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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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.

We don't disagree Dave. But your question is answered in my previous posts on this thread. This is not rocket science. There are any number of better schemes that could work and I've proposed one right here on this thread.

Sorry, I only had time to read like 5 or 6 of the pages so my addressing of ideas was only to the idea of having family investigate a person's dating choices. I'll have to backtrack later and see if there are any viable ones in previous pages.

Please understand, my concern in proposing a case by case system is for the human rights of post pubescent young persons; and what I believe is their inalienable right to choose whoever they want to have sex with, even if it has to come with some guidance.

It should be noted that "whoever they want to have sex with" is not a right being denied in any country which has a flat, unconditional age limit with statutory rape laws (such as 18 in the U.S.), rather the "right" to engage in sex at all is what's denied, at least if the law were enforced well. In addition, let us consider that post-pubescent young persons are "denied" many other "rights", human or otherwise; sexual intercourse is hardly unique here. There is an age requirement to share the road (at least in the U.S.) with everyone else. There is an age limit on tobacco and alcohol usage. You could argue that young people are being discriminated against, except that the same people who discriminate against them once had to deal with the same conditions and limitations (being young once), and that these restrictions on youth are not imposed because of a bias against youth (unlike actual human rights violations), but because of observations of youth behavior and thinking patterns.

Looking at previous posts... what makes "post pubescent" young persons different than prepubescent to where asking why not 8 as an arbitrary age instead of 14 is a straw man? Puberty comes at a very varying age (in some girls as young as 8 or 9) which means that 8-13 can be "post pubescent". Is there something about puberty that makes sex with "whoever they want to have sex with" suddenly okay whereas it wasn't before puberty?

What if we did use "post pubescent", or some number like 3 years "post pubescent" as some kind of rule for when children can start having sex with whoever they choose, "with some guidance"? The onset of puberty is affected by many things including diet and exercise. Do some boys and girls become legally get to start having sex at 11 whereas others have to wait until 14, because of factors which often do not at all correlate to brain function?

If current laws are to change, we must determine a specific, clearly recognizable and definable condition for the legal age of sexual encounters, especially with persons (adults) more capable of exploiting the easily exploitable. An age which is slightly too restrictive for some adolescents who mature more quickly is ideal in my opinion because it protects the vast majority of youth and does not discriminate—all persons have to mature for the same amount of time. The fact that youths feel that having to wait a few years is unfair (and a few actually need the restriction less than others) is not going to harm them.

I think that 18 is a solid age. I have taken advanced anatomy and physiology classes and there are so many changes that an individual goes through in adolescence. Sections of the brain complete their development. A flood of chemistry occurs and this effects an individual physical, emotional, and phsycological status. It is during this time an individual is exploring what is right and wrong for themselves and not from what others tell them to do.

It is during this time that guidence is most crucial as well. The developing individual is also entering a legal status that determines their entire future. Crimes committed at this developmental age might remain on their record for the rest of their lives. Also it is a time for educational determination as well. The average person graduates highschool around the ages of 17 or slightly before 18. Statisticly you pick up your first job at the ages of 16 and 17. On top of all of these new pre adult responsibilities the individual is trying to find out who they are and what there impact as an individual will be.

The guidence a parent offers helps shape the foundation of this individual and then the individual builds their personal beliefs by themselves. Sexual interactions are one of the beliefs that this individual has the right to build. Be attentive and proactive. It is not against the law for a 30 year old to date, kiss, or hug a minor. It is illegal for an adult to have sexual contact with a minor. But a parent should not just look at the age of the relationship. Look at why that age might be concerning. Look at why a 30 year old is looking to date a younger individual. Is the 30 year old only about the sex appeal of a minor, does the 30 year old have a developmental hinderence that keeps them interested in the young. Likewise why does the minor have the same interest in a 30 year old.

With the parent involved in this relationship it benifits both the parents and the minor. What if the adolescent drops out of highschool to focuse on this relationship and it fails. I personally would look at all of these factors but would have one grounding rule if I did approve of the relationship. "You can date, kiss, hug, and have fun but can you at least hold off on the sex untill you are 18." From that point on it is the minors descision and I have done my job as a parent as long as I continue to monitor and provide guidence. Once they are 18 they will have the next 70 years or so to engage sexually and develop on the foundation I provided for them. Also remember no parent is perfect. Should I choose to raise children I will raise mine better than how mine raised me. Learning from my parents mistakes.

I think the legality of this is trying to keep our overall countries status as stable as possible. In 1990 the U.S. held 90% of the worlds physicians, engineers, and scientist. 21 years later we now hold less than 10%. Being a minor untill you have enough time to graduate can help keep this population more safe and more focused. Just like why you must be 21 to legally drink. Your prefrontal cortex continues to develop untill this age. The prefrontal cortex is proven to be the part of the brain that allows an individual to have cognition of long term cause and effect, such as long term relationships, long term financial outcome, and long term job recognition. This part of the brain is also hinderd the most by drinking. The government decided that for a more stable society it would promote this development. Today these laws are being violated substantially more frequently and as a result we are all feeling its effects.

So Dave was not all wrong. Statisticly an adolescent does fallow those trends but that doesnt mean they will do it. It means that the parents need to be more involved to help prevent those statistics. And medical science will agree that not all cognition skills are developed in adolescents there brain is simply not developed. You cant argue that because the brain physically isnt there. Rather than focusing on telling your kids no all the time explain why you are concerned and let them make the choice overall parent or not if an adolescent wants to do something enough they will do it but at least they will understand the consequences when they do.

