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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » AoC laws and sexual readiness (Page 1)

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Author Topic: AoC laws and sexual readiness
Scott
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I've come to believe that the AoC laws aren't the best solution to determine who is and who isn't ready to engage in sexual activities. I know that I'm not alone in this. I personally believe that we should license people to be sexual, atleast when it comes to intercourse. It could basically be like, pass the sex ed test, get your license. I'm very interested in knowing what people think of this idea. I've discussed it with others and in general, they've said that it's too restrictive, that the AoC laws should just come down.

Thinking of it from a parent's point of view, I can understand that parents want to ensure that their children are ready to engage in sexual things before doing so. I know that if I were a parent I would be concerned anyway. So what do people think?


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logic_grrl
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I think that this really belongs in "Sexual Ethics and Politics", so I'm just going to move it over there, okay?
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Heather
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What you're suggesting, however, poses an issue of very serious class discrimination.

It's not at all unusual for the least sexually educated people to be those with the least economic privledge, who are the least literate overall, not for lack of want, but because of classism. Deciding who is and who isn't entitled to sex essentially based on class or literacy would be very discriminatory, in a far deeper and probably more destructive and debasing way -- and because of the way class issues work, likely also end up discriminiating by race -- than setting basic legal guidelines on age.

I'm not a big fan of AOC laws as they are. However, literacy tends to be a lifelong problem, age passes. Moreover, in a culture where sexual literacy is not supported by the administration for ANY age, the practicality of what you suggested even if class issues didn't exist would be pretty darn limited.

The primary problem with minor sex is often this: adult sex requires adult responsibility and liberty, something many teens don't have. Moreover, partnered sex is certainly a human right, but no one will become ill without it. So, when we're talking about something optional with a group of people who (often, but not always) are not legally or financially autonomous, either due to law because of age or because they do not want to shoulder those responsibilities, we get to some of the biggest conficts -- as well as the impetus of -- the AOC.


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wobblyheadedjane
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott:
It could basically be like, pass the sex ed test, get your license.

Aside from the reasons Miz S mentioned, I think another point against this idea would be that right now many movements are going on to prevent legislation of bedroom activities (striking down sodomy laws, working on a gay marriage rights law [though there's more to that than just bedroom activity, assuredly], etc.) It would be very difficult to try and pass this kind of legislation, while at the same time fighting to remove others, don't you think?


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Scott
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Hey Miz Scarlet; been a long time since I've spoken to you; glad we be getting along this time :-p. Anyway, to your post...

quote:
What you're suggesting, however, poses an issue of very serious class discrimination.

It's not at all unusual for the least sexually educated people to be those with the least economic privilege, who are the least literate overall, not for lack of want, but because of classism. Deciding who is and who isn't entitled to sex essentially based on class or literacy would be very discriminatory, in a far deeper and probably more destructive and debasing way -- and because of the way class issues work, likely also end up discriminating by race -- than setting basic legal guidelines on age.


What about a compromise; say that the AoC is 18 -unless- you can prove by passing a test that you're mature enough earlier? By the way, the test could be done orally as well, for those who can't read.
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quote:
I'm not a big fan of AOC laws as they are.

What changes would you like to see in them?
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quote:
However, literacy tends to be a lifelong problem, age passes. Moreover, in a culture where sexual literacy is not supported by the administration for ANY age, the practicality of what you suggested even if class issues didn't exist would be pretty darn limited.

I think with my AoC at 18 compromise, that part could be worked out. And I think you'd agree that the administration should change and allow more sex ed to be taught, particular on safer sexual interactions.
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quote:
The primary problem with minor sex is often this: adult sex requires adult responsibility and liberty, something many teens don't have.

Adult sex? Do you mean intercourse? Or do you mean that an adult in and of themselves makes sex need responsibility and liberty?
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quote:
Moreover, partnered sex is certainly a human right, but no one will become ill without it.

I think it would be fair to say that no one would become ill without -intercourse-, but touch in its various forms is another matter.


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Scott
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quote:
I think another point against this idea would be that right now many movements are going on to prevent legislation of bedroom activities (striking down sodomy laws, working on a gay marriage rights law [though there's more to that than just bedroom activity, assuredly], etc.) It would be very difficult to try and pass this kind of legislation, while at the same time fighting to remove others, don't you think?

I think you'll find that it'll be very hard indeed to 'strike down' the AoC laws. This is because I think there is a legitimate concern; that teens will get into things that they're not ready for. Because no one currently has a test that determines when one is 'ready', judges have used this against teens engaging in sexual relations, even with peers (see ageofconsent.com's California entry for an example).

The solution is to create a test, which could be done with Miz Scarlet's excellent material on being ready and then test people. For now, ofcourse, such a test would carry no legal weight. But I for one think that it'd be a stunning defense against the charge that one doesn't "know enough"; after all, who's to say that any particular adult 'knows enough', when even they don't have a test defining what 'enough' is?


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logic_grrl
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quote:
But I for one think that it'd be a stunning defense against the charge that one doesn't "know enough"

But is factual knowledge alone enough for sexual readiness?

It's certainly necessary, but I wouldn't say it's sufficient - someone can have encylopaedic knowledge of sexual health, birth control and safer sex and still not be mature enough to make responsible choices or confident enough to set their own limits.

The Readiness Checklist includes a lot about communication skills, responsibility, and assertiveness - not just information and access to material items like birth control and safer sex supplies.

I think those are very important elements in sexual readiness, but they're hardly something you can test through a quiz of some kind .


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Heather
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What would I suggest as an alternative to AOC laws as they are?

Well, how about something similar to what we have now in terms of emancipated minors?

In other words, the AOC is a fair age to begin with -- and by fair, I mean something general in line with a combination of where physical development and emotional development are, 18 is pretty out there, but the 14-16 in many states may be imperfect, but seems pretty fair overall -- but if you want to bypass that, you prove you are capable of handling sex automously. (As well, AOC laws where a certain age window is allowed in terms of partners being within X years of each other strikes me as relatively sound.) Mainly, that proof isn't going to come down to literacy or class, but to economics and social issues in a more fair way: do you have income or means (as in, free community services) to pay for sexual healthcare and possible pregnancy? Have you already started general annual sexual healthcare? (And by that criteria alone, an overwhelming number of teen males would be knocked out of the water, as well as many teen women. many adults also do not get this care, but far more teens than adults don't.) Do you have a decent support system which isn't just a sexual partner? Are you autonomous -- in other words, if you're sexually active, is it YOU who will deal with the issues and consequences of that fully, not your parents? Are you emotionally sound?

(Of course, it should be noted that if something like that worked the way emancipated minorship did, very few people would even bother with the process because they wouldn't have the patience to deal with it, or would know they didn't meet the criteria to begin with. We can talk up a storm about how many teens are really ready for sex, but then we can take a good look at how many of their parents are paying the bills for the sex they're having, supplying the places for sex to occur in, what have you, and it becomes clear that really, the majority of teens under the current AOCs in most places probably are NOT really ready.)

