Age of consent/average age to loose virginity, feminist issue?

(137 Posts)
misspontypine Tue 05-Nov-13 21:20:51

I don't venture over to the feminism topics often, please excuse me if I am asking an inapropriate question.

I have recently been reading a few threads on AIBU that talk about age of consent/average age for young people to have sex.

My mum brought me up in a feminist enviroment(sinle mother, no dresses, no barbie (or girls toys/boys toys), lots of positive talk about the power of having periods/fertility/babies me and my brother were allways treated exactly the same)

I was allowed to have my long term boyfriend sleep over in my bed when I was 13/14 years old. We decided to have sex a week before I turned 15. I feel like from a feminist perspective it was right to empower me to be able to make my own sexual decisions.

I was taught that my opinin was very important, no ment no, sexuality was not something to be ashamed off, as a woman you have huge power becuase you are ultimatly in controll of contraception and if any children are born (through unprotected sex or protected sex) you as a woman have autoatic right over those children (it was the 90s.)

Is it right to tell young women (or men) to wait untill they are 16 to have sex despite people reaching sexual maturity at all different ages?

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 21:24:30

I think it is right to have a legal age of consent, for child protection reasons.

I think it falls down when the male is held accountable for sleeping with an underage girl, when she consented. Because, by the law, she can't consent when under 16, therefore he is guilty.

And that's not fair. Unless the male is considerably older.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 21:28:12

If the boy is over 16 and the girl is under, is it sexual assault.

If the girl is over 16 and the boy is under, it is indecent assault.

I don't agreed with the differentiation

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Nov-13 21:33:36

Your Mum allowed your boyfriend to sleep in your bed when you were a 13 year old child?

Were you taking contraception at that time?

What if you'd both decided there and then to have sex?

Branleuse Tue 05-Nov-13 21:33:41

I like your mums approach tbh

misspontypine Tue 05-Nov-13 21:45:38

I wasn't taking contraception but I had condoms in my room.

I felt like being allowed to have my boyfriend sleep in my room made sex much less taboo.

I think that accepting that wanting to have sex is a natural instinct and giving your daughter the power to choose when she does or doesn't have sex sends a much more powerful message than "no sex until your 16, why? Because tge law says so"

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 21:47:50

I think your mother was very, very misguided. I don't call that feminism, I call that reckless parenting.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 21:48:23

I think this thread has immediately gone into two actual issues. One is the law, and it is written into the law that it is not intended to criminalise close in age relationships - 15 and 17 for example. I have no idea what the difference is between indecent and sexual assault. Is there a link to these laws? I don't understand how intercourse with a child is sexual assault anyway. Surely it is rape?

As for the OP's actual question, there are loads of issues with this. The first be why would a 14 year old want to have penetrative sex? How can that decision be made without your mum talking to you about compulsory heteronormativity and why penetrative sex is viewed as the norm?

I think it is the wrong decision for anyone who is of an age (certainly under 17) where pregnancy carries much higher physiological risks because their body hasn't finished developing, for them to have PIV sex unless they have a very good reason for doing so. How are you empowered by that?

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 21:51:21

I don't think it is a natural instinct for a 14 year old girl to want to have sex. How is it natural?

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Nov-13 21:52:54


A 13yr old girl sad

Two children, trusted to get putting a condom on right in the possible throws of passion?

And don't even start me on what the hell she was thinking allowing you both in the same bed to begin with.

"Mummy, can I have my boyfriend to stay and possibly have sex tonight?"

"No darling"

"Why not Mummy?"

Err...because you're a 13 year old child that's why...

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 21:54:28

freya feel free to google it. Close in age relationships aren't exempt, but less likely to get prosecuted. But they could be.

There was a case recently where a girl was prosecuted for sleeping with her girlfriend - I think they were 15 and 18. The parents of the younger girl pushed for prosecution.

I had sex at 14. Some people are more mature, some are in 'love' and ready to make that commitment. Some aren't. Putting an age limit on it is restrictive and pointless.

You might this it's the wrong decision, but who are you to decide what other people want to do? Or feel ready for? Pregnancy and STD's are only a risk if they haven't been properly educated, hence sexual education is vital.

ITCouldBeWorse Tue 05-Nov-13 21:55:35

I have an impression that other life aspects, like education, parental involvement, sport, positive self image etc which I associate with feminism tend to delay the age of first PIV.

I cannot imagine many 14yo making mature well considered life choices, becoming sexually active especially.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 21:56:22

For god sake, stop being so judgy.

The OP didn't have sex at 13. She was a week from 15. She probably didn't refer to her mother as 'mummy', that's deliberately emotive.

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Nov-13 21:59:54


The OP was given condoms and her mother's blessing to have sex in her bed with her boyfriend at 13yrs old.

The fact she chose to do it at 15 is neither here nor there imo.

I'm gobsmacked and no I don't think lax parenting is a feminist issue at all

And that's what this is...wrapped up in feminism.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 22:02:36

I am here to decide because I'm an adult and a 13 year old is a child.

There have been numerous threads on here about age of consent laws. The posts on here contradict previous links from previous threads. I was paraphrasing the CPS statement. If you have evidence of what you are saying, and can show that this would be prosecuted for sexual assault not rape, the burden of proof is on you, because you are the one making these claims. So no, I won't be googling for you. I'm not an unpaid research assistant.

Obviously anybody having PIV sex is at risk of pregnancy, not just the uneducated.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:02:47

It's not Feminism, at all.

