Age of Consent in US

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby There-is-no-synonym » Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:53 pm UTC

I may be old fashioned in my views (contrasting to my age) but i think that individuals should only be having sex when they are prepared for all circumstances that can follow. So if an individual is not prepared for the fact that they or their partner may become pregnant they are too immature to be fully consenting to sex.

It is not just a frivolous act as most people deem it to be.

I also think that in fact 16 years old is too young for it to be legal (in reference to the law in England). And that it is easier to brand sex as wrong and mature the idea as the individual matures. We have too many bored teenagers, or teenagers trying to prove them selves and using it as a tool.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sat Oct 18, 2008 10:19 pm UTC

You can cry out that it's wrong all you want, but it's not going to stop teenagers from engaging in sexual activity. The idea that teenagers shouldn't have sex is completely moot: they're going to. You can only deal with it, not change it.
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Re: 15yo Takes Nude Photos of Herself; Faces Felony Charges

Postby EsotericWombat » Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:20 am UTC

Belial wrote:Put simply, I don't trust an independent panel to judge fairly. Much easier to have a gender-, race-, and sexuality-neutral line and to enforce it rigidly and predictably. That way no one is surprised when their "totally acceptable" relationship is prosecuted, or shafted when their exploitative and manipulative relationship is dismissed.


The thing is? That's not what we have now. In order to be charged with statutory rape of a male, by a female, the perp has to be a teacher, or the kid has to be really young. I'm not sure if this is reporting bias or prosecutorial bias, but the system is broken.

There are, to wit, at least five ways you can be charged with someone else's death. As well as two affirmative defenses by which you can found not guilty. I really don't see how this is something that should be MORE black and white than that.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Gunfingers » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:00 am UTC

Funny thing about laws, they don't have to be enforced. Either the victim (or in this case the victim's parents/guardians) or any governing bodies with jurisdiction must choose to press charges. As Belial already mentioned, a young male with an older female generally undergoes less victimization, and therefore no one usually bothers pressing charges unless there are other issues (Re: teachers).

It's still a total gender bias thing, of course. A 16 year old girl banging a 40 year old dude consensually is probably not going to feel particularly victimized either.

...I don't really know how i feel about age of consent laws...

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby SJ Zero » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:22 am UTC

I remember too many stories from back in high school, where an underage high school girl would go to a club and try to get with a college kid.

I'm always worried about laws that "protect" children from things they don't want to be protected from. In cases like these, like cases with cigarette laws, you're punishing an adult because a kid lied to them.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby qinwamascot » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:13 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:Funny thing about laws, they don't have to be enforced


Another funny thing about laws is that they tend to be enforced unpredictably. Even if we say that "though this is illegal, the law probably won't be enforced" the government always could choose to. We can't assume they'll make the best decisions every time either--otherwise, there would be no reason not to make everything illegal, and let the government choose which illegal things will be penalized.

Back to the broader topic, I contend that the government has little right to regulate between individuals who know and understand sex and consent. Creating an 'age of consent' is a ludicrous concept-some are ahead, and some are behind, so how can we choose? Also, the government's right to govern is based on an agreement of the people that the government will act in a way protecting their rights, and in exchange giving up absolute freedom. I can't think of a single right that is infringed when two teenagers, who fully understand sex and its consequences, engage in sexual activities. It isn't in the interests of the general public, who have no interest in the matter. If parents are opposed to it, they can tell their kids not to have sex (also, if you make this argument, the age of consent should be 18). The kids themselves, by willingly engaging in the act, knowing full well the consequences, are revoking their rights. Assuming neither was coerced, they can't really complain even if they go back later.

So I'd say remove age of consent entirely. It should be replaced by knowledge of sex being the only thing requisite for consent.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Malice » Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:01 am UTC

qinwamascot wrote:So I'd say remove age of consent entirely. It should be replaced by knowledge of sex being the only thing requisite for consent.


This implies taking a sex test in order to get a license to procreate. This is a bad idea, due to practical considerations about bias in the test.

I'd also be much more in favor of an age of consent which took partners into account--in other words, you can consent to sex at, say, 14, but not to somebody more than two or three years older than you. Some states already do this. It is a better solution than eliminating all assumption that a kid can't consent to sex. I think that assumption is necessary, because consent is notoriously difficult to disprove, and if you can't just categorically eliminate it in certain situations, people taking advantage of underage kids are just going to be able to say, "Dude, she totally consented, and now she is lying" and get away with terrible crimes.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby qinwamascot » Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:09 am UTC

Malice wrote:This implies taking a sex test in order to get a license to procreate. This is a bad idea, due to practical considerations about bias in the test.