I'd also posit that it *might* be sound to have parents be able to give permission for their teens to be sexually active outside the AOC. Why I'm reticent to do that is because they very reason the AOC was developed was because a good number of parents back when were literally prostituting their children. So, while many parents could make safe and sound choices that way, many also could not. However, it's worth looking at the fact that many countries with a very low AOC, or with an AOC that is pretty much in name only tend to also have very low rates of teen pregnancy and STIs. however, that's likely not so much because of the lower AOC, but because of (on the positive side) strong, supportive familial and community structure or (on the negative side) because of abject fear of the punishment that would be delivered for partnered sex.

And ultimately, there's part of the conflict. On one level, the law shouldn't be in our bedrooms at all, IMO. But on another, laws need to exist to protect people from sexual assault, manipulation and violence, and in some cases, rape laws don't do a very good job of that. Not sure the AOC does either, but it can sometimes, especially in cases where people very much HAVE been sexually manipulated or taken advantage of because of their age.

(FYI, by "adult" sexual activity, I mean activity which carries adult responsibilities and consequences. Not merely heterosexual intercourse.)

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 08-16-2004).]


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Scott
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logic_grrl, you may notice that a lot of my response is your own material, 'quoted' in a way. I generally like to quote, but I've found that you say a lot that I want to say, so I found it easier to do it this way. Even as I submit this reply, I'm aware that I have yet to address Mis Scarlet's points. I'm saving the tough one for last :-p. Ok, here goes...

You argue that factual knowledge alone isn't enough for sexual readiness; that someone can have encyclopaedic knowledge of sexual health, birth control and safer sex and still not be mature enough to make responsible choices or confident enough to set their own limits.

Then you do me a real favour and point out the Readiness Checklist, which includes a lot about communication skills, responsibility, and assertiveness - not just information and access to material items like birth control and safer sex supplies.

I agree with you that those are very important elements in sexual readiness.

I think the next logical step would be to make a test with it. You don't think so; why?


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Scott
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quote:
I think you're getting to the legal procedure for a minor to become emancipated. While I like the idea (it basically has what I have in mind), I'm of the mind that it's too complicated, even though I don't know all the details; going to court to get a right gets me to think that way. Do you think it's not overly complicated? Also, is there a cost involved other then time?

Sure there's a cost. But partnered sex costs, too. You have to pay for sexual healthcare, safer sex supplies, transportation, the works. And per becoming an emancipated minor, when one truly IS capable of living autonomously it's actually not all that complicated: all you're doing is documenting things you already are doing or are capable of doing. Adult life is complicated: that's how it goes.

quote:
It doesn't strike me as sound and I'm not the only one. Ageism is one of the last remaining barriers in our society and I think it's not going to go down easy. Do you remember the argument we had on this precise issue 3+ years ago? You never did respond to my response. Would you like to see it once more?

Sugar, with how many people have posted here over the years, if I could remember every single discussion I've had, there'd be some sort of medal, and no one's given it to me yet.

I agree, ageism is a problem. But what I do not agree with is parents or taxpayers having to pay for sexual irresponsibility, especially when they have to pay for it necause teens feel they are owed that payment. I've worked with a lot of teens over the years, and I can assure you that I tend not to judge anyone by age in years. But what I hear is a lot of "They need to treat me like an adult, but foot the bill, and cover my ass when I decide to be apathetic or make a dumb choice." Not only does that strike me as unfair to parents, it strikes me as very disempowering for teens. Autonomy, in my book, is something very vital for young adults, and having autonomy is a real key to making sound choices and even being able to really relish and own those choices, no matter what they are.

quote:
Now we're going to the law of averages, which is what the AoC relies on. So long as one teen does enough and so long as one adult doesn't, we're being unfair. What constitutes enough may well end up to be a fairly big debate. I'm open to various possibilities. What I'm -against- is saying that because 'on average' a person of x age isn't ready we should paint everyone that age with the same brush.

And I'd agree with you there. However, for numerous reasons which aren't that hard to figure, it's the case in terms of who tends to sexual health and who doesn't. And when you're dealing with laws, you're going to have to deal with averages. As someone who lives her life very much oriented in immediate community, I'm not real keen on that, but I recognize it as a practical neccessity in a culture like ours governend by law.

quote:
I'm 28 and yet I'm not yet autonomous. As to emotionally sound, who would judge such a thing? I personally wouldn't want to engage in sexual intercourse that could lead to pregnancy, for instance, simply because I don't have the financial capability to support a kid. But I have the legal right to do so anyway, so long as that person isn't below the AoC. Today, I finished reading a book entitled "Harmful to Minors" by Judith Levine. Have you read it? A very good read anyway. The basic idea is one I'm almost sure you'd agree with, that it's better for minors to know more about sexuality then less. The issue that it touches on but definitely doesn't fully explore is how sexual minors should be. I really liked her talk concerning outercourse; that is, sexual interactions not involving sexual intercourse. When and with whom should one be allowed to engage in such interactions?

"Should" is a tricky term when you're talking about the law, because things become far more complex when you need to mandate them for millions of people. Again, I may not be the person to ask, because I'm not fond of sex law overall, but I recognize it's neccessity. You say at 28 you're not autonomous, and to that my response would be that from my personal vantage point, if you can't foot your own bills for ANY sort of partnered sex, that's a real problem if you're engaging in it. But ideally, I'd prefer that that's something a person who was going to date you examined and made a decision based on, not a law.

I'm also not about to make, however, a great divide between intercourse and outercourse, because that sort of divide -- even when we include pregnancy -- smacks of a good lot of heterosexism.

(And yes, I've read Judith's work and enjoyed it. She's good people.)

The questions you're asking above, some of them, are super-tough to answer, because what they're really asking is how do we make laws, if we're going to, about sex which account for the individual when by design, laws themselves must be generalized? I'm not sure anyone yet has a good answer to that question. I know I sure don't.

quote:
And ultimately, there's part of the conflict. On one level, the law shouldn't be in our bedrooms at all, IMO. But on another, laws need to exist to protect people from sexual assault, manipulation and violence, and in some cases, rape laws don't do a very good job of that

In what cases? And perhaps the key is fixing the rape laws and instituting a sexual relationship knowledge test instead of relying on a person's age..


In most cases, actually. And per working on rape law or, more accurately, how rape cases are treated and tried, I'd agree. In terms of mandating that via a 'sexual knowledge" test, I would not. Not just for the issues of classism stated above, but also because knowledge and action often do not follow much of the time. How many users who have been here for years STILL opt out of birth control when they don't wish to become pregnant? How many still take safer sex risks out of laziness or shyness? An awful lot.

quote:
I remember you telling me your own story and I remember addressing it the last time we engaged in a long discussion. I'm very interested in cases like yours in particular, because they are the most complicated and thus the hardest to address. Can we bring up your story here?{/quote]

Only if you remind me of which story we're talking about specifically here. It's been a long life, I've had a lot of experiences.

[QUOTE]Can we list what sexual activities you think should be for adults only?


Afraid it's not that simple, and that's part of why AOC laws are so problematic, is the thing. What is or is not age-appropriate for a given person is pretty individual, so dividing things by activities, per se, doesn't strike me as sound.