It's choice gorn maaaad.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:02:58

Better under my roof than elsewhere, is likely her mothers way of thinking.

And no one is asking about the boys parents; they were obviously happy to let him stay and had even less control as he was away from home.

I'd be more inclined to think two sets of parents knew the maturity level of their children than you do, hence I won't judge their decision.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:04:47

What is this proliferation of threads about underage sex, taking of virginity, permissive parenting, boys and girls sleeping in the same bed etc etc all about ?

I can't understand it.

Oh, wait...

InTheFace Tue 05-Nov-13 22:05:45

The age at which a girl loses her virginity has nothing to do with feminism.

The circumstances in which she does so may have (but quite often may not).

Your mother gave you freedom to do something illegal not for feminist reason, but for anti-authoritarian reasons. Bucking the mainstream is not exclusively a feminist issue.

Oh and, personally, I think she was absolutely wrong to do so. 13, ffs!

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:05:53

For god sake freya.

Here you go, if you are too bloody lazy or pigheaded to be an 'unpaid research assistant hmm then I will happily educate you here you go

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:08:31

Do none of y'all let your 13/14 year old kids have sleepovers? Seriously?

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:10:13

Do none of y'all let your 13/14 year old kids have sleepovers? Seriously?

Yes, with their friends from the age of about 5yrs old.


freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 22:11:10

That's a radio one website article based at teenagers. It isn't a link to the actual law, which have been provided here on previous threads. I don't consider that to be backing up your claims at all. How old are you?

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 05-Nov-13 22:12:36

Right let's talk feminism.

IMHO a lot of this supposed
being "open" about sex - because anything else is being a prude
everything's ok as long as they use contraception,
you can't stop them

All it seems to lead to is teenage girls having to make themselves sexually available to boys and men at an ever younger age, often in relationships which are not equal and in which they bear far greater negative consequences.

For all the talk I see where the "cool" parents talk about contraception and are oh so open, I never see that they've discussed consent, boundaries, how to say no.

No wonder the NSPCC's study in 2009 found teenage girls had suffered very high levels of intimate partner violence.

Also another huge feminist issue is that women are encouraged to give far more of their time and mental energy to relationships with men then vice versa. All this "cool liberal" parenting" is doing is making this process happen from an ever younger age.

Why does a 13 year old child need a "loving relationship" with a boy? isn't there enough love and affection in her life already?

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:13:34

Alexa, not in the inappropriate way you mean, no.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 22:15:59

I'm also interested to know what this 15/18 year old case is. There is a very high profile case of a 15 year old girl and an 18 year old girl in the US where the parents pressed for prosecution even though the 15 year old didn't want to. There are a number of problems with the US having unequal homophobic age of consent laws, which I'm personally opposed to and have blogged about. It seems rather coincidental if there is an identical case happening in the UK right now.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:16:00

worra from 5. So, at 13/14 you'd allow a sleepover? What's the difference confused

freya pardon? I'm 32, why?
What exactly are you asking me to back up? That a boy and a girl would be prosecuted differently if they slept with someone under 16 (and they were over)?

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 22:17:40

I'm asking you for a copy of 1. a copy of the law (which will be online on government websites) and 2. the CPS guidelines on how that is implemented.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:17:41

mist but how do you know that you know? Maybe, if you aren't open with your child and they know you'd disallow it, they'll pretend they Re just friends to allow the sleepover?

freya that's then case I refer to.

LadyInDisguise Tue 05-Nov-13 22:18:55

Well the fact you DID actually wait and that your bf was also happy to wait for another year or two makes me think that you were indeed more mature than other girls at that age.

the problem is to find the balance between giving responsibility to a teenage girl for her body and evaluating how mature that teenager is re taking the decision to have sex at that age.
A LOT of teenagers who have sex at 14~16yo do regret it afterwards. They feel that they weren't ready and were only doing it 'to be part of a group' or 'not to look stupid'.
This is why there is a law. It's a way to say that teenage girls under 16yo are more like children than adults, still need guidance and can not take such a big decision on their own yet. So not an issue about taking away responsibility or the right to do what they want with their body. But the recognition they are probably not able to make an informed decision yet.

Maybe this is the same than with having a piercing or a surgical procedure. Until you are an 'adult' and can 'take decisions for yourself' you will rely on your parents/an adult to do it for you.

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:19:36

The difference is quite clear

I wouldn't let them sleep in the same bed with another child that they were likely to have sex with.

Let alone give them my blessing and a packet of condoms

This thread is actually making me feel sick

Is there such a thing as a child sex apologist? (genuine question) because that's what comes to mind when the parents of 13yr old children encourage a sexual relationship.

Teaching your children about the physical, emotional and contraceptive side to sex is one thing. That's arm them with knowledge, protection and self confidence/self worth.

But this is just actively encouraging children to have a sexual relationship and I find that shocking.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:19:54

I am open with my children, Alexa, what makes you think I am not ?

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:21:27

It's all so cool though, innit ?

Bunbaker Tue 05-Nov-13 22:21:48

"Putting an age limit on it is restrictive and pointless."

I don't agree. It is a child protection issue

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:23:15

worra well, unless you stay awake all night, you won't know they they aren't up to anything.

A 13/14/15 year old that wants to have sex will have sex. I don't think making sure they are are is facilitating or encouraging them.

I had sex at 14. My parents wouldn't have allowed it! But they didn't know. They didn't give me condoms. I was lucky the boy had some.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 22:23:58

The US has homophobic laws around age of consent. We don't because gay teenagers in the UK took the UK government to human rights courts and won.

