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Dear “Deep-thinking Hebephile”

Jesse Bering, whose evo psych musings I’ve previously demonstrated to be…well, sloppy, has decided to become an agony aunt. The first question he’s chosen to answer? It’s a doozy.

Dear Jesse,

I am a non-practicing heterosexual hebephile—and I think most men are—and find living in this society particularly difficult given puritanical, feminist, and parental forces against the normal male sex drive. If sex is generally good for both the body and the brain, then how is a teen having sex with an adult (versus another teen) bad for their mind? I feel like the psychological arguments surrounding the present age of consent laws need to be challenged. My focus is on consensual activity being considered always harmful in the first place. Since the legal notions of consent are based on findings from the soft sciences, shouldn’t we be a little more careful about ruining an adult life in these cases?

—Deep-thinking Hebephile

Since Bering whiffed most of the answer, more or less as I would have expected, I’ll give it a shot myself.

Dear Deep-thinking Hebephile:

The one thing Bering got pretty clearly correct in his answer to you is that your thinking most men are hebephiles doesn’t make it so. What it does do is allow you to tell yourself that what you want is normal and natural. It also allows you to cloak your impulses in the much-more-flattering cloak of daring nonconformity: Only you are brave enough to speak what all know in their hearts.

Except it’s not true. You are in the minority, and even within that minority, you are among those who work to justify their desires. That makes you extra dangerous, by the way, as does this idea that something needs to be “always harmful” in order for us to agitate against it.

There are good, solid reasons to prohibit sexual relationships between children and adults that have nothing to do with “moral panic,” even if you can’t think of what they would be. You hear someone say, “Ew,” at the idea. I, however, hear concerns about long-term planning capabilities and potential consequences of sexual activity, social maturity and the confidence to set boundaries, and severe power imbalances that call any kind of meaningful consent into question. “Soft sciences” or no, none of those disparities between childhood and adulthood is in serious doubt.

None of those require that children will come to harm in sexual relationships with adults, but they make it more likely. They also all but guarantee that wherever there is harm in one of these relationships, that harm will fall on the child, not the adult. That is why the penalty in these cases falls on the adult, even if it may “ruin an adult life.”

“But it doesn’t have to be that way,” I hear your letter pleading. It may even be true in the occasional case, but in those cases, that requires either exceptional maturity on the part of the child or that the adult be grown up–perceptive, wise, honest, patient, non-manipulative–enough for two. It would require that adult to be a better human being than the vast majority of those of us involved in relationships with people who can hold their own.

Are you that person? I don’t know. I doubt it, though, with your self-justification and your exceptionalism and your wish that “Someone think of the adults!!!” You come across as someone focused entirely on their own concerns and desires to the detriment of anyone else’s. At least you do to my practiced and studied–adult, if you will–eye. And that’s where those laws of consent come into play.

I do agree with you on one point, however. Please, whatever you do, be scrupulously careful about ruining that adult life of yours. I don’t want you taking any kids with you.

Comments

  1. Grammar Merchant says

    I’ll put it a little more plainly…Deep-thinking, no one really wants to be your ephebe. These are children, and their prefrontal cortices are not fully developed, and you are a predator. Is that clear enough?

  2. says

    As a kid, I was often manipulated into saying (or felt compelled to say) yes to older people, because like many children I was taught that all adults should be respected as authority figures. I consider myself very lucky that no one took advantage of that vulnerability. There is a reason we view adults who have sex with children and young teens as predators. If you really don’t understand why, Hebephile, please get some help.

  3. Midnight Rambler says

    I am a non-practicing heterosexual hebephile—and I think most men are—and find living in this society particularly difficult given puritanical, feminist, and parental forces against the normal male sex drive.

    This bold part is what set off screaming alarm bells for me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that most adult males could get aroused from physically developed teenage girls. But finding it difficult to live in a society where adults (18+, still pretty damn young) are your only sexual option? Creepazoid alert…

  4. Grammar Merchant says

    Rambler nails it, bolding the very hedges one would expect a pedophile to default into. And yes, while I’ve made the acquaintance of rather surprisingly (physically) developed pre-adults, that does not mean that those children are mentally ready to be true adults.

  5. Jack D says

    THANK YOU. So much. I read this over at sciam and was squicked out. Not due to moral panic, but because of precisely the issues you identified here much more clearly than I ever could have.

    Sometimes people mistake “horrible rationalization” for “deep-thinking.”

  6. Gross Anatomy says

    This is all the normal reaction to such an outrage…the term captain obvious comes to mind. OF COURSE the teen brain is ill-equipped for making decisions. I dont see the letter disputing this.

    I do see the letter disputing that underlying assumption that teen-adult sex is harmful to the psyche to begin with given the healthy physical nature of it- especially focused on the brain. So that decisions about it need be of no more concern than teen-teen sex. (In fact, in the former case at least one person has full facility for good decision making, right?)

    The letter seems to be seeking support for the counter argument to that. Do you have one? Can you do better than attack-mode truisms?

    Also, lumping teens in with children is plain stupid when it comes to this topic as clearly pedophilia has more damaging potential given physical immaturity. This is where you and the DSM authors fail bigtime.

    So that you may argue relevantly,

    Fun Times @ Free Thought High

  7. raymoscow says

    This is the ‘little’ matter of consent to consider — otherwise, sex is rape. Minors cannot give consent, and the law generally recognises this.

    If someone wants to argue that rape doesn’t ‘really’ harm the victim, I think we know how to regard that person.

  8. John Morales says

    Gross:

    Also, lumping teens in with children is plain stupid when it comes to this topic as clearly pedophilia has more damaging potential given physical immaturity.

    Sexual maturity comes well before mental maturity; teenagers are youths, not children, but I don’t think they’re yet mature.

    Teen-teen sex is natural; mature age-teen sex is creepy.
    For me, anyway.

  9. Gross Anatomy says

    @RayMoscow: how dogmatic should we be about consent removal for an activity that generally causes no physical or psychic harm? We are infringing on reproductive rights & freedoms here, so it is surprising to see the bandwagon readiness to impose…

    We allow (& sometimes force) teens to consent to all sorts of activity– some even dubious in nature health-wise: sports that damage the brain, exposure to unhealthy living environments & toxins, feminism (just kidding on that one) and others. Moral outrage about kids consenting to soccer or football? yeah i didnt think so..

    Also, the notions of consent in this context are simplistic in the sense that it is presented as binary; yes or no. In prepubescents, we find a third setting: neutral (most kids are asexual).