I'd also be much more in favor of an age of consent which took partners into account--in other words, you can consent to sex at, say, 14, but not to somebody more than two or three years older than you. Some states already do this. It is a better solution than eliminating all assumption that a kid can't consent to sex. I think that assumption is necessary, because consent is notoriously difficult to disprove, and if you can't just categorically eliminate it in certain situations, people taking advantage of underage kids are just going to be able to say, "Dude, she totally consented, and now she is lying" and get away with terrible crimes.


Sure, your solution is more practical. In real life, I don't think my solution could ever be implemented. But in an ideal situation, I'd argue it should be.

With your solution, the major problem I have is that abuse can come from peers just as easily as older people. A few people at my high school who chose to engage in sex complained that they felt used by their partners, but there wasn't really anything they could do. On the other hand, it's possible to have a relationship with someone more than 3 years older than you--my parents are split by 4 years, for example. Setting this kind of limit seems arbitrary where we put the lines--can I not have sex with one 16 year old, and yes with another, because they were born a day apart? For one, it's acceptable now, but I have to wait 2 years to do anything with the other. (I'm assuming some stuff here, but you get the idea).

That being said, it's a better solution than "kids can't ever have sex", but it's still far from a good one in my view.

as for consent, I'm in favor of legal consent contracts, but that's a bit impractical.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby TheStranger » Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:05 pm UTC

SJ Zero wrote:I'm always worried about laws that "protect" children from things they don't want to be protected from. In cases like these, like cases with cigarette laws, you're punishing an adult because a kid lied to them.


There is some flex room in the laws. If it can be shown that it was a reasonable assumption on the part of a guy that the girl was of age (as in she was at a bar drinking) I believe that he can get a pass.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Gunfingers » Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:35 pm UTC

It has occured to me that age of consent laws could be covered through existing rape/sexual assault laws, since it can be assumed that if someone doesn't comprehend sex then they can't really consent to it. I think that would also have the effect of moving the age of consent all the way down to "puberty". Again, not really sure how i feel about that...

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby EsotericWombat » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:31 pm UTC

I said this in another thread, but I think it's pretty fucked up that there seems to be no middle ground here between a completely (legally at least) appropriate relationship and rape. It's fine if you think that an eighteen year old sleeping with a fifteen year old is wrong. I guess. But the idea that the clock striking twelve on her birthday is the difference between consensual sex and rape is patently fucking absurd. I can understand the state wanting to enforce some guidelines here, but the label "rapist" is incredibly toxic (bottom of the prison food chain, etc), and in this country we seem to be tossing it around like it's a fucking frisbee.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby existential_elevator » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

Nougatrocity wrote:You can cry out that it's wrong all you want, but it's not going to stop teenagers from engaging in sexual activity. The idea that teenagers shouldn't have sex is completely moot: they're going to. You can only deal with it, not change it.

This.

The important thing is being able to adequately educate them about it. So many teenagers end up in trouble largely because they don't know how to protect themselves.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Belial » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:38 pm UTC

Gunfingers wrote:As Belial already mentioned, a young male with an older female generally undergoes less victimization, and therefore no one usually bothers pressing charges unless there are other issues (Re: teachers).


.....

Was that what you gathered from what I said?

No, males experience victimization from such relationships as well, but are often about as vocal about it at the time, which is to say: not really.

Our society just assumes that since men are supposed to want sex with everyone, all the time, that the kid must've been thrilled.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Gunfingers » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:45 pm UTC

I gathered from what you said that it was less likely that the male would feel victimized. I thought i had said that, but re-reading my post it seems that no, i hadn't said that clearly at all.

Interestingly, while i believe that it's true that males are less likely to feel victimized in this circumstance, it's probably specifically because we live in a society where men want sex with everyone.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby TheStranger » Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:46 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:I said this in another thread, but I think it's pretty fucked up that there seems to be no middle ground here between a completely (legally at least) appropriate relationship and rape. It's fine if you think that an eighteen year old sleeping with a fifteen year old is wrong. I guess. But the idea that the clock striking twelve on her birthday is the difference between consensual sex and rape is patently fucking absurd.