What has that got to do with a 14 year old having PIV sex in the UK?

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 05-Nov-13 22:24:36

Yet, parents don't generally seem so lax and "cool" about drug or alcohol use. Funny that. Anyone ever wonder why being "prudish" or "uptight" about sex is seen as the Worst Thing A Parent Can Be?

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:24:51

"Putting an age limit on it is restrictive and pointless."

That statement is a sex abuser's dream. Jimmy would be soooo proud.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:25:06

It's a child protection issue for under 13's, sure.

13/14/15/16.. That's grey area. Children mature at wildly different rates around the puberty years. Having a one size fits all law doesn't work.

Which is why they have now specified that the law isn't there to deal with similarly aged underage couples. Because, that's consent.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 22:25:44

I didn't have sex at 14. My parents wouldn't have allowed it. What are these personal anecdotes meant to be showing?

WorraLiberty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:25:56

My children have shown no signs of being gay whatsoever and I'm quite sure if they were and they wanted to embark upon a sexual relationship, with the same sex friends they've had sleepovers with, they would speak to me about that.

However, if they did want to embark on a sexual relationship as a child, I most certainly wouldn't make them up a bed and give them a packet of condoms.

That's called looking after your children.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 05-Nov-13 22:26:20

Mist - I have massive worries about who might be reading these threads full of people saying that at 13 and 14 they were "ready" to have sex.

ethelb Tue 05-Nov-13 22:26:42

I don't think that having serious relationships at 13/14 is really the best start to the making of a feminist imo. How could you possibly know what you want from a relationship at that stage?
It is encouraging neediness to a degree which is hardly a feminist trait.

misspontypine Tue 05-Nov-13 22:26:55

Personally I felt like the decision to have sex (or not) was given back to me, in comparison to my friends who had stricter parents who made the decision to have sex (or not) in the rare moments they were alone with their boyfriend I had a huge amount of controll. There was no peer preasure, there was no alcohol or party atmoshphear.

My mum treated me as an adult when I started to develop sexual feelings, rather than a toddler with a plug socketand a coat hanger. If a young woman is capable of understanding her actions why should she not be given the choice?

I feel empowered by my freedom regarding sexual actitivity, maybe my mum was lucky that I am eminantly sensible (possibly this is why she allowed me to decide for myself when I felt ready to have sex.)

I have a son and I am very different to my mum in our parenting style, it will be interesting to see how I feel as he gets closer to teenage-hood.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:28:14

The age of consent in a lot of European countries is 14.

Do you think they are actively encouraging children to have sex?

DownstairsMixUp Tue 05-Nov-13 22:29:27

Well said worraliberty my DP was allowed to have sexwith his gf at 14 by his mum and its a huge regret of his now he is a grown man. Its reckless parenting. Not a feminist issue at all.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:30:16

freya the anecdotes are showing that if a 14 yo wants to have sex, they will. The best thing a parent can do, is make sure they are safe.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:34:32

Indeed, Gosh. Kinda worrying.

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 22:35:26

Like Freya I am interested to know why a case in the US is being brought up on a thread about UK laws (assuming England/Wales - laws differ in other parts of the UK).

Law in England/Wales is very specific as to definitions of sexual offences, and the INTENT of the law as published on CPS is clear regarding consensual sex between teens over age of 13.

I have absolutely no problem with the law in this area as it stands. It exists so as to enable prosecution where suitable, while understanding that teens will get it on in a consensual way and that is fine.

All works for me. The idea that in this jurisdiction there is a danger for a eg 16yo boy to be prosecuted for being in a consensual sexual relationship with a 15 yo girl is a rape myth.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:36:39

So, people are arguing on this thread for the age of consent to be lowered ? Why don't you just come out and say it.

"She looked 14, Guv, honest..."

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:37:07

I apologise - I am American and didn't think about its relevance. I just remember the case and noted it here. Sorry for the confusion.

CrocodileScream Tue 05-Nov-13 22:38:55

Men and women are not yet equal in all things in this country. Particularly on relation to PIV sex. Therefore the law must reflect this.

There will always be exceptions to the rules. One size fits all doesn't exist. Most laws will have a 'necessary evil' element to them. It truly sucks. But what is the alternative?

Weeantwee Tue 05-Nov-13 22:39:02

This is nothing to do with feminism. Its madness.

I remember when I was 12, I found out that my friend had slept with her boyfriend. She was 12, he was 14. I was genuinely appalled and that's not because I was less mature than her, its because I knew we were children and sex was illegal. Simple.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:39:33

No! The question the OP posed was 'Is it right to tell young women (or men) to wait untill they are 16 to have sex despite people reaching sexual maturity at all different ages?'

And the point being made, is that some people do mature at different ages, therefore I, personally, don't think the 'wait until you are 16 because the law says so', is a useable argument.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:40:12

Although, I have to agree I fail to see what this has to do with feminism.

Bunbaker Tue 05-Nov-13 22:40:44

I don't what any of this has to do with being a feminist.

Bunbaker Tue 05-Nov-13 22:41:04

Cross posted Alexa

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:41:23

So, Alexa, you agree then that you are simply here to argue for the age of consent to be lowered ?

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:41:49

crocodile but isn't changing the law the first step in reaching equality?

Gay and straight couples aren't yet equal in all things, hence the law needs to be changed to rectify this.

