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The Mind-Booty problem
September 27, 2007 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Having sex at 12 is a bad idea. But if you're pubescent, it might be, in part, your bad idea. Slate rethinks the age of consent.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (89 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
If her body is childlike, you're seriously twisted. But if it's womanly, and you're too young to think straight, maybe we'll cut you some slack.

Um. What the?
posted by liquorice at 4:13 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


LOLPERVERTS
posted by Rangeboy at 4:19 PM on September 27, 2007


what the fuck slate
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:19 PM on September 27, 2007


Read the article, maybe?
posted by Zero Gravitas at 4:25 PM on September 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Kids are growing up so fast these days… and that's why the legal age of consent should be lowered to fifteen. Some sixteen year-old kid with zits all over his face who pops after twenty seconds gets to fuck them, but I 'm a grown man with skills. That 's selfish!"
posted by psmealey at 4:26 PM on September 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


William Saletan probably thinks he's starting up a debate that will be reasoned, unemotional, and driven by common sense. The fool!
posted by breath at 4:29 PM on September 27, 2007


Yeah I'm with Zero Gravitas... I don't see what the big deal is. The article puts forth points that I think are totally reasonable.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:29 PM on September 27, 2007


Obviously, there's a problem with the age of consent but I think his proposed solutions don't go very far at all in trying to sort them out.
posted by liquorice at 4:31 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lay out these numbers on a timeline, and you have the beginnings of a logical scheme for regulating teen sex. First comes the age at which your brain wants sex and your body signals to others that you're ready for it. Then comes the age of cognitive competence. Then comes the age of emotional competence.

"Your honor, her brain wanted sex! I could tell because her body was signaling that she wanted it! I mean, just LOOK at her! Signals out the wazoo!"
posted by 23skidoo at 4:34 PM on September 27, 2007


I'd lock up anyone who went after a 5-year-old. I'd come down hard on a 38-year-old who married a 15-year-old. And if I ran a college, I'd discipline professors for sleeping with freshmen. When you're 35, "she's legal" isn't good enough.

What I wouldn't do is slap a mandatory sentence on a 17-year-old, even if his nominal girlfriend were 12. I know the idea of sex at that age is hard to stomach. I wish our sexual, cognitive, and emotional maturation converged in a magic moment we could call the age of consent. But they don't.


Really, liquorice?

Maybe read it again after you've had your morning cup of coffee.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:35 PM on September 27, 2007


I know two people who claim to have lost their virginity (consensually, but not with eachother) at 12, one male one female. They're both kind of messed up people. At that age, the closest I had gotten was at 7, when a neighbor girl took off all her clothes for me for some reason. I was excited, but didn't have the faintest idea why.
posted by jonmc at 4:36 PM on September 27, 2007


Pedophiles, all of you.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:37 PM on September 27, 2007


I'd draw the object line at 12, the cognitive line at 16, and the self-regulatory line at 25. I'd lock up anyone who went after a 5-year-old. I'd come down hard on a 38-year-old who married a 15-year-old. And if I ran a college, I'd discipline professors for sleeping with freshmen. When you're 35, "she's legal" isn't good enough.

Yeah, I'd love to read a reasoned argument on this topic. Unfortunately, this is just Andy Rooney-style handwaving. Honestly, WTF? In one breath Saletan critiques the idea of hard-and-fast lines in the sand being drawn at arbitrary ages when the truth is that everyone develops differently and thinks and feels differently, and in the next breath he propounds a new batch of thresholds apparently drawn from a random-number generator and his personal prejudices?
posted by RogerB at 4:41 PM on September 27, 2007


What's your point, Citrus? His argument doesn't make sense. Basically he's saying if the girl is 12 but has a womanly body (which is what, by the way?) and a 17 year old has sex with her it's okay, but if the girl - while developed still looks, y'know, like she's 12 - the 17 year old is sick and perverted?
posted by liquorice at 4:43 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's retardedly easy to say that no one should fuck 5-year-olds, that a 17 year old and a 12 year old sleeping together might be within reason, that 15-year-olds shouldn't marry someone 2.5 times their age, and that professors shouldn't fuck their students. Big whoop. It's the gray area that people want to know about.