The technical term is "Statutory Rape" I believe, and the corresponding penalties are less then for actual rape.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby qinwamascot » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:04 pm UTC

TheStranger wrote:The technical term is "Statutory Rape" I believe, and the corresponding penalties are less then for actual rape.


The penalties are usually, but not always, less. But they're still severe. Plus, in then case of statutory rape, if the underage party just claims that it was not consented to, then it's almost impossible to disprove a rape charge as well. If you get hit by a statutory rape charge and the person who you had sex with doesn't like you very much (as is usually the case in statutory rape cases) then you're in danger of a regular rape charge as well. Juries tend to not treat cases like that fairly at all.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:10 pm UTC

TheStranger wrote:
EsotericWombat wrote:I said this in another thread, but I think it's pretty fucked up that there seems to be no middle ground here between a completely (legally at least) appropriate relationship and rape. It's fine if you think that an eighteen year old sleeping with a fifteen year old is wrong. I guess. But the idea that the clock striking twelve on her birthday is the difference between consensual sex and rape is patently fucking absurd.


The technical term is "Statutory Rape" I believe, and the corresponding penalties are less then for actual rape.


They still include sex offender registration, and society as a whole does little to distinguish between child rape and statutory rape.

Oh, and also:

Statutory rape punishment by state.

Rape punishment by state.

They are not less by default. Often, but that blanket statement is simply not true.

And let's not forget that rape is always a crime and always damaging. Statutory rape is not, as should at least be evident from the wildly differing definitions. Sex with a sixteen year old in RI is no different than sex with a sixteen year old in MA, except in MA you can be convicted as a sex offender.

So there's also the fact that are legal repercussions AT ALL for something that may not even have a negative impact on anyone involved, aside from said legal repercussions.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Malice » Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:29 pm UTC

qinwamascot wrote:With your solution, the major problem I have is that abuse can come from peers just as easily as older people. A few people at my high school who chose to engage in sex complained that they felt used by their partners, but there wasn't really anything they could do.


I'm not sure what the state is supposed to do about that. If they were raped, that's one thing. If they consented to sex, they consented, so I don't see what the other person did wrong. It's theoretically possible for a mature 16-year-old to take advantage of an immature 16-year-old, but I don't know how you write a law for that.

On the other hand, it's possible to have a relationship with someone more than 3 years older than you--my parents are split by 4 years, for example. Setting this kind of limit seems arbitrary where we put the lines--can I not have sex with one 16 year old, and yes with another, because they were born a day apart? For one, it's acceptable now, but I have to wait 2 years to do anything with the other. (I'm assuming some stuff here, but you get the idea).


Any limit is arbitrary. Laws have to work that way. "If it is under this line, we will let it go. If it is over this line, we will go to court and figure out if you did something wrong." The trick to writing a good law is to set it as close as you can to the right place, and then accept that you're going to fuck up in one direction or the other. For example, either you're going to exclude good couples with a 4-year difference, or you're going to include bad couples with a 4-year difference. If there are more of the latter, I'd say the former is an acceptable loss. Because you're balancing waiting for sex with rape.
And ideally, once things got to the court stage, people would be able to distinguish between cases of rape and cases of underage consent.

as for consent, I'm in favor of legal consent contracts, but that's a bit impractical.


You can't even get enough kids to put a condom on. How are you going to get them to read and sign a contract in the heat of the moment?

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Gunfingers wrote:Interestingly, while i believe that it's true that males are less likely to feel victimized in this circumstance, it's probably specifically because we live in a society where men want sex with everyone.


I disagree. I think males are likely to feel equally victimized, but much less likely to report the crime, because of tremendous social pressure to be the kind of strong, virile masculine dominant figure who would never ever be raped, but if he was it was probably pretty hot, not damaging, who is he kidding, the pussy.

The male sexual appetite has been exaggerated in our society. And anyway, this is just the equivalent of telling a female rape victim, "Women are meant for sex anyway." The idea that men are always up for sex, and therefore cannot remove their consent, is horrible and wrong. And it's something imposed from outside more than it is present in men.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Kachi » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:22 am UTC

as for consent, I'm in favor of legal consent contracts, but that's a bit impractical.


Oh, poo. I was actually just about to throw this out there too.

You can't even get enough kids to put a condom on. How are you going to get them to read and sign a contract in the heat of the moment?


