having laws regarding child sexuality completely fails to protect, but rather than they fail to protect enough.



The solution is going to take creativity, and I see no reason why you wouldn't participate in the process, understanding that the current system is far from perfect and that people, young and old, suffer for it.

I will take a few shots at it a bit later, but I can summarize all of my imagined solutions as "educate" and "get Friends and other 'sex is funny, teenagers!' type shows out of sight of teenagers".

I do not prescribe to "the iatrogenic nature of the child sex abuse discourse" [interesting choice of word], owing to a seemingly bias driven selection and interpretation of data in studies and articles discussing the topic.

Maybe you should actually read the modern academic discussion of the child sex abuse discourse before you dismiss its iatrogenic nature.

You misunderstood me, maybe due to my ambiguity. I mean that I do not accept the too loosely accepted (though declining) views that childhood sexuality results in poor future relationships, depression, suicide, etc.

Right, but this is inaccurate. No one's practical ability to consent can be taken away, except while uninformed of what is physically being agreed to or when unable to communicate.  Knowledge of abstract, social, or unknown consequences is not necessary.

I agree with your definition of consent.

And finally, even the mentioning of "chastity police" is scary. I hope I never have to live in a world like that!

We live in a country where Bill O'Reilly is the most watched and believed opinion news anchor, the people with the biggest guns outside the military are bible belt buckle christians, and George W. Bush was elected president twice, in a row. It never pays to be overly optimistic.

By the way, taking a stance of abstinence like you are, while may be fun for arguing in a debate, is completely useless in the real world.  It ignores and denies the problem, and I'm willing to argue that it is harmful and unnecessary, undesirable.

Wow, I can't believe you used the "a" word and accused me of that stance. How didst thou come to such a conclusion?

Aye. I would summarize this as: 14+ is just as arbitrary as 8+, and puberty does not help much as a definition because it has over a 100% range of variance and does not result in changes to other aspects of a person's maturity that are relevant to sexual allowances.

Well in that case, the two of you are actually making the stronger case of what I am arguing, right? If it is arbitrary as you say, why do you support an explicit chronological age restriction yourselves?

No, because we gave specific reasons for the numeric age of 18. The parent is not legally or morally obligated to pay in any way for the consequences of their child after they turn 18. Becoming pregnant will not destroy or impede their most fundamental (and legally required) high school education.

And related to that, if you believe that it is arbitrary, why not remove it altogether and use case by case assessment? That's not my position, but isn't that what your argument supports?

I do not believe it is arbitrary per se, rather that there might be more considerations relating to age or conditions worth consideration. Also, the specific age versus "case by case" is not a dilemma. Any "case by case" example must be considered of its own caveats, such as I proposed above just before replying here.

I agree. High school is mandatory by law. If that law were to deminish and we left it to the choice of teenagers I think we would see a great decrease in high school diplomas and thus reducing people able to enter a professional feild. Its easy to say well its there choice to graduate or not but if our countries workforce becomes so weak from lack of qualified proffessionals we will not survive as a country at all.
Dave did. As posted about five hours ago. I am reading and considering every line to every post. It was a small portion in that post relating to academics and the law of mandatory 12 year education (diploma)

Thank you for digging that up. I think I passed it up a couple times looking through the 17 page discussion.

i have contended that the real debate here is can there be found an alternative system for assessing harm that better takes the rights of minors into account. that system, i argue, has two properties:

1.) it must assess the mental capacity of the parties and

2.) it must assess the likely motives of a hypothetical who has more experience than the other.

For any given hypothetical "case by case", it must also address the obvious consequences of teenage pregnancy leading to dropouts since all participants in the system fall into the [junior] high school age group. Other reforms outside of the system (i.e. sex education) can and should be enacted to reduce these rates, but a case by case system could have its own opportunity here.

Persons 18 and over still are not restricted, as usual.

Let me suggest, without any prior deep consideration, having the equivalent to a DMV specifically for minor-related endeavors. For relationships, instead of marriage licenses, they could have relationship licenses to give both parties which entailed some paper work, a strong, warningesque sex ed and relationship course, and individual + couple evaluations.

In a way it answers "How on earth do we make case by case observations and conclusions about every single adolescents' various sexual relationships?"

Obvious caveats:

Whom is doing the deciding? Whom is paying whom to do the deciding, and how much will it cost to track so many adolescents? - Government exmployees, tax payers, a lot?

What happens if some older man is turned down... but he and the teenager decide to go for it anyways. Since they are in an environment where advances on a minor is now legal (in some cases), how do police officers recognize or respond to a say, 30 year old, making out with a 15 year old? Having officers randomly hit up minors they see in relationships to see if they have their licenses seems like an awful arbitrary way to violate privacy.

Also, how does it stop exploitation in any way? What adult in such a scenario would not want a license to prevent legal trouble for themselves in a relationship... but how would a "no" answer stop them, keeping in mind that we already have a system which deals with adults advancing on minors when they are caught, but now we've effectively made public displays or witnesses of this irrelevant.

This is exactly what I ment about the 3 witnesses forming the law. Your proposal suggests that it is illegal for the minor to consent to sexual contact with an adult UNLESS these three court approved witnesses approve of the change of the law regarding the particular minor requesting an exception from this law. The law simply cant work like that or else it is not a law. Definition of Legal Law: a statement of an order or relation of phenomena that so far as is known is invariable to change under individual circumstances but is designed to provide a just strictness to support a strict code of conduct that sets a reference for all law abiding citizens under lawfull outlines. 

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