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 22:43:14

Alexa there is no such thing here as "statutory rape" for a start, and I think in the US there are different laws in different states about age of consent, sexual acts and so on. UK is a bit different - England and Wales share laws on this, Scotland has independence but laws are similar.

I admit I don't know much about consent laws in NI. Given their abortion laws I am a bit scared to look.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:43:58

No, not at all. I think 16 is a perfectly good age for consent, as the law stands.

What I would argue is two things;
1. That the law needs to be equal for both male and female parties engaging in sex
2. That using the law as a deterrent for your under-16 child, isn't going to work, and that the better option is to educate them and allow them to make their own choices. Sure, you can try to deter them, but from experience a 14/15yo will do what they want to do. Better to be safe.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:45:46

tabard I know the laws here! I've not mentioned statutory rape?

NI has the same age of consent as the uk.

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 22:45:56

Alexa in the UK the legal age of consent for sex is 16. For any combination of sexes.

CrocodileScream Tue 05-Nov-13 22:45:56

I don't have the answer Alexa. Gay and straight couples should be equal - in fact they should just be couples. I don't think the law will change while females require more protection.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:46:05

You are derailing the thread, Alexa.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 22:46:53

The point is that a 14 year old girl, by definition, has not reached complete sexual maturity. Sexual maturity isn't some opinion they hold in their head - it is a biological reality to do with physiological development.

The job of a parent isn't to wait around until a child decides to have sex and then provide the safest context for them to do it in. The job of a parent is to bring children up to make mature decisions. And the mature decision is to not have penetrative sex at 14.

Anybody who conflates having sexual urges with wanting to have penetrative sex or thinks it is a natural instinct for a 13 year old to want to have penetrative sex is confused.

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 22:48:08

Age of consent is 16.

How does it made to be more equal for males and females?

A bit confused

FloraFox Tue 05-Nov-13 22:49:40

I think children should wait until they are 16 to have sex just as they should wait until they are 17 to drive and wait until they are 18 to vote and drink alcohol (fat chance of that last one though). Of course everyone matures at a different rate but the laws have to draw a line so that most people can get the protection they need. Child sex laws are to protect children from sexual exploitation from adults. It might have the effect that two 15 years olds who are mature enough cannot have sex but, hey ho. That's the consequences of trying to protect young people who are not mature enough.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:52:26

How am I derailing the thread confused

tabard I know, I don't know why you keep citing basic facts to me? hmm

freya most 16 year olds have not reached sexual maturity either.

What needs to be equalised is the penalties that can be imposed. They are currently different for males and females.

Anyway, the point is that the op asked if it was right to tell people to wait until they are 16. I don't think it is, necessarily. In an ideal world, sure, but though I agree that having sex at 14 probably isn't the mature choice, teenagers make a lot of dumb choices. Best to make sure they are safe.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:52:58

Having a strong sense and law about the age of consent inconveniences two groups of people from what I can see.

1) Sex abusers who prey on underage children and 2) underage children who wish to have sex but should really wait a couple of years

I can live with that. Any parent should be able to live with that.

CrocodileScream Tue 05-Nov-13 22:53:09

Good post Flora.

Tabard my reference to inequality between males and females was about how they may be treated by the law if one is over the age of consent.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:55:11

I agree mist. I do.

I just think I would rather know my children were having sex safely, than burry my head in the sand and assume a horny 15 year old would wait, because it's the law.

Then they'll do it somewhere when they get a chance, which might not be safe, and might rush into the decision.

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 22:55:51

People have written these things. I do not understand why.

Explanations would be good.

That the law needs to be equal for both male and female parties engaging in sex


What needs to be equalised is the penalties that can be imposed. They are currently different for males and females.


WorraLiberty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:55:52

My mum treated me as an adult when I started to develop sexual feelings, rather than a toddler with a plug socketand a coat hanger. If a young woman is capable of understanding her actions why should she not be given the choice?

There is a massive gap between a toddler and a young woman.

A 13yr old child is not a young woman by any means.

maybe my mum was lucky that I am eminantly sensible

No I think YOU were lucky that you were sensible

And very lucky that you didn't get pregnant at the age of 13 whilst fumbling with a condom.

Yes you could have got pregnant outside of your home...but there's a massive difference in being educated about having sex and being encouraged to do so.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:58:09

I think you are being a bit OTT - giving your child condoms, when you know they plan to have sex! isn't encouraging them. What would you do? Tell them not to and hope for the best?

Or keep them locked in until they turn 16 and are magically ready?

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 22:58:32

Alexa you are advocating that the law around age of consent be fudged/ignored/minimised/whatever you want to call it. You don't agree with me at all. You would rather give agency to the "but she looked 14 Guv (when she is really 12)" people. That's how it looks.

misspontypine Tue 05-Nov-13 22:58:35

I think I have probably misunderstood my mother's "lax" parenting as an extension of her feminist priciples. I was only ever talking about relationships between same age couples, not older men taking advantage of younger women.

I see being in charge/responsible for your sexual activity and contraception from a young age to be a positive thing for me. I have never felt unequal in a relationship, I thought that was maybe because I was allways in controll of my own sexuality.

It seems I am probably wrong! I do hope I have not been offensive.

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 22:58:47

Sorry, ipad sometimes autocorrects to exclamation marks in when I do a comma. I don't know why.

grimbletart Tue 05-Nov-13 23:00:05

I don't buy this crap about some girls being more mature so ready for sex.

