This is topic Are you not "ready" for sex until you hit 18? in forum Sexual Ethics and Politics at Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive).

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Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
Thought I'd share.

Now and then, I get some pretty naty hate mail.

But the other night, I got one that not only informed me that I was a "menace who needed to be stopped from poisoning children" (nice, eh? Welcome to my mailbox.) but the writer also asked me this:

"Where do you get the idea that teens even have the right to have sex?"

Yikes. And she wasn't just talking about intercourse, either.

Do you feel that it's fair for an adult, or even a set of laws, to decide that all of you are ready for sex at 18 regardless of your own personal readiness?

Do you get this message a lot? How does it make you feel? Do you think it empowers you to make good choices and helps you wait until you;re ready, or do you feel that it disempowers you to even MAKE your own choices?

Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


Posted by LilBlueSmurf (Member # 1207) on :
Oy vey ... Not very nice

As most of you know, I just recently lost my virginity, back in October (that's recent to me). I was 16 at the time (and i'm now 17).

I don't think it's fair to put an age limit on it. Everyone matures at different speeds and at different ages in their lifetime. I started menstruating at 12, so that makes me physically ready ... Now we've gotta take care of mentally and emotionally. I was all of the above and I don't regret it.

However, I do think that the physical aspect has to be the first to come. It usually is. You can't be comfortable w/ such an act until you've started to grow into a mature adult (usually meaning menstruation for women). The other two will fall into place in time.

(This, of course, is saying that one does have the ability to menstruate. If not, then i guess you'll have to move along w/o the physical aspect of it all ... )

Posted by glitter695 (Member # 1515) on :
Oh no, Im sorry...
I think that *kids* are going to do what they want no matter what anybody says. My mom told me after she found out I had sex, "why couldnt you wait until you were 18?"

What is so big about that number. That exactly what it is, a number. People mature at different ages. I think that us *kids* have the right to choose if we want to have sex, but only if we are ready and can accept the conequences. Some people dont think before they have sex and thats what gets them in trouble. If us children under 18 thought about it, maybe they would put it off until they could handle it. We also have to explore ourselves. I dont just mean with oral sex and with our partners, but with ourselves.

I dont think that people have the right to e-mail you and harrass you, at least you are teaching us the rights and wrongs, and to have safe sex. After coming to this website, us *kiddies* will be prepared for the world of sex.


"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn't" -Erica Jong<~~~no thats not me :)

*~*Scarleteen Advocate*~*

Posted by Bobolink (Member # 1386) on :
This is always an awkward problem. Some people are physically and emotionaly mature enough to have sex at 12. Then again, I've known 40-year olds who were highly irresponsible.

So we can't really decide based on age. However, is there a necessity for an "age of consent"?In Ontario, the age is 16, in the other 9 provinces it is 14. Should we draw a bar at a particular age?

If we try to place a bar based on intellectual, emotional, and financial competance, how could it be enforced?

BTW, I mention financial competence based on Miz Scarlet's sexual readiness test which does have a financial component.

"A free society is a place where it's safe to be unpopular."

- Adlai Stevenson

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 04-06-2001).]

Posted by Sweet Girl (Member # 3258) on :
I completly disagree with the that law saying teens should be 18 before they have sex. I personally think it every individual's choice, they know if they're ready or not, they don't need someone to tell us when they think we're ready to have sex. It's a personal choice that everyone needs to make for themselves. I'm still a virgin and I know that I'm not ready yet, emotionaly or mentally. Before I ever lose my virginity I need to completly sure that I'm ready to make a decsion that could forever change my life, like pregnancy, life-threatning dieases like HIV, for which there is no cure.
Posted by towel42 (Member # 3118) on :
People sometimes forget that many many years ago, girls were married off at young ages (I'm talking 13, 14), and at that time, it was perfectly normal. Society tends to dictate what's ethical when it comes to sexuality. I wonder what it is, exactly, that makes sex such a taboo? I could go off on a thousand weird Freudian allegorical things at this point, but I won't.

I think the other posters have made the point pretty well. Age, I don't believe, isn't what dictates whether a person is ready for sex. It's not like, at the moment you turn 18, you suddenly get hit with a wave of clarity and maturity and go "I'm ready now!". I've known some 16 year olds that were far more mature and equipped to handle the responsibility of sex than some 20 year olds. It all depends on the person.

I think if a person is ready, physically and emotionally, to accept all the after-effects of sex, and knows how to stay safe, they have every right to participate in consensual sex.

------------------ angel who didn't so much fall as saunter vaguely downward...

Posted by Laughs_Wisely (Member # 2610) on :
I was discussing this the other day with a friend, actually. I am still waiting to hit that magical age where I suddenly DO know everything that is right and wrong and why those things are what they are...

I frequently advocate waiting until your really, really sure about anything before doing it. This philosophy applies to everything, I've found. It takes serious thought to make this sort of decision, and it should be taken as such. I do not believe it takes achieving a specific age, but more a level of maturity overall (including physical, good point guys) to make these sorts of potentially life-changing decisions.

"I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." (Rebecca West)

Posted by Beppie (Member # 94) on :
I think that the question of 'do teenagers have the right to have sex' is an interesting one- but the question should be 'do people have the right to have sex?' Teenagers aren't non humans by any stretch of the imagination, and as such they are included in the question.

I think that people have the right to have sex as soon as they are responsible enough to do so, which basically means that they have covered everything in the Scarleteen First Intercourse Primer. Of course, there's more to sex than intercourse, but much of what's in there applies to other types of sex too- for instance, STD testing, condom usage, communication with partner, health care, contingency plans.

Posted by Gaffer (Member # 2105) on :
I definitely agree that everyone matures at their own pace, but I wonder how effective that law really is. It sounds as if it isn't doing what it is supposed to do, and I wonder why it is supposed to do what it isn't doing in the first place. Perhaps that has to do with its ineffectuality.
Posted by BJadeT (Member # 2057) on :
You don't change overnight, whether it's the night of your 16th birthday or your 18th or any other day of the year. Someone who doesn't know you personally deciding when you are ready is just wrong. If it really does help you not do it before you have the 'right', how do you explain the fact that different countries have differnt ages of consent. Do all people in Britain really become 'ready' 2 years before all people in America???NOOOO. Putting a law on it creates so many more problems than it solves. 16 year olds here often do feel pressurised to have sex because NOW they're 16 and even the law says they 'should' be having sex. That can't be good. people who are 'underage' don't feel able to go to the doctors about their sexual health or even buy contraception for fear of someone reporting them. It's soooo wrong. Grrr
Posted by Lin (Member # 2050) on :
I do get confused at this topic because for every person I know who had sex before he/she was 18 responsibly, I know another 5 who had no idea what they were getting themselves into.

Does age play a part in this? Maybe. I wouldn't like to say that the law should be abolished or that 18 is too old or that hey, 50 year olds can have irresponsible sex because it is the majority that the government has to look after.

I waited until I was 16 to have sex even though I felt that I was ready, but I now realise I was not and it wasn't such a big deal.

But I believe such laws should go hand in hand with sex education classes. Proper ones not just the ones of the "Don't have Sex" variety.

I used to argue alot against such laws when I was younger like why must I be 21 to watch an R rated movie? But I guess I realise over time that damn, not everybody is like me and I wouldn't want these people watching certain movies when they are 17 or 18. Same as sex.

I don't think I'm making sense anymore.

Posted by loveable me (Member # 2915) on :
Children are very curious about their bodies and others from a very early age. They are also very curious about nature. Why is there any difference? How old "should" a person be before they can spend a night with their friends in the forest? I was in a tent camping at 14-15 when i first had a boy inside me. Both were fun and seemed perfectly natural.
Posted by $uMMeR (Member # 2658) on :
This really should be debate material *duh*.

The fact is, as well as being physically prepared for sex, you really should be emotionally prepared too. Counsellors argue that this is so, and many people do seem to support the idea.

So you might be menstruating at 9 years old, like some people actually do - but in today's society, a 9-year-old having sex is considered stupid, sick, and immature.

Basically, everyone feels it's wrong because the 9-year-old wouldn't be prepared emotionally for it; thus laws are made about the age you should have sex, and these laws are based on the age they feel most people are ready for sex at.

Teenagers aren't necessarily trusted because they are viewed as going through years where they suffer from a lot of insecurities, and need to discover oneself a bit better.

Unfortunately, laws such as these don't really seem to work (in my opinion anyway).

Putting a law on it creates so many more problems than it solves

I think BJadeT is right about this. There is an increase of STD's in young adults. I wonder how many of them are underage, and scared to ask for protection?

*Read my diary

*Read my page

*And...alwayz :)

Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
Remember too that sex isn't intercourse.

Sex can be oral sex, it can be masturbation, it can be petting, or even just snuggling, depending on whatever an individual finds sexually fulfilling for themselves.

Posted by DC_WillowFan (Member # 631) on :
What a number ? I mean couldn't we have chosen something else ? Let's try a random and see what it says. 27.

Well, I tried my best for that one.