If you're going to not use age limits as legal limits, then what about a 23-year-old guy with a 14-year-old girl who has gotten her period, is really smart and is emotionally intelligent? What about a 25-year-old with a 12-year-old girl who is just as mature? What about if the 38 year old doesn't want to marry the 15 year old, he just wants to have sex with her? What about R Kelly peeing on 14 year olds?
posted by 23skidoo at 4:47 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's the secret, folks:

Nearly every instance of sexual activity from 12 to 20 requires a subjective, dispassionate and nuanced evaluation of the particular circumstances, weighing emotional, intellectual and physical maturity.

The law requires as close to an objective standard as possible.

Just like everything else related to development and maturity (voting, driving, drinking), some kids will be mature enough to handle it early, and some adults will be total fucking retards, but to keep from having to go before a magistrate in every single instance, some arbitrary standards must be set.
posted by klangklangston at 4:49 PM on September 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


President Steve, I wasn't advocating it, just telling a story. I frankly think it's a really bad idea.
posted by jonmc at 4:49 PM on September 27, 2007


but if the girl - while developed still looks, y'know, like she's 12

At the risk of sounding disingenuous, I don't understand how these two things are possible.
posted by Brak at 4:50 PM on September 27, 2007


Yes, what about R Kelly peeing on 14 year olds? WHAT ABOUT R KELLY PEEING ON 14 YEAR OLDS?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 4:52 PM on September 27, 2007


IM IN UR R KELLY PEEING ON UR 14 YEAR OLD
posted by Brak at 4:52 PM on September 27, 2007


I'd hit it.

Wait, what are we talking about?
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:54 PM on September 27, 2007


Liquorice: He says if the girl looks child-like, you're perverted. If she's developed "and you're too young to think straight" (meaning you're not some weirdo pedophile, you're closer to her age) slack shall be cutteth.

And I'm not sure it's possible to be developed and look--
On preview what Brak said.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:54 PM on September 27, 2007


What klangklangston said....

But, I would reiterate what I think the point of the article is, that we can't just group all "under 16 (or whatever the AOC is)" sex as "go directly to jail" crimes. Yes, arbitrary laws must be set, but the legal system should take responsibility--and yes, time and money and critical thinking--to judge each case and each circumstance as a singular event. So that 17 year olds don't do time for having sex with their 15 year old girlfriends.
posted by zardoz at 5:01 PM on September 27, 2007


Nothing a tazer won't fix. That's my new solution to everything.
posted by nola at 5:04 PM on September 27, 2007


He's drawing the wrong conclusion. Precisely because 17 year olds can't think straight, they should have the threat of a heavy penalty to keep them away from 12 year olds.

But yeah, what klangklangston said.

A truly just law that meets all cases would be no law at all, because it would essentially have to map one-to-on with every conceivable case. So we have laws that create injustices somewhere, and we just try to choose where the compromises are so that we maximise consistency while minimising injustice.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:17 PM on September 27, 2007


mind-booty - nice one.

Clearly part of the problem with arbitrary standards is the disparity between states and countries. There continues to be non-scientific interference on topics like these that bear some social agenda. Some cultures marry children off to grown adults. That’s as silly as cannibalism and just as brutally biologically wrong. There should be some cogent science behind this, but there so often isn’t because people get all crazied up about it (much like marijuana) toss the studies and bring in the state to enforce their viewpoint that their child should be an innocent babe forever or that they need to have hot jailbait sex with their cousin because the bible says it’s ok.

“When you're 35, "she's legal" isn't good enough.”

So...what, you gotta pay for it?

You know who else has a womanly body?
Chef’s girlfriends.