Eh, I think there are two things to address here. The first is that if one person is going to be held legally liable if they can't demonstrate that there was a informed consent, they'll be likely to insist on it just to cover their ass. On that note, the second is that this measure could help to actually stop these things from happening in the heat of the moment, in some (probably rare) cases. Some 14 year old is hooking up with an 18 year old, and the elder whips out a contract. Moodkiller right there, and then when the younger reads a reminder that they might get an STI, or pregnant, and maybe they'll think twice.

Maybe that sounds far fetched, but I think it's an idea worthy of consideration at least.

I think just making children more sexually informed and providing contraceptives would be essential in any movement that legitimizes youthful consent. Of course, I think that's something we ought to be doing regardless, but I think when we do take those steps, we might be able to make a viable case for more flexible consent laws.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Malice » Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:07 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:
You can't even get enough kids to put a condom on. How are you going to get them to read and sign a contract in the heat of the moment?


Eh, I think there are two things to address here. The first is that if one person is going to be held legally liable if they can't demonstrate that there was a informed consent, they'll be likely to insist on it just to cover their ass.


Theoretically, they can be held legally liable anyway, if the other person chooses to make a rape claim.

On that note, the second is that this measure could help to actually stop these things from happening in the heat of the moment, in some (probably rare) cases. Some 14 year old is hooking up with an 18 year old, and the elder whips out a contract. Moodkiller right there, and then when the younger reads a reminder that they might get an STI, or pregnant, and maybe they'll think twice.

Maybe that sounds far fetched, but I think it's an idea worthy of consideration at least.


Upon consideration, I find it far-fetched. Also dreadfully unromantic. I mean, come on. Have we reached the point where we need to paste warning labels above the vagina? Thanks to our enlightened state of medicine and technology, few if any sexual consequences are actually that detrimental.

Furthermore, have you considered that there's really no way to determine the validity of the contract? Unless you're including a notary in the bedroom. There's no good way to tell between a proper contract and all the improper ones--forged contracts, contracts written out after sex, contracts signed Vito Corleone-style ("Either your brains or your signature will be on that piece of paper"), etc.

FURTHERMORE furthermore, the reasons for saying "Children can't consent to sex" apply equally to "Children can't consent to a contract", so that 18-year-old giving a 14-year-old a piece of paper and a pen prior to sex doesn't mean either act is any more legally, ethically, scientifically, or logically valid.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby existential_elevator » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:44 pm UTC

It's all very true.

I remember a while back in the UK there was a push towards having women/men carry consent slips* if they were likely to have one-night stands, in order that there would be a better way of avoiding unfair rape charges. Which was obviously epic fail. There are countless problems with trying to have such a system in place.

*this is not the most unbiased of newspapers, but it's the best article I can find right now. Sorry.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Kachi » Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:51 pm UTC

I agree with all of the above, and I certainly wouldn't market it as a cure-all.

However, I think it could help in the more common issues where the two involved parties say that it was an informed, consensual decision, but a third party has doubts or objections. Obviously if either of the involved parties claims that the contract was signed dubiously, it would be a worthless scrap of paper.

I don't think the contractual issue stands though. If we're running with younger people being able to give consent, we can give them the ability to enter into a particular kind of contract, not that this would be an actual contract in the first place. More accurately, it would be a disclaimer, maybe even a waiver of sorts if you stretch it. It would not be a bulletproof contract by any measure.

And I'm not sure I agree with your dismissal of the consequences of sex, particularly being that modern medicine and technology can still cause an undue financial burden, aside from not being entirely reversible. Many young people, sadly, don't even know that AIDS isn't curable. I think that speaks to the value of a disclaimer of sorts. Fostering a sense of misguided romance between ignorant adolescents (or an ignorant adolescent and a not so ignorant adult) is hardly the priority.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby ManaUser » Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:19 am UTC

I think the point has been pretty well made that setting some kind of age limit is the only practical answer. But that doesn't mean we can't try to handle exceptions intelligently. The close-in-age exception is one example, but it's not the only thing we could do.

For instance I seem to recall some countries basically two ages of consent. Someone under the first age can't give legal consent and someone over the second one can. In between they can consent only if they aren't put under pressure. This way we don't need to worry about 50-year-olds arguing their 8-year-old partner wanted it and 20-year-old couples don't need to worry they will be judged incompetent for sex, but we still acknowledge the gray area. Obviously the middle cases have to be looked at a little more closely this way, but it might be worth it.

Another idea would be keep the firm age of consent but adjust the punishment dramatically depending on the outcome. So it would always carry at least a small punishment like a substantial fine, but there would be a much greater punishment (e.g. prison) if either there was objective harm (like a disease or unwanted pregnancy) or if on reflection the victim feels they were indeed taken advantage of.

