Monday, January 03, 2011

Some thoughts on sexual double standards

My previous post on the Arizona case where a mother and daughter were alleged to be sexually involved with a boy from the age of 14 raises an important question that I would like to add my personal thoughts on.

Should it be a crime to have sex with a a fourteen-year-old boy if a woman is 18 or older? My answer? It depends. My reason for writing the post was to point out the double standard we have in our society that says that it is okay for a woman to have sex with a boy, almost at any age, and he should even be grateful for the experience, while a man of 18 or older should always be held accountable for sex with a girl younger than 18. I think this premise is false.

There are some girls at 14-17 who are capable of making reasonable decisions about their sexuality and there are some boys of that age who are not. Robert Epstein, the author of The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen says that many of the laws that restrict love and sex for teens are based on faulty assumptions. He states that the these laws assume that no young people are capable of engaging in sexual activities responsibly, and that the laws assume that all young people are the same.

I was watching some show on the new Oprah channel yesterday and the host asked people in the audience when they lost their virginity. The majority said from 15 to 20. Sure, some may have been 18-20 but many may also have been 15-17. It is common to have sex before 18 for many people, even (or maybe especially) for those in Oprah's audience. We do need to look closely at whether or not the laws pertaining to this teen sex are fair, or whether they are too restrictive or cause harm to those who should not be harmed (e.g. an 18-year-old guy having sex with his 16-year old girlfriend, or an 18 -year-old girl having sex with her 16-year-old boyfriend etc.).

However, that said, my position is that the laws, whatever they are need to be fair. If a 14- year- old girl can't give consent to sex, than neither should a 14-year-old boy. If men go to jail for sex with 14-17 years old teens, then women should go to jail too. Both sexes should be punished equally. If the law decides that teens that age can consent to sex, then both men and women should avoid jail altogether. Just be fair.

36 Comments:

Blogger BobH said...

First off, 14 year old girls get pregnant but 14 year old boys don't.

Second, your idea of "fairness" implies that men and women do and/or should have sex for the same reasons. As one comic put it: Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place. For evidence regarding the truthfulness of that "joke", refer to "Gender Differences in Receptivity to Sexual Authors" by Russell D. Clark III and Elaine Hatfield, Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 2(1), 1989

12:33 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger BobH said...

Whoops, the last word in the article title is "Offers", not "Authors"

12:34 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger slwerner said...

Bobh - "First off, 14 year old girls get pregnant but 14 year old boys don't."

And this would matter because...?

Yes, girls get pregnant. So can the women who rape boys.

If a teen girl gets pregnant, she has options - abortion, adoption, to keeping it and getting court-ordered financial support from the older man.

the teen-aged boy who impregnates his older rapist will find himself at the mercy of her whims.

There have already been numerous cases of boy's ordered to pay child-support for the children their rapists have born. They have no way to opt out, unlike a girl who might find herself pregnant.

So, if you point was the potential financial costs that a girl might face, your point is mute.

In fact, depending on her economic circumstances, a teen girl might enjoy considerable benefit beyond what she would have otherwise simply by letting an older man impregnate her. (yes, I get that it's still considered rape according to legal statute).

12:45 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

BobH,

As slwerner points out, there are severe consequences for a boy who gets a girl pregnant. If you don't believe that, ask the mother of a 16 year old boy if she worries about what will happen if her son gets a girl pregnant and see the fear in her eyes. Although feminists (and apparently, you) like to pretend otherwise, boys and men face life altering consequences if a pregnancy occurs and unlike the girl, have no legal options.

1:03 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger BobH said...

To slwerner:

You are being insufficiently imaginative in your analysis. The fact that boys have been ordered to pay child support to their rapists is merely an indication that the U.S. is a feminazi police state and a LOT of women are bloodsucking leeches. In short, it is a societal (i.e., legal) response to a biological reality. Different societies have different responses to the same situations and societies' responses change over time. (Whoops, I committing "pop anthropology" again. Sorry!)

1:05 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger randian said...

However, that said, my position is that the laws, whatever they are need to be fair.

The law frequently is "fair". What isn't fair is who the district attorney chooses to prosecute, what charges they bring, and what sentence the judge hands out after conviction. In all those cases, female offenders get a much better deal. They are far less likely to even be charged, if they are charged usually get lesser charges like "contributing to delinquency" rather than "statutory rape", meaning they don't have to register as sex offenders, and even when convicted are much less likely to receive a custodial sentence and of jailed it's for a shorter time.