    Teens are different in this regard because they are generally more mature so that:

    Not distinguishing between a teen who says no to sex and one who may not only say yes, but who may initiate is patently absurd. As for me, I fully believe a teen who says no to sex doesn’t want to do it. Rigor tells me the same for the case affirmative. In fact, it’s a bit of a ‘duh’ thing isn’t it.

    Fast Times @ Free Thought High

  10. Gross Anatomy says

    @John- creepy? I find sex with ladies over the age of 50 creepy.. so, there oughta be a law!? in fact given that the women over the age of 35 are very likely to have unhealthy babies, perhaps we should remove consent at 35.

    At least you distinguished teens from kids. It is the first sign of poorly constructed babble on this topic when someone uses teen and children interchangeably.

    Fast Times @ Free Thought High

  11. raymoscow says

    Gross person,

    If you can make the case for legally lowering the age of consent with enough evidence of no harm to convince the various authorities, feel free. Until then, it’s rape, and it’s treated as such for good reason.

    And you’re a rape advocate.

  12. Gross Anatomy says

    dear ole Ray does bring up a good point though: he presents the expectation to provide ‘enough evidence of no harm’. Best answer: you mean like expecting to provide ‘enough evidence of no god’?

    Fast Times @ Freethought High

  13. John Morales says

    Gross:

    I find sex with ladies over the age of 50 creepy.. so, there oughta be a law!?

    But that has nothing to do with their lack of maturity, does it — rather, it’s just your personal quirk.

    (Do you really think not taking advantage of immature people is nothing but a quirk?)

  14. B-Lar says

    In the UK, the age of alchohol purchase is 18, but I was drinking booze before that. The age restriction is there because a line has to be drawn somewhere. It is not an arbitrary line and it is decided by considering the dangers of immature individuals playing with potentially hazardous substances in potentially hazardous situations.

    Some individuals may well be mature enough to handle the consequenses of their actions and are better prepared for the nature of the world, but this is not a good enough reason to reassess where the line is drawn. I railed against this when I was 17, but understood it by the time I was 19

    When it comes to consent and the age at which it can be legally given it may seem to some that the line is drawn arbitrarily and for not very good reasons but whenever I hear guys like this “deep thinker” I only hear myself as a whiny teenager complaining about how I cant get served in the off license.

    However, I dont think that pointing at the seemingly arbitrary nature of the line, or pointing out that some people blur the line, or even pointing out that some people hold unchallenged preconceptions about the line make you a rape advocate.

    A rape advocate is someone who advocates rape.

  15. John Morales says

    [meta]

    In local news: Teacher accused of sex with student.

    A teacher at a Hobart girls high school has been charged with having sex with an underage student.

    The Ogilvie High School teacher has been sacked and has been remanded in custody.

    [...]

    Police confirmed former woodwork teacher Matthew Rosevear was charged with one count of sexual intercourse with a person under 17.

    The alleged offence happened on December 5.

    The 45-year-old was given police bail two weeks ago but was arrested on Wednesday for breaching his bail conditions by sending the 16-year-old girl a letter.

    (Creepy)

  16. Gross Anatomy says

    @John- you use the word creepy like it means something… or means something different for yourself than to others. Who fucking cares? are you really this stupid?

    Also, your ‘quirk’ statement of “well, most people agree with me, so i must be superior”

    yawn

    Fast Times @ Free Thought High

  17. Gross Anatomy says

    @B-Lar, your analogy with alcohol doesn’t hold water (pun intended) because the facts are clearer (meaning, its harder science): there is nothing healthy about alcohol consumption. So no one of any age “should” consent to it.

  18. Gross Anatomy says

    “there is nothing healthy about alcohol consumption”

    should read:

    “Alcohol consumption is clearly unhealthy in both the short & long term”

  19. Sithrazer says

    Kids are raised to respect, if not fear, adults as authority figures. This conditioning makes youth susceptible to coercion and lack of forethought when being guided into situations by adult authorities, add on to that the impulsiveness of youth and it’s an easily exploitable situation for adult authorities.

    Teen-teen relationships usually don’t end well. Highschool sweethearts marrying and living their lives together for any great length beyond highschool is very rare. I had a history teacher in middleschool that speculated childhood romances are trial runs, practice for full adulthood, including testing out those coping mechanisms for loss and heartache when the nigh-inevitable breakups occur. Given all that, it’s still better an experience shared with peers as adults have (presumably) already learned to cope and it becomes just one more power differential (again, in favor of the adult) rather than a shared learning experience.

    “Peers” is probably the last point to make. Teens are not the peers of adults. They are not equals, at least not yet. Some might be before the age of 18, but many also are not, even into their early 20′s some may not reach that maturity point to really be on equal footing with other adults.

  20. says

    Gross Anatomy:

    So that decisions about it need be of no more concern than teen-teen sex. (In fact, in the former case at least one person has full facility for good decision making, right?)

    You may have noticed that we don’t exactly encourage teen-teen sex. That would be for many of the reasons surrounding maturity that are discussed above. The difference with an adult in the mix (aside from the power dynamics you’ve elided in your responses) is that we, as a society, consider adults to have a responsibility to protect children from the negative consequences of their immaturity. An adult who actually has the capacity for good decision-making understands this.

    Funny that you should mention football and soccer. If you pay attention to children’s activities, instead of just their bodies, you’ll know that sports injuries are a hot topic. In fact, you’ll find that more information comes out about the long-term effects of these injuries, we are in the process of instituting a different set of rules for children’s sports than we have for adults–much like we do for sex.

    As for teens who initiate sex with adults, there are a few points worth considering. The first is everything I just said about the responsibilities of adults toward children.

    The second is that when you’re talking to adults who insist they were seduced by teenagers, you’re hearing the same thing that predators (of victims of all ages, from infant to adult) have been telling law enforcement and researchers for decades. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily not true. It is, however, why a capacity for self-deception and a lack of empathy for the children involved turn someone with hebephilia from a sympathetic figure into a potential menace.

    A third is that seductive behavior in pubescent children (and I find it disturbing that you lump all teens together as though they had similar levels of maturity), and particularly toward adults, is more frequently found in those who have already experienced sexual abuse. Seduction is social behavior; it has to be learned. We don’t generally teach it to the young. That means that a young teen who does behave seductively (in reality, not just in the mind of someone who has some self-interest in seeing what may or may not be there) is generally already more vulnerable than your average teen. Precocious sexuality is very rarely, if ever, a sign of commensurate emotional maturity.