Anyways, I mean, I'll be 18 in 3 weeks (May 4th) and I guess that I'll feel the same the day before than the exact day. To say, that there's no age to be ready. It's always different for everyone. People can't decide when "we" are ready to have sex. I haven't even kissed a girl in my life and I don't consider it sex but some people do (never really seen why, maybe because one thing lead to the other but...).

BTW, Bobolink, I think here in Quebec it's now 16 and no longer 14 like you said.

And again, LilBlueSmurf is the first to reply. How amazed by that, I can't believe how she does that.


- I hope I shall be able to confide in you conpletely, as I have never been able to do in anyone before, and I hope that you will be a great support and comfort to me.

Anne Frank to her journal

Posted by LilBlueSmurf (Member # 1207) on :
Hmm ... I'm not sure about that age thing. I thought for all of Canada that it was 14 (or maybe i'm wrong ... ?? But lookie here

I agree tho. You can't just wake up one day and decide "hey, i'm 18, so that means i'm ready to do the horizontal mombo!!" No, you're not. And hey, if someone thinks they're ready at 13 and they've got proper measures taken care of, grrrreat. Regret is a very very bad thing to have to deal w/ after the fact tho. It's not something you can take back.

David ~ I dunno how i do it. Magic

Posted by Lee (Member # 381) on :
To answer the woman who asked where teens get the right to have sex, they don't get it from anywhere, it is an inherent part of being a free person.

Freedom is not something you are given. It is something that you yourself create. Freedom is power, the power to choose who and what you will be as well as what you will do. Freedom is itself a choice, the choice to be soverign unto yourself and not live at the whim of another. It is the most precious thing any of us have and the first thing that other people will try to take away. There are two main methods used to try and do this. The first is to use force or power to overwhelm your ability to defend your freedom. The second is for the person to try and trick you into believing that you're not really free and that you are somehow answerable to them. Most people don't have the ability to overwhelm by force, leaving them with only the second option. The idea that the thoughts, beliefs and opinions of others have some kind of inherent importance plays into this. Truths matter whether anyone agrees with them or not, but opinions matter only as much as the person who holds them can do something about them.

People like this woman will try and convince us that we don't have the right to decide if, when and with whom we will have sex. But the key is that it will only be true if we agree with her, if we surrender the power and therefore the right to make that choice for ourselves. She only has as much power as we give her. Lets be smart and not give her any. Instead lets give her the finger.


Posted by lemming (Member # 33) on :
"Where do you get the idea that teens even have the right to have sex?"

This is my mother, on crack.
My mother's mantra is "I'm an adult, so I can do whatever I want." This was her stock answer for why she could do things that I couldn't while I was in the house. And I'd ask, "So when do I get to (spend money irresponsibly, eat my dessert first, sleep over at the Timming's house)?"

"When you're an adult." And she'd never specify when that age was. As if when I turned 16, or 18, or 21 I would suddenly have all the knowledge I needed to deal with the real world.

Well, something I've learned is that you DON'T acquire that knowledge by turning a certain age. I grew up thinking in the back of my mind that when I had to open a bank account or write a check or pump gas I would just KNOW how to do it--and I moved out, and I was clueless. Age doesn't bring knowledge, and that's what's wrong with setting ages on anything at all.

>>Yikes. And she wasn't just talking about intercourse, either.

And that's the scary thing. You know, this is my body we're talking about. This is YOUR body we're talking about. Don't you like to think that you have some say over what goes on with your body? I was ready for sex at 16, and I knew it. I thought about it. I wasn't incredibly well-informed, but, you know, I did okay. And it would have been much more traumatizing to have been told that I was NOT going to have sex till I was 18 than to simply go about it myself. But secrets hurt.

>>Do you feel that it's fair for an adult, or even a set of laws, to decide that all of you are ready for sex at 18 regardless of your own personal readiness?

No. Some people are ready at 14. Some people aren't ready at 40. Some people may never be prepared to have sex with another person, in my opinion. An age is NO RELIABLE INDICATION of readiness for sex. It's just one aspect.

>>Do you get this message a lot? How does it make you feel? Do you think it empowers you to make good choices and helps you wait until you;re ready, or do you feel that it disempowers you to even MAKE your own choices?

The latter. It has always made me feel powerless. You can't do anything about your age. You can have the best damn resume in the world, have written monthlies for the New Yorker, and be fifteen and the Tribune might not hire you. No matter what you learn or what you do, you cannot change your age. So by putting an age requirement on something so basically human as sex, you're disempowering someone from their own body.

~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate

want to know the inner lemming? read her diary at
"Is love like the sweet, bitter taste of marmalade on burnt toast?"

Posted by Moth (Member # 2606) on :
Miz Scarlet says: "Now and then, I get some pretty naty hate mail."

Eck, I can sympathize with that. Seems there are some people who can't deal with a differing of opinion any other way than to get vicious over it . . .

"Do you get this message a lot? How does it make you feel? Do you think it empowers you to make good choices and helps you wait until you;re ready, or do you feel that it disempowers you to even MAKE your own choices?"

I am sexually active with my boyfriend of more than a year. We love and trust each other very much. We discussed every step thoroughly before going ahead, to make sure that there would be no regrets (there were none). We were extremely finicky about birth control and other safety measures. All in all, it is one o the most satisfying parts of my life.

My parents, however, do not know about this. My father, in so many words, called me a slut for "shacking up" with this boy at all hours (he assumed we were having sex because we hang out so much). My mother has told me that she does not want me "drawn into the trap of sex". She has condemned couples living together in college because "you can't understand love at that age". I tried to explain that I knew I'd be responsible about sex; I was that sort of person. She told me that I didn't understand sex. That teenagers "don't know how to control themselves" when they're passionate. My father wants to limit the time I spend with my boyfriend (it's a LDR. We spend an hour or so every day chatting on the 'net, plus visits as often as possible) because I'm "wasting my life staring into his eyes all day". They've threatened to keep me from him physically (since I am a minor without a credit card, I cannot book my own plane fares; they control this. They have also threatened to remove my computer.)

Yes, it hurts. In so many other ways my parents are reasonable (well, they tend toward the snide about my religious beliefs, but that's another story), but in general they're wonderful people, and I can discuss anything with them. In this one aspect of my life, however, I feel so cut off from them. I wish I could communicate with them. I wish their prejudices weren't so strong. I wish my mother was there to discuss with me all my feelings about my sexuality. Empowers me? How could it? It makes me feel frozen and hurt; guilty for pursuing something that in no way is wrong or sick. It alienates me from my parents, and creates the only- the only negative aspect to my sex life.

I know, though, that I am VERY lucky overall. My boyfriend is a wonderful person who is always open to discussion about this or any other subject. I know if he wasn't as supportive, my feelings about this entire issue would be drastically changed. I guess if I had to state a universal stance, it would be this: that no one can tell you what is in your heart, minor or not. Telling someone that they are wrong is never empowering. And the best form of sex ed is open discussion of the options, with an emphasis on safety, and self-esteem.

I'm sorry this was such a long post, but it really hit a nerve in me. Thanks for listening.



Posted by ViCeVeRsA (Member # 3448) on :
to some extent i dont think its fair to put an age limit on it. i mean i dont really think 12 year olds should be able to go out and have sex although like you said, some of them could be ready. i also dont understand how the laws in some places are your not allowed sex under the age of 14 and others are the age of 16. whats the difference? its not fair. im from UK and the law is 16. im 13 almost 14 and dont think im emotionally ready yet but i started my periods at the age of 11½ and im very mature. i dont think its right to put an age limit on it really, i think its up to the 2 people and if they're ready or not. i spose theres a law there to stop people just going out and doing it and teenage pregnacies and stuff but people ignore the laws and go out and do it anyway...
Posted by Aphrodite (Member # 997) on :
If you ask me the real ready is when youve found someone who you can love and trust and know that even if you get pregnant it wont matter because youve planned for it. what i am talking about ladies is marriage. the binding of one gentleman to a lady. A trust in which the father cant get away by saying "gee.. sorry hun, you were really good but i gotta go" and you never see him again. Some people say why marriage, but i say, why not?! its a way for him to prove to you that he really cares about you, and visa versa.
Posted by Laughs_Wisely (Member # 2610) on :
Aphrodite: Um...not all of us have guys, and not all of us will be able to marry our partners. I don't think it's remotely fair to those of us who won't get that opportunity to say 'wait until marriage'. It's kind of like dangling a treat in front of someone's face, then yanking it away and locking it up. Reality is that having sex shouldn't be an age, gender, marital status or orientation based issue, it should be a maturity issue. And if someone comes up with a way to measure and legislate that, I will be very impressed.
Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
Laughs Wisely basically said what I would have very well.

Do also remember that the western notion of marriage is a very limited thing, and does not enter into all cultures, eras and communities, nor is it appplicable to all people. Too, not everyone WANTS to have children, nor can everyone get married nor are all men and women heterosexual. Not all couples wish to be monogamous.