Peeing on a 14 year old? That’s a tazerin’
posted by Smedleyman at 5:19 PM on September 27, 2007


But at any rate, the rules as they are now certainly aren't working out well. Something needs to be changed.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:21 PM on September 27, 2007


She's nearly thirteen and she knows how to nasty.
(with apologies to Frank Zappa)
posted by the Real Dan at 5:24 PM on September 27, 2007


Having grown up in Germany all I can say is that it always amazes me how bent out of shape some people here in the US tend to get over this stuff. Teenagers will have sex. And it will not be bad for them (cases of actual rape aside) unless they are made to believe it is. Rather than trying to prevent them from doing it (which doesn't work... promotion of virginity has merely lead to increases in anal and oral sex) it's much better to make sure they're well educated about it. Of course they will get hurt, hearts will be broken and disappointments experienced. It's called life and learning.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do agree that there is an age and experience related area of imbalance where adults have the ability to manipulate and exploit emotionally immature teens, where the playing field wouldn't be level. This is why we have a staged age-of-consent structure in Germany which I think is far more realistic in that it does not penalize teen sex per se but erects a barrier between teens and grown-ups. I guess the idea is that sex between sexually developed and consenting people is generally OK so long as everybody involved is playing in the same emotional league.

To quote from avert.org:

In Germany, sexual intercourse is legal from the age of 14 provided the older partner is aged under 18 and provided they are not "exploiting a coercive situation" or offering compensation. In addition, sex between one partner aged 14-15 and another aged under 21 is legal unless the older partner "exploits the victim's lack of capacity for sexual self-determination".

posted by Hairy Lobster at 5:28 PM on September 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


In defense of the guy that was looking to hook up with the five year old girl, it should be noted that she was a dalmatian, and thus actually more like 35 in terms of maturity.

*considers this*

Actually, you know, that really doesn't make it any better, does it?
posted by quin at 5:31 PM on September 27, 2007


Teenagers will have sex. And it will not be bad for them (cases of actual rape aside) unless they are made to believe it is.

The first time i had sex I was 18. The girl was hot and seduced me. She was also somebody's girlfriend. She went back to him (I ran into him 10 years later and he still gave me a hateful look),I pretty much became a pariah to a large portion of people on campus. It was kinda bad for me. Dosen't mean I want the law involved.
posted by jonmc at 5:36 PM on September 27, 2007


I think the article would be much clearer if it included a clip-n-save chart, like this:

[Screwer --> Screwee --> Proposed Legal Penalty]

12-15 --> 12- 15 --> no penalty
16-24 --> 16-24 --> no penalty
over 25 --> over 25 --> no penalty

16-24 --> 12-15 --> cut slack
over 25 --> 16-24 --> cut slack

any age --> under 12 --> throw the book
over 25 --> 12-15 --> throw the book


At least I think that's more or less what Saletan is saying. It's not entirely nonsensical, though plenty of the specifics are debatable.
posted by ourobouros at 5:40 PM on September 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


I've heard it said (at work, by a supervisor, I disrecall the context) "If there's grass on the field, it's time to play ball"
posted by longsleeves at 5:44 PM on September 27, 2007


I skimmed the article while talking to someone. This was focused purely on the older man having sex with a young pubescent girl right? But nothing to do with teenage boys and older women or other variations which never happen of course (unless you're Anthony Kiedis).

Oh, and I contest that the phrase 'emotionally mature' is a completely bullshit phrase.
posted by kigpig at 5:50 PM on September 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


"I've heard it said (at work, by a supervisor, I disrecall the context) "If there's grass on the field, it's time to play ball""

Or: Old enough to bleed, old enough to butcher.

There's always the possibility of lobbying for a "Half your age plus seven" standard.
posted by klangklangston at 5:55 PM on September 27, 2007


This is not the best article I've read on the topic, but valid points are made. Clearly we've gone too far in our "but think of the children" attitudes. It could be argued we're in the midst of a moral panic about children and sex. This is a pretty complex problem and it can't adequately be addressed in a two page article.