Women receive all 3 benefits in every area of the criminal justice system, not just sex crimes. For example, female murderers serve an average of 7 years in jail, vs 17 for men. Something like 10% of convicted female murderers don't serve a day in jail. Probation. For murder.

Rather bizarrely, some commenters claim that much higher female incarceration rates under mandatory minimum guidelines discriminates against women.

1:15 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger fred said...

I don't understand all the nit picking here. Sure. There are boys who act older or younger than their age; and also girls who act older or younger than their real age. But the law has to set a line somewhere, and at the moment it happens to be 18, for both sexes.

Why do we have a legal age for voting? Joining the military? Drinking?

We decide what it should be and that becomes the standard, legally, though of course it is subject to change at some time later on if the law and the voters want it changed.

1:35 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

First, BobH points out that only girls get pregnant and not boys (and the strong implication that only girls have consequences to deal with).

Then someone points out that boys may have more consequences to deal with ... because they have no choice and have to merely fulfill the role that the woman and courts decide.

Meaning that BobH's first statement is misleading hogwash, either because he is a feminist or worse, a chivalrist.

His response is to say that's only because the US is a fascist police state, ignoring the fact that it doesn't help the young boy who impregnates a woman at all.

I can almost understand feminists - they are just woman-firsters who have no empathy for others and may also be acting out of severe anxiety towards the world in general (that they think is all run by men) - but I can't for the life of me understand male chivalrists who twist and turn to try to remove any responsibility or accountability from women.

1:47 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger jimbino said...

Until women master chess and learn some math and engineering, they will be valued for their tw*ts, the more virginal the better. That's a fact of life throughout the world.

Sex is good and beautiful, but carries side-effects of disease and unwanted pregnancy. Our gummint policies deny the virtues of sex and promote the side effects.

It would make Coasean sense to declare the fetus and resulting kid the sole property and responsibility of the woman--rights and responsibility that she is free to negotiate with any potential lover.

Our f*d religious system insures magnification of misery all around. Religion spoils everything.

1:50 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Thag Jones said...

the teen-aged boy who impregnates his older rapist will find himself at the mercy of her whims.

Or he can be shut out altogether and not even know he fathered a child until 20 years later. I've seen that happen too.

2:56 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger ... said...

To me one of the most interesting aspects of our laws today is that they're based on an assumed need to *protect* children, maintaining that children include teens under 18.

As a society, we foster this need to protect, despite the fact that biologically teens are no longer children, and in the past were quite capable to not only take on adult decision making, but were often already well beyond the maturity of today's 30 year olds.

Case in point - my great-grandmother married at 12, by today's standards, a child; she married, by today's standards, a boy of just 13. They not only started a family but managed on their own quite well in their own apartment, with he working from the tender age of 13 onward in full-time employment, then taking the leap to start his own business.

They were married for 65 years (my great-grandfather died at 78....my great-grandmother, years later at 94)...together, they raised and educated three children, raised a grand-daughter and retired comfortably.

By today's standards they were children when they married - but it was their decision, supported by their families, and at the time, was very normal for their age. It was not crazy to marry at that age back at that time - in fact, it was encouraged due to the rising sexual needs in the early teen years. We seek to supress that now, but we can't supress the biological imperative, no matter how hard we try.

3:11 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger slwerner said...

BobH - "You are being insufficiently imaginative in your analysis."

Really? how so?

BobH - "The fact that boys have been ordered to pay child support to their rapists is merely an indication that the U.S. is a feminazi police state and a LOT of women are bloodsucking leeches."

Oh, I get it now! I failed to think beyond the confines of REALITY, and consider how it might work differently in some other dimension or parallel universe?

3:17 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger slwerner said...

"It was not crazy to marry at that age back at that time - in fact, it was encouraged due to the rising sexual needs in the early teen years. We seek to supress that now, but we can't suppress the biological imperative, no matter how hard we try."

I think you've missed the most salient point of Helen's commentary.


It's not about the participants marrying - it's about older "predators" taking advantage of the young and naive, and the issue of whether male and female adult offenders should be treated equally, and their crimes viewed as equal.


Last month, another blogger, who is a devote Conservative Traditionalist Catholic woman, suggested that when older women prey upon under-aged boys, it should not be called rape, but rather "seduction", and that the women needn't be punished (http://www.thinkinghousewife.com/wp/2010/12/a-logical-outcome-of-feminist-absurdity/).

Do you have any thought's on that issue?

3:26 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Dexter said...