The reason it's illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor is that the power imbalance creates a potential for abuse, right? An analogy then would be that speeding is illegal because it creates the potential for an accident. Like the age of consent, the speed limit is arbitrary but it's (hopefully) designed to represent a the maximum safe speed for a typical driver on that street. Some people are probably really good drivers and can safely go over that limit. But because it would be very impractical to evaluate exactly how fast each driver can go safely, so we have to discourage everybody from going over the limit. But we don't punish every speeder as if they had actually caused a fatal accident. Why should we punish every statutory "rapist" as if they had caused severe harm even if they didn't?

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby qinwamascot » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:24 am UTC

Weird idea: what if the parents of the child could legally decide when their child is ready for sex? Of course, 16 (or whatever) is still the default, and parent's can't hold their kids back after that. But if the person is more mature, the parents could allow it earlier.

Here are some benefits: It allows for exceptions to the norm. The parents, who know their child's maturity level, are more capable of deciding when it is right. They also have a stake in the matter, so will air on the side of caution. In addition, they will be sure to reinforce safe-sex practices. Also, the rights of underage children are delegated by their parents, so this would not be any different.

Down side: conservative parents, or overprotective ones, will not allow it. But that doesn't hurt those kids from where they are now. It would also be awkward to ask parents about that, but most (i think) would bring it up anyway. Plus you'd have to know who's legal and who's off-limits, but you could just not have sex if you weren't sure. I can't see anything absolutely worse than right now.

For those who say parents wouldn't ever agree, I disagree. My parents told me at 15 that I could do whatever I wanted (that's 1 year under the legal age of consent) and the guy across the hall's mom walked in on him one time when he was 14, then congratulated him later. So there are open-minded parents out there.

Onto the consent slips. I don't see a great problem with them. The only thing is you'd have to give a copy to a non-biased witness to the contract. Like a mutual friend or a lawyer or something. But that would seem to solve all the problems except the 'not romantic' part. If people want to be romantic, that's fine with me, but if they'd rather be safe I think we should give that option. It's sort of like a condom-extremely useful, but not very romantic.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Malice » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:45 am UTC

Kachi wrote:I agree with all of the above, and I certainly wouldn't market it as a cure-all.

However, I think it could help in the more common issues where the two involved parties say that it was an informed, consensual decision, but a third party has doubts or objections. Obviously if either of the involved parties claims that the contract was signed dubiously, it would be a worthless scrap of paper.


Why wouldn't we give creedence to third party doubts or objections? I can easily imagine a case in which the pressure to sign the contract is also pressure to pretend the contract was in good faith, while a third party would be under no such restrictions.

Additionally, what exactly is the difference between a couple producing a signed sheet of paper reading "I consent to sex" and that couple saying "We consented to sex"? Since there's no way of proving when a private contract was signed, the two pieces of evidence seem to me to be functionally equivalent.

And I'm not sure I agree with your dismissal of the consequences of sex, particularly being that modern medicine and technology can still cause an undue financial burden, aside from not being entirely reversible. Many young people, sadly, don't even know that AIDS isn't curable. I think that speaks to the value of a disclaimer of sorts. Fostering a sense of misguided romance between ignorant adolescents (or an ignorant adolescent and a not so ignorant adult) is hardly the priority.


No, but I'd rather educate people professionally, in a classroom, and then trust that they'll fuck responsibily, than try to slap them with a brief "Oh me yarm think before you do this" klaxxon. Cause if you're old enough to have sex, you're old enough to make wise decisions without the government looking over your shoulder.

Speaking of which, that's another reason why it's a bad idea--because it might end up being "Oh me yarm if you do that you're going to hell, especially if this warning label is pasted on a dude" instead of "Oh me yarm wear a condom, kid". Until we can get actual sex education right, I'm against intrusive sex education.

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qinwamascot wrote:Weird idea: what if the parents of the child could legally decide when their child is ready for sex? Of course, 16 (or whatever) is still the default, and parent's can't hold their kids back after that. But if the person is more mature, the parents could allow it earlier.

Down side: conservative parents, or overprotective ones, will not allow it. But that doesn't hurt those kids from where they are now. It would also be awkward to ask parents about that, but most (i think) would bring it up anyway. Plus you'd have to know who's legal and who's off-limits, but you could just not have sex if you weren't sure. I can't see anything absolutely worse than right now.


