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Age of Consent Clarification

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kwmal93 asks:

Hi, my boyfriend and I both live in Florida and have been dating for a little over 7 months now. We are sexually active. I'm 16 and he's 20, can he get in trouble for being with me ?

Lena replies:

Hello! As residents of Florida, you two fall under age of consent jurisdiction that is not quite as cut-and-dried as that of some other locations. According to the online research I have just conducted using reliable-but-unofficial sites, it appears that your sexual relationship is ok from a legal standpoint. However, we are not lawyers or paralegals and cannot verify this information; therefore, we would recommend contacting a legal professional for an official response. In addition to regular lawyers and law firms, many universities with law schools offer free or low-cost legal counsel to the public.

According to the international Age of Consent list at Avert.org, the age of consent for males is 16 and the age of consent for females is 18. This applies to male-female, male-male, and female-female sex. However, the site also states the following as a footnote: "In some U.S. states a lower age applies when the age gap between partners is small, or when the older partner is below a certain age (usually 18 or 21)."

Seeking clarification, I then looked at AgeofConsent.com, an informative website that, again, is not official and has not be updated in a few years. Their page on Florida includes the following editor's note.

Florida -- Age of Consent -- EDITORS NOTE: We get many comments regarding Florida and our posting of the age of consent as 18. You should understand that our definition of "age of legal consent" is the age at which a person may consent to sexual contact with ANY person not in a position of authority, etc. Using our definition, the age of consent in Florida is 18.

However, for the sake of argument and clarification, if a person is less than 24 years old, they may enter into sexual contact with a person who is at least 16 years old.

Furthermore, by simply googling the term "age of consent florida", I found a number of posts and discussions on this topic. While there is some inaccurate information, it appears that people in most online forums would agree with the aforementioned data.

So it seems that your sexual relationship is legal; however, as with any age disparate relationship and especially one involving a minor, there are other issues that I'd like to address. I do not know your boyfriend and can only hope he's a very good person, it does concern me that the two of you had not approached the legal issue before engaging in any sort of sexual activity. Should he have gotten charged with statuatory rape, in addition to your relationship ending, your boyfriend would be facing jail time and a legal branding that would negativity affect him his entire life. I worry that he may be careless about other aspects of his life involving you, which would be too bad, because you deserve to be treated well and rightfully. What do your family and friends say about this relationship? And his? While familial approval of a relationship does not supercede the law, being able to turn to them for support and advice can be a welcome and important option.

Therefore, I'm going to link some articles that I'd like for you to check out.

written 25 Apr 2009 . updated 23 Jan 2014

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.