What I meant was those activities which involve making autonoumous choices and dealing with consequences autonomously. For instance, pregnancy and STIs, which are risks for many sexually active teens, are in many ways adult issues.

It's worth mentioning this: a BIG part of the conflict with all of this is that partnered sex is, in many ways, something "adult." And for a lot of history, people of the same age teens are now DID have a lot more adult agency than people of the same age do now, both in terms of option (as in, they could choose, freely, to be self-supporting, to create families early if they chose with cultural support for such), and in terms of judicial and social mandate (as in, many people of this same age in other cultures, at other times in history were in no way encouraged to remain living as children in many aspects of their lives).

We're in a weird time now. Whie what went on back them may seem like glory days, it really wasn't, especially when you consider that many of those teens treated as adults were working hard labor from the age of six, something which was often pretty questionable, and at the cost for many of en education and their health. Their adult licencse still had limits, and to have it, it was very hard-won.

The "teenager" is actually a man-made invention. Even that word wasn't coined until the 40's. It's a new thing, this state of being kind of an adult, but kind of not, where "childhood" is an ideal, not a phase of being, and where parents and culture bemoan these irresponsible, irrational teens while at the exact same time, going nuts to make sure they remain under firm control and remain dependent. The way the AOC is currently used (and misused) has a whole lot to do with that self-created conflict.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 08-16-2004).]


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logic_grrl
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quote:
I think the next logical step would be to make a test with it. You don't think so; why?

Because you can't effectively test it through a quiz.

You can say to someone "Okay, tell me how to put on a condom correctly". And either they'll be able to give you a correct answer or they won't, and that will tell you whether they have the factual knowledge they need in real life.

But if you say to someone, "Are you able to be assertive and take responsibility for communicating your own needs?" there are a lot of people who will say "yes", because they know it's the "right answer" (or because they genuinely think that they would) - but not actually be able to go on and be assertive in a real life situation, e.g. faced with a partner who's pressuring them.

The Readiness Checklist here works as a way to encourage people to think seriously about themselves and evaluate their own readiness. But that doesn't mean you could just take it and use it as a way for one person to test another., and base legal consequences on whether they give the "right answer" or not.


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Scott
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quote:
[QUOTE]I think the next logical step would be to make a test with it. You don't think so; why?

Because you can't effectively test it through a quiz.

You can say to someone "Okay, tell me how to put on a condom correctly". And either they'll be able to give you a correct answer or they won't, and that will tell you whether they have the factual knowledge they need in real life.

But if you say to someone, "Are you able to be assertive and take responsibility for communicating your own needs?" there are a lot of people who will say "yes", because they know it's the "right answer" (or because they genuinely think that they would) - but not actually be able to go on and be assertive in a real life situation, e.g. faced with a partner who's pressuring them.[/QUOTE]

The same can be said of either adults or youth. Why discriminate against youths? If something can't be tested on something, then I say that all people should have the right. Only where things can be tested can rights be legitimately curtailed.
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quote:
The Readiness Checklist here works as a way to encourage people to think seriously about themselves and evaluate their own readiness. But that doesn't mean you could just take it and use it as a way for one person to test another.

Sure you can. It simply carries no legal weight as of yet.


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Heather
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I think there's something you're missing here, which is that there are profound differences between minors and those over the age of majority in many cases.

1) Personal acountability and economic autonomy. An adult makes a poor choice, chances are pretty good their parents will not have to foot the bill for it or pay a price. The same is not so with a teenager who is a dependent.

2) Power. Because of not being autonomous, because of not being legal adults, teens are less entitled TO, have less agency to care for themselves, have equal power (especially with adults, not peers) legally and practically. Again, that's not automatic in many cases, but in the case of a person who is being taken care of financially and in daily life by a parent, when there is someone else responsible for their decisions -- whether they are opting into that or it is mandated via custody -- that creates a power imbalance and a lack of true agency. That's a biggie.

3) Development. Teens are at greater sexual risks in many cases. Even physiologically. For instance, a big part of the reason why young women have a diproportionate number of active STIs are because for many teen women, their cervical cells have not finished developing. A big reason why infant and maternal mortality rates are higher in teen women is due not only to things like the lack of agency for prenatal care and poverty, but also due to physiological factors (primarily in younger teens). Good studies have been done which show that for younger teens, partnered sex is more likely to be either dissapointing or traumatic, because even just between the ages of 13 and 16 or 17, the lapse between fantasy and reality when it comes to sexual partnership closes drastically.

I for one would be very upset if I saw something like the readiness checklist turned into a test, for all of the reasons I've already discussed in this thread AND because as we often talk about at this site, readiness isn't a one time thing: it's a constant. As well, testing doesn't change any of the things I just mentioed above, though were one to really use that checklist as a test, no one who was NOT pretty autonomous, financially and otherwise, would likely "fail" it.


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Scott
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quote:
I think there's something you're missing here, which is that there are profound differences between minors and those over the age of majority in many cases.

1) Personal acountability and economic autonomy. An adult makes a poor choice, chances are pretty good their parents will not have to foot the bill for it or pay a price. The same is not so with a teenager who is a dependent.


I'm not missing that point..
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quote:
2) Power. Because of not being autonomous, because of not being legal adults, teens are less entitled TO, have less agency to care for themselves, have equal power (especially with adults, not peers) legally and practically.

Power diffentials do not make it impossible to have a relationship. Not to mention the fact that there are different types of power (thing of the idea 'wrapped around one's finger', for instance.)
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quote:
3) Development. Teens are at greater sexual risks in many cases. Even physiologically. For instance, a big part of the reason why young women have a diproportionate number of active STIs are because for many teen women, their cervical cells have not finished developing. A big reason why infant and maternal mortality rates are higher in teen women is due not only to things like the lack of agency for prenatal care and poverty, but also due to physiological factors (primarily in younger teens).

I'm not advocating for young intercourse...
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quote:
Good studies have been done which show that for younger teens, partnered sex is more likely to be either dissapointing or traumatic, because even just between the ages of 13 and 16 or 17, the lapse between fantasy and reality when it comes to sexual partnership closes drastically.

I'd be interested in seeing these 'good studies', but beyond this, I go to Levine's book; she makes no mention of these types of studies, for instance. As you may know, Levine herself had a relationship with an adult as a minor.
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quote:
I for one would be very upset if I saw something like the readiness checklist turned into a test, for all of the reasons I've already discussed in this thread AND because as we often talk about at this site, readiness isn't a one time thing: it's a constant.

So is driving readiness; doesn't mean we always test for it; but if someone is shown to be making a bad driving choice, a cop will give them a ticket, put a demerit point on their record. Same could be done in the sexual arena (as to whether it'd be a good idea, I'm not sure).
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quote:
As well, testing doesn't change any of the things I just mentioned above, though were one to really use that checklist as a test, no one who was NOT pretty autonomous, financially and otherwise, would likely "fail" it.

When it comes to intercourse, it could involve more then a test; in essence, one would have to demonstrate that one has the financial and 'other' capability to handle the situation.