    Fourth is the point that Sithrazer just mentioned–that children are not trained to express their own preferences to adults. As you yourself note, we force our preferences on kids all the time. If you want to go from that to free consent (which doesn’t even get into the question of informed consent), you’ve got some work to do. Unless, of course, the simple word, “Yes,” is all you care about, regardless of the feelings of the person saying it.

    So tell me, Gross Anatomy, how many times has a simple, under-aged “Yes” been good enough for you?

  21. Sithrazer says

    I should have gone and looked up hebephilia before I made my reply, I new there was a term that referred to sexual preference of minors that are not prepubescent, but I didn’t realize there were terms specifying for those going through puberty and mid-late adolescence. I know now he is not talking about teens who are on that brink of adulthood where an individual may be exceptionally emotionally mature for their age (but where the vast majority still are not, even if they think they are).

    Fortunately, Ms. Zvan covered any additional points I think I would have included had I looked it up beforehand.

  22. B-Lar says

    @Gross,

    Your attempt to denigrate sociological and psycological sciences (I assume these are the sciences you refer to?) by labelling them as “soft” without elucidating as to why they should be so denigrated makes it sound as if you are force-rationalising the issue and taking logical shortcuts.

    The law is made by taking whatever science there is on the matter, taking a snapshot of public opinion, and making a legal distinction. I humbly suggest that if you do not like that legal distinction that you should get into politics, present your arguments, take a stand and make a change.

    My other point (that I touched on only vaguely, my apologies) is, that if the law prohibits someone from doing something that they want to do, then that someone is going to do their best to look for moral and intellectual loopholes to squeeze through in order to justify their desired action to themselves. I did the same in my alchohol analogy and by the time I was 19 I had realised that those thought were simple posturing.

    Our “deep thinker” seems to me to be purely interested in these girls sexually so presumeably when they reach the age of consent they become suddenly unnatractive to him and he goes out to find another. In this case the law is protecting these girls from a predator.

    If on the other hand, a 30 something man was interested in a particular teen girl, and had her best interests at heart, he could wait until she had reached the age of consent. Or alternatively, if she was mature enough, then she could give consent and he could place himself in legal but not moral jeopardy. A happy relationship is feasible in this instance.

    The difference between the two scenarios is that in one the focus from the older guy is on the girl as a person, and in the other, she is an object. If DTH really has fallen in love with a particular under age girl then he should have strength in his convictions and pursue her romantically. Not merely write letters complaining that he risks ruin for his pursuit. The ruin should be irrelevant when measured against his honest integrity.

  23. Gross Anatomy says

    Steph & Sith,

    I didn’t address the power differential issue because the argument presumes that the activity in question is harmful- a point dodged by both of you. Further, it might be said that the abuse of power comes into play in the arbitrary removal of the ability to consent because that is despotic in nature. Not a good model for power.

    Steph & I seem to agree that activities that involve repeated or intense blows to the head are highly likely to cause psychological damage, but we have yet to see proper support to the argument that sex does.

    Mostly because neuropsychology informs otherwise- the author of the letter is correct: science demonstrates that that which is healthy physically is also healthy for the mind- and sex is demonstrably so.

    Fast Times @ Freethought High

  24. Gross Anatomy says

    @B-Lar

    Wait, what? Why “should” a man have romantic interests in pursuing any female? What “should” a woman do?

    Companies “should” look at their employees as people, but end up calling them “resources” and generally we get crappy hierarchies that everyone submits to.

    And you didn’t address my response re: alcohol and the difference in my stance.

    Fast Times @ Freethought High

  25. Gross Anatomy says

    @B-Lar- I guess my point is that you are moralizing about romance: a feel-good, yet relatively wasteful activity. That is, there are more noble things to moralize about.

  26. Gross Anatomy says

    @Stephanie

    No, no, the onus is now on you to properly support your claims.

    Fast Times @ Freethought High

  27. says

    Gross Anatomy, the name is still Stephanie.

    It’s not remotely inane. You’re characterizing sex as a good thing, to the point that you want others to prove that harm exists at all. I’m asking whether you’re willing to stipulate that harm ever comes out of sex. I can start at the very basics if I have to, but I don’t see the point if you’re already willing to find some common ground. Also, if you’re not, I’m interested in having that information as well.

  28. JoeKaistoe says

    @Gross Anatomy

    You’re making a very general assumption here about the nature of the adult in these hypothetical sexual relationships. If the adult is a ‘good’ person, who authentically cares about the youth, then your scenario has a possibility of being non-harmful.

    However, if the adult is a dispassionate person who cares little for the youth that they are having a relationship with, it is extremely likely that severe emotional harm can come to the youth, not to mention physical risks such as disease and pregnancy.

    The power imbalance talked about does not depend on the harm done. The power balance is what makes the nature of the adult the most prominent factor of whether harm is done. The youth essentially has no ability to shape the nature of the relationship, unlike in adult-adult relationships where the power imbalance is much less likely.

  29. B-Lar says

    @ Gross

    Its perfectly reasonable that a man or a woman can pursue the object of their affection for purely sexual reasons, but its irresponsible to do do if the object of their affection could be emotionally damaged enroute. I cannot find anything wrong with 2 enthusiastically consenting individuals fucking for the sake of it and embracing the consequenses.

    I also think that if a man (or woman, but for the sake of relevance and of the narrative I shall continue with the masculine) is interested romantically in a much younger girl then he is more likely to engage in actions which will not cause harm. If he has a purely selfish sexual interest then he is likely to neglect the wellbeing of said girl and should refrain from pursuit for fear of doing harm. Does that clarify?

    Companies can choose to view their employees as people or “resources” and it is that choice that defines how the company treats its employees. Of course companies SHOULD choose an ethically virtuous stance, but some do not. Just as some people choose an ethically virtuous stance with relationships and some do not.

    I attempted to address the alchohol point with the first paragraph of my last response, and I note that you chose not to elucidate on my point about your denigration of the so called “soft sciences”. I was making a point about the legal age of consent and drawing parallels with the legal age of alchohol consumption ie they are both there to protect individuals from potential harm. I was under the impression that your only issue with the parallel was that one is backed by biology and the other is backed by pscycology and I am still under the impression that you are trying to force-rationalise by taking logical shortcuts. Please dont hesitate to correct me.

    Your last word was this:

    ” guess my point is that you are moralizing about romance: a feel-good, yet relatively wasteful activity. That is, there are more noble things to moralize about.”

    I agree that moralising about romance is relatively wasteful (unless you are moralising about your own romantic situations) and I was merely offering my opinions. Feel free to counter them with your own.