Downside: underprotective, or shitty, parents will allow it in cases where it should not be allowed. The same goes for parents who think Junior is the smartest, most mature child on earth, when he clearly shouldn't be allowed near girls or power tools until he's 21.

But this situation already sort-of exists, although it's not codified. Generally statutory rape doesn't get reported/prosecuted without a complaining witness, somebody to press charges. Usually that's the parents objecting. A parent who considers their kid mature looks the other way; a parent who does not

One problem with codifying it is, how do you do it, in practical terms? Do your parents sign off on a "fucking license" or something that you carry around, and you can have sex with other people who have them? There are so many practical issues with the idea that I don't really know where to start.

Onto the consent slips. I don't see a great problem with them. The only thing is you'd have to give a copy to a non-biased witness to the contract. Like a mutual friend or a lawyer or something.


Showing the copy to somebody else doesn't negate any of the problems with the contract. It could still be forged, produced under duress, produced after sex, etc.

But that would seem to solve all the problems except the 'not romantic' part. If people want to be romantic, that's fine with me, but if they'd rather be safe I think we should give that option. It's sort of like a condom-extremely useful, but not very romantic.


I don't object to the contract as non-romantic, any more than I object to the idea of a pre-nup. But I think an actual "warning, sex has consequences" thing on the contract would be unromantic.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Kachi » Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:59 am UTC

Well, on that last point, that seems to me to be the entire point of having the contract. As you already noted, a contract that was only contestable between the involved parties would be no different than both people just saying that it was consensual in terms of liability.

The difference is that with the contract, you can't claim that both people weren't aware of the potential consequences. That is, afterall, the whole purpose of an age of consent, is it not? To protect unaware, ignorant, and not-so-great with making decision in the heat of the moment -teenagers- from the potential consequences.

Killing the mood and providing a wake up call would more or less be exactly the point.

I agree(?) that sex education needs to be thoroughly straightened out before any concessions are made on the issue at all.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Malice » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:33 am UTC

Kachi wrote:Well, on that last point, that seems to me to be the entire point of having the contract. As you already noted, a contract that was only contestable between the involved parties would be no different than both people just saying that it was consensual in terms of liability.

The difference is that with the contract, you can't claim that both people weren't aware of the potential consequences. That is, afterall, the whole purpose of an age of consent, is it not? To protect unaware, ignorant, and not-so-great with making decision in the heat of the moment -teenagers- from the potential consequences.


Perhaps I misunderstand the idea, but if that's your goal, how do you intend to get people to actually use the contract? It seems to me that the very same people you're targeting--ignorant teens who make impulsive sexual decisions--are the least likely to pull out a contract and read it in the heat of the moment.

Killing the mood and providing a wake up call would more or less be exactly the point.


Personally, I think sex is a good thing, and should be encouraged; teaching kids to be responsible is more important than being the Hard-on Police. ("Look out, Bill, he's got an erection! Quick, scare it away with pictures of infected genitals! You there, ma'am! Are you aware you could be creating a baby in a moment? Babies keep you up at night, and that's the truth.")
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby 22/7 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:44 pm UTC

Malice wrote:"Look out, Bill, he's got an erection! Quick, scare it away with pictures of infected genitals! You there, ma'am! Are you aware you could be creating a baby in a moment? Babies keep you up at night, and that's the truth."
Please, please, please make a PSA! Please?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Kachi » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:43 pm UTC

Perhaps I misunderstand the idea, but if that's your goal, how do you intend to get people to actually use the contract? It seems to me that the very same people you're targeting--ignorant teens who make impulsive sexual decisions--are the least likely to pull out a contract and read it in the heat of the moment.


Unless we're talking about some rare exceptions here, I'm under the impression that we're talking primarily about legal adults having sex with statutory minors. Are we talking about minor on minor consent? Because I was never under the impression that that was really an issue.

Personally, I think sex is a good thing, and should be encouraged; teaching kids to be responsible is more important than being the Hard-on Police. ("Look out, Bill, he's got an erection! Quick, scare it away with pictures of infected genitals! You there, ma'am! Are you aware you could be creating a baby in a moment? Babies keep you up at night, and that's the truth.")