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Scott
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You mention that there's a cost involved in getting emancipated; do you have any idea how much? You then say that partnered sex costs too. But I don't see that as necessarily the case. What I think you're referring to is that there's a -potential- cost, if you engage in certain types of sexual interactions. However, there are some sexual interactions that don't have such risks, such as blow jobs or hand jobs, not to mention fingering, petting, etc. Why should one have to wait to be an adult to do these relatively risk free things?
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quote:
Sugar, with how many people have posted here over the years, if I could remember every single discussion I've had, there'd be some sort of medal, and no one's given it to me yet.

Lol :-). True enough. It happened on a forum named openhands; do you remember that forum?
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quote:
I agree, ageism is a problem. But what I do not agree with is parents or taxpayers having to pay for sexual irresponsibility, especially when they have to pay for it because teens feel they are owed that payment. I've worked with a lot of teens over the years, and I can assure you that I tend not to judge anyone by age in years. But what I hear is a lot of "They need to treat me like an adult, but foot the bill, and cover my ass when I decide to be apathetic or make a dumb choice."

I agree that teens should be taught to not make decisions that they can't properly handle.
__________________________________________

You agree with me that because 'on average' a person of x age isn't ready we should paint everyone that age with the same brush. However, you then say there are "numerous reasons which aren't that hard to figure, it's the case in terms of who tends to sexual health and who doesn't." You lost me there.
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quote:
And when you're dealing with laws, you're going to have to deal with averages.

I can go with that, but some averages are more meaningful then others. For instance, if a person knows certain material on sexuality, on average, they're more likely to make better decisions then if they've just reached a certain age but are otherwise unknowledgeable. This is why no one is saying we should get rid of driver's licenses just because some people still crash.
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I asked when and with whom should one be allowed to engage in such interactions. You responded saying:

quote:
"Should" is a tricky term when you're talking about the law, because things become far more complex when you need to mandate them for millions of people. Again, I may not be the person to ask, because I'm not fond of sex law overall, but I recognize its neccessity. You say at 28 you're not autonomous, and to that my response would be that from my personal vantage point, if you can't foot your own bills for ANY sort of partnered sex, that's a real problem if you're engaging in it.

See my bit above concerning certain sexual interactions and their lack of cost ;-).
__________________________________________

quote:
But ideally, I'd prefer that that's something a person who was going to date you examined and made a decision based on, not a law.

And yet you think the AoC laws are ok. Isn't that ageist?
__________________________________________

quote:
I'm also not about to make, however, a great divide between intercourse and outercourse, because that sort of divide -- even when we include pregnancy -- smacks of a good lot of heterosexism.

I think that intercourse should include anal sex, so that it's not something exclusive to heterosexism.
__________________________________________

quote:
(And yes, I've read Judith's work and enjoyed it. She's good people.)

:-)
__________________________________________

quote:
The questions you're asking above, some of them, are super-tough to answer, because what they're really asking is how do we make laws, if we're going to, about sex which account for the individual when by design, laws themselves must be generalized? I'm not sure anyone yet has a good answer to that question. I know I sure don't.

Ah, but I've found the answer don't you see; sexual knowledge tests ;-).
__________________________________________

You mention that in "most cases" rape laws don't do a good job of protecting people from sexual assault. How so? And what do you think could be done to fix the rape laws?
__________________________________________

quote:
In terms of mandating that via a 'sexual knowledge" test, I would not. Not just for the issues of classism stated above, but also because knowledge and action often do not follow much of the time. How many users who have been here for years STILL opt out of birth control when they don't wish to become pregnant? How many still take safer sex risks out of laziness or shyness? An awful lot.

You could also say that many people who have driver's licenses still make mistakes; but again, no one's saying that we should replace driving licenses with 'age of driving' laws.
__________________________________________

quote:
I remember you telling me your own story and I remember addressing it the last time we engaged in a long discussion. I'm very interested in cases like yours in particular, because they are the most complicated and thus the hardest to address. Can we bring up your story here?

Only if you remind me of which story we're talking about specifically here. It's been a long life, I've had a lot of experiences.


On August 7, I sent you an email with a link to our discussion --- per our board guidelines in the registration agreement, posting email isn't allowed. - Miz S.
__________________________________________

quote:
Can you list what sexual activities you think should be for adults only?

Afraid it's not that simple, and that's part of why AOC laws are so problematic, is the thing. What is or is not age-appropriate for a given person is pretty individual, so dividing things by activities, per se, doesn't strike me as sound.[/b]

I agree; I think the solution should indeed be individual, based on a person's knowledge set, which can be tested.
__________________________________________

[QUOTE]What I meant was those activities which involve making autonomous choices and dealing with consequences autonomously. For instance, pregnancy and STIs, which are risks for many sexually active teens, are in many ways adult issues.


Alright. I'd prefer the term 'autonomous' issues though, to avoid ageism ;-).
__________________________________________

quote:
It's worth mentioning this: a BIG part of the conflict with all of this is that partnered sex is, in many ways, something "adult."

What do you mean by 'partnered sex'? Sexual intercourse alone or all sexual interactions?
__________________________________________

quote:
And for a lot of history, people of the same age teens are now DID have a lot more adult agency than people of the same age do now, both in terms of option (as in, they could choose, freely, to be self-supporting, to create families early if they chose with cultural support for such), and in terms of judicial and social mandate (as in, many people of this same age in other cultures, at other times in history were in no way encouraged to remain living as children in many aspects of their lives).

We're in a weird time now. While what went on back then may seem like glory days, it really wasn't, especially when you consider that many of those teens treated as adults were working hard labor from the age of six, something which was often pretty questionable, and at the cost for many of en education and their health. Their adult license still had limits, and to have it, it was very hard-won.


Nods.
__________________________________________

quote:
The "teenager" is actually a man-made invention.

All words are man made inventions ;-).
__________________________________________

quote:
Even that word wasn't coined until the 40's. It's a new thing, this state of being kind of an adult, but kind of not, where "childhood" is an ideal, not a phase of being, and where parents and culture bemoan these irresponsible, irrational teens while at the exact same time, going nuts to make sure they remain under firm control and remain dependent. The way the AOC is currently used (and misused) has a whole lot to do with that self-created conflict.

I suppose. I just want to make something better then the AoC, something that rewards minors for learning about sexuality.

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 08-19-2004).]


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Silver1381
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott:
You mention that there's a cost involved in getting emancipated; do you have any idea how much? You then say that partnered sex costs too. But I don't see that as necessarily the case. What I think you're referring to is that there's a -potential- cost, if you engage in certain types of sexual interactions. However, there are some sexual interactions that don't have such risks, such as blow jobs or hand jobs, not to mention fingering, petting, etc. Why should one have to wait to be an adult to do these relatively risk free things?

__________________________________________

Actually, if one is to be safe while practicing any type of sexual activity, then yes, there will be costs for things such as STI testing, latex gloves for manual sex, condoms and/or dental dams for oral sex, and condoms yet again for vaginal and/or anal sex. You said that oral sex and manual sex were realtively risk free, but I disagree with you because there ARE still risks for contracting and spreading STIs if people do not choose to practice safer sex techniques.