    I was under the impression that we were also discussing morality within conflicting legal frameworks (which is an exceedingly noble topic of discussion). My point was that if the DTH could claim the moral high-ground and be certain that he was doing no harm then the law should be no impediment to him. When faced with a choice between either legal or moral jeopardy, in my humble opinion, one should choose legal jeopardy.

    If I have failed to understand your point and gone on a tangent, please rephrase and I will do my best to keep up.

  30. Gross Anatomy says

    @Joe & Stephanie
    “Harmful sex” or the potential consequences such as disease and pregnancy are red herrings. Since Stephanie continues to dodge, I’ll assume she has assumed the hands-over-the-ears position and deserves no more attention until she snaps out of it.

    @Joe- “The power balance is what makes the nature of the adult the most prominent factor of whether harm is done”

    That statement is specious at best.

  31. B-Lar says

    Holy Cock!

    I was just prompted to look up hebephile by an earlier comment (thanks Sithrazer) and I have now realised it doesnt mean what I thought it meant. I have apparently been confusing it with ephebephile. Lexicon fail.

    While I am willing to consider that enthusiastic informed consent might be given by some mature under age teens, I find it very unlikely that such consent would be given by a newly pubescent teen.

    Also in my search for clarification I found the amusing urban dictionary definition of ephebephile which is: “A pedophile with a thesaurus.”

  32. says

    Potential harmful consequences to your sexual partner are “red herrings”? Right. If you really believe that, instead of simply adopting the position for argumentative purposes, you’re not mature enough to have sex with anyone, much less someone who would need to rely on your compassion and decision-making skills.

    Those potential harmful consequences are also not limited to pregnancy and STIs, although those are certainly concerns. Can you come up with any more on your own, or do we need to point those out to you as well?

  33. Sithrazer says

    You don’t see the harm in abusing the trust children are raised to have for adults in authority? You don’t see the harm in exploiting the power imbalance between adults and teens? I would think those are rather obvious, if implicit. It’s not direct physical harm, it’s emotional harm. They’re the kind of abuses that can leave scars that haunt a person for a lifetime.

    It’s like predatory lending. You’re offering/authorizing a loan you know the person can’t repay, or, at best, are going to struggle like hell to repay. They may agree to it because they’re optimistic, because they think they’re moving up and will have the means ‘soon’, they might just be delusional. Your approval of the loan is tacit approval of their misguided belief that they can handle the loan. An occasional person might get lucky, catch the right breaks, and repay the loan, but most will not. It’s bad for them, but you want to make the sale anyway.

    For the greater good of the majority who are too emotionally, or rationally/cognitively, immature to make certain decisions with full awareness and understanding of the consequences society enacts laws to protect them from themselves or others who would predate upon them. Smoking, drinking, voting, joining the military, the responsibility of parents to feed/house/clothe their children, when they can and cannot drive….you must be at least THIS tall to ride the roller coaster.

  34. Anat says

    Gross Anatomy, sex per se isn’t necessarily inherently damaging. Sex when one doesn’t really want to have it can be very damaging. A teenager who says ‘yes’ to sex because s/he feels obligated towards an adult whom s/he considers an authority figure is saying ‘yes’ to sex s/he doesn’t really want to have.

    Now we can argue forever if age is the best way to judge when a person is likely to be free of such influence. On a moral level perhaps it is a good idea to always look more carefully into the motivations of a potential sex-partner (do you really want to discover after the fact that the person in your bed got there in order to get back at an ex? or on a dare? or they actually had doubts or didn’t even want to, but for some reason couldn’t bring hirself to act on the doubt? etc etc). But on a legal level age is reasonably possible to assess objectively – more easily than the details of a person’s psychology. And once one reaches the age one is expected to have the maturity to sign contacts and vote one should also be expected to have a better idea of the emotional pitfalls one risks in relationships and have some means for managing those risks or dealing with the outcome if things turn out badly. So while having a one-size-fits-all criterion is suboptimal it is a pragmatic way for the purpose of law.

  35. says

    Stephanie nailed it, as always. Thanks for this beautiful post.

    @Gross:

    “given that the women over the age of 35 are very likely to have unhealthy babies”

    Everyone else already covered the superimportant stuff — you know, the age of consent issues. But as someone whose specialty is in reproductive physiology, I have a nit to pick with this comment. Women over the age of 35 are not very likely to have unhealthy babies, unless by “very likely” you mean “very slightly higher than those over 30, which is very slightly higher than those under 30, which was never really very high in the first place.” Oh, and by “unhealthy” you mean “chromosomal abnormalities.” Most of which get spontaneously miscarried. So really, the number of unhealthy babies, again whatever the heck that means, is higher, but not by much.

    I think this stuck in my craw because the very careless way he wrote this sentence was indicative of the quality of the argument as a whole.

  36. becca says

    “OF COURSE the teen brain is ill-equipped for making decisions.”
    No. The teen brain is perfectly well-equipped for making decisions, just not the decisions adults would make. Teenage brains are calibrated differently than adults. Specifically, it is not that teens devalue risk, but that they value reward more highly than adults.

    “Kids are raised to respect, if not fear, adults as authority figures. This conditioning makes youth susceptible to coercion and lack of forethought when being guided into situations by adult authorities, add on to that the impulsiveness of youth and it’s an easily exploitable situation for adult authorities.”
    Is it just me, or could we easily address this situation by raising kids to be independent actors whom we respect, with no fear in either direction?

    Stephanie, I know you do this with good intentions, but I think teens are poorly served by bright lining “adults” vs. “children”. The prefrontal cortex isn’t set until age 25ish, so 18 years isn’t biologically the right place to set the line anyway. And of course, different people go through puberty at different ages- it’s hard to know if by “Hebephile” we’re talking about someone attracted to the rare 8 year old girl who menstruates, or a 14 year old in that “finding everything out for the first time” yearning stage, or an 18 year old female who is a late developer physically. Those are pretty different things, as I see it. Any analysis without room for a LOT of grey or discussion of specific cases is pretty useless to my mind.

    I think the “society is WRONGZ!” attitude of the letter writer strongly suggests an egocentric view that speaks poorly to his own intelligence and maturity.

    That said, I am of course very biased by my own personal experiences… when I was 16 my boyfriend was 21. And he was a hell of a lot more concerned about authentic consent and being ethical and respectful than any 16 year old I knew.

  37. julian says

    I think the “society is WRONGZ!” attitude of the letter writer strongly suggests an egocentric view that speaks poorly to his own intelligence and maturity.

    how is it in any way different from yours? You’re insisting these sorts of relationships aren’t suspicious or bad because you slept with a pretty cool guy when you were sixteen.