We need to stop demonizing sexuality.

Just to be clear, I absolutely reject a religious or absolutist view in regards to sexuality. I don't find sex repugnant except as a cause of harm or exploitation. However, it is not demonizing sexuality to state that,

A) sex can cause pregnancy and children do not make good parents, and pregnancy can interrupt school or career advancement

B) sex can transmit STIs, and children are more likely to ignore long term consequence in favor of impulses and feelings when directing their behavior

C) sex is not the same as the good feelings (love, attachment, etc.) that we (without wisdom) might associate with it, and children do much poorer at separating feelings from their interpretations of reality

D) (more... but caffeine is wearing off and I'm getting lazy) ...

If we had decent sex education at the (junior) high school level (in my experience it was incomplete and a joke), we could notably reduce the STI and teen pregnancy aspects of sexuality for many teens, but they would still be far from zero. I guess this would be one of those harms of sexual activity before the U.S. age of consent: girls (sometimes with undeveloped bodies) getting pregnant in the middle of high school or even before. My mother and sister both got pregnant at the age of 16, dropped out of high school, were unable to pay bills, ended up on welfare, ended up married then divorced, and put a certain atheist as well as his nieces and nephews through quite the ordeals.

I think age of consent is an easy solution which works, though far from perfect, hence wondering what conditions could possibly be established that don't require complex programs, major dollar expense or other investments to afford equally or more reliable protections to children. I don't see fairness or subjective views of rights for children (i.e. what I used to worry a lot about when I was a child) as having any priority over safety, but its worth considering if there are multiple ways of handling sexual consent laws that are reasonably equal in the protections they afford.

On what basis can we determine an individuals ability to consent to sex. Imagine a court system trying to sort out all the cases where a minor truely does feel that they were taken advantage of because they allowed an adult to engage in sexually activities with them. The adult would rebutal and say this teenager was well rounded and we got along just fine. It could get quiet messy if the court had to individually go in and say this teen is able to consent but this other teen is not quiet ready developmentally so lets call it rape. The law can't work that way because its opinionated. The law needs to abide by a single written form that applies to all individuals committing the same crime in this case having sex with a minor. It doesn't matter if your 30 years old having sex with a minor or 60 years old having sex with a minor the minor is not of legal status to consent so both will have the same standard charge rather than working off the oppinionated bases if the minor was truely able to consent. They call that "heresay" in court.

I have no doubt that is not your intention. However, I believe that you have, as most people have, fallen for this deception because of the indirect connection that religion has to this. You are in fact making a religious argument, imo. A perfectly rational alternative is out there (case by case evaluation) whose efficacy we have not even yet discussed, and it speaks to all the concerns you have expressed. Yet, for some reason, you will not "let go" of explicit, statutory chronological age limitations. I think this is the proverbial "proof in the pudding".

"My mother and sister both got pregnant at the age of 16, dropped out of high school, were unable to pay bills, ended up on welfare, ended up married then divorced, and put a certain atheist as well as his nieces and nephews through quite the ordeals."

... was an example from experience. The high rates of teenage STIs, pregnancies and pregnancy driven dropouts in U.S. are not under dispute by any reliable source of national statistics. Teen pregnancies and teen dropouts as a result of pregnancies do not occur without teens having sex. How on earth does my coming to conclusions about sex having consequences and adolescents failing to avoid those consequences based on facts and experience have anything to do with the conservative nonsense I adamantly avoid and verbosely condemn?

I do not believe that just because you are punched in the face you have the right to punch a completely different person (not the one who denied your rights) in the face.

This is not a valid analogy. Punching somebody in the face, causing them obvious physical and possibly psychological harm is not analogous in any sense to prohibiting a behavior of children due to the belief that that behavior could result in harm due to the maturation state of their mental faculties. Adults don't restrict youth because it was done to them, but rather because they realize it was done for them. Adults, 100% of who have been children, having in their past had the same feelings and rationalizations as children, have a perspective that children cannot have. Life experience, years of struggling with adult challenges (something that doesn't even begin until middle/late adolescence), and dramatic changes in brain structure which help to remove irrational biases in thought, usually drive worries about teenagers rights to not require patience to simply go away.

On this vein of the topic, may I inquire as to your age, KK?

You cannot use a term that explicitly includes a demographic we are explicitly *not* discussing, that is, prepubescent human beings.

Once again, Kir, the legal definition of child is a "minor" - anyone under the age of majority which is 18 in most countries. And prepubescent is also a vague term since some children begin puberty at 8 or 9, others not until their mid teens.

it is disingenuous to use the term child... *I* am not discussing children

YOUR definition of child is just one of many. Legally, a child is a "minor" under 18 years of age. You keep correcting people for using that term, when they are not using it incorrectly.

I have already stated a support for an explicit chronological age restriction at puberty.

You do realize menarche in females is normal anywhere between 8 and 16 correct? So by your logic, a 16 year old who has not reached menarche would be under that age restriction, but an 8 year old who has would not.

I am not making any arguments for that age range. there is nothing to discuss for anyone in that age range

why not? What happens at 12? You don't think there are 11 year olds capable of making the same "adult" decisions about sex as 12 year olds? Why is that the line you pick? Why does there have to be a line?

You look at people under that age as children for the same reason others look 14, or 16, or 18. And since "your honor, I assure you she'd reached the age of abstract reasoning" would never work in court, there has to be a chronological age in addition to exceptions (age gap, for example) and also taking things on a case by case basis.

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.

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