Well, that's where we differ. I don't think sex is the devil, but neither do I encourage young people who aren't prepared for the potential consequences to engage in it. I'm simply not a fan of STI's, teenage pregnancies, and the emotional hardship it tends to coincide with. Now, kids are sexually mature, they'll have sex, and there's not a lot we can do about it save putting their genitals on lockdown. So yes, teaching kids to be responsible is naturally the priority, but that doesn't mean that it's the ideal situation even if they are informed, responsible children.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:00 pm UTC

I'm inclined to think that if teens aren't prepared for the emotional ramifications of sex. it's because they've been infantilized by a society that actually has to have fucking debates about whether to tell them the truth in the classroom.

And condoms are fantastic things. Perhaps the greatest (and certainly the most under-appreciated) invention of the past two thousand years. With proper use, they reduce the incidence of pregnancy and STI transmission to a statistical anomaly.

Sexual activity among teenagers as a devastating social ill is quite a recent convention, and I find the meme rather abhorrent. There's nothing bad about it that comprehensive sex ed can't either thoroughly mitigate or erase entirely.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Kachi » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:03 pm UTC

Unfortunately comprehensive sex education is not the norm, and until it is, not only by legislation, but social acceptance, there will continue to be serious repercussions to premature sexual activity.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby 22/7 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:10 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:
Personally, I think sex is a good thing, and should be encouraged; teaching kids to be responsible is more important than being the Hard-on Police. ("Look out, Bill, he's got an erection! Quick, scare it away with pictures of infected genitals! You there, ma'am! Are you aware you could be creating a baby in a moment? Babies keep you up at night, and that's the truth.")


Well, that's where we differ. I don't think sex is the devil, but neither do I encourage young people who aren't prepared for the potential consequences to engage in it. I'm simply not a fan of STI's, teenage pregnancies, and the emotional hardship it tends to coincide with. Now, kids are sexually mature, they'll have sex, and there's not a lot we can do about it save putting their genitals on lockdown. So yes, teaching kids to be responsible is naturally the priority, but that doesn't mean that it's the ideal situation even if they are informed, responsible children.
That's a false dichotomy. He never said that he was a fan of STI's, teenage pregnancies or emotional hardship and those things are not the opposite of "sex is the devil", nor are the equivalent to "sex is good".
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:20 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:Unfortunately comprehensive sex education is not the norm, and until it is, not only by legislation, but social acceptance, there will continue to be serious repercussions to premature sexual activity.


So since society is the problem here, it's okay not to fix it. Man, we COULD make sure teenagers are educated about sexual matters and understand the factual consequences and how to effectively utilize birth control, but that's tooooo haaaaarrrrd.

If kids who should have known about condoms and birth control fuck and get pregnant, the blame does not lie on them - it lies on those who kept that necessary information away from them.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Indon » Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:37 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:The reason it's illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor is that the power imbalance creates a potential for abuse, right?


You know, I suspect that it's more important than just this. There's an emotional and psychological factor in the very act of a sexual affair itself that should be considered.

Everyone knows the anecdote about the monkey who had a chip implanted in its' brain that would cause pleasure when the monkey hits a button - the monkey, obviously, hits the button until it dies from neglecting its' basic physical needs.

For a young adult, sex is really close to being that kind of button. Hell, it's that way for all humans, but for young adults more than most.

As such, the potential for behavioral reconditioning as a result of a sexual affair is absolutely staggering. Livelong behavioral patterns can emerge rapidly just as a result of a kid wanting to have or continue to have sex with someone.

An older individual having an affair with a young adult doesn't need to introduce abuse into the relationship for this to happen. A young adult, out of a genuine and immensely strong desire to stay with the older individual, could easily do things like revamp their entire life plans (god only knows teenagers don't take that sort of thing very seriously to begin with) or change their behavior in other ways that they might think will make them seem more desirable in the eyes of their partner.

This is as true regardless of the age of a young adult's partner. The only difference in this regard is, if we tell an adult not to have sex with someone to young, we can expect them to comply. We can't stop the young adults from having sex, because of the very same reason they probably shouldn't be having it.

It's quite a conundrum.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:41 pm UTC

yeah uh... I don't think that it's physically possible for that to be anywhere near that kind of a problem
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby Kachi » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:34 am UTC

I feel as though I'm being strawmanned.

That's a false dichotomy. He never said that he was a fan of STI's, teenage pregnancies or emotional hardship and those things are not the opposite of "sex is the devil", nor are the equivalent to "sex is good".