The costs for latex gloves, dental dams and condoms may seem minimal compared to the possible costs of say hormonal birth controls, medical care during the term of a pregnancy, raising a child, and/or abortions and after care, but they are still costs. I'm not saying that one has to be and "adult" in the context of the laws to participate in sexual activities, but if one chooses to do so, then he or she should be prepared and ready to pay for costs associated with safe sex (if that's what they choose,) and treatment for possible STIs, pregnacy, and abortions if they choose not to practice safe sex techniques, and/or if they did infact choose to be safe and their methods happened to fail.

If one can not pay for, on their own or with the help of their sexual partner, for the things I previously mentioned, regardless of age, then I really feel that they should abstain from any type of sexual activity until they are financially able to pay for any possible outcome(s) of their behavior.

[This message has been edited by Silver1381 (edited 08-18-2004).]


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Heather
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I don't have the time today to go through the whole of this post: it'll have to wait for a day when I'm less busy.

However, when talking about costs and risks, let's PLEASE remember that by no means is intercourse, vaginal or anal, the only activity which carries risks. Manual sex, and even more so, oral sex, carry STI risks as well. And costs are not only crisis-only: sexual health exams, which need to occur yearly to safeguard sexual health, cost money. As Silver mentioned, safer sex supplies for all moderate-to-high risk (per STIs) costs money.

And obviously, for people of any age, any sexual partnership creates emotional risks as well.


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Heather
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(I have a little more time today, but not much. Just FYI: for one, replying to a whole post, quoting every section tends to make it difficult to reply and read. It's easier if you literally have something to say to everything that has been said to do so in separate posts, or to simply reply without quoting. Also, please bear in mind that the audience we intend to serve here are primarily minors and young adults, so our time -- and advocacy -- is always going to be for them first, adults later.)

I agree that power differentials do not make it impossible to have a relationship. However, when one party, by design, has more agency and more legal and financial power, as well as furthered physical development -- especially with the greatest disparities -- it can be a real issue with sexual relationships, and often more so with heterosexual ones. Looking through these boards alone over the years, that's been illustrated far more than a few times.

Per not advocating for young intercourse, again, you're dismissing the risks that exist with plenty of other sexual activities. The rates for STIs in young women due to nothing but oral sex are gargantuan: infections due to manual sex happen all the time. HIV can be transmitted orally, for example. Herpes via manual sex. Avoidance of intercourse is also upping the rates of anal sex, which can create a pregnancy and also carries substantial STI risks. Even you, at aparently 28, sound like you wouldn't pass the same test you're suggesting for youth to be honest, and at your age, you've got far more agency to educate yourself and get accurate information about even just STIs and physical risks.

And for the record, including anal sex does not thus automatically include homosexuality nor create an easy out from heterosexism. All gay men do not engage in anal sex, and anal sex tends to be relatively rare among plenty of lesbians.

That an author had a relationship with an adult as a minor doesn't mean they can then say, with any certainty or credibility, that other's relationships of that nature are all going to be positive. I did too, bth positive AND negative, but plenty of people also do and have without it being positive, some because of that disparity or the assumed lack of import for the disparity and the differentials that occur with people in a massive stage of physical and personal development. I'll dig up some of the sources for those studies for you later, if you're interested.

I'm not likely to compare sexual relationships to driving in most instances, because it's just far more complex. To boot, flaws exist(especially in the States) with how driving tests and licensure are done and carried out to begin with, AND there is also a minimum age at which one can obtain that license, anyway.

Again, you're suggesting ONE test for sexual readiness, which suggests that readiness is something which is fixed, not mutable. If it were with only one partner, in one very specific relationship sate always, that might be logical, but that's a pretty rare thing.

Per costs for emancipation, it depends on the scenario. If legal aid is involved, it's very little. if a private lawyer is retained, you're talking anywhere from a couple hundred bucks to a couple thousand, depending on the case. As well, for emancipation, a lease generally has to be obtained, so then there's the cost of a security deposit, etc.

Per who does and doesn't tend to sexual health and who can and who cannot, where it gets obvious in terms of WHY very often, we see far more teens not, for example, merely getting annual sexual health checkups and STI screens is because without the financial means to do so, it's difficult for many. And given that cost is often far, far less then treatment for an STI, and certainly less than handling a pregnancy or parenting, that creates a problem with readiness.

"some averages are more meaningful then others. For instance, if a person knows certain material on sexuality, on average, they're more likely to make better decisions then if they've just reached a certain age but are otherwise unknowledgeable. This is why no one is saying we should get rid of driver's licenses just because some people still crash."

I'd agree with this.

You keep saying I think AOC laws are okay, when I've already said I really don't. I'm just a) not sure what is a better option that could be both practical AND would be accepted by lawmakers, save adapting those laws and how they're used and b) even remotely hopeful lawmakers would consider removing the AOC during my lifetime.

I hear that you think you've found the good answer to all of this, but you've come asking what we think. I don't think tests and licensure is the good answer, and again, I also don't know what else is that is feasible right now.

"Autonomous" an "adult" are not interchangeable, because in our culture, per the age of majority, things ARE segmented into what is adult and what is not.

IMO, learning about sexuality shouldn't need a carrot, and sex as reward tends to create some pretty crappy scenarios, even just interpersonally. Knowing about your own body and everyone else's, knowing how sexuality can work, how to navigate it, how to communicate it, how to handle it responsibly already carries potent rewards of its own.

I'd be willing to bet, did the sort of thing you're suggesting exist and was used rather than the AOC that you'd have far LESS young adults then lawfully allowed to be in any way sexually active. if it was applied to all people, that on the grand scale, relatively few could and would pass such a test and obtain that "license." How might you feel about that?

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 08-20-2004).]


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Heather
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(Can I also ask regarding all of this, the general age of the others you've discussed it with and who agree with you?

I ask that, because over the years here at ST, watching discussions of the AOC, the only real objections I see from the teens affected by those laws are either in states with a very high AOC -- such as CA's 18 -- in states which do not make allowances for dating within a certain year range -- and, far more rarely, among those who are dating adults. Interesting and surprising to me, however, is that the majority of teens I've seen here who are dating adults and who are under the AOC often seem to -- and not because of the law but their own readiness -- expect the adults to wait until they're of a greater age before most, and sometimes any, sexual contact anyway.

I suppose a big part of what I'm asking is whose interest you really feel you're representing, and if it's teens, what body of teens you've talked to who have either asked for your help or validated your thoughts here.)


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Scott
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Ok, clearly I'm behind in responses here. Having some trouble in my personal life right now, mainly with direction, but here goes for Silver...

Silver wrote:

quote:
Actually, if one is to be safe while practicing any type of sexual activity, then yes, there will be costs for things such as STI testing, latex gloves for manual sex, condoms and/or dental dams for oral sex, and condoms yet again for vaginal and/or anal sex. You said that oral sex and manual sex were realtively risk free, but I disagree with you because there ARE still risks for contracting and spreading STIs if people do not choose to practice safer sex techniques.