The genuinely mature girls are the ones who know that sex is best kept for those who are emotionally and mentally mature, not just the ones who happen to have periods and some burgeoning hormones.

There is nothing matter about having sex at 13, 14, 15. It is simply a child playing at being an adult.

The really mature ones understand that there is a time in life for childhood, a time for learning and a time for sex and they understand what is appropriate at what age.

grimbletart Tue 05-Nov-13 23:00:42

matter = mature

AlexaChelsea Tue 05-Nov-13 23:01:20

mist I absolutely abhor that accusation, that is fucking outrageous and I am actually livid that you would put those words in my mouth. How dare you.

What I said, is that telling a 15 year old to wait because the law says so, is pointless. Because they will have sex if they want to.

Likening that to pedophilia is fucking disgusting. angry

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 23:03:58

misspontypine, I think you are talking about some Utopia where young girls never come under malign influences...a controlling boyfriend who coerces her into the stuff he watches on YouPorn, a charming older man, someone who uses her emotional immaturity to push her boundaries (I could go on...)

that's not the real world for many teenagers, I am afraid

there have to be some protective measures in place

they are not perfect, that is for sure...but take them away and many more children will suffer

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 23:04:41

OP sorry I didn't answer your question!

I see your mum's approach as liberal, rather than feminist or anything else. I grew up with lots of people who had the same "freedoms" as you, and that was definitely a liberal thing. Given that there were dads in the house too, and it was a "thing" that boys & girls were "allowed" to do.

The people I know are happy & fine.. I just don't see it as a "feminist" thing though. more the sort of thing where teh mum skins up and the dad gives you some drink type of thing. Not at 13 though - 15/16.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 23:04:48

I can't comment on the equality issue because you haven't explained what the issue is. What is the actual difference between indecent assault and sexual assault? If we are talking about PIV sex, then the crime is rape. Women can't rape men under UK law unless they are participating in a man raping another man. You need to explain the law in more detail if we are to understand how and why the law is different for this age group.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 23:06:18

Paedophilia is sexual interest in children that have not yet reached puberty, Alexa. So no, that is not what I am talking about.

NiceTabard Tue 05-Nov-13 23:10:32

OP smile not offensive at all I know quite a few people with a similar upbringing, it's interesting for conversation, I think. Hope you are OK with the way it has gone though! x

WhentheRed Tue 05-Nov-13 23:20:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheDoctrineOfWho Tue 05-Nov-13 23:20:59

Mist, I don't think that Alexa is making any argument about giving agency to older men having sex with 12-14 year olds.

CPS guidelines

The guidelines state that those who are underage but of similar age who are mutually agreeing to sexual activity are unlikely to be prosecuted.

misspontypine Tue 05-Nov-13 23:23:33

I'm very happy with the way things went, it felt like the right time and the right person for me.

I thought that maybe the act of giving a young woman the responsibility and right to decide what happens to her own body was why I thought that it was perhaps a feminist issue but I can see that there are issues surrounding possible abuse and grey areas regarding consent.

I don't think a 13 year old is any more or less capable than a 16 year old at putting on condoms. We used to occasionally play with condoms from a young age ( mum's best friend was a sex education teacher) we see how we could break them ( sharp things much better than blowing them up) we learnt to put them on
bananas and our carrots. I appreciate this is unusual.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Tue 05-Nov-13 23:25:23

By advocating ignoring the age of consent, or campaigning for it to be lowered, that is exactly what would happen. So whether or not anyone "means" to give agency to predatory older men (and I don't actually think Alexa is, nor did I say so) the outcome would remain the same.

be very careful what you wish for.

TheDoctrineOfWho Tue 05-Nov-13 23:32:01

I think countries with a 13 or 14 age of consent often have "age difference" rules too.

WhentheRed Tue 05-Nov-13 23:35:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

freyasnow Tue 05-Nov-13 23:36:27

Misspontypine, you haven't explained why you wanted to have penetrative sex at 14. With all the condoms around and so on, were you brought up to believe that heterosexual sex is mostly about penetration, and that naturally all heterosexual women will have an urge to be penetrated, and some people have this natural urge earlier than others?

Because that definitely is not feminism.

Grennie Tue 05-Nov-13 23:43:42

Agree Freya. I would see a feminist approach to sexual behaviour for teenagers to be:

1. Explaining about heteronormativity
2. Explaining that all kinds of sex are valid sex should not equal PIV
3. That the concept of virginity is a rubbish patriarchial concept
4. And the risks of PIV

Obviously plus all the usual stuff any decent parent should be saying.

FloraFox Tue 05-Nov-13 23:48:58

Exactly when I totally agree. Responsibility for contraception and having the consequences of unplanned pregnancy fall largely on a girl child in a disproportionate manner is not power.

MMcanny Tue 05-Nov-13 23:49:41

How is 'no dresses' being a feminist? I realise the thread has been somewhat derailed by the underage sex and FWIW I will encourage my children to keep away from sex until they and their partners are above the age of consent. For some reason my children seem to have a respect for laws and have no desire to take risks of any sort. I think the feminist thing would be to educate your daughter that it's OK to say no and why she might want to say no - also your son, but then I'm all for equal rights and some of the 'feminism' I see on here is anything but that.

misspontypine Wed 06-Nov-13 10:37:17

I would say that dresses only imit the activities that the dress wearer can do. A dress is not practical at the park, when it is windy, it's harder to climb in a dress. I wouldn't choose to dress my child in clothes that limit them. We have dresses in the dressing up box that both boys and girls can try on but I don't think they are appropriate clothing for when children play.

