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Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Age of Consent


In the UK, the legal age of consensual sex is 16. It is my classic liberal belief that there shouldn’t be a ‘legal’ age for people to have sex. If two consenting people have sex, fine. I don’t understand how a seventeen year old guy sleeping with his fifteen year old girlfriend can be classed as ‘statutory rape.’ I find this offensive to actual rape victims, and also disrespectful and rude to the two people who were having sex and used protection and experienced no emotional discomfort afterwards.

I try to live by the libertarian mantra ‘it’s your business what you do as long as you’re not hurting anyone.’ I apply this to things like sex, drugs, dropping out of uni, being religious, etc. I don’t think it’s wise for twelve year olds to have sex because – well they’ll suck at it, but more seriously the emotional intimacy that comes with sex is hard to cope with at that age. Sex is something that requires trust and a degree of maturity. It’s the most intimate thing you can do with someone, and most young people under the age of sixteen won’t be able to handle that. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to. I’m twenty and I’m still maturing emotionally.

Having said that, if two twelve or thirteen year old kids fuck each other because they’re curious, and it’s consensual, then that’s their business. I don’t agree but I don’t think it’s my place to stop them. But of course, not everyone is as liberal as I am, and that’s ok.

Rape is non consensual sex. If all parties involved want it and are into it, bobs your uncle. If someone is uncomfortable and unsure and says no, they haven’t given consent. Based on a horrible sexual experience of mine, consent, rape and assault are all very fine lines. It’s hard to tell what counts as what. I would judge it by the emotional impact it has on you, and how your partner treats you. If you feel your partner treats you aggressively, coldly or apathetically, something is not ok.

I don’t know if an eighteen year old man can go to jail for sleeping consensually with his sixteen year old girlfriend. If that’s a thing then it’s ridiculous and incredibly insulting to those who actually are raped. ‘Statutory rape’ makes no sense to me. I get it; it’s there to protect people who may be coerced into sex. However, which situation is worse? A young girl sleeping with an older guy who doesn’t hurt her, or a grown woman raped by her husband? I don’t think it’s the age, but the act. It’s not when you do it, but how you feel afterwards.
People are hella weird about sex. I remember the words ‘slut’ and ‘sket’ being tossed left right and centre at secondary school. This funny quote from The Sopranos in which the protagonist is talking to his daughter sums it up:

Meadow: this is the ‘90s. Parents are supposed to talk about sex with their kids.
Tony: well in this house it’s 1954, and we don’t discuss sex.

I find that so funny because it reminds me of my upbringing. I don’t recall my parents really talking about sex with me, and I’d have found it way too embarrassing. Hopefully for future generations sex will become less of an issue and people will grow more open-minded about it. 

3 comments:

  1. The obvious problem here is pedophiles. Is someone who is only 14 years old - male or female - really of an age to "consent" to such an intimate and mature action? And with how much older of a person - just "peers" or adults too? Our society has oversexualized so many things for the sake of cheap advertising etc.. that many people lose sight of how impactful sex can really be - especially the first time, which is important to keep in mind when talking about an age of [first] consent.

    That being said, a 17 year old boy (who is also a minor) with a 15 year old girl or even 18 year old boy with 16 year old girl (which yes, can and has happened when parents pursue it) is definitely not offensive or inappropriate and shouldn't be labeled "rape" just to save the girl's "virtue". That is offensive to real rape victims.

    When you ask which is worse, "A young girl sleeping with an older guy who doesn’t hurt her, or a grown woman raped by her husband?" Depending on the age of the young girl and the older guy, as well as the definition of "rape" here, I'd have to say the young girl.

    The thing about the Sopranos clip is that it'll be "1954" for almost every father as the vast majority of fathers do not ever want to hear about their daughters' sex life. That's a man thing, not a modern or traditional thing. One of the benefits of having a father and mother in the home, is that the parent of the same-sex usually has the conversations about sex with the child.

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    1. In my house sex was never really discussed and I've always been embarrassed to talk about sex with my mum. Just the way it is. Mostly I talk about it with friends or just read stuff online. I think my brother and my dad talk about it a lot more than my mum and I do. Maybe it's just a girl thing, I dunno. My mum's upbringing was also a lot more conservative than mine.

      I was discussing this with people on facebook too. I think the consensual agreement is that it is there because of pedophiles. I agree that if it's between young people around the same age and no one is getting hurt then it's fine. But if it's a much older person and a younger person then where do you draw the line?

      If my 14 year old kid came to me and said they were having sex with someone around their age I wouldn't be angry, though I would be a bit surprised as that is quite young. Mostly I would hope they would talk about it with me or their dad or someone older they trust first, and that they used protection, did it because they wanted to and didn't feel pressure, and that both parties were happy and felt safe.

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  2. I do think there should be an age of consent, but I think there should be a "peer exception" if the partners are within, say 3 years of each other or something like that. So if a 15 year old girl has sex with her 18 year old boyfriend, he's not charged with "raping a minor".

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