Relatively risk free is not completely risk free. Someone once told me that to be risk free, we wouldn't be able to sit on public toilets because there is some risk of contamination from there as well. Ultimately, what it comes down to is, what risks should people be allowed to take? I'm for there being limits on who should be able to engage in intercourse, but I think society goes too far when it comes to the limitations on other forms of sexual activities.
________________________________________

quote:
The costs for latex gloves, dental dams and condoms may seem minimal compared to the possible costs of say hormonal birth controls, medical care during the term of a pregnancy, raising a child, and/or abortions and after care, but they are still costs. I'm not saying that one has to be and "adult" in the context of the laws to participate in sexual activities, but if one chooses to do so, then he or she should be prepared and ready to pay for costs associated with safe sex (if that's what they choose,) and treatment for possible STIs, pregnacy, and abortions if they choose not to practice safe sex techniques, and/or if they did in fact choose to be safe and their methods happened to fail.

I see that you are once again mixing intercourse with outercourse. I think that we'd be a lot better off if we started separating these 2 categories..
________________________________________

quote:
If one can not pay for, on their own or with the help of their sexual partner, for the things I previously mentioned, regardless of age, then I really feel that they should abstain from any type of sexual activity until they are financially able to pay for any possible outcome(s) of their behavior.

I think that some forms of sexual activity are safe enough. I think a hand job is safe enough, for instance. Or fingering, if it's male to female..


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Scott
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quote:
However, when talking about costs and risks, let's PLEASE remember that by no means is intercourse, vaginal or anal, the only activity which carries risks. Manual sex, and even more so, oral sex, carry STI risks as well. And costs are not only crisis-only: sexual health exams, which need to occur yearly to safeguard sexual health, cost money.

Someone who is 18 and over doesn't need to do any of those things. Age bias don't you think? Anyway, I myself think that the big issue is intercourse. The risk in terms of other sexual interactions is definitely a lot less I think you'd agree...
________________________________

quote:
And obviously, for people of any age, any sexual partnership creates emotional risks as well.

And yet people above the AoC are free to engage in sexual relations without needing to take any type of test at all. I know that for the forseeable future there will be bias towards younger members of our society, but the least we can do is give those who really want to enter the world of sexuality a way; through a test, which tests for their readiness. If there are extra costs that society insists they must pay (latex this or that), perhaps you could have a case. But for every thing that we insist that minors do while we allow people 'of age' to get away with not doing, hypocrisy looms.


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Silver1381
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott:

I think that some forms of sexual activity are safe enough. I think a hand job is safe enough, for instance. Or fingering, if it's male to female..[/B]


That is your opinion. Have you even thought about the idea of a person having a cut on their finger and then being at risk for contracting a STD or Aids when he or she comes in contact with fresh semen or vaginal fluid from someone who is a carrier?

If one isn't using some kind of barrier for manual sex,and they happen to have a slight nick or cut on their hand or finger while participating in this activity, then they may possibly be at risk for contracting an infection or disease. Granted that unprotected oral,anal,and vaginal sex are MORE likely to spread STIs and Aids than unprotected manual sex, but none the less, there are still possible risks...no matter how slight or insignificant they may seem to you personally.

As far as your other comments directed towards me, I don't feel the need to validate or further discuss anything I said to you because I have already been backed by an expert, Miz Scarlet.

I was merely responding back to you in regards to your idea that, "oral and manual sex were relatively risk free" and the fact that you clearly hadn't thought about the costs associated if one should decide to practice safe sex methods in ALL areas of their sexual activities. Therefore the idea of a "potential cost" is not justified, in my opinion, because I'm sure there are people out there who DO practice safe sex in ALL activities and then they would always have costs if they were to choose to remain sexually active and protected. If that's the case, they would need to have things such as barriers, STI testing and other health related screenings to ensure that they are and will remain protected. FYI:these things cost money.

Hopefully you can now see and understand the points I was originally trying to get you to consider and think about.


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Heather
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott:
Someone who is 18 and over doesn't need to do any of those things. Age bias don't you think? Anyway, I myself think that the big issue is intercourse. The risk in terms of other sexual interactions is definitely a lot less I think you'd agree.

Um, they most certainly DO have to do those things if they want to safeguard their sexual health and that of their partners. This isn't at all an issue of age, save that the greatest rise in STIs currently is in 16-22's and has been for some time, and that's often NOT from sexual intercourse -- as at the current time, rates of vaginal intercourse in that age group are lower than they have been for a long time and yet STI rates are still rising -- but from the other activities you very mistakenly seem to think do not carry those risks.

So no, I wouldn't agree, because the epedimiology doesn't bear out what you're suggesting. It never has.

Honestly, it sounds like you yourself could use a pretty in-depth sex education refresher, especially if you've decided you're interested in developing something like this for others. Merely saying, over and over again, that "outercoure" doesn't carry these risks doesn't make it so. Would that it did.


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Scott
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quote:
Can I also ask regarding all of this, the general age of the others you've discussed it with and who agree with you?

In general, I've discussed it with adults. As a general rule, I haven't talked to too many teens about it. I've found that most people tend to conform to what's currently thought of as good, and at present, I think it's fair to say that most people, teens included, think that adult-minor relationships aren't good. This doesn't go with my -own- thinking for when I was a minor though.

When I was a teen, I was never asked, but if I'd been asked by someone I knew, I think my answer would have conformed with my current thinking. I remember having crushes on teachers of mine and through the years I've found that my arguments for teachers and students having relationships has been getting stronger (the recent case regarding a certain teacher and student making the case for such relationships all that much stronger and making the case for societal repression of such relationships that much weaker).

When I was 11, I liked a girl who was perhaps 17. I didn't think I was ready for sex just then, but I would have loved to be sexual with her in other ways, from kissing to fondling to perhaps more. I never was, because I knew that society wouldn't approve of such a relationship. So now I ask society to justify its ageism.

I've heard you speak of the issue of stds being acquired through oral sex. I haven't heard of it being a 'gargantuan' problem and would be interested in hearing where you got that statistic from. However, if it were indeed so risky I could see oral sex being crossed off the list of early sexual experiences as well. It still lives many others to try.

As to sex check ups, if it's not mandatory for sexually active adults, why should it be mandatory for sexually active teens? There lies hypocrisy plain and simple. Also, if stds and such are so expensive to deal with, check ups should be free to avoid such things.


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Scott
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Miz Scarlet wrote:
quote:
I'd be willing to bet, did the sort of thing you're suggesting exist and was used rather than the AOC that you'd have far LESS young adults then lawfully allowed to be in any way sexually active. if it was applied to all people, that on the grand scale, relatively few could and would pass such a test and obtain that "license." How might you feel about that?

I don't see why you think less people would be allowed to be sexually active. I wouldn't plan on making it something like a p.h.d. course or something. There's also the fact that there could be different testing levels; one for most sexually activities, and another for 'riskier' ones. The riskier one would be the harder test.


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logic_grrl
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quote:
So now I ask society to justify its ageism.

Well, one very obvious point is that AoC laws aren't intended as discrimination against teens (although in practice some of them do have that effect), but to protect teens and children against exploitation by adults.

In other words, if an adult persuades or manipulates an 11-year-old into sex, they can't get away with saying in court, "well, I didn't actually use force or threats, so it was completely consensual". And personally, I think it's a good thing that they can't.