    Also, we’re talking 10-12 year olds in the vast majority of cases. Please don’t point to early or late bloomers as a way to excuse this kind of crap.

  38. Gross Anatomy says

    @B-Lar: LOL @ urban dictionary definition of ephebephile which is: “A pedophile with a thesaurus.”

  39. Gross Anatomy says

    @All

    So the arguments are that sex between an adult & a teen is generally harmful because of power issues due to: 1) Inherent lack of ability to consent, and/or 2) Emotional trauma. Also, it has been argued that other consequences should be considered such as pregnancy and disease.

    The counterarguments are that these ill-supported because:

    1) Neuropsychology demonstrates that generally sex among physcially mature subjects is healthy for brain and therefore, mind (a proper counter to this would need to demonstrate that that which is healthy for brain, can be unhealthy for mind). So that, consent is required when an act is innately harmful or has potentially ‘dire’ consequences and sex alone does not qualify. (Read: consequences & risks can be mitigated, but beyond that think: “all other factors being equal”)

    1) Consent and reproductive rights are somehow fully restored and there is relatively little cause for concern when the age discrepancy is at a predetermined normative/satisfactory levels (teen-teen and some teen-adult with certain conditions) that vary among a tiny group of western societies. And is even inconsistent therein. Note that levels here have changed to be far different than that of the history of the species wherein this matter seemed of little concern to even the most puritanical parents of western society.

    Is that a clear summation?

  40. julian says

    @Gross Anatomy

    1)citation needed

    2)That it is customary and wholly appropriate in other cultures and parts of the world to engage in sex with children should not be counted as an argument in favor of pedophilia or hebephilia being acceptable.

    Why? For several of the reasons you have failed and refused to address.

  41. becca says

    “how is it in any way different from yours? You’re insisting these sorts of relationships aren’t suspicious or bad because you slept with a pretty cool guy when you were sixteen.”
    I am not insisting on anything of the kind.
    They are all relationships it’s reasonable to be suspicious of, and many are bad. Some are not. Talking about the not-bad ones is not always an attempt to justify the bad ones, it can be a legitimate attempt at a dialogue that helps define what makes a sexual relationship ethical.

    Unlike the hebephile, I am not lashing out at political philosophies in order to whine about how my deviant-considered behavior is really ok. I am just observing that there is a lot of lumping together of deviant behaviors that I see important ethical distinctions between. I understand why it is useful to draw bright lines in the sand (especially if you think the person you are talking to might be the next Jerry Sandusky), but they are not actually true. Children and adults are magically different categories. There are gradients. And, unfortunately, I think consent is on a gradient as well.

    Am I invested in other people seeing my experience the way I subjectively experienced it at the time? Sure, probably (frankly, I consider that a point in my favor, since most people seem to forget what being a teenager was like).
    Am I invested in convincing other people they are wrong so that I can pursue the deviant behavior in the future? Nope. So I think it’s a different level of self-interest.

  42. Tamsin says

    Neuropsychology demonstrates that generally sex among physcially mature subjects is healthy for brain and therefore, mind (a proper counter to this would need to demonstrate that that which is healthy for brain, can be unhealthy for mind). So that, consent is required when an act is innately harmful or has potentially ‘dire’ consequences and sex alone does not qualify.

    Barf.

    So, because sex is good for you, sex should not require consent. Might I point out that sex without consent is what we decent human beings call “rape”? And rape is most definitely very harmful.

  43. says

    @Gross Anatomy

    Your comments should have come with a Trigger Warning.

    Sex can be quite harmful, even to an adult. I’m not talking pregnancy and STDs, here. I’m talking tearing, bruising, and psychological trauma. I’m talking about the confusion and shame that comes from enjoying it, when you didn’t want it in the first place. I’m talking about the stress of being available “on demand” to a partner who ignores and belittles you, and when he’s not doing that, he’s yelling at you or hitting you. I’m talking about being anally raped, because he thinks he’s “entitled to” every orifice on your body.

    Still wanna say that sex “isn’t harmful”?

    All that shit I just mentioned above? That was my ex.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a nice hot shower.

  44. Gross Anatomy says

    @Tamsin- thanks, so more to the point:

    So that, the ability to consent is removed when an act is innately harmful or has potentially ‘dire’ consequences and sex between the physically mature alone does not qualify.

    Fast Times @ Free Thought High

  45. Gross Anatomy says

    @WMDKitty

    I hope my last post clarifies.

    But in your case, how would you legislate so that your boyfriend would be punished for his conduct? How would you prevent this happening to other men & women?

  46. S. says

    Stepping in here to say that we don’t have to just assume that adults having sex with 11-14 year old girls will cause problems. This isn’t a theoretical scenario in some parts of the world; there are countries where young children, both boys and girls (although it’s usually only considered socially normal with girls), regularly engage in sexual relations with adults and we can observe the effects from there.

    And the effects are negative.

    Injury to reproductive organs. Less chance of completing school and having a decent life. Early age of first birth, too many births total throughout the lifespan. High maternal mortality rate. High rate of sexually transmitted diseases (imbalance of power means the girl does not think to ask about STIs or CANNOT ask about STIs — plus, no wherewithal to demand the man wear a condom.) High rate of sexual abuse — no ability to say no to an authority figure even if the girl wanted to.

    If you really want America to emulate the sexual situation for young girls in Yemen, Uganda or Thailand…well, go ahead and try, but it’s not going to do anything good for society.

    This discussion also reminded me of a news article I recently read: http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/201109/texas-gang-rape-11-year-old-girl-story

    Here we have a young girl who was regularly engaging in relationships with adults that she may or may not have said “yes” to, but it’s very clear she never had the capability to say yes. This may be one girl, but it should be quite clear that it’s applicable to any 11 year old. How many do you know of that have the emotional maturity required to navigate a sexual relationship with an adult?

    And don’t tell me it’s somehow the same as two 11 year olds going at it. Not that I condone that either, but having sex with a peer is entirely different from having sex with an authority figure. That’s like saying two eight year olds playing “doctor” out in the bushes in the backyard is the same as an adult playing “doctor” with an eight year old out in the bushes in the backyard. Exploring this world you’re entirely new to with a peer is different than being forced through it with an adult.

  47. John Morales says

    Gross, stop beating around the bush.

    I can only think of one credible reason (and it ain’t disinterested intellectualism) of why you’re so insistent about this issue.

    To clarify:
    * How old are you?
    * What is the age group to which you feel sexual attraction?

