On another person's blog, SourGirl and I got into a conversation about age of consent laws and underage sex. What should and shouldn't be legal, for the safety of young people. Her perspective was (correct me if you're reading this and I misunderstood, SG) that laws should be more stringent to prevent older minors from taking advantage of younger minors. My perspective was that if the age gap is slight (my example was a 16 year old and an 18 year old) it should be ok, but that a large age gap (her counter example, which I agreed was not ok, was 12 and 17) is not.
It got me thinking about my first experience with sex, and it occurred to me that I might as well blog about it.
I met my first bf, Jonas, when I was 12 and he was 13. We lived several blocks away from each other in the not-quite-the-slums-not quite-the-suburbs neighborhood where I grew up, just outside of the city where I now reside. We became friends because we were both always hanging out at the same little piece of wooded parkland, taking turns with other kids swinging on a rope above a creek.
Jonas and I started hanging out a lot, watching tv, playing video games. After a while I thought to myself, well, he's a boy, he's my best friend these days, that's how these things start, right? So I asked him to be my boyfriend and he said yes.
We started with chaste goodbye kisses and went from there. I remember very clearly hanging out in his room watching tv when he turned to me and asked if I wanted to try french kissing. I thought about it for a minute, then said sure. We progressed like that, one of us proposing a new idea, the other agreeing, over the course of the following year and 3/4. We were a year and a half apart in age total, so sometimes there was one year of difference between our official ages, sometimes two. We were equal in innocence and curiosity, though I'd done a lot of reading by that point ("Our Bodies, Ourselves", sneaking peeks at my mom's hidden erotica books when she wasn't around) that he hadn't, so I knew more.
By the time I broke up with him (he was sweet but he didn't even like to read or eat vegetables, and I was beginning to want to try dating girls) when I was 14 and he was 15, we had tried everything you can think of aside from penis-in-vagina intercourse. Like, we never did watersports or group sex. But anything two people can do that you can think of that you might find in a mainstream porno (and a couple of things you wouldn't) aside from that, we did it. I started to write details but then thought "Good god, am I writing child porn on the internet... of my own life? Could I be prosecuted for this?" so I'll leave it at that.
My point in saying all this is, I think it set the stage for me to have a really healthy relationship with my sexuality. My initial experiences were mutual, unhurried, unashamed, exploratory, and had limits (I would NOT engage in PIV because I was terrified of getting pregnant).
Would I want my 13/14 year old doing all that? Welllllll, I'd be squeamish about it to say the least. But who could have stopped me? Should our parents have just made sure we were never alone together? How? There were many summer nights when one of us snuck out in the middle of the night and woke the other one up with pebbles thrown at his or her window so we could very quietly hang out.
If my parents had found out and called the cops (not that they would have done that, but let's imagine) and Jonas, who was the older one, had been charged as a juvenile sex offender for things we did consensually, things I often suggested, I can't imagine what it would have done to my young adulthood, or to my sense of my sexuality, or, more importantly, to him.
I believe that young people shouldn't be made into criminals for exploring their sexuality with each other, as long as neither one is harming the other and the age gap is reasonable, and this is why.