In this society, any adult has much more power, experience and confidence than the average teen, let alone the average child. No matter how good their intentions may be. That is even more so when one is in a position of power over the other - like, say, a teacher and student.

I'm 30. I work with young children, and sometimes teens. I know that I have an extraordinary amount of authority and ability to influence them, whether I like it or not. It's my responsibility to ensure that I don't abuse that power in any way.

Yes, it's very common and normal for kids to get crushes on teachers and other adults. But in practice, it's almost always extremely damaging when an adult takes advantage of that to get someone inexperienced and vulnerable into a sexual relationship.

When I was at school, some of my peers were having sex with middle-aged men, and these were not happy or healthy relationships.

Pretending this inequality doesn't exist means ignoring the very real vulnerabilities that teens and children face.

If someone's 30, I'm prepared to say to them, "You feel you're being taken advantage of in this relationship? Well, it's up to you to be assertive and set boundaries. You've contracted an STD? Well, it was your choice not to practice safer sex. You've been having unprotected sex and now you're pregnant? Well, you have to deal with it and handle those responsibilities as a grown-up."

I'm not prepared to say that to a 10-year-old.

Do I think the current AoC laws are all perfect and wonderful? Of course not. Could the system be greatly improved, to allow teens more freedom to engage in consensual relationships with equals while protecting them against exploitation? Absolutely.

But there is a major factor that seems to be being ignored in this discussion here. Different people do develop at different rates, but age is not irrelevant to how mature and confident someone is - and it's certainly not irrelevant to how much power and independence they have.

[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 08-27-2004).]


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Heather
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Per STI issues from activities other than sexual intercourse, Scott, there is no one source or statistic for that information because it is EVERYWHERE in infectious disease, sexual health, adult and adolescent health and STI literature, study and statistics, and this is by no means anything new, not by a long shot. Nor should it be a shocker, knowing anything about how most sexually transmitted infection works (via fluid-sharing, mucous membrane contact, and -- with some of the most common STIs, via plain old skin-to-skin cobtact), and the nature of human physiology (in short, the commonalities of genital and oral tissue) kinda makes it a no-brainer.

If you want places to look at that -- though I'm quite bewildered as to why someone considering developing the sorts of "tests" you're speaking about hasn't spent plenty of time with these places already -- you can even just start with the websites for SIECUS, the CDC, WHO, Planned Parenthood, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, and the like. These are all reliable, constant sources for this sort of information.

Most people don't tend to compartmentalize sexual activities a whole lot, so "licensing" or okaying some without others is again, something else that would likely -- all the others flaws of what you're suggesting aside -- be doomed to fail per people disobeying the mandates of such a license. Moreover, you ask why I think even LESS people would be entitled to be sexually active with such tests than with the AOC now, and say your tests would be basic, so why?

Frankly, just looking at this conversation, you at 28 would be unlikely to pass such a test. And if we're instead talking about a test based on things less basic than when and how STIs are transmitted, for instance, I don't see how such a test would be in any way helpful.

"As to sex check ups, if it's not mandatory for sexually active adults, why should it be mandatory for sexually active teens? There lies hypocrisy plain and simple. Also, if stds and such are so expensive to deal with, check ups should be free to avoid such things."

No one here is talking about mandatory issues but you, here. Sexual healthcare is needed for ALL sexually active people, of any age.

You're now also bringing up national healthcare. I agree, it'd sure be swell, and as an American who has lived without health insurance for close to 20 years now, I'd be a fan. But that's a whole different issue, and tin the US right now, a whole new level of utopia that has no real bearing to the AOC.

And per age issues and what teens think of them, many current AOC laws DO allow for *some* sexual activity with those outside the AOC. Some states laws, again, also allow for a range of years during which any sort of sex is lawful. In a sane administration, we also rarely see cases where developmentally appropriate activity amoung children and teens is being tried or charged. In addition to what logic just said, I have already agreed, the AOC laws could certainly use a lot of finessing and reworking. But some general has to be applied, whether it's ages or tests, you're still talking about some mean or another, and I simply don't see testing or licensing (again, you compared it to drivers licenses, and even that test requires an age) as an improvement.

I think this discussion has really reached its usefulness. But if you're interested in pursuing it further, maybe one of the teen users here will find it of interest at some point and participate. You might also find some interesting perspective in looking at this from an anthropological viewpoint, in areas without an AOC or any sort of sex laws, but where behaviour and standards are community or family based, because it's really quite interesting to see that there are commonalities that cross nearly all cultures in terms of sexual development and activity, in terms of peer groups and the like. While I'm certainly not what you'd call a patriot, it's not just the big bad USA coming up with these ideas or mandates, or even necessarily basing things like the AOC on totally arbitrary ideas.

It's perhaps also worth remembering that a teen under the AOC pays no real "price" for activity outside of it, the adult in question is the one at risk, so it's also perhaps worth asking who, much of the time, adults very unhappy with the AOC are actually looking to empower and protect.


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Scott
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logic_grrrl wrote:
quote:
Well, one very obvious point is that AoC laws aren't intended as discrimination against teens (although in practice some of them do have that effect), but to protect teens and children against exploitation by adults.

In other words, if an adult persuades or manipulates an 11-year-old into sex, they can't get away with saying in court, "well, I didn't actually use force or threats, so it was completely consensual". And personally, I think it's a good thing that they can't.


I think that we should differentiate between consent and informed consent; and not in the legal sense that they are old enough (or not) and therefore informed (or not). This is why I think a test should be the key.


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Scott
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logic_grrrl wrote:
quote:
When I was at school, some of my peers were having sex with middle-aged men, and these were not happy or healthy relationships.

When it comes to the act of sexual intercourse, the main issue, namely, is there are chance of transmission of stds and/or pregnancy, is important. If that chance is too high (and I'm not saying I'm an expert on this), then that particular act isn't a good one. Miss Scarlet says that other acts aside from sexual intercourse are also dangerous.

Basically, what it comes down to is this:
At some point in time, people are allowed to take whatever risks there are; this age is the age of consent. The age of consent is further complicated with exceptions and the like, that allow people of similar age to do things, but not of a sufficiently 'dissimilar age'.

If you could get into specific cases of these adults-minor relationships, I think I could show you that it wasn't the age difference that was the problem per se, but rather the circumstances that such relationships can frequently create; the need for secrecy, say. I'm also not saying that there aren't adults that exploit younger people; I'm sure there are. But I think we shouldn't paint all adult-minor relationships with the same brush. There have been societies where adults would teach minors about sexuality not just by talking about it but by doing (Greece and atleast one native american tribe of which I don't know the name comes to mind).


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Scott
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Miss Scarlet wrote:
quote:
But some general rule has to be applied, whether it's ages or tests, you're still talking about some mean or another, and I simply don't see testing or licensing (again, you compared it to drivers licenses, and even that test requires an age) as an improvement.

Unlike driver's licenses, the SRK license wouldn't need to require an age; pass the test and you're set. Ofcourse, initially, I can easily see it being something like 'requires parental permission to get below a certain age'. It's a reality that parents have a lot of power in their children's lives right now. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be, especially if the parents are overly restrictive.