Two books worth reading on the topic are Moral Panic by Phil Jenkins, and Harmful to Minors by Judith Levine. Jenkins explores much more intelligently how some of our overprotective attitudes are hurting us socially, and Levine looks at how it often hurts the very young people we hope to protect. They approach these issues much more thoughtfully than Saletan.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:01 PM on September 27, 2007


[Screwer --> Screwee --> Proposed Legal Penalty]

12-15 --> 12- 15 --> no penalty
16-24 --> 16-24 --> no penalty
over 25 --> over 25 --> no penalty

16-24 --> 12-15 --> cut slack
over 25 --> 16-24 --> cut slack

any age --> under 12 --> throw the book
over 25 --> 12-15 --> throw the book
I think that "any age --> under 12 --> throw the book" could stand some tweaking. Before you all go thinking that I am suggesting that I should be allowed to screw 11 year olds, hear me out:

Consider something like a 12 year old and an 11 year old having sex with each other. Unless it was clearly rape (and I don't mean statutory, obviously), I don't think the judicial system should necessarily get involved at all. The parents should deal with it.
posted by Flunkie at 6:04 PM on September 27, 2007


"Old enough to bleed, old enough to butcher."

what the hell could that mean?
posted by longsleeves at 6:13 PM on September 27, 2007


Another tweak would be regarding the juncture of rules like this:
12-15 --> 12- 15 --> no penalty
16-24 --> 12-15 --> cut slack
Under these, two people can be having mutually consensual and legally approved sex with each other for years, but then have to take a year off before legally continuing. Seems somewhat silly.

I realize that "cut slack" might take such a situation into account, but it seems like it might be better to have built-in clauses to specifically make such a situation not even technically illegal.

And anyway, a similar case applies in a "throw the book" situation, which presumably implies "cut no slack".
posted by Flunkie at 6:14 PM on September 27, 2007


Conversely, having sex with a 12-year-old, when you're 20, is scummy. But it doesn't necessarily make you the kind of predator who has to be locked up. A guy who goes after 5-year-old girls is deeply pathological. A guy who goes after a womanly body that happens to be 13 years old is failing to regulate a natural attraction. That doesn't excuse him. But it does justify treating him differently.

I agree with this, kind of. Not that long ago those girls were married off to older men, either because they wanted to, or more likely because the family wanted it, and it was not considered some sickness. They were women in the sense of being able to bear children. That also made them sexual beings in the eyes of adults. Prepubescent children are different, far, far different. They are not small adults. Normal males seeing 12 to 14 year old girls in bathing suits at the pool are aroused, and if the girls are cute and the guy says he is more aroused by a concrete slab he is lying. If they are making plans to think much beyond that, not so nice, though. There is human nature, and then there is taking advantage of kids. The law is a huge sledge hammer in the whole area which denies reality, but frankly the young girls need some pretty serious protection because not all the guys will respect their immaturity. It's such a hot button issue that there will be no reasonable resolution, so just get over it.
posted by caddis at 6:14 PM on September 27, 2007


Shouldn't that be " -->O " or maybe "B==D O"
posted by well_balanced at 6:15 PM on September 27, 2007


I personally think we should all follow the "Is it creepy?" algorithm and make it law:

(Your Age / 2) + 7 = Minimum Partner's Age

The equation crashes under 14, but I consider that a feature.

(via this post from Aquaman)
posted by ALongDecember at 6:17 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Isn't that "half age + 7" rule fairly old? I seem to recall reading somewhere that was some kind of Renaissance era formula for marriage partners.
posted by well_balanced at 6:22 PM on September 27, 2007


I'm not sleeping with no 15 year old virgin, I'll tell you that, yessir. If she's not good enough for her own kin, she's not good enough for me.

(Spits chaw, plays banjo)
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:33 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I thought this was going to be written by lee siegal who used to write for TNR and wishes he'd fucked Uma Thurman when she was 16...
posted by delmoi at 6:36 PM on September 27, 2007


I was 28. Half of 28 is 14. 14 plus 7 is 21. She was 18. 18 is less than 21.

Are those of you advocating the "half age + seven" rule saying that the law should have been involved in this case? (For what it's worth, we dated for more than five years.)
posted by sequential at 6:57 PM on September 27, 2007


SQUICK
posted by jonson at 6:57 PM on September 27, 2007


... then what about a 23-year-old guy with a 14-year-old girl who has gotten her period, is really smart and is emotionally intelligent?

"Emotionally Intelligent" does not equal "emotionally mature." "Smart" does not in an sense mean "won't be talked out of her panties by a horndog." Given the context in which she and he are going to have to continue to live, leaving that decision solely in her hands (especially when there's a horny 23 year old guy involved) is not really wise.