"There are some girls at 14-17 who are capable of making reasonable decisions about their sexuality and there are some boys of that age who are not."

What? There are NO boys age 14-17 who are capable of making reasonable decisions about their sexuality. ZERO. NONE. Period, no more need be said.

3:36 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Dexter said...

"my position is that the laws, whatever they are need to be fair. If a 14- year- old girl can't give consent to sex, than neither should a 14-year-old boy."

The fallacy here is that it is "fair" to treat boys and girls the same. That is not so. Boys and girls are physiologically and psychologically different, and therefore should be treated differently from many different standpoints, including education, sports, and yes, laws pertaining to underage sex.

3:38 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Dexter said...

"biologically teens are no longer children"

But there are not yet adults, either. The brain continues maturing into the early 20s. Expecting adult decisions from a teenage brain is insane -- as anyone who has parented a teenager knows full well.

3:40 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

For once, I pretty much agree with Fred. In Kentucky, and I think most states have similar laws, any sexual activity with someone 12 and under by someone over 12 is sexual assault. At older ages the crime depends on the ages of both parties.

I can't see a person of 21 or 48 having sex with a 14 year old as psychology healthy. Or, can I see it being a psychologically healthy event for the 14 year old. Sex between teenagers may be healthy except for the potential dangers.

One reason we have such a prolonged adolescence nowadays is that it takes longer for a person to become educated/skilled enough to be gainfully employed and support a family.

3:45 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

"One reason we have such a prolonged adolescence nowadays is that it takes longer for a person to become educated/skilled enough to be gainfully employed and support a family."

-----

You're talking about men there. Clearly.

How long does it take a housewife to bake, to suckle her young and play house with them while the man fights his way through the modern world to make money (in the case of the "traditional" housewife, of course).

Answer: She doesn't have to get mature at all. Just suckle the youngling and then play with it, while the man fights for the entire infrastructure.

3:51 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Tether said...

If you're also talking about a woman having to get mature and develop some responsibility and skills in the modern world, fine.

But I have seen enough "chivalrous" men to induce vomiting.

3:53 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger LuAnn said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks so much for writing about a really important topic. I'm a blog editor and staff writer over at Good Men Project Magazine and I reposted and linked to your piece.

You can read it here:
http://goodmenproject.com/2011/01/03/mrs-robinson-sex-fantasy-hurts-teen-boys/

Hope to stay in touch! You can email me at lu@goodmenproject.com if you have questions...or even better, if you're interested in possibly contributing to our magazine.

Best,
Lu

5:02 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi Lu,

Thanks so much for the link!

5:16 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger BobH said...

To Helen & slwerner:

Here's a question for you. Why in a country where women can have abortion on demand (which, as I recall, you support Helen), does any male of any age have to pay child support if he doesn't want to? I mean, abortion means that she gets to decouple her sexual intercourse, presumably without birth control, from the major consequence. Why can't men do the same thing?

5:28 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

BobH,

I don't even think that Helen would be totally against men also having "reproductive rights", but I'll leave her comments to her.

I've never said this phrase myself (as far as I know), but: You just don't get it.

Why do you want to treat young boys in that way (they have no control over the laws of the country), but simultaneously protect American girls from any and every instance of responsibility?

5:34 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

Whether men have any rights or not, why do you focus on absolving women of any accountability, while simultaneously putting all the burdens on men (or even worse ... on boys)?

I frankly don't like people like you, and I am going to work against you.

5:36 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

BobH,

I agree, if a man wants the woman to get an abortion and she does not want to I think the man should have the option to opt out of child support.

However, I would hope for the sake of a child, he would help with support. I do not believe in jail time for child support. There is no debtor's prison. Child support should be in the same category.

5:36 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"However, I would hope for the sake of a child, he would help with support."

----

Basically, I agree with that. What else could someone say.

But I still have the strong thought "For God's Sake, Don't Get Her Pregnant, She Will Have the Moral Upper Hand for the Rest of Your Life".

>>>>>>>>>

For men: Don't get her pregnant and don't marry her. Period.

5:49 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:54 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:58 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

said said: "biologically teens are no longer children"

You are confusing the apparent maturity of their reproductive system with maturity of their cognitive systems. And it is an apparent maturity as the reason that the US has a higher infant mortality than some less tech countries is that teen girls, more likely to get preggers in America, do not carry to term like adult women, their infants are below weight, and teens are notoriously bad on prenatal care. (See immature cognitive systems above.)