At Scarleteen, this is a non-issue because we recognize MANY diverse orientations, relationship models, sexual identities, choices, cultures and types of partnership.

Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


Posted by Lucky1402 (Member # 894) on :
Personally, I'm not ready to have sex yet. And that's fine, but I don't think somebody should have the right to define whether or not another person is ready for sex. Who's to say that a teenager can't be ready? That's their own personal choice, no one should be able to say that they shouldn't have the right to have sex. Since when did having sex become a right? Everybody has different levels of physical and emotional maturity and their own beliefs and should have the right to decide their own actions.

Actually, I find something like saying "teenagers shouldn't have the right to have sex" or enforcing age laws to be a little offensive- it makes it seem like teenagers can't make their own decisions or are not in the right state of mind or something. We're perfectly capable of thinking for ourselves, whether we make the right decisions or the wrong ones, they're still our choices.

Who's to say that a 15 year old or a 16 year old are less mature than an 18 year old? I know some people over the age of 18 who are not emotionally ready for sex even. Since everybody matures at a different rate, I find it completely possible for a teenager to be emotionally and physically ready for sex, and capable of making their own choices.

Come check out what's goin on in Lucky's mind!

"At one point we decided to fight fire with fire. Well...basically...your house burned even faster."

Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
Very well spoken, Lucky.


Posted by momma cat (Member # 363) on :
Also, regarding marriage: even that is no guarantee that the guy won't up and leave ya. Divorce rate is 50%. And I never want to have children, so if I got pregnant at 45 after being in the world's most perfect marriage for 20 years that would still be really traumatic for me.
Posted by Duff (Member # 2176) on :
It's totally insane for some one else to decided what you may or may not be ready for! God i hate it so much, and also age means not too much these days, people mature physically and mentally at different paces and this has so much to do with everything, but it's my own resbonsibility to figure out what i am or are not ready for. My mom thinks that i may not be ready to be very emotionally involved, as do the parents of my boyfriend. But all of these people know little about our relationships, and our minds, and our lives, our situations. All they know is what they see, and what we chose to share with them, but no matter what they will never truly understand our dynamic, one thing they do see is that we are both very happy. so why isn't that good enough for them?? I don't know where people feel THEY have the right to decide my life, BUT I DON'T have the right to empower myself through knowledge, and expand my life with a love that is healthy for me?
Posted by Lee (Member # 381) on :
Most of the posts here seem to be about how society bases so much on age, when in fact age is not a very good yardstick of maturity or responsibility.

All I can say is, who cares what society thinks?

The older I get, and I'm a long in the tooth 19 year old , the more I realize just how suckered most people are by social conditioning. We're taught from a young age that fitting in with the rules and restrictions that society sets for us is important, that those rules and restrictions are inherently valid or have some kind of innate power over us. The fact that most people buy into this and go along with it is what allows age restrictions to exist in the first place.

So the next time you feel upset because the system treats you as less than others simply because you are younger than others, just remember that while you don't have any choice about whether you are going to be treated that way, you do have a choice as to whether you are going to agree with it and how you are going to respond to it.

I'm going to stop now before I start ranting.
Lee, the opinionated $#@ who thinks he knows everything


Posted by silver snatch (Member # 3598) on :
When I look at the words of a person such as the one who wrote to scarleteen, I see someone eager to deny the sexual nature of all human beings and to restrain teenagers', specifically girls', sexuality. In this patriarchal society, while boys are expected to use a certain amount of discretion in sexual affairs, the burden of purity lies on girls. While boys may "sow their wild oats" girls bear the burden of maintaining the family honor (by not sleeping around or getting pregnant). While 'boys will be boys,' because of age-old conceptions of women as the property of first their fathers and then their husbands, any kind of potentially-empowering sexuality education is denounced as promoting immoral behavior——even when all it may promote is the formation of a confident sexual identity.

I feel sorry for that woman; her sexuality was probably rigorously controlled as a teenager. But I feel more sorry for any daughters she has.

Posted by Cate (Member # 3634) on :
I know this is an old subject but i'll post my reply anyways.
I don't think that there should be a law on how old you are before you have sex. All people mature differently. People can be ready to have sex at 15. I am 15 and I know I am not ready for sex. Even if they are ready for sex, i don't think 11,12,13 years old should have sex. ok sorry i am getting very confusing so i'll just end here!


Posted by Sapphire85 (Member # 2709) on :
Moth.. I am identifying with your situation totally. My family sounds exactly like yours, and I think we're in the same place. What frustrates me is that my parents try to repress me so much. It used to be things like going to the mall, but now that thats gone, my apparently existing sexuality has become a huge issue in my house. I have been with my boyfriend for a year, and although we have not yet, we do plan on in the future. My parents would probably disown me if they found out anything we've done- seriously, my mom has grown acostomed (sp?) to saying "she's not MY daughter." I'm not allowed over my boyfriend's house because my dad says that we'll "do nasty things." His mother is always there, and sure we hook up, but we wouldn't have sex. My dad always calls me a slut (not outright, but in subtler ways) and my mom keeps giving me the "you're too young, you have no idea what you're doing" talk. I don't know what really to do.. I just kind of nod my head when they start on their sermons. I've been trying to figure out for a while why parents (mine at least) think that they are some omnipotent people and that thier children know nothing. I think that sex, rather than placing an age limit on it, should be an issue discussed by parents and kids throughout a child's entire life, so that when it comes up, wheter they are 15 or 25, they will realize for themselves that they're ready. Also though, I think that people of ages 11, 12, 13 are seemingly too young to handle intercourse (judging by the 11, 12, 13 year olds I have known), but also that some 18 and 19 year olds are much too immature. So I guess, going back to what almost everybody else says- it's gotta be a personal decision.
And yes, Miz Scarlet, in my house, I get the "you're much, much too young" "your body is bad bad bad!!" message all the time.
:-) Oh well, I suppose I'll have to laugh about it for now, because in almost two years I won't have to deal anymore.

"Those who don't got it, can't show it. And those who got it, can't hide it."


Posted by Lisa D (Member # 389) on :
One important aspect to consider is financial responsability.

while a 15-16 year old might be "mentally/spiritually" ready for sex, and, goddess forbid, an unplanned pregnancy or STD, it is quite unlikely that they are financially ready for all the extras just to *HAVE* sex, let alone if a pregnancy or STD would occur. while some kids strike out on their own at an early age, that is the exception, not the norm - most kids still have financial ties to their parents well into college, not just until the magical "18th birthday."

While I am not a parent, I am at the age that I'm considering my options - I'm engaged, and I'll be over thirty when I'm married. After hashing everything over in my mind, and considering what I know, how I behaved sexually at a young age, and reading what many posters at this very site have said, i could not condone any child of mine having sexual intercourse until they are 18...why? For a couple of reasons:

first and foremost, if my 15 year old gets pregnant, ultimately, i am financially responsible not only for her, but for her new baby, as well. And yes, i hear cries of "but i could find a job!" and yes, one probably could, but not one making what it takes to rear a child. Life is incredibly expensive, and until you've *REALLY* been out on your own, and paid all of your bills, that's hard to understand. Major budget crunches happen at the most inconvenient times - heck, most people are complaining (me included) that they have to find money that will cover their increased gas costs (my monthly bill went from $56 to $169! Quite frankly, iI would prefer not having a teenaged child decide what I will be doing with all of my extra money for the next few years. When young adults make choices about their future, they forget that their parents might actually have to take the brunt of the responsibility for those choices...That might be a hard pill for most teenagers to shallow, but they have to realize that what they consider a huge mistake might actually be major thing for their parents, as well.

Also, and this is a personal opinion more than anything else, I think that it is better to err on the side of caution, and wait until you are legally an adult to take on the responsibility of sex. Age of consent aside, waiting is never a bad thing - it will always be there, and it will allow young adults to develop without the intense emotional complications of sex...

Does that mean I wouldn't teach my kids about birth control, take them to purchase it if needed, or discuss sexual issues with them? no, of course not. Openness is key to a healthy relationship, and it would be amazingly stupid to assume that just because I don't condone it, that they would follow my wishes. however, I would make it very clear to them that this is something i would prefer them to do as an adult, not as someone who is ultimately my responsibility under the law. I respected my parents quite a bit, even when we didn't agree on such things - while I knew that it was ultimately my decision, knowing that they were against it did carry some weight.

Oh, and yes, i did wait until I was eighteen, and I'm glad I did. For me, I liked having the time to explore relationships without the intense emotions of intercourse, which was my cultural definition of virginity. I had plenty of manual and oral experience until them (safely, so they wasn't any risk of pregnancy) which was perfectly fine, and honestly, it was more enjoyable than intercourse was the first few times.

Posted by Touchstone (Member # 3659) on :
I do nto think that there should be a law for age limits on sex. A 12 year old girl or boy could be just as, more or less ready to have sex as a 40 year old man or woman.
I suppose when one is ready to have sex is rather like puberty, we do not all go through it at the same time.

Now is the person who emailed you this refering only to intercourse? Or refering to oral sex and masturbation as well? I first masturbated when i was 12, and I think masturbation is a healthy part of growing up.

