What is the age of consent?

consent

 

What is the age of consent?

I mean we know what it is, I think. It’s the age in which an individual state or region has decided will be the magic age where your genitals can have fun with someone else’s genitals and not violate a law which would result in being labeled a sex offender for the rest of your days.

I don’t mean to sound glib, but the mere fact that the age varies from zip code to zip code tells me that it’s not necessarily based on anything scientific. It seems more likely that it’s based on people’s personal experiences or idea of morality.

I would argue that it’s mostly based on “the earliest age we can stomach the idea of a girl having sexual relations”, but, legally, the age of consent applies to males as well. Though, in some regions, that age of consent is different between genders. And usually laughably off the mark of what science tells us about sexual maturity.

Here’s where I will probably lose some of you:

I don’t always believe that consensual sex between partners under whatever your local regulated age of consent is rape. Sorry, I just don’t. Like a lot of things, I would argue that it really should be looked at as a case by case situation.

Why do I say this?

Look, this is an opinion piece. My opinion. Not your gospel.

I fully appreciate the necessity of laws dictating age of consent. They need to be there. They’re not there to ruin anyone’s day, they’re there to protect the vulnerable. Because there are entirely too many people out there that prey upon the vulnerable, and being young frequently goes hand-in-hand with that vulnerability.

But is every act of sex under the age of 18…or 17…or 16…or 15 rape? I personally don’t think so. Am I saying that anyone under 18 is a free-for-all, go get ’em?  Not so fast…

In my own experience, I can tell you that, at age 14, I was mentally, emotionally, and physically ready to have sex. And I did so just 2 weeks shy of my 15th birthday. Let’s pretend the age of consent was 15. Would I have been raped?

I would still argue an emphatic hell no. I was not coerced. And the person I decided to have sex with had just turned 18. Oh golly. He was an adult. DEFINITELY RAPE.

Except it wasn’t. Back then and to this day, I would argue that I was the more emotionally and mentally mature of the two of us. And those who knew us then would, most likely, back that statement up.

And I can think of several situations with friends of mine who were ready to have sexual relationships when they were 14, 15 and 16 years old, and I can think of others who were not emotionally prepared well into their early 20s. Everyone matures at a different rate.

Honestly, I have a few friends in their 30s and 40s that would be sent into an emotional tailspin if they were presented with a situation that potentially involved sexual relations, but that’s a whole different and fully depressing conversation.

Not long ago, I shared something that had happened a long time ago, and a couple of the responses, though well-meaning and said from a place of concern and love, didn’t sit too well with me. I had relayed a story about how I was sexually assaulted by a man in his 30s who I worked with when I was 17. I was just shy of 18, maybe by a week. One of the recurring things that was brought up is that I was just a child, that I was underage.

Sure, alright. I was underage by a matter of days. Would this have been less shitty had it been 7 says later? No, can’t say it would have. That’s ridiculous. Was what he did shitty because I was a child? No, what he did was shitty because he was an entitled fuck that I had to fend off, getting injured in the process. I was under the legal age of being able to enlist into the United States Military or to buy a lottery ticket, but I was not a child by any stretch of the imagination.

Recently, the fact that David Bowie had sex with a groupie who was under 18 came up – mostly because, when people are grieving over the death of celebrities that made an impact on their life with their artistic and/or social contributions, there’s going to be the group that is right there waiting in the wings to say, “OH YEAH, WELL LOOK AT THIS <insert unpleasant thing about someone you admired here>” in an attempt to a.) make themselves look super knowledgeable, and b.) make you feel guilty for ever admiring this obvious monster.

Never mind the fact that this groupie, Lori Mattix, has maintained since the second she was beating down his door to fuck the shit out of him and continues to reiterate…that banging David Bowie was fully consensual.

“…the way it happened was so beautiful. I remember him looking like God and having me over a table. Who wouldn’t want to lose their virginity to David Bowie?”

Look, do I think maybe there was some shit judgment involved? Sure. You’ve got teenagers like Mattix and others like Sable Starr (inspiration for Penny Lane, the character Kate Hudson played in “Almost Famous”) running amok amok amok, drinking and popping pills, and fucking rock stars.

But can I just add that, while my first time having sex was unremarkable in every way (so not his fault, we were young, in a friend’s waterbed, and the friend’s stepdad interrupted us at the very end. This was not magic), it was the least rapey thing on the planet, and I’m super fucking envious of Mattix being bent over a table and nailed by a rock star I fantasized about.

Goddammit, where was Rudy Sarzo from Quiet Riot or Andy Taylor from Duran Duran when I decided I thought fucking was a good idea? I was ripped the fuck off.

I WANT A DEVIRGINIZATION DO-OVER. Oh, I mention that “virginity” is a myth constructed by dudes who place a value on untouched pussy and that exactly zero people seem to give a fuck about a male’s “virginity”?  Yeah.  Anyway…

I personally don’t give a fuck, personally, that Bowie banged a happy and willing groupie. I don’t care that Tyga, whoever the fuck that is, was banging one of the Kardashian clones before she turned 17. If everyone’s happy and no one’s being drugged into oblivion, by all means, fuck each other (within reason, come on).

And, for godssakes, stop saying your 16 or 17 year old’s boyfriend who just turned 18 is raping your baby while we’re at it. Stop it, you just sound silly, and we know what this is really about. Especially since they’ve been dating since they were in Junior High. Your incessant vagina surveillance is probably not warranted in this case.

We all have what sits well with us. And what doesn’t (don’t get me started on Soon Yi or that 13 year old Roman Polanski got high-as-fuck and banged…yeah, I guess I have a line where you shouldn’t start fucking the little girl you raised as your daughter and 43 year olds shouldn’t fuck 13 year olds).

But, before you decide to tag someone with the “child-raping monster” label, maybe take into account that your morality (whatever that means) isn’t everyone’s, your experience isn’t everyone’s, and not everything is black and white.

Save your outrage for the outrageous. There really is PLENTY.

And be a little forlorn that your first time was as yawn-worthy as mine.

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