Anyway, I don't see why you don't think the license idea isn't as good as the AoC. The AoC really doesn't put any emphasis on knowledge per se; it seems to simply assume that because a person is such an age, they will be knowledgeable enough; a poor way to measure knowledge I would think.


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Djynnjah
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STD and pregnancy risk are not the only things that make a relationship unhealthy. They also aren't markers of what makes certain sexual acts 'good' and others 'bad'.

A test would prove nothing but that a person knows the facts and that alone is not enough to determine sexual readiness. There was a good gap between the time I knew the facts and the time I had the resources to prepare properly.

At just what age would a person become eligible to take this test? If you're out to get rid of the ageism inherent in AoC laws, then logically anyone at all could take it. Even children could conceivably pass a test if taught well, but they couldn't take responsibility for their own actions if something went wrong. Things happen even to adults. Condoms burst, pills aren't taken on time. An adult is generally in a much better position to foot the bill and won't have to get consent for certain kinds of health care.

Do you think an eleven year old should be used for sex by an adult just because the child passed some test? I don't see how some sex license would instantly remove the issues of manipulation that surround such relationships. It's not as if the age of consent is so agonizingly hard to reach, either. Eighteen is not as far off as teenagers might think it is. The AoC might not be perfect but why quibble over a few years.

[This message has been edited by Djynnjah (edited 11-13-2004).]

[This message has been edited by Djynnjah (edited 11-13-2004).]


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Scott
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Djynnjah wrote:
quote:
STD and pregnancy risk are not the only things that make a relationship unhealthy. They also aren't markers of what makes certain sexual acts 'good' and others 'bad'.

I think it would be bad to engage in unprotected sex if one wasn't ready for stds and/or pregnancy, but I agree with you that they're not the only things we need to watch out for. Naturally emotional issues get into it; Miss Scarlet's written up a good deal on that and I like it.
_________________________________________

quote:
A test would prove nothing but that a person knows the facts and that alone is not enough to determine sexual readiness. There was a good gap between the time I knew the facts and the time I had the resources to prepare properly.

You need not have much in the way of resources for certain sexual actions, but I agree that some sexual actions do indeed need resources of, say, the financial kind (for pregnancy anyway; free abortions are still payed for by the taxpayer; I think there should be -some- effort to avoid getting taxpayers to pay unnecessarily).
________________________________

quote:
At just what age would a person become eligible to take this test? If you're out to get rid of the ageism inherent in AoC laws, then logically anyone at all could take it. Even children could conceivably pass a test if taught well, but they couldn't take responsibility for their own actions if something went wrong.

I think it depends on the magnitude of what went wrong. Different sexual actions have different potential problems.
___________________________

quote:
Things happen even to adults. Condoms burst, pills aren't taken on time. An adult is generally in a much better position to foot the bill and won't have to get consent for certain kinds of health care.

As to consent for health care, I take it this is another age related bias. But I agree with you on the financial front which is why I'm keen on separating sexual activities.
___________________________

quote:
Do you think an eleven year old should be used for sex by an adult just because the child passed some test?

Wording can be everything. What if the child initiated a sexual encounter? And remember that it doesn't have to be sexual intercourse. There I would agree with you for the most part; someone who's 11 wouldn't even be very physically ready for sexual intercourse, let alone the financial burden (although that -could- in theory be taken care of by the adult).
_____________________________

quote:
I don't see how some sex license would instantly remove the issues of manipulation that surround such relationships. It's not as if the age of consent is so agonizingly hard to reach, either. Eighteen is not as far off as teenagers might think it is. The AoC might not be perfect but why quibble over a few years.

18 years is considered a long time by most people. I, atleast, am cautious when it comes to forcing people to not be sexual. That's quite a right you're taking away there. Many minors don't play by the rules; in general, they don't get in trouble, although not always. Adults engaging in relationships with minors clearly do get in trouble more. But ultimately, I think that what we want is that people are as happy as possible. Sexual interactions, done right, tend to produce happiness not sorrow. The trick is doing them right; I'm sure there are techniques that work. There are certainly books written on how to be with partners. Miss Scarlet has written up ideas on what to avoid, for instance. The last step, as far as I'm concerned, would be to simply wrap this all up into sex ed so that minors wouldn't have to fumble in the dark and would also be given a more official license to be sexual in a -limited- way, one that doesn't involve the risks of sexual intercourse.


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Djynnjah
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Eighteen only seems a long way off until you reach it. The hormones don't even kick in until the first ten years or so are gone. Do you really think an eleven year old, even if he/she initiated a sexual encounter is really aware of the consequences? Kids may be precocious or imitating what they see around them but that doesn't mean they know what they're doing.

The idea of licensing people for various sexual acts sounds tedious and ivasive. Are there going to be sex ed classes, say to licence thirteen year olds for kissing, fifteen year olds for fingering, seventeen year olds for handjobs? That in itself is discriminatory and you're the one saying you want to get rid of the ageism.


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Scott
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Djynnjah wrote:
quote:
Eighteen only seems a long way off until you reach it. The hormones don't even kick in until the first ten years or so are gone. Do you really think an eleven year old, even if he/she initiated a sexual encounter is really aware of the consequences? Kids may be precocious or imitating what they see around them but that doesn't mean they know what they're doing.

I'm not saying that anyone should break the law. Breaking the law has the tendency of creating consequences that few people can adequately deal with. In terms of sexual activities, it's been shown that babies can get erections or orgasms. In an ideal world, I don't think it'd be much of a difference, whether it's done by themselves or with someone else wouldn't matter, with the exception of sexual interactions that may involve pregnancy or std transmission.
______________________

quote:
The idea of licensing people for various sexual acts sounds tedious and invasive. Are there going to be sex ed classes, say to licence thirteen year olds for kissing, fifteen year olds for fingering, seventeen year olds for handjobs? That in itself is discriminatory and you're the one saying you want to get rid of the ageism.

I do want to get rid of ageism. But we have to be realistic; ageism is deeply entrenched in our society and so we have to go with the flow. If the majority won't allow people below x age to kiss, finger or do handjobs for now, then that's all we can do. But perhaps in time it'll change somewhat. I have already said that when it comes to sexual activities that involve the possibility of pregnancy or the transmission of stds, they should definitely be considered more serious then other sexual activities.


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Scott
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Just as there are stories of minors who had negative reactions to sexual encounters when they were young, there are also minors who enjoyed them. In some cases, it was legal, in others, it wasn't, but the writer of the story was always a minor at the time to avoid legal complications. Remember that the Age of Consent is only 18 in a few places; in many places it's a bit lower, 16 and there are leniencies for people who are close if not identical in age.

People who are now adults have given stories, both positive and negative, of sexual experiences they had when they were minors, both with adults and with other minors. Figuring out what makes experiences positive and what makes them negative would go a long way to fixing the issue I think. I'm not sure if we're allowed to post links to these types of testimonials though so I'll refrain from doing so until I hear one way or another.

[This message has been edited by Scott (edited 11-16-2004).]


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