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(Years later as a sexuality educator, these are among the litmus tests I would suggest to teens.) The problem that really didn’t occur to me until last week, however, is that from a legal standpoint it was not a consensual relationship.
In Massachusetts—which has one of the least nuanced laws regarding age of consent—a person under 16 cannot give consent, and I was three months shy of my 16 birthday that summer.
By the time we had sex, we had been together for many months and professed our love for each other, I had nursed him back to puffy-cheeked health after he’d had his wisdom teeth out and he had spent a great deal of time with my family on Cape Cod.
Though I can’t say it was a perfect relationship or the balance of power was entirely equal (he held some advantage by virtue of being older and more experienced), I can assure you that the sexual aspect of our relationship was consensual, mutually pleasurable, non-exploitative, honest, and protected from pregnancy and STDs.
Once upon a time, a couple of decades ago or so, I was in one of those not unusual relationships between a sophomore girl and a senior boy.
In true high school style, we were fixed up by friends at the beginning of my sophomore year and had an on-again-off-again flirtation throughout the fall and winter (too much of which involved me watching from a distance as his relationship with a perky senior named Suzanne played out in the halls between classes).
As I mentioned earlier, Massachusetts is one of those states—the age of consent there is simply 16.But by spring they had broken up and one fateful Wednesday he called.From there we began what would be my first serious and my first sexual relationship.Today’s Age of Consent Laws The truth is that these laws cannot make such distinctions but lawmakers seem to have attempted to account for variations in relationships.
The laws are certainly more nuanced than I had expected, though above anything else, these laws are complicated.
The article focuses on a few young men who went to jail and wound up on sex offender registries ostensibly for having sex with their teenage girlfriends.