  48. says

    @Gross

    Let’s be clear, guy, we’re talking about having sex with a kid around 11-14 years old. I can’t by any stretch of my imagination imagine how that could ever be acceptable. A child of that age range has very little in the way of proper risk management skills to weigh the consequences of sex, such as STDs, pregnancy, the physical trauma of the act, itself, psychological issues that can and DO develop as a result of both the act and the aforementioned STDs and pregnancy (also, I should note that my girlfriend is a licensed family and marriage counselor and works with these very issues and is confirming this). The power issue also can’t be pointed out enough. As an adult, you are the superior of all children you come across. Children are expected to respect your authority, and thus often feel they cannot offer resistance to an adult. It can very easily lead to a quid pro quo situation as any superior/subordinate relationship can which is why those are generally prohibited as well and in fact also count as rape. Your attempts to rationalize these facts or simply ignore them as if they didn’t matter are simply dumbfounding.

  49. Laurence says

    Stephanie,

    I think your article is good overall. The only thing I would say is that hebephilia is most certainly not normal but most definitely natural, and you seem to imply that it isn’t natural. But something being natural or not has no bearing on its morality. I would also say that there isn’t anything that is not natural. But this is really quibbling about terminology. I agree with your overall point.

    To the ongoing conversation,

    I think it would do to make a utilitarian calculation on the issue of hebephilia, and I think when the evidence was examined the conclusion would be that allowing 11-14 year olds to concern would be much more harmful (and increase overall suffering) than not allowing them to consent. The lines we set for the age of consent may be partially arbitrary, but I don’t think it is completely arbitrary. I think it’s pretty obvious that 11-14 year olds are not capable of making certain decisions, and I think consenting to sex is one of them. Sure, there may a person here or there of that age that can enter into a perfectly healthy relationship with an adult, but I think there is enough of a risk that it would be irresponsible of society to remove our current age of consent and allow it to happen.

  50. says

    becca –

    I don’t think a sixteen year old sexing a twenty-twenty two or three year old is anything like a thirty or forty something, sexing an eleven to sixteen year old. In cultural contexts where hebephilia is engaged as a matter of course, the former is the exception, while the latter tends to be the rule. Personally, I don’t really have a problem with young twenty somethings having sex with sixteen year olds and don’t believe it should be an open/shut legal case if they had sex with someone who is fifteen.

    I will note that I am hypocritically rather disgusted by people wanting to sex younger people in that context. Hypocritical, because I had two partners who were in their twenties, before I turned 17.

    The big problem I have with this discussion is the inherent power differential. While I have little doubt that you felt much differently than I did about having an older partner, our partners were within five years age of us – meaning there was a much smaller power differential. When we’re talking about someone closer to the age of our parents, that differential becomes much more significant.

    I am all for giving cases involving younger elder partners a large degree of latitude. Honestly, I don’t think the younger twenty something and sixteen year old should be illegal. But I am not at all interested in giving later twenty somethings similar consideration. There are a number of reasons why that is a bad idea – even when the younger partner absolutely believes it is ok.

    I think it is important to be sane about this, but I also think it is entirely sane to be pretty fucking absolute when it comes to people who are twenty four or five on up.

  51. Stacy says

    @John Morales

    Funny how Gross disappeared after you asked him a couple of pertinent questions.

    And, thanks. :)

  52. Anat says

    The exact age of consent is somewhat arbitrary. It varies among countries and even the various US states. Many of us can point to an example of a relationship that crosses someone’s boundaries but worked out, or one that would have been illegal in one place but was legal in another (there is one in my generation in my extended family, worked out fine for some 30 years). Yet most of us understand and agree with the principle behind such laws. The OP is not about a boundary case. It isn’t about a relationship between an adult and an almost-but-not-quite adult, but between an adult and someone who has quite some maturing to do.

  53. John Greg says

    Stacy said:

    “Funny how Gross disappeared after you asked him a couple of pertinent questions.”

    Maybe Gross Anatomy was banned? Or, gee, perhaps Gross Anatomy lives in a different time zone? And/or perhaps Gross Anatomy is otherwise busy?

    Anyway, more to the point, do you otherwise feel that it is justifiable, and/or fair, and/or an acceptable mode of discourse for John Morales to implicitly suggest that Gross Anatomy is a socio-sexual deviant?

    Gross Anatomy has presented reasonable arguments, which can be fairly and reasonably agreed with or disagreed with. But the general Freethoughtblogs trademarked response to these arguments is to try and find ways of dissmissing, shaming, insulting, and/or demeaning the commentor because the commentor’s point of view differs from the general ideology of the Freethoughtblogs tribe.

    In my view, such foul tasting methods of irrational discourse are little more than attempts to derail discourse that veers into uncomfortable territory. And that is absolutely a behavioural trademark of Freethoughtblogs tribes. Don’t like a commentor’s comments? Edit them; delete them; ban them. As Freefromthoughtblogger Lousy Canuck aka Jason Bieber/Thibeault opines: That which is edited, deleted, and banned only makes us wiser, more free, and more informed.

    Back on topic: Of course it is only anecdote, but when I was 13 and 14 years old, there was not much of anything I wanted as much as I wanted to have sex with older, more experienced, more confident, more relaxed adults. Much to my regret it never happened. Instead I had to endure the generally scarring and frequently tortuous groping, fumbling, and bumbling of common, garden variety teen-to-teen sexual stumbling encounters. Bleah.

  54. Midnight Rambler says

    I was just prompted to look up hebephile by an earlier comment (thanks Sithrazer) and I have now realised it doesnt mean what I thought it meant. I have apparently been confusing it with ephebephile. Lexicon fail.

    Ew…yeah, that’s what I did too. And it was bad enough as it was. I didn’t realize people were that specific.

  55. says

    I didn’t address the power differential issue because the argument presumes that the activity in question is harmful- a point dodged by both of you. Further, it might be said that the abuse of power comes into play in the arbitrary removal of the ability to consent because that is despotic in nature.

    well, isn’t this just fucking dumb.

    power-differentials that remove or lower the ability to say no to sex result in rape (not statutory rape, but actual real rape), which is highly psychologically damaging. With what other activity is something similar the case? If a boss “talks me into” attending a training session; or if a parent commands a kid attend their baby brother’s soccer game, the worst thing that will happen is abject boredom. However, if a person in power over me “nudges” me towards accepting/following their religion, even though the harm is incomparably less, such behavior is seen as highly unethical in most cases and even illegal in some. And that’s how it works for sex: having sex with people you have power over is unethical at best and illegal at worst. And yes, adults do have power over younger teens, pretty much by default (subject to a very few exceptions, usually related to class or race), precisely because of unfinished brain-development and complete lack of life-experience (which is the also the reason they’re not allowed to enter into legally-binding contracts, a decent if imprecise guideline for determining when consent is possible and when it isn’t, since contract-law is generally not thought about with nether regions)

    Unlike Stephanie however, I see no problem with minor-minor sex, and no evidence for it being harmful, since there is no power-imbalance there (though granted, in a place where sex-ed doesn’t exist and parents have tyrannical powers over their children the consequences of minors having sex are far more serious). As such, the two-years-difference rule in effect in some countries makes a lot more sense than a total ban on sex until the age of 18.