If there were to be a law against haveing sex before a certain age ( is there btw?) i would think the best way to go about doiing that (though i would be against it) would be to need parental consent, this would most likely ensure that you would have a family member to talk to about sex, wich is on the sex readiness checklist.


Posted by Gumdrop Girl (Member # 568) on :
in a more perfect world, people would need to take a test to earn a license before earning the right to engage in sexual activity. i figure sex is just as dangerous as driving a car; the only difference is the need for petrol.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe is constantly moving to a state of greater entropy s, therefore, delta s is always greater than zero.

Posted by Moth (Member # 2606) on :
Originally posted by Sapphire85:
I'm not allowed over my boyfriend's house because my dad says that we'll "do nasty things." His mother is always there, and sure we hook up, but we wouldn't have sex. My dad always calls me a slut (not outright, but in subtler ways) and my mom keeps giving me the "you're too young, you have no idea what you're doing" talk. I don't know what really to do.. I just kind of nod my head when they start on their sermons.

Oh, how I identify. <g> Heh . . . I wonder what the best strategy for dealing with discrimination like this is?

Posted by Sapphire85 (Member # 2709) on :
It works for me kind of like a Band-Aid on a large cut- it fixes the problem momentarily, but in all reality, I feel like I can't talk to my parents and that makes me resent them. I'm honestly not trying to be the angry teen, but until my parents treat me in a mature way, it's very hard for me to act back accordingly. I don't kcik and scream or anything- I simply don't respond. I think that if I talked to them, it would just worsen the problem. Oh man, and I always thought my parents would be cool about it once the topic of sex came up. Apparently I was wrong..
Posted by KawaiiGoddess (Member # 3743) on :
Oh, my gawd. Who does this woman think she is? That she knows each and every teenager to be able to say that teenagers should not have the "right to have sex"? Yes, I agree that not every teenager might be ready for sex when they think they are, but to create a law that locks up a very important and large part of our very humanity is unthinkable and unacceptable.

If we all waited until we got married, would there be a clause in the marriage ceremony with instructions on how to have sex? Trying to cover up our sexuality would only cause more problems because if you can't talk about it as a teenager and wait until it's too late to ask anyone about such things, then things like safe sex and STD's won't be things that you know about; because sex is "not something that kids do". Or, should young women be, figuratively, sold to husbands as they were in the past? Maybe dowries will come back, love will disappear and all sex will mean is something that you're supposed to do when you're married.

On the other hand, it doesn't mean that every teenager ought to be having sex, either. I mean, if you think you're seriously ready to have sex and are all revved up to do it, think about this one extra thing. Will you be able to talk to your partner the next morning? The next day at school or work? Will you or your partner feel so ashamed afterwards that you would deny that it happened? Just fyi, in case.

*falls off her high and mighty soapbox* owch.


~Change is inevitable, except from vending machines

Posted by loveable me (Member # 2915) on :
I've never seen so many negative, fearful attitudes on sex in all my life. I am glad to be raising my child in a different culture where we believe and teach that people are ready to accept the responsibility and enjoy the fun of sex certainly by the time they reach the age of consent, 15.
Posted by Kiwipunch9 (Member # 2913) on :
This strikes a chord in me. I've been dating my boyfriend for a little over 2 years and I'm 15. Most people would say I'm crazy, but if you were in my shoes with the knowlege that you have the most wondeful guy swooning over you, you wouldnt want to break up either.

There was the horrible episode about 4 months ago when his parents found out we were having oral sex. They didnt tell my parent because they KNEW how she wouldnt even understand as much as they did. His mom was understanding, probably only because she expected it after 2 years. I felt so horribly disgusted with myself for a while, because: I was in a trusting relationship with a person I loved, and i was trying to show him how much i loved him. That's what sex is to me.

And, his father wrote him a letter with this in it,

" I think society’s desire to be “frank and forthright” about AIDS blinds us to the true nature of intimacy. Society as a whole is unable to answer honestly the question, What is sex? It uses sex to sell products. It promotes sex as a form of recreation. All the media say that sex ought to be casual, like some kind of pick-up basketball game. Society says the facts of life are a fact of life: Don’t ask too many questions.

But there have to be rules, don’t there? Even walking across the street has rules. So society says that so long as sex is unlikely to lead to pregnancy, illness, or death, and is not forced upon anyone, anything, between anyone, is ok. That is a thin, transparent and shallow kind of teaching and you should not accept it as true, no matter how commonly it is made."
(sorry this is so long)

"Intimacy is closeness between two people. It is sharing between two people. And although its form changes across a wide spectrum of ages, true intimacy between two young adolescents is not possible."

!?!?!?!? This is the age barrier. Adolescents? How does he know that we were not in a sharing and loving relationship? If we were 18, it wouldnt of been a big deal, taking no consideration in the fact that we were emotionally ready for something like that, so we decided we could do it. Everything was fine until we were "the adolecents". *urgh* Having an age barrier is horrible, because it limits people's (and parent's) minds about thier children's actual feelings and their readiness to take things on themselves. So, the consequence is: we're under 18, so you cant truly love, or be intimate with someone.

I dont think thats right.
(thanks for reading.)

"There's an old joke, I just made up. How many of me would it take to screw up your life?" --Ben Folds, Kalamazoo

Posted by Gaffer (Member # 2105) on :
I think if his dad reacted like that to oral sex at fifteen, it's likely he would have reacted similarly at eighteen. It sounds like it's an ethical and moral issue for him, not a legal issue. Oh heck, what do I know. I think that most teenagers aren't really ready for an emotional relationship, so sex is fine if we're safe and can accept the emotional consequences of a breakup from a relationship free of sex, much less one with sex. I really don't know though.

I'm from the United States of Amnesia where Apathy is president. Nope, it just got worse--George Bush is president now.

I <a href=">blog</a>

Posted by dynamdrew (Member # 3972) on :
I am in favor of laws stipulating minimum ages for having sex. That special time is needed to know yourself. We aslo need to protect our children from the 22 year pedophiles that seek our 15 year old girls. Even 18 is too low. The minimum age should be 21? That sounds more like it.
Posted by LilBlueSmurf (Member # 1207) on :
Not all pedophiles are dangerous. I'm pretty sure the defination of a pedophile is a person attracted to pre pubescent boys/girls. So at 15 ... I think that's a bit old.

Even so, my first sexual partner was 19, while i was 16. That doesn't make him a pedophile. I don't regret it. My parents didn't press charges on him (even if they could've, they wouldn't) ...

Us kids are never gonna grow up if you don't let us. You have to learn to be repsonsible at one point or another. Might as well start now.

When mom found my diaphram, I told her it was a bathing cap for my cat.
~ Liz Winston

In a Smurf's world ...

Posted by Moth (Member # 2606) on :
First, Kiwipunch:

?!?!?! Adolescents can't be intimite? ARGH! That's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard! I'm sorry that your boyfriend's dad is being so unreasonable . . . maybe if the three of you sat down and talked about it?

Second, and to everyone:

One of my "dirtier" secrets is that, from time to time, I like viewing or reading light erotica. I don't think this is corrupting me, and I don't think I need to be protected by it. However, every site has large signs forbidding minors to enter (all right, I ignore them). Why is this? Firstly, it's silly that anyone would think having a notice would prevent minors from entering . . . secondly, it's even *more* bizarre that all of these sites bill themselves as proactive sexuality sites that think sex is a wonderful thing . . . like, I think is one of them- I can't remember very well. If sexuality is such a wonderful thing for adults, why is it forbidden to minors? argh. Another weird thing is that the Good Vibrations website forbids minors to enter . . . but if you go to their store, they sell freely to minors- or at least follow a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Why all the bizarre antics?

Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
Because it isn't legal, Moth, and those businesses and sites can't serve anyone if they end up closed down and in jail.

This is all made even worse by the current state of societtal hysteria about youth sexuality and "adults corrupting minors." We don't make the laws, but adults who run sexuality businesses have to follow them. especially those like Good Vibrations who don't profit the way mainstream pornography and the adult industry does.

And the truth is, the YOUTHS have more of a chance of cahnging them. So if these things bother you, I implore you to writte a letter to your congressman. Kvetching and moaning and venting sure make us feel better, but they don't change much.

Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


Posted by Anna-Clare (Member # 4016) on :
I am 15 years old, living in Canada (although born in England) and am in love with my 18 year old boyfriend whom I have been going out with for six months. When Ben and I first touched each other sexually I was absolutely paralyzed by guilt.

I am a free girl, my life's ambition is to stop the gender apartheid in Afghanistan, and I'm going to do it.

I am such an empowered individual and yet the discovering of myself sexually was a traumatic experience for me (not to mention poor Ben who was rather at a loss as to why I would burst into tears 10 minutes after enjoying it so much). I soon realized that my bizarre behaviour was a direct result of the messages of people such as the woman who wrote to MizScarlet in such a disgusting manner. She, and those like her were making me feel guilty, dirty. However, I knew that I was niether of these things, and still am not. Ben is the most lovely person I will ever know and I now (through talking to him about it and reading 'Tess of the D'urbervilles') realise that I have to be strong and excercise my freedom to do as I feel, as long as I am not hurting anyone.

