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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?

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..."

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