Yes or No. Is it really that simple?
Do The Laws of Nature Trump the Laws of Man?
A child, biologically, is someone who has not entered puberty. Once this occurs they, are a child no longer and have sexual desires and feelings, which they now possess the ability to act upon. And they do. The amount of kids having sex at a young age has increased, but it’s estimated that 50% have had sex before leaving school all the way back in the 1950’s. Regardless of whether we think they should or shouldn’t, the kids are having sex.
Don’t forget all arguments made about the propriety of it are from the perspective of our own culture, and thus form our basis for judgment. There are other cultures in existence today with radically different standards. Take the Mangaia of Polynesia for example, who not only encourage and facilitate sexual activities among adolescents, at 13-14 they actually train them in sexual techniques for pleasing their partners (boys and girls receive this training). Teenagers are sexual beings, and funnily enough, they are almost never asked about this issue. It’s always older people debating what’s best for them, and they rarely have an opportunity to weigh in with their own beliefs about who they should be allowed to engage in intercourse with.
On to the pedophile argument: pedo=child, again, biologically, this is one who has not entered puberty. Being attracted to someone who is, say, 15 years and has developed sexual characteristics is not the same thing as a pathological obsession with presexual humans. We trust teenagers to make a lot of mature decisions, and they tend to make the ones we don’t trust them to a lot of the time anyway. If we trust a teenager to drive a car, we can also trust them to operate their own genitals.
Should the Age of Consent be raised or lowered?
Some people say “they are just children” but really who’s fault is that? For at least the first couple centuries A.D. And earlier, people were married and supported themselves usually between 11-14. They handled all adult responsibilities, including sex. If they could do it then, why not now? The only reason 13-year-olds are considered immature is that of how we raise them. Mothers don’t want their “babies” to grow up, fathers want their daughters to stay “daddy’s little girl” forever, and so they baby and coddle their children, some still holding their kids’ hands WELL into their mid-twenties. This does them no favors. If your argument is “protect the children that I refuse to let grow up” then make laws for REAL rape and REAL sexual adult much stricter when the victim is a minor, but it should not be illegal for them to have sex. As things stand now even minor on minor sex is illegal, would you want your kid to go to jail as a minor for having sex with a minor boyfriend or girlfriend who may even be the same age? Why should we call them criminals for doing what they are biologically programmed to do?
Most of the children nowadays already have jobs, in addition to school, they drive cars, they handle plenty of adult responsibility and they definitely know what sex is, what the risks are and their outcomes. So why not? Hell most of them are tried as adults if they break the law, why are they adults if they break the law but children if they want to have sex?
On the other hand, the main qualm with an adult age of consent is the assumption that sex is an inherently adult activity, which I don’t find to be the case. It can certainly be considered a MATURE activity (I’m not in favor of 10-year-olds running around getting laid), but relatively speaking, out of all activities deemed by our society to have a mature nature (i.E. Driving, voting, sex, drinking), I would assert that sex is the least serious. By 18, teens have likely had ample sexual education and are mature enough to recognize the risks on the same level as adults. If a 15-year-old can be trusted with life and death by driving a car, they can be trusted to take a mature approach to sex.
Consensual sex is about the most private activity imaginable; attempting to regulate it is not a solution. Teens are curious, and they WILL have intercourse whether we like it or not, similar to the fact that teens WILL experiment with drugs/alcohol, whether we like it or not. Age of consent laws do not currently have any impact upon teen pregnancy, and raising the age will not increase their effectiveness. All these laws serve to do is put individuals in consenting relationships in prison on statutory rape charges, a tragedy we’ve seen occur too many times. If we really want to chip away at big issues like teen pregnancy and STD transfer, we should abolish the age of consent and replace it with laws concerning mandatory sexual education and easy–accessibility to condoms and birth control.
Silence is the door of consent ~ Berber Proverb