I am not ashamed and feel that part of who I am is a sexual young girl who is discovering everything for the first time within a beautiful, loving relationship. The fact that people try to take away pieces of the joy that my love and lovemaking causes me is abhorrent. These things are honestly beautiful and should not be judged.

In addition, Christianity (although I'm not even a Christian!) in some ways hindered me. My best friends since I was 4 are both Christian and have tried to enforce the oppressive values that they have learned upon me. I am happy for them, because they are indeed happy in their oppression, but that it what it is, oppression. Keeping women from discovering themselves sexually before marriage keeps them at the power of their husands (upon whom the standard is not so visciously enforced) and that is what I think is more of a problem...not my sexuality.

Thank you very much for this site, it helped me very much as well (gosh, I hope I don't cause you more harrid letters... "YOU were in part responsible for that CHILD'S coming to terms with her sexuality, SHAME ON YOU!" the opposite is true, as you well know.)

"Intimacy is being comfortable with someone rummaging through your soul." - unknown

[This message has been edited by Anna-Clare (edited 06-07-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Anna-Clare (edited 06-11-2001).]

Posted by Moth (Member # 2606) on :
<< it isn't legal, Moth, and those businesses and sites can't serve anyone if they end up closed down and in jail. >>

I kinda figured. ::makes a face::

<< if these things bother you, I implore you to writte a letter to your congressman. Kvetching and moaning and venting sure make us feel better, but they don't change much. >>

Point well taken. <g> Though, I did need to feel better. And now I do.

Signed, Moth.

"Nothing in Life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." -Marie Curie

Posted by Sapphire85 (Member # 2709) on :
Anna-Clare, that was a wonderful letter, and I totally understand your point of view and where you're coming from. I feel the exact same way. It's like you can read my mind! <g>
Posted by Nookiebabe16 (Member # 2190) on :
I think I agree with everyone here when I say that there is no possible way you can put an age limit on sexual activity. Sex means many different things to different people and while one person is ready for oral sex at age 17 another may not be ready for penis-vaginal intercourse until he/she is 20 something. Its a personal choice entirely.
Posted by Witgirl (Member # 4132) on :
I luv ur site, but that doesn't mean i'm gonna have sex. I'm 14 and i know i'm not ready yet. Whomever wrote that e-mail needs to learn that people aren't going to go out and have sex just because it's being talked about! If anything, this site makes people more comfortable w/their sexuality, and willing to wait if necessary!

You laugh because im diffrent i laugh because you're all the same...Ye as i walk through the valley in the shadow of death i shall fear no evil, cuz i'm the biggest baddest meanest motherf***er in the valley!!!

})i({ ~*~Whitney~*~ })i({

Posted by Kiwipunch9 (Member # 2913) on :
Thank you Moth. It drives me crazy. *sigh*

"There's an old joke, I just made up. How many of me would it take to screw up your life?" --Ben Folds, Kalamazoo

Posted by Confused boy (Member # 1964) on :
Originally posted by Witgirl:
I luv ur site, but that doesn't mean i'm gonna have sex. I'm 14 and i know i'm not ready yet. Whomever wrote that e-mail needs to learn that people aren't going to go out and have sex just because it's being talked about! If anything, this site makes people more comfortable w/their sexuality, and willing to wait if necessary!

This site in no way encourages you to have sex anyway. All it does is tell you the truth about sex and allows you to make your own choice, as you have obviously done.

Posted by moonofdarkness (Member # 4420) on :
Here in CO, the law is that if one person is 18 or over, and the other person is 15 on under, it is a felony, and if one person is 18 or over, and the other is 16 or 17, it is a misdemenor...yet people in these circumstances have sex all the time without any 'punishment', and the law doesn't include two 13 year olds having sex as anything wrong...honestly, how can you put an age on the readiness of someone for sexual interaction? We can drive a car at 16, and indanger the lives of all those around u by possibly speeding and crashing, but we can't make the choice for ourselves when do we feel ready to have sex? that just seems plain worng to me, but heck it doesn't matter, because even though there is a law, unless someone complains, it doesn't matter if you break it (which people do break it all the time) so honestly, what's the point? ugh...I'm fed up with our goverment

"Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!"


Posted by Confused boy (Member # 1964) on :
Actually I would say taht law doesnt sound too bad with a scale of punishment for under age sex. Two 13 year olds having sex should not affect the law as some will naturally experiment anyway. The age of consent law is more to protect kids from adults, hence the age difference seems to be the factor that decides the punishment.

'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky

Posted by Undercover Cinderella (Member # 4607) on :
Its not like on your 18th birthday something *POOF* magically happens and you're a different person with different ideas about yourself and your sexuality...I don't really see what age has to do with it as long as you feel ready and you know the risks.
Posted by SmartieGirl02 (Member # 4609) on :
No one has the right to tell anyone when they are ready for sex. I feel that the youngest you SHOULD experiment with sex would have to be 16, but everyone is different and that is my opinion. If you can be responsible enough to drive and have a car, you should be responsible enough to know the consequences of sex. My mother never preached to wait till marriage to have sex on me and I think that the only reason parents do that is bc they are insecure just like there parents were and there parents were and so on.. Thats just my opinion.. I plan on having sex when I'm ready and I feel at 17.5 I'm just about ready.. so screw what other people think.. I am my own person and I will do what I want when I feel I'm ready and thats that!
Posted by Shenzie2007 (Member # 9027) on :
I know this is a kind-of old thread, but... I really like the topic.

I think that people can be ready to experiment fairly young. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read on... was it that scientists had detected a fetus masturbating in the mother's womb. So sexuality is something we all have at all ages, to a point.
I think the law should have more of an equal-age scale, where if those involved were within two years of each other, that would be the limit of age difference. As long as they were being safe, is this really going to do more hurt than good? Probably not. But that's just my two cents.

When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned. Do not have sex with the authorities. -Matt Groening, Life In Hell

"Pope John Paul today confirmed his opposition to gay marriages. Said that they are unnatural. Gay marriages are unnatural. Then he put on a pointy hat, his dress, and returned to never having sex at all." -- Bill Maher, Politically Incorrect

Posted by angelicmadrigal (Member # 8854) on :
Well here's what I have to say about the topic. Do I think people shouldn't have sex until they are 18?

No, I don't think that. I do, however, think that people shouldn't have sex until they have a job. The reason I think this is because until then how are they going to pay for birth control, emergency contraception, or even a child (if that's what they want to do) if they have no money of their OWN (not from their parents)?

I also think maturity has SOMETHING to do with it, but I"m more of a practical person. Just because your 18 or over, does not mean you are mature enough for sex. On the otherside just because you aren't 18 does not mean you aren't mature enough to have sex.
However, there has to be a limit. I mean how many people want 12( or even younger) year olds to go around having sex? I know I would not want to live in a western society where this was allowed.

Also as far as laws go limiting sexual conctact between different ages goes I think it's a very smart idea. I think it helps keep older people from taking advantage of younger ones ( at least to some extent anyway). As a potential parent I KNOW I wouldn't want my child having sex with someone that was _in my eyes_ too old for them (say a 14 year old and an 18 year old)and in the state of OHIO that's illegal and I'd be able to press charges as a parent. It's nice to have that small bit of security there.

Posted by PixieDust (Member # 4003) on : about that person look at it at a different perspective.

Even if they don't feel that teens have the right to have sex, they are, and why not educate them. Their choice: possibly have a teen get infected with HIV which then turns to full blown aids and die, OR the teen be educated enough to say "Hey...we need a condom (or other forms of contra...I don't know how to spell it...)"

Sometimes ya gotta feel sorry for these people who just can't understand someone elses point of view. I can see where they are coming from, and respect their opinion, but as an 18 year old...someone who is by their set of rules *able to*...I find their ideals logical...just not practical. You can take a logical approach to anything...but it's not always the most practical...

Posted by Shenzie2007 (Member # 9027) on :
Originally posted by angelicmadrigal:
Well here's what I have to say about the topic. Do I think people shouldn't have sex until they are 18?

No, I don't think that. I do, however, think that people shouldn't have sex until they have a job. The reason I think this is because until then how are they going to pay for birth control, emergency contraception, or even a child (if that's what they want to do) if they have no money of their OWN (not from their parents)?

Okay, I can see where you're coming from, but to say people shouldn't have sex until they have a job because of paying for birth control or the risk of having a child seems heterosexist to me.

