This is a series of controversial topics involving sex and the law. This one is on sexual harassment and unwanted contact. This series may challenge your system of values. If you disagree with me…let me know why and tell me if there is something I completely missed — maybe I’ll reverse my opinion when this new bit of insight comes to light.
Also note: I am arguing from the perspective of devil’s advocate. I recognize that the things I am saying challenge societal norms and I because I am putting the ideas forward does not mean I practice nor wish to practice the things discussed. So if I argue in favor of bestiality, don’t take it as me expressing an urge to sex with goats: I’m just looking at things from a different angle.
AGE OF CONSENT
So let’s talk about the age of consent. Age of consent this age where a person is deemed legally capable of consenting to sexual acts. Generally speaking, if you have sex with someone below the age of consent, it is considered a serious crime such as statutory rape or child molestation and you go to jail for many many years.
The concept of the age of consent first occurs in written form in England in the year 1275 A.D. It is interesting to note that modern conceptions of an appropriate age typically span the ages between 14-18 with the lowest worldwide being 12 (Angola) and the highest being 21. Yes, a 20-year-old is considered not responsible enough to know if they want to have sex or not (in some places.)
Across North America the average is 17 years — with Canada being 16 and the United States varying between 16 and 18 (see the handy chart). And I have to admit, the whole idea that a person is responsible enough to drive a car before they are capable of deciding to have sex is preposterous. Additionally, these laws fly in the face of the actual decisions made youth. The average age for people to start having sex in the United State is 15.5 years …or BELOW that age when it is considered rape because they are too young to decide. That seems completely fucked up. Keep in mind that is the average meaning that 50% of youth are having sex below that age. Also, consider the number of people that want to have sex but for whatever reason don’t manage to succeed in getting laid until they are over 15.5 years. So I am proposing that the laws on consent are based on some weird moral complex and has nothing to do with actually protecting children.
Consider that in England, when the first age of consent laws was passed, the age where it was considered ok was just 12. If you did the deed with someone younger it was a minor misdemeanor. Also, it was considered a common practice to marry girls that were 9-11 years old in England at that time so
The canon law of medieval Europe placed the age of consent at 7 years. Yes, 7. There is even specific parts of the law allowing for marriages to be annulled, even if consummated, if the sex was had before the girl reached puberty. Oh how the times have changed, huh?
The age drifted upwards only in the mid-19th century → up to 10-13 years old.
Another way to look at this is through the lens of biology. The bodies of females tend to hit puberty between the ages of 8 and 12 with the average age of onset being 10.25 years. So girls hit puberty and gain the ability to reproduce very early — and so I am arguing that their biology says they are ready to have sex around that age.
Also, from researching this topic, guess what? There is a massive increase in interest in sexuality at this age due to hormones that are released. So our biology is actually triggering all sorts of signals priming and encouraging that person to have sex. And the laws currently deny all of this.
Just thinking about it a bit more: all this mass hysteria about child pornography is largely concerned with men looking at girls under the age of 18…and yet some of those girls could have reached puberty 5+ years beforehand and — is this not a biologically valid response? I mean, if any mammal had sexual interest in another of its species several years after maturity…we would consider this a completely normal and natural (and expected!) reaction. But within ourselves…we make it highly illegal and dictate 10 year+ jail sentences?? My logical brain is baffled.
Should the age of consent not match the onset of puberty? Well, in some countries, that is precisely the case. But in prudish North America –we set the age of consent up to 3.5 years AFTER the average person starts having sex. Keep in mind that in Virgina in 1689 it was commonplace for 9-year-olds to get married. So what the fuck happened?
Now let’s try to strip away all the values and ‘meaning’ that society has taught us about sex and to look at it from a more practical standpoint. What is sex? Physical touching were two (or more) individuals touch parts of their body together for pleasure.
So can we really say that a person below the age of 18 is incapable of deciding if they enjoy the way something feels? Should we not allow them to decide what to eat either because they are too young to know what tastes good? The second part should sound completely crazy— but how is it the 1st part has become widely accepted??
The short answer is the Women’s Christian Temperance Union WCTU — yes, those same lovely ladies who brought water-to-wine-Jesus’ message to ban alcohol and launch the disastrous crime wave known as the roaring 20s. The WCTU raised the age of consent in the 1880s and 1890s up from as low as 7 and as high as 10 up to 16 accross the United States — as part of their anti-alcohol lobby. Yes…that’s why the age of consent is so high:
Christian morality. They went on to lobby governments around the world calling for a worldwide ban on alcohol and raising the age of consent. Since there was little formal opposition to raising the age of consent and it was much easier to pass laws doing so than to ban bars and saloons…..the age of consent was generally raised with little fight or fanfare.
In fact, Frances Willard, the WCTU leader, thought that the Christian purity of men must be enforced by law and wrote, “we could be instrumental in the passage of such laws as would punish the outrage of defenceless girls…the gentler sex is thus hunted to its ruin or lured to the same pit in a more gradual way, strong drink is the devils kindling-wood of passion, as everybody knows.” Willard frequently proclaimed that a girl under the age of 16 would be utterly ruined if she were to be so morally corrupted and exposed to sex before such an age.
So that’s the nut from which our age of consent laws come from.
NOT SCIENCE BUT CHRISTIANITY EVANGELISM
Our current laws are based neither on science nor the desires and actions of people around the age of sexual maturity…no, our age of consent laws come from stern ideas of Christian purity that were sown in 1880s as a way of keeping women pure and uncorrupted by the evils of sex. A fair portion of the message at that time was preserving the innocence of the girl so she didn’t have too high a sex drive later on in life. Interesting…how very not helpful of them. Don’t they know that girls with high sex drives kick the ass of asexual girls?
So the next time you encounter thoughts about girls being ‘too young’ remember that our current age of consent laws have only been in the popular mind for about 100 years…the rest of human history it has been far lower. For these reasons, I think we should drop the age of consent laws back to a more reasonable level.