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How old is "old enough"?


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#1    Paranoid Android

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 02:23 PM

To use two popular examples before I start, just to put some perspective on this:

1- Rupert Murdoch (82 years old), one of Australia's richest men, divorces third wife (44 years old).

2- Mary, mother of Jesus (13 years), married Joseph, possibly/probably as second wife (30 years).

So most of us understand that paedophilia is the line that should not be crossed. And though some ancient society's had different rules and did indeed see nothing wrong with paedophilia, my question is not about them but about us. When we come to age and sexuality, what do you think is acceptable? What religion are you, and what do you base your opinion on?  In ancient society, marrying a 13-year old was normal.  Today we prosecute adults who have sex with 13-year olds.  And we have social taboos about age differences - though the rich don't seem to abide by them (see Rupert Murdoch as one example).

To put this into a personal focus, a friend of mine was 28 (I was 26 at the time). He was dating an 18-year old. Two years later they split up, and shortly after, as a 30-year old he was dating an 18-year old again. Two years later they split.... you get the idea (yes, I think he had a late-teen fetish, but that's not really the point).

I'm 33 years old. Yesterday I was propositioned by a 19-year old (yes, I look young for my age)....

And just to add another personal focus, my mother was 28 when she met my 38-year old father.  I was born when mum was 30 and dad was 40.  Obviously, a 12-year old meeting a 22-year old has some social issues to work with, but 28-year old meeting a 38-year old, not so much, so where is the "cut off" if there is one?

So what is your religion, and how does it affect your views on sexuality with people of various ages and age differences (is 13 years old, old enough for sex, and what about the age difference between the couple - where does marriage fit in? Is a 13-year old of marriageable age? Is it morally acceptable for a 45-year old to marry a 19-year old?).

You get the idea. Discuss :yes:

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android, 15 June 2013 - 02:53 PM.

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#2    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 03:16 PM

Well technically your friend dating an 18 year old is legal, but I don't even know how people can find 13 year olds attractive.  I don't have a specific religion

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#3    ouija ouija

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 03:40 PM

I have no religion.

Firstly, there is a proven correlation between contracting cervical cancer and having sexual intercourse from a young age.

Regarding old rich men having young wives ...... you don't have to be a genius to work out that she's hoping to be a rich widow sooner rather than later, with affairs with young rich men that she meets through her husband to keep her amused until then.

Big age gaps tend not to work simply because of the disparity in experience and expectations from life, but there's nothing inherently wrong with them. When I was 26 I became engaged to someone who was 17. I was with him for 18mths, which is the longest I have stayed with anyone.

Age is not really the point, the important thing is: do the two people want to be together? If either person has been coerced into the relationship or feels unable to leave, then that is wrong.

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#4    Lilly

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 03:46 PM

Situations that took place in ancient times really have to be looked at from a time/culture specific perspective.  In 2013 I really don't think it's appropriate for adult men to be having anything to do with 13 year olds. I personally think that when people have much more than 10 years between their ages it becomes problematic...but this is just my personal feeling (based on what I've seen during my lifetime). The bottom line is that one has to function within the laws of their own society and realize that life experience does indeed *count* when looking for someone to have a relationship with.

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#5    Sherapy

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 04:11 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 15 June 2013 - 02:23 PM, said:

To use two popular examples before I start, just to put some perspective on this:

1- Rupert Murdoch (82 years old), one of Australia's richest men, divorces third wife (44 years old).

2- Mary, mother of Jesus (13 years), married Joseph, possibly/probably as second wife (30 years).

So most of us understand that paedophilia is the line that should not be crossed. And though some ancient society's had different rules and did indeed see nothing wrong with paedophilia, my question is not about them but about us. When we come to age and sexuality, what do you think is acceptable? What religion are you, and what do you base your opinion on?  In ancient society, marrying a 13-year old was normal.  Today we prosecute adults who have sex with 13-year olds.  And we have social taboos about age differences - though the rich don't seem to abide by them (see Rupert Murdoch as one example).

To put this into a personal focus, a friend of mine was 28 (I was 26 at the time). He was dating an 18-year old. Two years later they split up, and shortly after, as a 30-year old he was dating an 18-year old again. Two years later they split.... you get the idea (yes, I think he had a late-teen fetish, but that's not really the point).

I'm 33 years old. Yesterday I was propositioned by a 19-year old (yes, I look young for my age)....

And just to add another personal focus, my mother was 28 when she met my 38-year old father.  I was born when mum was 30 and dad was 40.  Obviously, a 12-year old meeting a 22-year old has some social issues to work with, but 28-year old meeting a 38-year old, not so much, so where is the "cut off" if there is one?

So what is your religion, and how does it affect your views on sexuality with people of various ages and age differences (is 13 years old, old enough for sex, and what about the age difference between the couple - where does marriage fit in? Is a 13-year old of marriageable age? Is it morally acceptable for a 45-year old to marry a 19-year old?).