Really, we should probably just all be on saltpeter IVs until we're about 28. Or enforce clitoridectomy to control all those wicked female urges. (Sadly, I can't think of a workable counterpart for male urges that still permits "natural" procreation. You know, the way God intended. Maybe frequent icewater baths. Since it worked so well for 19th century Germans.)
posted by lodurr at 7:03 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


The physically maturity part is confusing - does it mean that someone who falls in love with a mentally adult but physically immature person (ex:Joe C) should be punished?
posted by fermezporte at 7:18 PM on September 27, 2007


I have a system to fix all of this. It's completely rational and should need no fixing. Hear me out:

First, create a system of units to measure maturity absolutely, instead of by individual testing, by timing the revolutions of a large, roughly spherical mass of rock about a very hot ball of the lightest elements. Each revolution constitutes one unit. We need not account for any individual variances or circumstances. We define areas by some arbitrary border which may or may not follow some natural boundaries, and vary the numbers of units for maturity according to whichever territory the participants are in!

Oh, and we have to make sure that they are able to get strapped in behind the complicated guidance system of two tons of steel with the equivalent of three sticks of dynamite in the fuel assembly. This does require individual testing. This is hardly natural to any animal, but they need to be able to do that before even getting close to following pre-programmed, instinctual behavior built into anything with more than thirty neurons to rub together.

While we're on the subject, we also need to make sure that children can volunteer to be inducted into a cult where they are given special clothes, get their heads shaved, undergo brainwashing, and are shipped off to even more distant territories to kill and be killed, long prior to obtaining permission to ingest fermented products that even monkeys enjoy, upon which our original agriculture might have been built.

Oh, wait ...
posted by adipocere at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2007 [6 favorites]


Those are 7th graders, you dumbasses. Roll up the car window.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:22 PM on September 27, 2007


It might be a good idea to try to actually figure how much damage is done by sexual contact. I mean, Our laws our based on "squick" factors that vary by individual. So like a 24 year old and a 16 year old might be ok, but not a 25 year old and a 16 year old? Really makes no sense.

Is it really worse, in terms of actual harm, for a 16 year old to have sex with an 18 year old then a 24 year old, or 36 year old? If so, how? why?
posted by delmoi at 7:26 PM on September 27, 2007


Are those of you advocating the "half age + seven" rule saying that the law should have been involved in this case? (For what it's worth, we dated for more than five years.)

Well, not the law necessarily when the participants are both of legal age, but that relationship definitely gets creepazoid points.
posted by schroedinger at 7:51 PM on September 27, 2007


Such prudishness on display. Won't somebody think of the children?
posted by signal at 8:07 PM on September 27, 2007


Having sex at 12 is a fine idea if you can still make it back to the office by 1.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:15 PM on September 27, 2007 [10 favorites]


When I was 25 and started going out with my wife, she was 18. Now I'm 38 and she's 31.

But back when I was graduating high school, she was in 6th grade.

Creepy, huh...

The awkwardest moments were when I could go to a bar to see a concert, and she couldn't. Other than that, she's always been the more mature and grounded member of the family.
posted by Balisong at 8:17 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nothing a tazer won't fix. That's my new solution to everything.
posted by nola at 7:04 PM on September 27


God that's hot.

Also, the phrase is:

"Old enough to bleed, old enough to breed"

Also also, from some stand up comic:

Of course noone wants to have sex with teenage girls. That's why they had to make a law against it, because noone wants to do it.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:38 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


"half age + seven"

And what exactly is the problem with this guideline, assuming a minimum age for it to apply? If that age is 12....

12 - 13
13 - 13
14 - 14
15 - 14
16 - 15
17 - 16
18 - 16
19 - 16
20 - 17
21 - 17
22 - 18
23 - 18
24 - 19
25 - 19

...and from there on, everyone involved are adults. Certainly it would make more sense than the cases we have recently seen.

Now, ideally I would prefer most 12 year olds not have sex, though at that age I would have slept with anyone who offered. I've got a daughter and don't want her to end up a pregnant teen, and I don't even really want to imagine what age she'll lose her virginity at this point, but I know that the latter will happen and I will work towards the former not happening.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:39 PM on September 27, 2007


If you really want to get into the sick jokes...
(oh, c'mon, of course you do..)