I now live in a country where the age limit for sex is 15, many young people stay over at their boyfriend/girlfriend's house. Strangely the teenage pregnancy rate is much lower than the UK (I have never seen anyone who looked under 20 who was a mother) and women are on the whole much more respected.

WorraLiberty Wed 06-Nov-13 12:17:07

Which country?

Dresses limit climbing and playing far less than some other jeans for example.

I don't think not buying you dresses is here or there really.

LadyInDisguise Wed 06-Nov-13 12:50:27

miss there are different issues on here.
I would agree that the way you have been brought up did have an influence on how empowered you have been feeling and how you handle the situation. I do agree that choosing to have sex with someone the same age is much better than doing it because you feel you ought to (peer pressure and all that).

However, I am sure you will agree that not all children are brought up like this (I am pretty the friend you are referring to wasn't). And that some children are struggling to deal with peer pressure, whether they are 13, 15 or 17yo. They aren't mature enough to take that sort of decisions, don't realize the real consequences etc... You just have to see all the misconceptions teenagers have around sex, pg and STIs.
Hence the need to have some law to protect the youngest ones.

WhatTheFoxSays Wed 06-Nov-13 13:04:27

I think it falls down when the male is held accountable for sleeping with an underage girl, when she consented. Because, by the law, she can't consent when under 16, therefore he is guilty.

AOC applies to both males and females.

The law on sex fact sheet

WhatTheFoxSays Wed 06-Nov-13 13:23:51

*I don't buy this crap about some girls being more mature so ready for sex.

The genuinely mature girls are the ones who know that sex is best kept for those who are emotionally and mentally mature, not just the ones who happen to have periods and some burgeoning hormones.

There is nothing matter about having sex at 13, 14, 15. It is simply a child playing at being an adult.

The really mature ones understand that there is a time in life for childhood, a time for learning and a time for sex and they understand what is appropriate at what age.*

I'm not sure about that. I lost my virginity when I was 15. I felt ready for it and I didn't regret it then and I don't regret it now. Even looking back now, I still feel that was the right time and that I was ready. Sure, I could have waited three months until I turned 16 but what difference would that have made? I wouldn't suddenly become more mature just because I waited until my 16th birthday. Even a lot of 16 year olds don't feel ready for sex. I think having the AOC be 16 is fne however I think there should be some wriggle room on either side.

And why is it just girls who have to wait? hmm Are boys allowed to do it whenever they want just because sex is seen as some right of passage for males? Not the girls though...the girls have to wait, if they don't then they're stupid hmm

WhatTheFoxSays Wed 06-Nov-13 13:24:47

Sorry, that was meant to be in bold. Don't know what happened there.

misspontypine Wed 06-Nov-13 17:34:02

I live in Sweden.

Jeans are also impractical clothing, especially in wet weather.

grimbletart Wed 06-Nov-13 18:27:30

WhatTheFox: just to clarify from your last point about boys waiting.

I also think boys having sex at 13,14,15 are also children playing at being adults.

And I think very few 16 year olds are mature enough to deal with the possible consequences of sex, whether it is a proper relationship, an unplanned pregnancy or an abortion.

When you have decades ahead of you to have sex, the haste to pretend you are grown up in your early and mid teens is ludicrous.

What's the rush?

freyasnow Wed 06-Nov-13 20:55:46

'I now live in a country where the age limit for sex is 15, many young people stay over at their boyfriend/girlfriend's house. Strangely the teenage pregnancy rate is much lower than the UK.'

It isn't strange at all. The UK has a very high teen pregnancy rate. Most developed countries, whether they have a lower, higher or same age of consent as the UK have a lower teen pregnancy rate.

The average age of losing virginity is over 16 in Sweden, so you would still be exceptionally young by Swedish standards, and indeed the standards of every other developed nation. The British, on average, actually lose their virginity earlier than most other nations, including the developed ones.

You seem to still be buying into the idea that women have some kind of 'natural urge' as you put it for penetration which they should pursue at a young age, but presumably you feel they shouldn't follow the 'natural urge' to have a baby. That's convenient for men then.

I'm not sure what you want from this thread. You seem convinced that it is somehow feminist to not tell girls to wait until 16 to have sex, but you haven't given any actual benefit of not giving them that advice. Plenty of people have answered your question and explained why there are benefits to waiting and why most responsible adults give that advice.

NotCitrus Thu 07-Nov-13 14:08:19

I believe the age of consent in the Netherlands is 12, with similar range of age at first sex to the UK. And the Netherlands has very low rates of teen pregnancy, STIs, etc. So there's an argument that a lower age of consent might result in less furtiveness of teenagers around sex leading in turn to more active use of contraception, discussing relationships with parents, and generally more responsible sex.

I don't think it would though, unless the UK first got to a sexual culture more like the Netherlands, with open discussion of sex and sexual education and good relationship education from early ages, instead of education being mainly from rumours and the internet and the kids generally being drunk when they get it together.

There was also an argument for lowering the AOC when anyone (but in practice generally boys/young men having sex with slightly younger boyfriends) over the AOC got put on the Sex Offenders Register if their partner was below the AOC and authorities found out, usually dobbed in by upset parents - made sense when the same-sex AOC was 21, but not really appropriate now, especially with guidance not to prosecute consensual relationships with only a small age gap.

Branleuse Thu 07-Nov-13 19:23:29

Is it really so weird to want sex at that age??? I was bloody gagging for it for at least a couple of years before I did it.