Posted by Beppie (Member # 94) on :
Even if you're not heterosexual you need the resources to pay for safer sex equipment, STD/STI testing and the treatment of such, should any diseases or infections be transmitted.
Posted by CutiePie4eva (Member # 7052) on :
wow... thats horrible... hate mail =( this site is so helpful and informative... people will do things sexual whether this site was here or not... but this site just helps us to make wiser choices =)

anywat... not the answer to your question... lol

i think that the law is pretty much useless... people will do what they want, and just keep it unknown to everyone else. a person should be allowed to make their own decisions, no not everyone will agree... but thats what freedom is all about

i know plenty of people under 18 who are sexually active... whether they are ready for that responsibilty or not...

i dont think i've been brought up by thinking i'm ready for sex at a certain age... actually i've been brought up to believe you arent ready to have sex until you are married. and i definately am NOT getting married at 18! lol

i actually believe that the intercourse part of should wait until after you are married, but the kissing or hugging, things not to the extent of actual intercourse are fine for when the people involved feel they are ready... no matter what age.

i sort of contradict myself tho... i hear about people in 6th grade... that have gone father than myself... and i question how they know that they are ready for that type of relationship.

i thank god that i was brought up with the morals and values that i do. not that i am putting anyone down who believes differently than me... i have plenty of friends who do things quite opposite to what i believe... and they are my friends none the less

but i waited until i was ready for the most part... for anything i did sexually. and i think that people should be taught to wait until they were ready, and not jump to anything. people need to realize you have your whole life to party... so why do things at such a young age like before high school?

i think high school is the age of reasoning... if not later...

Posted by Shenzie2007 (Member # 9027) on :
Sad to say, but 'your whole life' may be cut short by almost anything at any moment. Waiting until a certain age for something you feel ready for now because of what others say seems a waste.
"R.I.P. - Here lies someone who was going to be happy tomorrow."

[This message has been edited by Shenzie2007 (edited 08-23-2002).]

Posted by CupcakePrincess (Member # 9267) on :
I think You miz scarlet Should Be aplauded for a site that Helps Teens out so Much. I dont Know where i would Be With out you honestly! I recently Lost my virginity, after reading yoru site Over and over and in and Out and checking the Forums and getting some advice, and With out What i have Learned I probly Would Be Pregnate and Single and hating my Life. But Becuase of You Me and My Boyfriend Know Precautions and Lots of other things. so HORRAY for you! and BOO for the email Writer!

When You think your life Is Horrible, ask Me about Mine... It will change your Mind.


Posted by TheTasteOfInk (Member # 9689) on :
a teenager is "ready" for sex whenever they feel their ready, wtf are people doing by saying we arent, their m,aking our choices for us...i personally dont think their shouldnt be laws about that..but thats do i know im just some stupid 13yr old...

"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world"

Posted by logic_grrl (Member # 8067) on :
a teenager is "ready" for sex whenever they feel their ready

Personally, I'd disagree with this.

I don't think that age alone dictates whether you're ready for sex or not (and of course different countries have different ideas about age - here in the UK, for example, the age of consent is 16, and in some other parts of Europe it's 14).

But I think there's much more to actually being ready than just feeling ready (and being old enough to give meaningful consent to sex).

Judging by some of the posts on the boards here, there are many people who've felt ready for sex but who evidently weren't in a position to negotiate safer sex, get birth control, or communicate with their partners about basic things like what they enjoy. Which seems pretty sad .

I think we often treat "readiness" just in terms of mental and emotional readiness. That may be why some people get very offended if anyone questions their readiness - it's as if they were being accused of being immature or childish. Maybe we need to think more about the practical aspects of readiness as well.

Posted by Blue Roses (Member # 9928) on :
I really don't understand the logic behind waiting until you are married?? I mean, assuming all possible couples could be legally married, some might choose not to! Getting married is also not any indication that you are going to _stay_ married. The impression I was left with (which I promptly ignored) from my health class at school was that sex is extrememly dangerous and you catch all sorts of diseases and will ruin your life, unless you wait until marriage, at which point it becomes perfectly safe. I would say, wait until you feel physically and emotionally ready, love and trust the other person, and can obtain and know how to use birth control and/or preventions against STD's.
Posted by 'rin (Member # 1950) on :
this is a mixed question for me:
*personally, i decided when i was about 13 years old that sex was an adult thing and i was going to wait until i was a)a legal adult and b)not under my parents' roof(s). and i did wait until i had met those self imposed criteria, and it helped me make some other intelligent choices - like making sure he got tested first and talking with him about what we would do if i got pregnant.
*but...that's just me. who am i to say that this would be right for everyone? maybe it just took me awhile to be emotionally mature, maybe someone else would be ready before that. how should i know?
*and futhermore, how should the goverment know? how should society know? when dealing with your own body/emotions you are dealing with something intensly personal. yes, i know it also effects your partner and to a lesser extent your family and friends...but it effects YOU the most. so it should be YOUR choice. no one elses.
*that said...there should be some limit....i don't think i'd be going out on a limb to say that 99.9999999% of 10 year olds are not ready for sex, emotionally or physically. and that while many 11-13 year olds are physically ready there's a good chance they are still in that "i'm imortal" moment (a fun place to be, dont' get me wrong, just not the most repsonsible mindset) and therefore not ready to make an informed choice to have sex with a partner. but beyond that there's a huge grey area, and i don't think that the goverment does any good for anyone by trying to sort it out for us.

<a href="">who is rin</a>

Posted by MiSs_Behave (Member # 8605) on :
Hmm. It is very frustrating! I respect the fact that there have to be certain laws and guides as to when have sex and stuff so that 11 year olds don't go reproducing, but I think when it comes down to the nitty- gritty, it's the individuals decision. I don't think any type of authority has the right to say whether we are ready to have any type of sex before the age of 18, at all. But, I think these laws are set to secure a financial foundation incase of pregnancy and also because by the age of 18, we are basically fully responsible for all of our own actions. It does tick me off though when people comment on how teenagers shouldn't be having sex and I say this: it may not always be for the right reasons, it may not always be safe but hey, it happens, and it should happen safely and consentually from both parties. My take on the issue.

Follow your inner moonlight, don't hide the MaDdNeSs...

[This message has been edited by MiSs_Behave (edited 10-04-2002).]

Posted by Sunset_Rose (Member # 10181) on :
I dont think that its fair that adults and the government presume to know at what age you are mature enough to have sex.
What makes an 18 year old more mature than a 17 year old? Does that mean that you become a certain percentage more mature each month, until suddenly at 18 you are completly mature and ready to become sexually active?
I think not.
People mature at different rates, and there is no way to measure how mature someone is, or whether they are ready to become sexually active.
Also, the laws that prevent sex below a set age mean that it is more difficult for teens who are underage to have SAFE sex!
Its more difficult to talk to adults if the activity is illegal, so many teens dont have access to advice.
Its more difficult to get help about sexual problems if you are underage.
Its more difficult to obtain protection if you dont know which is the best form of contraception, because you cant talk to anyone about it.
Most of all, its more difficult to practise safe sex and make mature considered decisions if you have no support and have to sneak around!
I know that there are more places now where teens can get help and advice, but the law certainly doesnt make it easier.

Posted by Dzuunmod (Member # 226) on :
I think we can all agree - well, almost all - that there's no magic age at which people are suddenly ready for sex. However, I think that we'd almost all agree as well, that there need to be laws to protect, say, 9-year olds from sexual predators. So, what's the perfect law?

I think the systems that we have in North American jurisdictions now are about the best that there can be. Anyone got any better ideas?

"Love is blind, and I don't blame her/'cause lately I ain't been too much to see/I'd ask a girl home, but I'd have to pay her..."
-Old '97s Ray Charles

Posted by Lee (Member # 381) on :
Something that occurs to me is that regardless of whether someone is "ready" for sex at a particular age, they are the only ones who can make the choice of whether to have it or not. Their parents can TRY to make that choice for them, but they most they can do is influence the decision, and not always in the way they intended.



Posted by Blue Roses (Member # 9928) on :
Possibly amusing anecdote related to the thread...I'm in a relationship with someone, and we want to have sex eventually, so I decide to go on the Pill, or at least learn more if it would be right for me. The college health center is closed. Therefore, I must go to the clinic in a nearby town. This requires setting up a phone, to call for an appointment. I am not electronically gifted. To put it bluntly, I have caused an ice cream scoop to explode. After about 10 minutes of staring at the cords and sockets in incomprehension attempting to figure out which went where, I made an agreement with myself that I was not responsible enough to handle a sexual relationship until I could figure out how to plug in a phone ;-) I figured it out eventually. Yay.
Posted by Seren (Member # 13133) on :
I really feel it depends on the person - or rather, the people - involved.

I lost my virginity when I was sixteen. I'm eighteen now and I don't regret it in the slightest. I was in a loving, caring relationship, and I knew exactly what I was doing. I trusted my boyfriend, Fraser, implicitly, and I knew that he would stand by me no matter what. We had been seeing each other for a year before we became sexually active.

However, in retrospect, most people aren't ready then. I actually think the 'age of consent' should be put up to eighteen here in the UK. Although we may be sexually mature and physically *want* to have sex, are we really able to deal with all the consequences? I know that I can't speak to my mum about sexual matters even now - I just don't feel comfortable with it. What if I'd caught an STI? What if I'd got pregnant?