What's the best thing about fucking underage girls?
How big your dick looks in those little tiny hands.

Or..

This guy and girl are going at it and he decided to slip it into her ass.
"That's pretty presumptuous of you...", she says.
"Presumptuous, huh...", says the man. " That's a pretty big word for an 8 year old."

(sorry)
posted by Balisong at 8:45 PM on September 27, 2007


can slate be charged with a crime for publishing this article? i feel sleazy for reading it. this is wrong and just messed up - article uses example of 20 year old male and 13 year old girl as being somehow not as bad, but that sure seems like something that should remain illegal to me! it wouldn't occur to me that this should be even considered, couldn't we consider some of the messed up laws this country has, such as our "war on drugs" before we mess up the laws that actually make sense like 20 year old males can't have sexual relationships with 13 year old girls? please keep the laws that keep the damn early twenty year old loser slackers away from our middle school students. this is a nightmare. thank you.
posted by sjjh at 8:56 PM on September 27, 2007


can slate be charged with a crime for publishing this article?

I'm glad no-one died and made you president of the world. Jesus christ. Charging someone with a crime because they wrote an article that dares to examine some truths that you find uncomfortable?

How's this for something that will blow your mind: You know Mary and Joseph, of teh Bible? Some scholars believe she was 13 and Joseph was in his 40s at the time of Jesus' birth. Better put the people who read the Bible in jail, too, right?
posted by Jimbob at 9:06 PM on September 27, 2007


(Okay okay, so it was God who knocked Mary up, not Joseph. But He was over 4000 at the time; how sick is that??)
posted by Jimbob at 9:08 PM on September 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


It has been very interesting reading this article, everyone's comments, and Lolita all in the same day.

I find it interesting that our children are by most standards becoming physically more mature at an earlier age yet are taking longer to become mature adults.

sjjh: they're just ideas, they can't hurt you :)
balisong: that's totally inappropriate and disgusting.
posted by willie11 at 9:20 PM on September 27, 2007


Jimbob: virgin birth buddy...
posted by willie11 at 9:22 PM on September 27, 2007


Looks like my State got it about right a long time ago. 12 - 15 year olds can legally have intercourse with someone two years older, 16 & 17 year olds with someone five years older.

I reckon the 15 - 17 gap is a bit small, but oh well.
posted by wilful at 9:30 PM on September 27, 2007


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by heeeraldo at 9:51 PM on September 27, 2007


Balisong I would have to go with:

Q: What's the worst part about fucking underaged girls?

A: Getting blood on your clown costume.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:53 PM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread is useless without pictures.
posted by yerfatma at 9:58 PM on September 27, 2007


I always heard it as 15 goes into 30 better than 30 goes into 15 (or something to that effect).

Hairy Lobster had it though. It's these crazy fucks who think they can stop teenagers from having sex who are screwing things up. Everyone knows the hottest chicks in town were the pastor's daughter(s). I saw it in a movie once.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:29 AM on September 28, 2007


Formulas for calculating right and wrong age combinations are just part of it: you have to decide punishments that are fair, also perhaps based on the ages of both participants. It would make no sense to allow a 21-year-old to have sex with a 16-year-old but to throw a 22-year-old into jail for years for having sex with the same 16-year-old unless you think there's a big difference between being 21 and being 22. Interview the younger of the two and decide, regardless of age, whether that person understands what's going on and is ready for it.

And unless the state intends to codify the punishment for statutory rape as including the prisoner being raped and beaten to death by undersupervised psychotics, any imprisonment for statutory rape has to be entirely solitary.
posted by pracowity at 2:01 AM on September 28, 2007


can slate be charged with a crime for publishing this article? i feel sleazy for reading it. this is wrong and just messed up - article uses example of 20 year old male and 13 year old girl as being somehow not as bad, but that sure seems like something that should remain illegal to me!
He never said it shouldn't be illegal. He said the punishment for it should not be as severe as the punishment for that 20 year old having sex with a 5 year old, or as the punishment for a 30 year old having sex with that 13 year old.
posted by Flunkie at 6:08 AM on September 28, 2007


virgin birth buddy...