Sex only being ok at 16+ is purely a cultural specific norm. Its not because its objectively right or wrong

MistAllChuckingFrighty Thu 07-Nov-13 19:50:29

When I was 14 or thereabouts I thought I wanted to try alcohol, smoking, sex, driving a car, having a baby etc

All that grown up stuff

Doesn't make it right. And yes, there does have to be an "objective" line in the sand, to protect immature teenagers who think they know everything about the world but they really do not

16 is a decent line, IMO. It's an arbitrary one, for sure, but if it's going to be moved I would personally prefer up rather than down

DixonBainbridge Thu 07-Nov-13 20:34:49

We made sure our eldest son had condoms available and knew how to use them from around 14 - because he was starting to get very interested in girls. Not to encourage him to have sex, but to make sure that if he did he wasn't going to end up ruining his & another kids lives by getting her pregnant.

I do think that some of you who are expecting your kids to wait 'till they're 16 "'cos its the law, innit" may well be unpleasantly surprised at some stage!!

DixonBainbridge Thu 07-Nov-13 20:36:37

And one other point - if you got 50 14 year old boys or girls in a room, they would be at all sorts of levels of physical and mental maturity. So to say that "no one wants sex at 14" is a tad naive, because some obviously do!

ElizabethJonesMartin Thu 07-Nov-13 20:39:46

Indeed. 16 is entirely arbitrary. I would lower the age of consent to 14. Too many parents in the UK want to assume teenagers are non sexual beings.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Thu 07-Nov-13 20:42:12


Branleuse Thu 07-Nov-13 20:43:12

I would lower it too. I cannot see how on earth that would encourage paedophilia.

Paedophiles dont give a fuck about age of consent

Branleuse Thu 07-Nov-13 20:45:20

I do not believe the government should have more rights over a girls body than she does.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Thu 07-Nov-13 20:45:37

Who is talking about paedophiles ?

Paedophiles are only interested in pre-pubertal children

How many times does that actually need saying ?

DixonBainbridge Thu 07-Nov-13 20:53:54

How many times does that actually need saying ?

Lots, because the mainstream media have perverted the meaning & it's generally used now to describe any adult having inappropriate sex with someone under the age of consent.

Rather than continually trying to point out peoples error it may just be best to read it in the context it's written.

Liara Thu 07-Nov-13 21:03:35

I had a similar situation as you OP, although my bf did not stay for sleepovers, we had privacy in my room and could experiment sexually as I saw fit.

I did choose to have PIV sex at age 13 (almost 14). We had been experimenting with other sexual things for a few months, had been together for over a year. He was 16. He was totally willing to wait, and even reluctant to go ahead so soon. It was completely my decision and I felt totally in control.

It was a genuinely positive, valuable experience. I am very glad it was my first sexual experience.

Particularly as when I was 16 I had a 'relationship' with a 40yo sexual predator which was the exact opposite. It was very damaging, and I shudder to think what it would have been like if that had been my only sexual experience at that point.

As it was, I knew from what I had lived before that this was not right, that I was not in control nor choosing what was going on. This enabled me to get out and move on.

Oddly, my positive experience would have been illegal in the UK, my second not (different consent laws where I was).

MistAllChuckingFrighty Thu 07-Nov-13 21:07:50

The context is wrong , Dixon, and demonstrates ignorance

It should be called out every time it raises it's ugly head

DixonBainbridge Thu 07-Nov-13 21:27:09

Oxford Dictionary gives the definition of a Paedophile as -

a person who is sexually attracted to children.

and for Child it says -

noun (plural children /ˈtʃɪldr(ə)n/)
a young human being below the age of puberty or below the legal age of majority (italics mine)

The Sex Offenders Act 1997 defined paedophilia as a sexual relationship between an adult over 18 and a child below 16.

Quite willing to be proven wrong, but the tools most people have to hand would disagree with you.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Thu 07-Nov-13 21:31:24

One can usually find any variety of online definition that fits a particular argument

here is mine

it took one click

back in the real world....

Branleuse Thu 07-Nov-13 21:32:06

well no, it doesnt demonstrate ignorance. I know what paedophiles are and i know theres another term i cant remember for children above puberty but under the age of consent. You all knew what i meant in context, but if your correction made you feel better, then im happy for you.

I really dont think anybody should be having sex before theyre ready, or at any time they dont want to, but if they do want to, then i have no issue with it, even if theyre 13, 14 15 whatever. Not my body, not my business. There are lots of things that can mess with your head at any point in life, sex is only one thing, but it can also be, and for most people, if its really what they want to do, a wonderful experience, and not inherently dangerous

Lots of emphasis should be placed on childrens self esteem, and how to say no and stay safe.

Obviously there will never be a change in the law to anything like this extent, if at all, so this is purely my considered opnion on the matter,

MistAllChuckingFrighty Thu 07-Nov-13 21:34:56

well, bran, if you use "lowering the age of consent won't encourage paedophilia" as an argument, you need to be very sure of your terms

DixonBainbridge Thu 07-Nov-13 22:14:15

Christ, first thing they tell you at Uni is "never quote Wikipedia" - it's non-verified information, anyone can upload anything.

I think I'll take the Oxford Dictionary and the Sex Offenders Act as my points of reference if that's all right with you...

Back in the accurate world.....