I know that these things may not 'wreck' a person's life - but I know I would not want mine altered in the way those things would alter it! I'm a student now, and I love being a student - I spend lots of time with my friends, I've moved away from home, and I'm studying really exciting things. I know I am better off where I am than stuck at home with a two-year-old. There's time enough for that later.

After I finished with Fraser, I had another boyfriend, who I slept with. Then I decided to become celibate for the moment. When I say celibate - I mean I'm not going to have intercourse with anyone. Because I love my life, and I've no wish to add my children to it yet.

Posted by -Jill (Member # 5375) on :
Originally posted by Seren:
Although we may be sexually mature and physically *want* to have sex, are we really able to deal with all the consequences? I know that I can't speak to my mum about sexual matters even now - I just don't feel comfortable with it. What if I'd caught an STI? What if I'd got pregnant?

You know, we obviously learn as we get older but that doesn't make us more ready for sex. There's more to sexual readiness than being prepared for the consequences you listed.

A few months ago I had access to affordable, confidential health care plus my family's insurance; sexual health care like STD/STI screens, annual exams, EC, and even an abortion would have been no more complicated than calling for an appointment. I also had a strong relationship with both friends and family who would have supported me through anything.

And I was absolutely not ready for sex. I could have handled the consequences you listed easily but emotionally I just couldn't have handled a relationship. I was eighteen at the time. At seventeen I did have a sexual relationship -- no damage done.

My point is age didn't make sex any easier or more appropriate for me and I'm certainly not the only one that's true for.

While celibacy can be an excellent choice (and is one I've made for myself more than once) I don't think it should be forced on anyone, especially because of something as arbitrary as age.

I think everyone should have the same freedom you and I had to make choices for themselves. I was fourteen when I first had (I was underage but neither my partner nor myself knew that at the time). Obviously in five years I've made some mistakes but in retrospect making those mistakes and learning from them was far better than not having the opportunity to make them at all.

Posted by Lee (Member # 381) on :
Quote from Lucky1402:

"While celibacy can be an excellent choice (and is one I've made for myself more than once) I don't think it should be forced on anyone, especially because of something as arbitrary as age."

I couldn't say it better myself (If I could I would have). Normally I'm not one to have trouble expressing myself, but right now I'm really at a loss for words. There is nothing wrong with having sex. Arbitrary restrictions on who can and can't have sex based upon age are not only unnecessary, they're also unjust. Now I do believe in laws intended to protect younger people from older would-be predators. But laws which criminalize normal consensual sex between people of similar age are insulting and degrading. I consider them to be a manifestation of our culture's fundamental insanity where sex is concerned. This country is full of perverts of the sexually repressed variety. Someone who has a problem with sex, even subconsciously, is just as perverted as any peeping tom or porn addict. If I had to choose one word to describe sex it would be ordinary. Sex is not some special issue that needs to be handled oh so carefully with kid gloves and otherwise hidden away like radioactive waste. If I had three wishes to make the first one would probably be that our culture be cured of its obsessive compulsive disorder where sex is concerned and that it assume its rightful place as an ordinary part of life.

Unfortunately I don't think that is going to happen, at least not before I'm old and grey. I think that things in the US are getting worse in general. The political process is failing because people are not involving themselves and holding our representatives (from ALL political persuasions) accountable. People I know complain about the creeping forward of police-state facist policies but yet no one I know seems to think there is anything that can be done about it, and so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our lack of civic responsibility will be our downfall. Democracy is the only form of government where the people always get the government they deserve. I'm getting off topic here and really this post is too long anyway. I guess what I'm trying to say is that regardless of what the law is or what anyone else might say, the power to make choices where sex is concerned rests solely with the person themself, which is exactly as it should be. The only way things ever become otherwise is when we let ourselves be fooled into thinking they are. When that happens we readily hand over power that otherwise could only be taken by extreme force. Ok enough from Scarleteen's arrogant opinionated ass for one night. Maybe next time I post I'll have something to say that isn't me preaching to the choir.



Posted by Seren (Member # 13133) on :
Originally posted by ookuotoe:
And I was absolutely not ready for sex. I could have handled the consequences you listed easily but emotionally I just couldn't have handled a relationship. I was eighteen at the time. At seventeen I did have a sexual relationship -- no damage done.

I agree with what you said, ookuotoe - I realise I sort of neglected that side of things in my post. Emotional readiness for sex is a really individual thing and it absolutely does not depend on age. However I do think that a lot of people think that they are emotionally ready when in retrospect they look back and find that they aren't. I know that I *thought* I was emotionally ready at the age of fourteen - and there was no way I was. I really feel that the added years and maturity made the difference in enabling me to make an informed choice.

And from the legal point of view, ages of consent are important. If they weren't there - there would be difficulties in prosecuting those who take advantage of vulnerable young people.

Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
Yes and no on the AOC laws. All too often they're used against perfectly consenting couples who are BOTH young, but where one party just happens to be over the AOC.

Rape is rape: we have laws for it (though hell if they get used enough, sadly). Our rape laws offer protection against nonconsensual sex that the AOC laws don't add, practically, a single thing to. And rape laws take into account a victim stating clearly she's been raped or force or coerced into sex. The AOC laws being what they are, that same "victim" can say, until her face turns blue, that she was FINE with what occurred, that she did not feel coerced and her partner can still end up being found guilty of such, with FAR heavier consequences (lifetime sex offender status) than a rapist gets.

Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


Posted by logic_grrl (Member # 8067) on :
Rape is rape: we have laws for it (though hell if they get used enough, sadly). Our rape laws offer protection against nonconsensual sex that the AOC laws don't add, practically, a single thing to.

I'd disagree on this. Personally, I think that "ages of consent" are often set way too high, and are applied against people who clearly could and did give meaningful consent to sex (and of course in many countries AOC laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation).

But I do think the idea is valid that, under a certain age, it is simply impossible for someone to give meaningful consent to sex and so it is abusive for anyone to have sex with them, whether force was used or not.

For example, I'd say that a 5-year-old clearly cannot give consent to sexual activity. Even if an adult persuaded or cajoled that 5-year-old into sexual activity with them (as many abusers do) and did not physically force or threaten them, that 5-year-old clearly would not know what they were "consenting" to, or be in any position to give or withhold meaningful consent.

Age of consent laws do prevent child sexual abusers from arguing that their victims "consented", and mean that (unlike adult rape victims) child victims do not have to stand up in court and persuade a jury that they did not consent.

So I'd personally be in favour of having a (relatively low) legal "age of consent" simply on that basis.

I think there's also a case for saying that there's a "grey area" when people may be old enough to give or refuse consent meaningfully, but still be unusually vulnerable to exploitation and pressure from others.

That's why I rather like the Dutch law, which establishes the official age of consent at 14 but works on the principle that consenting sex between kids of 12 or older will not be prosecuted unless one of them wants to makes a complaint about coercion. That seems to strike a pretty good balance, IMHO.

Posted by Heather (Member # 3) on :
I'd agree with all of that, too, logic.

But I suppose, in my utopia, what I'd vy for is an addition to rape law which perhaps had a subsection for child and juvenile rape.

That goes beyond just protecting them too -- I have concerns, and have for some time, about the fact that child offenders are punished FAR more harshly than those who rape adults, to a ridiculous degree (most rapists don't even end up convicted a good amount of the time, whereas we've got people in prison under AOC laws for fondling), and that the message that sends is that raping adults is no big shakes compared to sexually assaulting children or even ATTEMPTING (or being viewed as attempting) to sexually engage children.

If we look at the convictions and the punishments, I think it's pretty clear that's the setiment, and I don't think that serves anyone well at all. I'd say, IMO, that that disparity may well create an environment in which sexually assaulting anyone of any age is felt as more allowable/acceptable.

Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


Posted by Seren (Member # 13133) on :
Originally posted by logic_grrl:

That's why I rather like the Dutch law, which establishes the official age of consent at 14 but works on the principle that consenting sex between kids of 12 or older will not be prosecuted unless one of them wants to makes a complaint about coercion. That seems to strike a pretty good balance, IMHO.

It works roughly the same way here in Scotland - under 12s are legally incapable of giving consent. There really are not many successful cases here like the ones you mentioned, where sex is consensual but one party is just under sixteen, and one is just over. In fact, I don't think there have been any recently.

[This message has been edited by Seren (edited 05-22-2003).]

Posted by DamselSangelic69 (Member # 13147) on :
I personally am a virgin, and I know that I'm not ready for sex at this time. But I still don't think it is right to impose a law stating when we, who are people with our own minds can and cannot have sex. That is not right, if I chose to have sex tomorrow that would be my decision and would not in anyway effect this lawmaker. Really what should be asked is, these people who will be inforcing or voting on the law...When did they first have sex? And depending on the age what right do they have to tell us teenagers, if we can or cannot? Because I mean it's just so serious that they will impose morals on us that these adults don't even have.