And because of this immature cognitive system, teens are easily manipulated by adults who care to do so. That is why they need protection, because they are vulnerable.

Trey

5:59 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger MB said...

"But it is truly encouraging that Helen is against debtors' prison for child support."

----------------

I get the feeling that she only appears (instantly - meaning that she is constantly reading these boards) when there is low-lying fruit to be harvested.

In other words, she doesn't ever debate anyone with a good point.

6:04 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger Elusive Wapiti said...

I'd like to bring up a fact that has yet been injected into this discussion, and that is the differing ages at which boys and girls start to mature.

It is common knowledge that girls hit puberty some two years earlier than boys.

Now, I'm no psychologist, but it follows therefore that girls would start (and reach) psychological maturity appx two years earlier than boys as well.

Now consider this fact in light of what has been mentioned on this thread already...we have laws that are written w/o respect to sex--i.e., they are sex neutral. Yet we also know that the law is applied differently to groups that are radically different in nature and whose gender roles are also radically different (despite the machinations of the femmarxists to the contrary).

In other words, a gender-neutral law--for example, an age of consent law arbitrarily set at 16 or whatever age one likes--applied "evenly" to boys and girls will result in disparate punishment of boys relative to girls of the same age for the same act.

A (partial) solution would be to set the age of consent laws differently for the sexes, reflecting this developmental difference.

Of course we'd still have to deal with the female sentencing discount, and the blatantly misandrist notion that when ephebophilic women have sex, it is seduction, but when similarly ephebophilic men have sex, it is rape.

6:04 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Elusive, you make excellent points. I think that only certain aspects of women mature before those aspects in men, and some the other way around.

I think sexual maturation occurs earlier in women than men across the board. Individuals differ, but we are talking about groups. The ability to triangulate (in space not relationships) develops earlier in men.

Part of the "women mature earlier" meme I think has to do with female high school students accepting the authority of teachers more readily than males. That is not really about maturity, it is about the life stance of compliance vs. defiance. Both are important skills to posess, but teachers find it easier to deal with the one than the other, so it is voiced in terms of maturity.

I will think more on this as the post is getting away from me!

Trey

7:12 PM, January 03, 2011  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

Dexter: "Boys and girls are physiologically and psychologically different, and therefore should be treated differently from many different standpoints, including education, sports, and yes, laws pertaining to underage sex."

Terrific: John Gray is posting her now. I think I may throw up.

Rape is rape.

1:28 AM, January 04, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

MB,

"I get the feeling that she only appears (instantly - meaning that she is constantly reading these boards) when there is low-lying fruit to be harvested.

In other words, she doesn't ever debate anyone with a good point."

Given the rudeness and pettiness of some of the commenters here, I no longer engage in the comment section (for those of you who wonder if that would be you, it probably isn't). If you notice in older posts, I used to show up in the comment section more often. Now, not so much. I have also reduced my blogging for the same reason. I see no reason to "debate" anyone here. The blog is here for discussion and hopefully, for people to learn something from each other. That does not necessarily require my participation.

9:16 AM, January 04, 2011  
Blogger By The Sword said...

Dr. Helen,

Thank you for pointing out the injustice of the situation that boys are in. I think if more people are aware of how boys are mistreated in this society then we can actually stop the abuse.

12:32 PM, January 04, 2011  
Blogger peternolan9 said...

Helen,
"Just be fair."
What an unusual comment by a woman. Us men don't hear that very often.

Having raised two boys I am well aware that sexual abuse of a boy is just as bad, IF NOT WORSE, than it is for a girl. When a boy is sexually abused he will usually be totally invalidated if he mentions this experience. He will be told he was 'lucky' etc. He is also FAR less likely to have actually courted the situation. He is FAR more likely to have been manipulated into the situation. The old 'girls mature faster than boys' is true and a 14 year old girl is FAR more likely to have courted sex from an older man than is a 14 year old boy. The older woman is FAR more likely to be a predator than the older man. The 14 year old girl is FAR more likely to have lied about her age or in some way gone out of her way to court the attention and get sex from the older man. When I was 18 I was once 'chatting' up a girl who looked 18 to me at the beach.....she turned out to be 13 and VERY well developed.

Sexual abuse of boys reveals the MASSIVE double standard in this area just like ALL OTHER AREAS. Do we need to mention the pussy pass for perjury that women enjoy for all sorts of allegations from wwwwwwaaaayyyyyppppp to DV etc?

2:34 PM, January 12, 2011  

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