Jesus had siblings.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:17 AM on September 28, 2007


re: I don't see how it's possible

Saaya Irie

and as for this discussion, we're pretending that these "predator" vilification actually applies to women with young boys right?
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:27 AM on September 28, 2007


Joseph ain't got noghing on Muhammad. He & Aisha were playing with her toys and then fucking when she was 7.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:43 AM on September 28, 2007


Don't forget that in the days of yore, life expectancies at birth were a lot lower. (Example: In 1850 in the US they were 32-38 for men and 35-40 for women.) So it wouldn't make any sense for a woman to wait to have sex, because she didn't have that many childbearing years. [source]
posted by desjardins at 9:39 AM on September 28, 2007


So it wouldn't make any sense for a woman to wait to have sex, because she didn't have that many childbearing years

That line NEVER worked for me in high school.
posted by psmealey at 12:24 PM on September 28, 2007


That line NEVER worked for me in high school grade school.

Fixed that for you Marla.
posted by lodurr at 12:36 PM on September 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Don't forget that in the days of yore, life expectancies at birth were a lot lower. (Example: In 1850 in the US they were 32-38 for men and 35-40 for women.) So it wouldn't make any sense for a woman to wait to have sex, because she didn't have that many childbearing years."

Common misunderstanding of life expectancy. This was skewed because of child mortality, which you can actually see in your linked chart. In 1850, if you made it to 20, on average you could expect to see your 60th birthday, whether you were male or female.
posted by InnocentBystander at 12:47 PM on September 28, 2007


Nothing a tazer won't fix. That's my new solution to everything.
posted by nola


I have a 14 yo son: He needs a tazering most everyday.
posted by Mojojojo at 5:50 PM on September 28, 2007


That you William Saletan for once again being the voice of reason.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 10:51 PM on September 28, 2007


In 1850, if you made it to 20, on average you could expect to see your 60th birthday, whether you were male or female.

InnocentBystander, are you sure? Until the introduction of antiseptic methods the mortality of mothers during childbirth was absolutely horrendous.
posted by Skeptic at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2007


InnocentBystander is right in that child mortality rates were higher, but that just means that a woman had to have more kids in order to ensure that some made it to adulthood. Since you can generally only have one kid every nine months, you have to start cranking them out earlier.
posted by desjardins at 11:41 AM on September 29, 2007


I think there should be an IQ/Maturity test for all before a Licence to Fornicate is issued. Fornicating without a licence being punished severely, of course.

There - that's solved overpopulation at a stroke and everyone's happy! Frustrated, perhaps, but morally happy. :-)
posted by Lionel d'Lion at 12:32 PM on September 29, 2007


Fornicating without a licence being punished severely, of course.

I of course wouldn't go as far as you're joking, but I would say that getting such a license to have sex (after sexual education and a physical and mental examination) ought to be possible -- to allow anyone, regardless of age, and perhaps without parental knowledge or approval, to have sex without fear of the statutory rape laws being used against an older partner. With such a license, a 15-year-old girl and her 18-year-old boyfriend (or 28-year-old girlfriend or 98-year-old hermaphrofriend) could stop worrying about the older of the two being sent away to jail for giving the younger of the two exactly what she had been begging for.
posted by pracowity at 9:32 AM on September 30, 2007


But what would you test, pracowity? Would you have a test specified for gullibility? Emotional maturity? (Which would be defined how?)
posted by lodurr at 5:17 AM on October 1, 2007


It would be a hands on test of course.
posted by caddis at 7:08 AM on October 1, 2007


Oh, well, that's different. But don't we have a chicken:egg problem, then?
posted by lodurr at 7:23 AM on October 1, 2007


Being a tribal chief can be such a demanding job, what with deflowering all the virgins and all.
posted by caddis at 7:46 AM on October 1, 2007


Mm-hm. Mm-hm. So, how long have you been a tribal chief, caddis? [leafing through phone book for the men in white coats]
posted by lodurr at 8:24 AM on October 1, 2007


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