  56. says

    While I am willing to consider that enthusiastic informed consent might be given by some mature under age teens, I find it very unlikely that such consent would be given by a newly pubescent teen.

    indeed. as such any defenses of a “hebephile” on the basis that sex among older teens is not per-se unhealthy is at best disingenuous.

  57. TeamBonoboA-Go-Go says

    @Jade- I guess one possible counter would be that the outcome of the safe sex scenario would be, instead of “abject boredom”, the teen gets a great workout?

  58. TeamBonoboA-Go-Go says

    Wow, what a thread.

    It really is more demonstrative of the shitty thinking that exists in a filter bubble- in this case a feminist one. Have any of you done any work to support the claims you make? A few come right and admit ignorance of the terminology..

    Fucking laughable. If you’re going to spout opinion and make claims, do the research and the in-depth analysis, then give solid reasoning so we have reason to think you might be speaking with some authority on this– or any other subject.

    Just adopting a feminist belief system does not make you an expert on this– nor some other personal fave in the gender-related social psych arena.

  59. says

    In case it wasn’t clear to everyone, Team here is also Gross Anatomy. Team/Gross, I’ll get back to the thread on references (and a whole host of other things I haven’t responded to yet) when I’m not traveling for family holidays. You, on the other hand, are banned for sock puppetry.

  60. Juniper Shoemaker says

    In case it wasn’t clear to everyone, Team here is also Gross Anatomy.

    LOL. How fucking dishonest. And here I was about to sarcastically remark in a sing-song voice, “Why read a thread when you can just comment on it?”

  61. says

    I’ve been reading this thread over my morning coffee, and had to stop and gag on occasion. As several people have said, there are good reasons we don’t allow adults to have sex with minors. The defenses of Team/Gross boil down pretty much the way several people have suggested: the willingness to ignore the specialized risks entailed by children (and, I notice, power differentials; the same sort of ignorance of power differentials endemic in society around issues of consent), and the willingness to treat the child in question as if the adult’s pleasure is somehow a benefit which overrides any negatives the child might experience, by waving (I assume) his hands about and saying ‘pleasure is good for everyone, therefore it’s okay.’

    Frankly, that shit is horrifying, as is the repeated assertion that it’s ‘natural,’ I’m assuming by people who don’t fully comprehend the difficulty in teasing out physiology and social conditioning. The gist of social conditioning current in the US (and many other places) sexualizes and fetishizes (makes objects of) children and women. This is not a ‘fixed point’ to theorize from.

    Team/Gross appears to want to say something he wants is natural, and denigrate any science which calls attention to the problem teasing out biology and social conditioning, which appears at least in this discussion to be motivated by self-interest.

    Fella, whomever you are, I hope you have a moment of actual introspection and are as disgusted with yourself as the disgust you inspire in others. The inability of children to consent is self-bloody obvious if you spend any time with them. I hope for the sake of the children around you that you don’t.

  62. says

    @Jade- I guess one possible counter would be that the outcome of the safe sex scenario would be, instead of “abject boredom”, the teen gets a great workout?

    did you just call sex to which one can’t say no “a great workout”?

    fucking creepazoid asshole. or illiterate fuckwit with reading comprehension issues.

  63. says

    holy fuck, I totally missed this the first time ’round:

    consent is required when an act is innately harmful or has potentially ‘dire’ consequences and sex alone does not qualify.

    I reread that several times, but no matter how I parse it, it still looks like creepazoid said that consent isn’t required for sex

    O.o

  64. says

    nvm, he did fix it. but the fixed version is still bullshit, since the legal ability to consent is not only removed when the act is innately harmful. as I mentioned above, teens also can’t sign legal contracts, which is also not innately harmful. on the second point, he’s still a delusional fuck, since sex between two physically mature people where the withholding of consent is made difficult or impossible does very much carry “potentially dire consequences”, and sex between teens and adults does qualify as such.

    So that, the ability to consent is removed when an act is innately harmful or has potentially ‘dire’ consequences and sex between the physically mature alone does not qualify.

  65. says

  66. says

    I’m using google scholar because I don’t know if you have access to the same databases as I do. It’s a courtesy, for people who don’t have access past paywalls.

    I’m working on my third and fourth graduate degrees, both of which are in the social sciences. I’m going to call that education, and I’d wager more than you.

  67. Michael B. says

    Wow, this Gross/Bonobo guy sounds like a stereotypical Creationist demanding that, when trying to explain science, one not cite scientists or studies or… you know… reality in general. Proof that religion isn’t the only thing over which people delude themselves.

  68. 24fps says

    Hoo, boy… Where to even begin with this…

    I have two daughters, one is 14 and the other is nearly 11. I’m clearly thinking about this in terms of my own personal experience, but the last few and the next few years have and will be with girls in the 11 to 14 age group.

    My elder daughter and her friends are bright kids. They’ve got perceptions and ideas that can be, at times, incredibly insightful and eerily mature. But at this stage, it’s not remotely consistent. They’re really in the process of learning to navigate the adult world, just starting to taste a little independence, but this is punctuated by retreats into child-like patterns as they sort it out and their brains develop.

    My daughter herself is an asynchronous developer. She’s intellectually gifted, so many adults have commented that you can forget your talking to a very young teen in conversation with her (sometimes!), she can be very responsible about looking after her younger sister or helping out around home, practices her music without us parental units having to tell her, but that the next minute she can be having a tantrum over being asked to clean her room. She seems to be processing information and ideas in a very mature way and even behaving in a fairly mature way a lot of the time but really, she’s still 14 years old. She’s not quite there yet. Nor should she be.

    Then there are all the social factors to take into account. The kids are all trying to find their identity within their social circles at this point (we’re talking grade 9 here). Some of the girls who are flirting (or more than) with sexuality at this point are just trying on a role and seeking social status. Thats not the same thing as freely making an informed decision, and that’s really what consent should be.