You get the idea. Discuss :yes:

~ Regards, PA

In my understanding, and according to Psychology the rule of thumb is no more then 10 years between people. I would not be for any adult and a person under the age of legal consent. At nineteen one cannot see around the corner yet, they are barely out of the house. The span between 19 and 33 is too much in my opinion. There is so much they do not know yet, haven't experienced/lived yet. My middle son is 20 he is in the middle of figuring out who he is, he would not even consider getting involved at this point, he needs  to have the opportunity to experience who he is for awhile to get a sense of who he is before he is ready to be an 'us'. There are extraordinarily mature people who are chronologically young but it is the exception not the rule. IMO




#6    Ashotep

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 04:33 PM

I guess it would be okay for a 45 year old to marry a 19 year old, they are of legal age.  Might get to looking creepy in a few years being that much age difference.  At 45 in a few short years they are going to really start to show their age.  Sorry when I see someone young with someone twice their age it looks creepy to me but its their business.

Yes Murdock had a much younger wife that's what those billions will buy you.  The money won't buy their love or make you physically attractive to them.


#7    QuiteContrary

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 05:39 PM

From Wiki: http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Pedophilia
"As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in persons 16 years of age or older typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest toward prepubescent children (generally age 11 years or younger, though specific diagnosis criteria for the disorder extends the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13).[1][2][3][4] An adolescent who is 16 years of age or older must be at least five years older than the prepubescent child before the attraction can be diagnosed as pedophilia.[1][2]
The term has a range of definitions, as found in psychiatry, psychology, the vernacular, and law enforcement. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) defines pedophilia as a "disorder of adult personality and behaviour" in which there is a sexual preference for children of prepubertal or early pubertal age.[5] According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is aparaphilia in which adults or adolescents 16 years of age or older have intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children that they have either acted on or which cause them distress or interpersonal difficulty.[1]
In popular usage, pedophilia means any sexual interest in children or the act of child sexual abuse, often termed "pedophilic behavior".[3][6][7][8] For example, The American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary states, "Pedophilia is the act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child or children."[9] This common use application also extends to the sexual interest in and sexual contact with pubescent or post-pubescent minors.[10][11] Researchers recommend that these imprecise uses be avoided because although people who commit child sexual abuse commonly exhibit the disorder,[6][12][13] some offenders do not meet the clinical diagnosis standards for pedophilia and these standards pertain to prepubescents.[10][14][15] Additionally, not all pedophiles actually commit such abuse.[15][16]
At present, the exact causes of pedophilia have not been conclusively established.[26] Research suggests that pedophilia may be correlated with several different neurological abnormalities, and often co-exists with other personality disorders and psychological pathologies. In the contexts of forensic psychology and law enforcement, a variety of typologies have been suggested to categorize pedophiles according to behavior and motivations.[11"

Seems clear to me that a 19-year-old dating a 45-year-old isn't pedophilia. A 22-year-old having sex with a prepubescent and usually more than one is. I wouldn't call Mr. Heffner a pedophile, maybe a few other choice names, but not a pedophile.

A teacher having sex with his 10-year-old student is sick, I don't care what religion you are.

What prepubescent child even wants sex to consent freely? What 7-year-old female is physically ready?

Ever heard of the desire for prepubescent "looking" girly mag/Internet models? It's a way to avoid child porn charges but...

Edited by QuiteContrary, 15 June 2013 - 05:41 PM.


#8    susieice

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 05:42 PM

Young people under the age of 18 of either sex are not mature enough to take on the responsibilities of marriage or parenthood, which go hand in hand. There are religions that teach marriage between older men and young girls, but I don't think it's appropriate. As to the age difference, there have been a lot of examples where someone married to someone else half their age have ended badly. When a 42 year old woman has a relationship with a much younger man, even if he is of legal age, she shouldn't be surprised if straying occurs. Young men look for surrogate mothers or someone to support them. Young women will look for father figures or money, as mentioned before. I feel 10 years can be ok if both parties are mature enough, but ideally, I think 5 years would be a better choice. More on an even level both emotionally and physically.

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#9    Sherapy

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 05:48 PM

View Postsusieice, on 15 June 2013 - 05:42 PM, said:

Young people under the age of 18 of either sex are not mature enough to take on the responsibilities of marriage or parenthood, which go hand in hand. There are religions that teach marriage between older men and young girls, but I don't think it's appropriate. As to the age difference, there have been a lot of examples where someone married to someone else half their age have ended badly. When a 42 year old woman has a relationship with a much younger man, even if he is of legal age, she shouldn't be surprised if straying occurs. Young men look for surrogate mothers or someone to support them. Young women will look for father figures or money, as mentioned before. I feel 10 years can be ok if both parties are mature enough, but ideally, I think 5 years would be a better choice. More on an even level both emotionally and physically.