Posted by summergoddess (Member # 11352) on :
Okay. Here's my 2 cents. There is no "set" age to have sex. Everybody matures at different points of their lives. I was ready at 17, and i'm turning 20 at the end of June this year. I have absoutely no regrets of being sexually active. Sex is a personal and private choice by all. The choice should be for yourselves, not for your current SO or friends or whoever. Sex is not only a physical decision, but it's also an emotional one. Sex doesn't change who you are, but it does have consequences (both positive and negative) when you decide to take the next step for the first time. Sex isn't a race or a toy. Stay true to you, and your beliefs. If your heart is saying that your not ready, then wait. There is nothing wrong with waiting till your heart gives the green light. Like i said, sex doesn't and shouldn't revolve around you, your life, and your relationship if presently in one. You will know when your ready naturally. Just don't change who you are!


Posted by Lee (Member # 381) on :
When an age of consent law is used to protect younger people from sexual predators then it is being properly applied. When it is used to persecute consensual sex between people of similar ages then it is being grossly misused. Whether or not younger people can or cannot give meaningful consent to sex is not something that the law should involve itself in unless there is a clear danger involved. Making a bad choice by having consensual sex before one is truly ready for it may not be a good experience, but it is hardly something worthy of public policy.

Some people make the argument that this is the same as people under 16 not being able to drive. Well it is not the same. A car is a deadly weapon. Someone who cannot competently or safely operate one is a threat to everyone else. Sexual mistakes, on the other hand, generally affect the person making them almost exclusively. There are STD's and such of course, but age has little or nothing to do with whether one will get bit by one or not. Laws that try to protect people from their own mistakes are generally a bad idea in the first place.

So while I do believe that there is a degree of maturity needed in sex, I do not believe that an arbitrary factor like age is a good measurement of it and I especially don't believe that it is the job of government to create and enforce an age restriction.

Now before someone drags out the specter of child abuse please note that I've already stated previously as well as in this post that laws intended to protect young people from sexual predators as a GOOD thing. This was, as near as I can tell, the original or at least longstanding interpretation of the AOC laws. It is only quite recently that they've been widely abused to persecute normal relationships, something that would stop probably overnight if the age at which people could vote was lower than 18.


Posted by icanthinkofaname (Member # 12481) on :
All of this talking is pointless.....I know that you all want to get your opinion out, but so far almost every post has been the same. I know almost all of you think that the Age of Consent laws are pointless, but talking about it won't help. We should do something for real, like start a petition. Then there might be a chance that we can accomplish what we want to. Because like everyone else has said, all sex laws do is cause more trouble. Kids are going to have sex. With sex laws in place, all that's happening is that more kids are getting into trouble.

If you can't say something nice, then don't say something nice.

Posted by Dzuunmod (Member # 226) on :
Well in that case, icanthinkofaname, isn't nearly every post in this forum just pointless chatter?

...and we raise the white flag, so they can paint it red and blue!
-Joel Plaskett, True Patriot Love

Posted by leafy (Member # 8345) on :
I live in England where the age of consent is 16. I am now 18. Whereas I totally understand tht people mature at diferent speeds and maybe some people are ready to be sexually active before others, I think there needs to be age of consent laws. It's the same as drinking alcohol, i find it ridiculous that I can only just legally drink when I have been for years, but I believe a line has to be drawn.

For me, I found 16 to be a very reasonable age of consent. I think a child of 12 or 13 or even younger needs to be protected by the law because somewhere society has to recognise that a majority of people of a certain age are not emotionally, financially or physically able to cope with the possible consequences of sex. Age of consents indicate that sex is an adult activity which carries consequences of an adult nature, it is not something to be taken lightly; just look at STD and teenage pregnancy rates already.

I do think 18 is far too high as an age of consent though and will be broken far more than it is kept to. The Government passing the laws needs to be realistic.

Posted by Mehitabelle (Member # 13101) on :
H'lo. I didn't bother reading the last two pages of replies, so this may be a little off topic...
When you decide to have sex (whatever that means to you me it really varies depending on how good it is, whether I think of it as sex or not ) is a personal decision. Nobody, read, nobody, can make it for you. This is why pressuring someone into sex is wrong. This is also why pressuring someone into not having sex is wrong. People (including teenagers) should be able to make that decision freely, and well-informed (thank you, Scarleteen).
To me, that's the same reason abortion should be kept legal; nobody else can make that kind of decision for you. I'm not sure whether I would be able to get one if I were pregnant, but I'm sure as hell not going to tell anyone else whether she should or not. Philosophical debates on the humanity of the fetus and so on aside. The Roe v. Wade decision was based on the right to privacy, which to me is what it all comes down to anyway.
Sorry. That was a bit of a tangent. On a personal note, I was 16 when I first had sex, and 18 when I first had intercourse (not cos I was waiting; it just turned out that way), and both were very positive experiences . Ditto the "intense emotions" (which don't, by the way, just go along with intercourse, not by a very long shot... that came along with it. People mention them as some sort of scary thing that teenagers won't be able to deal with, but truthfully sex has made my boyfriend and me a lot closer, and more open with each other, and probably better people, and those "strong emotions" had a lot to do with it.
Yes. Age of consent laws are largely bull, and yet another example of how childhood and adolescence are artificially prolonged in our society. Also, the right to have sex is not only your right as a free human being, it is your right as a sovereign living organism, same as the right to be fed.
Posted by BruinDan (Member # 3072) on :
('s all well and good to go on a tear every now and then, but why not read the previous posts before adding your own? It makes it easier for everyone else, who doesn't have to see the exact same responses over and over. )

BruinDan, "Number Three," FHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.

Posted by day (Member # 13263) on :
So, if we all have different rates of maturation, does the government have the right to tell us when we're mature enough to have sex?
Posted by LilBlueSmurf (Member # 1207) on :
I think it does if it's paying for health care (as in my case, since i'm Canadian) ...

And the age of consent here is 14 (except for male-male sex, which is 18), which i personally have no problem w/.

Posted by Dzuunmod (Member # 226) on :
Not to get too far off-track here, but, Smurf, do you think it's a problem that the Cdn government differentiates between gay male sex, and every other kind of sex?

I sure as hell do. It's like they're saying that gay men really need more time to think it all over than straight people and lesbians, or something.

...and we raise the white flag, so they can paint it red and blue!
-Joel Plaskett, True Patriot Love

Posted by LilBlueSmurf (Member # 1207) on :
I'm not sure ... I'm not a gay male, so i've never given it much thought

In all honesty tho, were i a gay male, i'd be pissed off, for sure. Especially b/c male-female and female-female partners can have sex a whole 4 years sooner ...

I wonder what their reasons are. If there are any, other than the "gay males are more likely to get HIV ... if they wait longer, maybe they'll use condoms" (Which is total crap, i know this ... )

[This message has been edited by LilBlueSmurf (edited 06-09-2003).]

Posted by logic_grrl (Member # 8067) on :
Well, according to the bigots in the UK who fought against the lowering of the age of consent for sex between men here a few years back, their basic belief seems to be that 17 year old boys need to be protected from wicked older men who might try to seduce them into sex.

Whereas 17 year old girls apparently don't need any protection from wicked older men who might try to seduce them into sex (because that's "normal", presumably).

I kid you not, people actually stood up in parliament and solemnly claimed this.


Posted by Pumpkin_Pie (Member # 5822) on :
actually, in ireland the age of consent is 17 for everyone.

(to be honest, I think it's more to do with the fact that most people in irish governments would ahve died of embarassment when the age of consent laws were amde to stand up and say that the male to male laws should be older and less to do with enlightenment.)

I agree with Age of Consent laws, to a certain degree.

There are people out there who would exploit a society that DIDN't have them.

But a set of laws can't tell me when I'm ready for sex, because sex, unlike drinking or smoking, does not affect my physical health (unless I don't use protection) more as a teenager than it would when I'm an "full grown" adult.

Posted by Milke (Member # 961) on :
Are the laws specifically against male-male sex, or are they against certain sex acts?

However, since the same sex issue is a wee bit off-topic, and because this thread's so darn long, I'd really appreciate if we could start a new thread for this issue, just to make things a bit easier to get at a glance.

Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF

The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I'd never let you go

[This message has been edited by Milke (edited 06-09-2003).]

Posted by Confused boy (Member # 1964) on :
Actually, I do have some sympathy with the "bigots" in the UK parliament on that one, because their argument, though outdated, was quite funny: it is no place for the government to get involved in what two school boys get up to behind the pavilion, but it would not be right for the gym teacher to join in.

Old Conservative Etonians... trust me, I dont have any sympathy for many of their other policies.

'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky

Posted by logic_grrl (Member # 8067) on :
it is no place for the government to get involved in what two school boys get up to behind the pavilion

Actually, I think you'll find very few of the UK bigots were exactly supportive of sex between two underage boys either ...


Posted by Milke (Member # 961) on :
Remember when I said this thread was getting long? It's even longer now. Anyway, I'm going to close this one, feel more than welcome to start a new one on any of the topics that have been discussed here.

Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, DNFTF

The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I'd never let you go


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