MistAllChuckingFrighty Thu 07-Nov-13 22:18:48

Dixon, you conflated two separate definitions

That's a well known no-no

MistAllChuckingFrighty Thu 07-Nov-13 22:19:35

and yes, I attended "Uni" although that that has to do with it, I am at a loss to know

BasilBabyEater Thu 07-Nov-13 22:49:55

My DS is 14, I won't be ensuring he has condoms available to use. I've told him he needs to take responsibility for contraception and to not even think of penetrative sex until he's thought about and sorted out contraception. That means not relying on a girl to be on the pill, but also to use a condom every single time he has penetrative sex and to take responsibility for supplying that condom. He knows where he can get them for free (a place not far from his school) as and when the time comes and I've told him that if he doesn't feel able to organise the contraception, then he's almost definitely not ready to penetrate anyone else's body with his penis.

The rest is up to him. It's not my job to hand him condoms, penis-beakers or anything else to do with his sex life. My remit as his mother just doesn't go that far...

Branleuse Fri 08-Nov-13 07:30:42

well mist, no i dont, because 1, its still true, and 2, this is mumsnet, not a caught of law, nor some sort of university thesis that im going to get marked on ffs

DixonBainbridge Fri 08-Nov-13 07:50:25

Basil "It's not my job to hand him condoms" - Fair enough, that's totally your call - people have different ideas about how far to parent. Would you help your daughter with her contraception though? I do like the phrase "to penetrate anyone else's body with his penis" BTW, interesting phrase.

Misty - it's obviously not a "well known" no no though is it? Given the frequency with which it's "mis-used". It's something pedants like to leap on (much like the grammar nazis).

The uni reference was to make the point that quoting wikipedia as a reference is a no no, because you may as well be quoting your aunt ethel for all the accuracy it can be proven to have. (my DW informed me of this as I've never felt the need to attend uni yet).

Branleuse Fri 08-Nov-13 11:30:38

actually, my ds tried to change a load of stuff on wikipedia and i didnt know till they messaged me telling me that since I hadnt provided reliable sources and references, my wikipedia edit had been removed. So theyre changng

DixonBainbridge Fri 08-Nov-13 11:46:09

Yeah - I've seen entries change & then changed back, but it's still not 100% reliable, which is why it shouldn't be used as the sole point of reference.

Back to the OP though, looking at the posts above, there aren't any hard & fast rules - some youngsters had a fantastic first time under the age of consent, others had a crap time over it & vice versa. Everyone is different and matures at a different rate.

We have to trust that our kids are listening when we explain everything & that they don't get caught up in the moment & forget it all! I don't think letting them know there are some condoms in the drawer over there is encouraging them personally. As mentioned upstream, it's vastly preferable to them making a mistake that'll affect the rest of their lives.

freyasnow Fri 08-Nov-13 11:51:34

What has 90% of this discussion got to do with the OP? The OP's question was whether or not it was right to tell young people to wait until 16 to have sex, and that was in the context of giving parental advice. That is an entirely different issue to the legal age of consent.

Branleuse, no it isn't unusual for a 14 year old to want sex. In fact it is entirely normal if by sex you mean any kind of sexual activity including masturbation. If by sex you actually mean being penetrated by a penis, yes, I think it is unusual for 14 year olds of either gender to want that, which is why the average age of losing virginity, regardless of age of consent laws, is 2-3 years later than that in every developed country that protects children's rights

freyasnow Fri 08-Nov-13 12:00:46

The whole thing is pretty anti- feminist really. I mean what is this 'sexual maturity at different ages' stuff? Do people honestly believe having had sex makes you more mature than other teenagers? Like Freud or something, the clitoral orgasm is an immature experience? You must be penetrated ASAP. And if the desire to be penetrated is such a 'natural' urge for young people, why aren't we on here discussing when our daughters are going to peg their teenage boyfriends for the first time? At least nobody gets pregnant from pegging.

BasilBabyEater Fri 08-Nov-13 12:01:56

"I do like the phrase "to penetrate anyone else's body with his penis" BTW, interesting phrase."

LOL, in what way interesting?

That's what the age of consent refers to isn't it?

AFAIK, it's not about other forms of sexual activity like kissing, fondling, stroking, etc.

Thinking about it, is there an age of consent for those other forms of sexual activity? Digital penetration for example?

Part of the reason I use that phrase, is to point out that penetrating someone else's body with a penis, is only one, very limited form of sexual activity, it's not usually the one which enables orgasm in women and young girls and one of the joys of being a teenager used to be that you could have fantastic sexual experiences without having to risk pregnancy and std's by doing everything else but penetrating/ being penetrated with a penis. Too many people automatically assume that sex=penetration. I want both my DC's to know that that's not the case. Partly because I'm assuming that both them and any sexual partners they ever have, will have much better sex lives as a result of knowing that.

DixonBainbridge Fri 08-Nov-13 15:13:14

I like the fact that it doesn't beat around the bush (so to speak) - a fantastically clinical expression! Not something you'd hear too often...

I look forward to whispering it into Mrs Bainbridge's ear & seeing whether she laughs or punches me on the nose!

ElizabethJonesMartin Fri 08-Nov-13 16:07:33

wiki is very reliable on the whole.

MistAllChuckingFrighty Fri 08-Nov-13 18:02:41

Sadly, Dixon wholly missed the point of my wiki reference which is that one can find anything on the internet to support a particular viewpoint

Doesn't make it true as Dixon has ably assisted me in pointing out smile

DixonBainbridge Fri 08-Nov-13 20:06:38

Indeed! I shall believe my truth, and you can believe yours!! Both happy...

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