Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sex, Teens & The Law

The Government, ever desperate to control what people do, continues to dream up new ways to restrict the private activity of the Proles, though luckily in Scotland...

Ministers are to consider making it illegal for teenagers under the age of 16 to have oral sex as part of a shake-up of laws on sexual offences.

Why?

A report by the Holyrood committee said the failure to include oral sex could send out a wrong message that society considered such activities to be "acceptable and risk free."

Ah. I thought legislation was there to protect individuals from each other and from the state. Silly me. I didn't realise it was all about 'signaling'! I personally consider any activity, undertaken consensually between two individuals that are aware of the ramifications of their actions to be perfectly morally agreeable.

Believe it or not, I was 16 once. It was not so long ago, and I was more than aware of the ramifications of engaging in sexual activity. I would consider myself at age 16, and others that age, to be perfectly capable of forming rational judgements, though that is not to say the idiocy of some will lead to undesirable consequences. Indeed I would go further to say that 'young adults' (I do not feel the word 'children' is really appropriate for teenagers) are probably largely capable of making such decisions upon entering their teenage years.

I knew a few people at school at that time who were engaging in all kind of sexual activities while besotted in 'first love' relationships. I would also deem them perfectly aware and mature; of course not as mature as an older adult, but then is maturity not partly gained through experience and knowledge? Young people will make mistakes, and some worse than others, but we cannot try to prevent them from doing so and nor should we try.

It urged ministers to reconsider the issue, stating that the government had not provided "sufficient justification for treating oral sex differently"

How about...16 year olds are perfectly capable of entering into consensual activities of this nature, and oral sex is indeed inherently less 'risky' than full unprotected penetrative sex? No?

It also sets out the law on underage sex, stipulating that it applies to girls as well as boys

Well whoo-hooh, so it damn well should. Any law should apply equally to every individual, for to do otherwise would breach the fundamental principle of equality before the law, the principle bastion of individual liberty.

But the MSPs also stressed that in reconsidering the matter the "government must ensure that normal teenage consensual activities such as kissing are not made criminal"

Hmm. "Normal". How does one define that exactly? Among the present generation of teenagers oral sex might be considered a normal activity. Not so many years ago it was considered normal for a girl to marry at 14 years of age. In 1371 the average age of marriage in England for a woman was 16, and as Shakespeare wrote in Romeo & Juliet...

CAPULET
But saying o'er what I have said before:
My child is yet a stranger in the world;
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years,
Let two more summers wither in their pride,
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.

PARIS
Younger than she are happy mothers made.

Of course kissing should not be made illegal, and for a politician to suggest as much would be considered outrageous. But it is in fact no different materially from other sexual activities. It is fundamentally a consensual activity of a mild sexual nature, and it seems the only aspect to 'stronger' sexual activities disliked by these politicians is their more taboo nature.

Young children (pre-teenage years) are essentially disinterested anyway, until the onset of puberty. At this point a young adult has a fair degree of maturity, and are largely fully aware of many details of sex. To suggest otherwise is simply to perpetuate a myth of polite society by preferring to believe in the innocence of children. While at age 13 or 14 nobody is emotionally mature, they are certainly aware of the mechanics and potential consequences (e.g. pregnancy or disease) and of the need for contraception. And if you don't believe me let me say I remember the conversations at age 12 with friends on these matters!

Now the fundamental problem as I see it is that young adults of that age may be less independent of mind and feel less able to resist being pressured into sex. But the law will not stop this. And the second problem is that of the rapid and accelerating maturity which can mean that only slightly older peers are significantly more mature and thus could exploit the less mature and younger either intentionally or unintentionally.

There should indeed be an age of consent in order to protect the young and less mature from those of substantially differing age and maturity, but the law should never stand in the way of genuine, mutual, and consensual love or sex. Any law that does so will necessarily trip up the 'good' in order to prevent some of the 'bad'. It is about striking a balance, and in my view the current law is already pushing on the wrong side of the line and is not justified in going any further.

2 comments:

Anonymous February 14, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

"I thought legislation was there to protect individuals from each other and from the state."

You thought legislation was there to protect individuals from the state?

Bwa ha ha ha ha

rotflmao


etc etc etc

Vindico February 14, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

Indeed - See Here

Of course, that is what it should do! We have long since departed from that.

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