It wasn't really a false dichotomy. I was just stating that for those real reasons, I don't think "sex is good" as a sweeping statement which includes all age groups is true. I was highlighting the nuances, not bifurcating the issue into black and white.

So since society is the problem here, it's okay not to fix it. Man, we COULD make sure teenagers are educated about sexual matters and understand the factual consequences and how to effectively utilize birth control, but that's tooooo haaaaarrrrd.

If kids who should have known about condoms and birth control fuck and get pregnant, the blame does not lie on them - it lies on those who kept that necessary information away from them.


That's really not what I was saying at all. I've always been a strong proponent of comprehensive sex education. In fact, it's part of my job.

However, I think condoning sex for minors even in light of the pervasive ignorance is a bit like condoning the second amendment by handing out guns to everyone. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding someone's position. I was under the impression that we were still talking about the age of consent, with emphasis on legal minors being able to consent to both eachother, and primarily to legal adults. I just think that in either case more needs to be done to ensure that young people are making an informed, responsible decision. And we need to recognize the limitations that even the most informed and responsible decision has.

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby incompetentia » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:07 am UTC

Jumping in the topic late and skimmed the first page and last few comments - shoot me if I'm going in the wrong direction here.

There is no way to provide for the "every case" in any policy, legal or otherwise. The raging debate about Joe the Plumber (I thank my former home state of Ohio for this madness) should be proof enough of that (although I could go into things like company pensions, health insurance and healthcare, welfare). This topic is as such really not different.

Some solutions (like the contract one I looked over briefly) try to circumvent this process, but it's not without flaws itself either, and is bypassed quite easily (at least in my lowly opinion of high school-aged kids, being one myself). Of course, due to sociological and educational factors, there is no hard cap to set that will satisfy anybody directly under this limit.
As stated before, some sort of safe zone as is explained several times is needed, although in my calculating mind this would probably expand using simple algebra - for example, at 15, if assuming something of a 2-year margin, anybody over 15 and within 6 months of age would be acceptable, with the 6 months (1/2 year) increasing using the function D = A/2 - 7 (D standing for difference, A standing for age - other possibilities include D = 0.6A - 8.6). If we label 14-year-olds having sex as "illegal", then why would the ages 15 and 17 be any better?
The problem seems to lie with the punishment of these crimes. At the very least, if the case can be deemed "reasonable" by whatever means (judge, etc.), the punishment of a felony by US law is excessive. Some states do already allow for this, although it's not consistent or wide-ranging at this point.
Perhaps in such a case, a sex education class would be required of the 'offenders' (similar, oddly enough, to drivers' licenses) - in this case, though, repeat 'offenses' would be common and would have to be somehow dealt with otherwise (whether the whole contract thing would come into play here, or what, I'm not sure). At the very least, it has to help a bit.
Oddly enough, my current significant other is two years and about a month younger than me, which, depending on the state, happens to be illegal (although both of us seem to think as if we're 40 - we'd rather sit around and bicker all day).

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby 22/7 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:45 pm UTC

Kachi wrote:
That's a false dichotomy. He never said that he was a fan of STI's, teenage pregnancies or emotional hardship and those things are not the opposite of "sex is the devil", nor are the equivalent to "sex is good".
It wasn't really a false dichotomy. I was just stating that for those real reasons, I don't think "sex is good" as a sweeping statement which includes all age groups is true. I was highlighting the nuances, not bifurcating the issue into black and white.
You responded to "sex is good" with a list of STIs, teenage pregnancy, emotional hardship, etc. You've made that pretty black and white. You've essentially equated teenage sex with pregnancy, STIs, emotional hardship, etc., and that's misleading at best.

Edited for a missing "ing".
Last edited by 22/7 on Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:11 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby EsotericWombat » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:06 pm UTC

Which actually, is identical to what most sex ed courses use as a response to "sex is good."

the Good Doctor wrote:There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation.
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Re: Age of Consent in US

Postby sparks » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:30 pm UTC

Belial wrote:The line is drawn not because all cases on one side are clearly wrong and all on the other side are clearly right, but because the line has to be drawn.


Exactly. Each case is a case -- there are many minors who are more level-headed than many adults -- but it is not easy to assess this. In a court situation, yes, there are psychologists, etc, but it is still highly subjective and in one's daily life there is no such measurement so the line has to be drawn somewhere.
In my opinion, 16 is a good age. It is 14 here in Portugal, but from what I've seen in many cases people are just plain irresponsible at 14 (not that they're better at 16, but at least they're older).
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