I am 8 years older then my husband of 17 years, he was one of those that was mature for his age, so it worked for us.  I agree with you it is not the rule it is more the exception.

Edited by Sherapy, 15 June 2013 - 05:49 PM.




#10    Ashotep

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:11 PM

I don't think 8 years difference in age is that much.  It's when it gets to be 15 or 20 years or more that I think its too much.  When there's that much difference in age the older one has to have insecurity problems.  I bet the younger one is more likely to cheat than they would be with someone their own age especially when the older one really starts to show their age.

Most of the time when your talking about 20 years or more there is money involved and probably hoping the older one has one foot in the grave or something wrong there.


#11    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:45 PM

I'm not of any religion, but I guess I don't have an 'issue' with most age differences.  I think you need, from a pragmatic standpoint, to have some age that is considered a cut-off for being 'too young',but even then I think there should be allowances from a legal standpoint for 'too young' people having sex with people of their own age; I think it ridiculous that you can prosecute a 16-year old for rape (in some parts of the US) for having sex with his 15-year old girlfriend.  But I don't like to make judgments about the appropriateness or whether it's taboo for adults to have relationships with drastic age differences, because I find those kind of judgments to be somewhat insulting and predicated on some bad assumptions, namely, "I know better than they do".  Taking the Murdoch example, who exactly am I, or anybody, to be telling a 40 year old who she can have a relationship with?  It doesn't even have to be 40 years, I think the same holds for 30 and even younger, it still presumes that just because everyone is going to mature and change that the way I matured and changed with age has some universal quality to it, it doesn't; although there are indeed commonalities, in many ways my maturing and aging has just, at best, solidified who I am, and there's no shortage of examples of people my age who have also equally become more 'who they are', but who are still significantly different.  'Who they are' at my age is not at all right for me, and I'm sure vice-versa.

What if Murdoch and his wife knew full well that their relationship may be temporary, does that change anything?  How would you phrase what the core of the 'disapproval' of these kinds of age differences is?  Even if Murdoch was dating a 21 year old, I still have trouble with my disapproval, it still presumes the notion that I know the 21 year old better than she knows herself.  I mean, what am I going to say, "you do realize that relationships with significant age differences don't usually last forever"?  I wouldn't because she can defeat that, and make me look utterly foolish and presumptious, with a simple, 'yes, I know that', and I'm left basing my disapproval on no reasoning, just my subjective opinions about what is right for other people, which is not really a good basis.  I know I take my position partly because I try to avoid basing my opinions on anything that even has a whiff of sanctimony which I detest, but regardless it's difficult enough to find love and companionship in this world, I'm not going to make it more of a hassle by judging based on what I think is best for other people.  I'm certainly not going to begrudge them just because their relationship may ultimately not last, few things do.  Perfect being the enemy of the good and all that.

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#12    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 06:50 PM

As far as Mary at 13, yea that seems awful young, but I don't think the life expectancy was that high at that time.  Also, I doubt that getting married and reproducing was the first time in her life that she was having to engage in and take responsibilites that we nowadays reserve for adults, I think most 13 year olds at that time were 'old' 13 years olds compared to today's, I think the harshness of life at that time required and resulted in kids maturing relatively quickly.

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#13    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 07:08 PM

Yeah I think for me atleast they would have to be at about the same intellectual level as myself, because sex is good but then what happens after. If I cant connect with her intellectually then Im out.

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#14    shrooma

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 07:15 PM

I have to agree with most posters here, in that 13yo's are too young to be having sex, even 16yo's are a bit immature to be honest (from a mental standpoint, not physically), having been 16 once & looking back and realising how immature I was! (isn't hindsight wonderful.)
but for age differences, that's for the individual to decide I guess. if THEY see nothing wrong, why should we? personally, unless they were exceptional, I wouldn't commit to a relationship with anyone more than 10yrs younger than me (sex is different), as it wouldn't be fair on them in later life, and not to mention commonality of interest (me hating R&B, her hating fell walking kinda thing), but again, it all depends on the individual. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a relationship purely on age grounds, that would be a bit shallow in my view, but it would certainly be something i'd consider when looking for a partner.
but hey, if it it makes you both happy, then i'd say go for it! (knock yourself out PA!)
:-)

Edited by shrooma, 15 June 2013 - 07:17 PM.

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#15    Tiggs

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 07:26 PM

It's legally impossible to have a consensual relationship with someone who's not "of age" - someone who's unable to realise the consequence of their actions.

Presumably, 19 is legally "of age" out in Aus. - but that number is an arbitrary minimum line in the sand drawn by the society you live in, in order to make sure that the vast majority of children are protected until they're old enough to be able to make sensible choices.  

In terms of physiology, the decision making centre of the brain doesn't fully reach maturity until the early twenties.

Individuals, however, mature at different rates.

So - once you get past the minimum socially acceptable age hurdle - what it really comes down to is whether or not you think that she really knows what she's getting into.

Only you know the answer to that.





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