    Oh, and DTH’s whine about parental control…. Yup, you got it. Any guy out of high school sniffing around my girl child will see this mama go Shaolin all over his ass. It’s my job to protect her from creeps like him and his apologist buddy. It’s called “being a good parent”.

  69. juice says

    Elvis Presley met Priscilla when she was 14 and he was 24.. They “courted” for 7 years before they were married. I guess when they were “courting” Elvis was a predator and should have been locked up and put on a list and ostracized from society for life.

  70. CGV says

    Conflating “people hebephiles are attracted to” and “children” is disingenuous: in English, “children” most often refers to prepubescent kids, but “people hebephiles are attracted to” can mean anyone pubescent and below about 20. There is an obvious and tremendous difference in sexual maturity between a 10-year-old and a 17-year-old, and burying this difference is stupid no matter what the laws are. In practice, the age of consent varies from state to state in the US, so there’s not even a Platonic ideal to defend here. Most adult-minor sexual relationships are creepy and unethical (though there are no bright lines: a 19-year-old sleeping with a 17-year-old is completely different from a 40-year-old sleeping with a 17-year-old), but there are lots of kinds of creepy and unethical sexual behavior that aren’t illegal and having consensual sex with a 17-year-old is nothing like raping a 10-year-old.

  71. Stacy says

    They “courted” for 7 years before they were married. I guess when they were “courting” Elvis was a predator and should have been locked up and put on a list and ostracized from society for life.

    If he waited and married her when she was an adult, then, no, that’s not the sort of behavior we’re discussing here.

  72. Stacy says

    I guess when they were “courting” Elvis was a predator and should have been locked up and put on a list and ostracized from society for life

    Appeal to consequences. Or possibly argumentum ad misericordiam, depending on how closely juice identifies with the poor, oppressed hebephiles who prey on kids.

    - – - – -

    That Dear Kate piece (above, #78) is funny!

  73. says

    Laurence, I don’t think there’s any evidence to show whether or not hebephilia is “natural,” whatever that may mean in this particular context. I didn’t say anything about it one way or another.

  74. says

    Jadehawk, I’m not sure what you think my position is on sex between teens. I’m not keen on the idea of, say, a 17-year-old having sex with an 11-year-old, but I suspect you’re not either. You might be reading into my statement about not encouraging teenagers to have sex? If so, I’d just note that kids who are ready for sex don’t generally need much encouragement. :)

  75. says

    Actually, becca, the problem with teenaged brains, particularly younger ones, in this regard is that social considerations outweigh long-term planning and risk-assessment. That makes those with whom they’re in close relationships particularly important to their well-being. I’m all for raising kids to be more independent, to the point of downright cussedness sometimes. However, until that kind of upbringing is shown to be as or more important at that stage of development than whatever underlying mechanisms are happening as teens’ social roles change, I’m not going to be advocating for that instead of enshrining institutional protections for them.

    By the way, the legal trends continue to be away from any “bright lining” and toward phased rights and responsibilities. A number of states have graded ages of consent based on closeness of age of the participants. Also, given that we’re talking about legal definitions and their justification here, note that our legal system has a certain amount of provision for gray areas and tailoring the consequences to the specific crime. This particular area does raise a lot of concerns for sex-offender registries, but so do quite a number of other crimes.

  76. Scott L Bleasdale says

    Because I tend to skim through my favourite blogs several times a day I sometimes miss the debates in the comments. In this case I assumed that there’d be little debate. I wish I could believe that Bonobo/Gross was just trolling.

  77. says

    Jadehawk, I’m not sure what you think my position is on sex between teens. I’m not keen on the idea of, say, a 17-year-old having sex with an 11-year-old, but I suspect you’re not either. You might be reading into my statement about not encouraging teenagers to have sex? If so, I’d just note that kids who are ready for sex don’t generally need much encouragement

    are you saying you meant it literally when you said “You may have noticed that we don’t exactly encourage teen-teen sex”? Because that’s seriously weird use of language, but ok. It looked like what people say when they mean “well, we’d rather they didn’t, but we can’t exactly forbid them to, either”, which is what I responded to: I find teen-teen sex to be perfectly normal (and isn’t the word for 10-12 year olds “tween”?)

  78. says

    “people hebephiles are attracted to” can mean anyone pubescent and below about 20.

    you’re thinking of ephebophiles; hebephiles are specifically attracted to people in very early puberty. hebephiles aren’t attracted to 17-year-olds

  79. says

    …whenever I hear guys like this “deep thinker” I only hear myself as a whiny teenager complaining about how I cant get served in the off license.

    Yeah, that’s what I’m hearing from Gross Selfishness: a selfish immature asshole making up reasons not to care about anything other than his own immediate wants. In his case, if he tried to boink a teenage girl, there’d be a huge power differential, but not a huge maturity differential.

    I didn’t address the power differential issue because the argument presumes that the activity in question is harmful- a point dodged by both of you.

    No one dodged that issue and you know it, you stupid dishonest asshole. It is WELL-KNOWN that sexual exploitation of teens is psychologically (and sometimes physically) harmful to the teens. This is a widely-observed fact, not an “assumption.” It is also an observable fact that teens are, in general, really not mature enough to engage in sexual relationships without a more-than-50% chance of at least short-term harm. Besides, even if such relationships don’t always cause harm, the harm that might be caused is far greater than the benefit that might result; to the safest default assumption is still that teen sex should be discouraged, because the benefit is never great enough to justify the risk.

    Further, it might be said that the abuse of power comes into play in the arbitrary removal of the ability to consent because that is despotic in nature.

    Protecting kids from abuse by adults more powerful than themselves is “despotic?” Are you really dumb enough to think that even sounds plausible in an adult conversation? Seriously, you sound just like a kid calling his parents “despots” whenever they tell him to clean up his room or bathe every day. If I had a teenage daughter, I wouldn’t let her anywhere near an asshole like you, even for five minutes in a public place! (And she’d probably see you for the pervy creep you are anyway.)

    …science demonstrates that that which is healthy physically is also healthy for the mind- and sex is demonstrably so.

    Science also demonstrates that NOT ALL SEXUAL ACTIVITY IS BENEFICIAL. (Science also demonstrates certain facts about the ability of teen brains to function like adult brains.) God you’re a stupid little git. I occasionally get the hots for teenage girls too, but I’m not dumb enough to think it would do anyone any good to actually get in one’s pants. Grow the fuck up, boy — your selfish wants don’t determine what’s good for the rest of us. What are you ODing on — PCP, Ayn Rand, or both at once?

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