Re: Subject: What is Sexual Activity?
Wed, 20 Aug 1997 17:29:55 -0400 (EDT)

Sarah Marr <> wrote:

> Tony Hollick wrote:
> > Given the lack of
> > internal and external metrics for human experience and preferences,
> > most of us know better than to 'second-guess' the transactional choices

> > people make between themselves.
> The point in this case is 'choice', and whether or not children are
> of making certain informed choices. And in this we base an awful lot of
> raising of children on our belief that they cannot make certain choices.
> So, we don't leave paint-stripper on baby's little table; we apply a
> blanket "don't talk to strangers rule" rather than trusting the child's
> character judgement; etc. We make informed decisions about the
> choice-making capabilities of our children, for their protection.

Making a child's environment safe by altering the environment is not coercing
the child - there's a difference between covering the live wire and telling
everyone to never go near it (and which one's more effective?). We can tell
when a child has matured enough to make its own decisions because it starts
making its own decisions.

> The problem is, of course, that certain children are more capable of
> decisions at an earlier age than other children. However, the
> practicalities of the law mean that it must assign one single age to the
> meeting of sexual majority. This does not seem unreasonable. If there is
> any argument to be put, it must be that this age is too high (as I believe
> it is, at 18, for homosexuals in the UK). Personally, given the current
> social milieu of the West, I think 16 is about right (and given the state
> of the law it would seem the majority agree with me), but I'd listen to
> arguments with interest, especially since a cross-cultural analysis would
> show the age of sexual maturity to differ globally.

The argument I always hear for an age of consent law is "the child may be
physically mature, but is not emotionally mature". I'm not completely sure
what 'emotionally mature' is, but I know it's a social limit (which
extropians actively challenge (?)). Physical sexual maturity is about 13.

If children aren't emotionally mature enough to have sex before the age of
16, then obviously we're not teaching them fast enough. The thing we need to
do is make sure they're emotionally ready when they're physically ready. And
that will mean talking about sex in an open, rational and critical manner -
something I'm dissapointed to see many people on this list find hard.