Does Age Really Matter?

If you've read the title of this post, you probably already have a few different answers to this question. It could be as simple as yes-or-no or as complicated as yes and no. You could have an entire speech about how it doesn't matter. You could have a speech about how it does matter and pedophilia is a real problem in the United States.

Pedophilia is defined as a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children. The keywords here are "primary" and "exclusive", but there's other key things to know about pedophilia, especially in the United States. For the condition to be diagnosed, an individual must either act on their sexual urges or experience significant distress as a result of their urges or fantasies. Without these two criteria, a person may have a pedophilic sexual orientation but not pedophilic disorder. An estimated twenty
percent of American children have been sexually molested, making pedophilia a common paraphilia.

So in the case of children and adults, does age really matter? Of course, but when does it become a gray area or legal? That sounds like a really weird question, but there's a few different deciding factors. In West Virginia, the age of consent for sexual conduct is 16. The age of consent is gender neutral and applies the same to both heterosexual and homosexual conduct. The person, being sixteen years old or more, engages in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with another person who is less than sixteen years old and who is at least four years younger than the defendant and is not married to the defendant. Therefore, according to West Virginia State Code, as long as you're over 16, you can -do- what you want as long as you consent to it.

Is a person who is in their 20s dating a person over the age of consent considered pedophilia? There was a post going around on social media a few months ago that said something to the effect of "A 23 dating a 16 year old is still an adult attracted to a child and is considered pedophilia". In some states, yes! In West Virginia, technically no. Referring back to the definition of pedophilia, the person would have to be exclusively attracted to children, usually who are considered prepubescent, and meet certain criteria.

In my opinion, as long as the adult is not attracted to the 16 year old because of their age or stage of development or often repeats behavior with minors (and only minors) then I see no problem with a person within a reasonable age difference (subjective) having a relationship with someone over the age of consent. It is technically not considered pedophilia, although it may be weird or gross or predatory in some instances. In some states, the age of consent is 18.  Therefore, [if I were to reside in that state] I would sing a different tune, since the relationship between a 16-year-old and 23-year-old would be illegal. Legality does not equate morality, but it does effect the definition of certain terms and considerably the sense of right and wrong in some scenarios.

Everyone has their own opinion on this topic. There is no doubt in my mind that pedophilia is wrong. There is no doubt in my mind that statutory rape [also known as sexual abuse in some states] is wrong. There is no doubt in my mind that some humans date other humans because of how they look, how they are developed, how old they are, and so on. There is no doubt in my mind that if you are below the age of consent that you should not be involved with anyone older [that would violate state law]. There is no doubt in my mind that a person who is above the age of consent is capable of maintaining a relationship with someone older than them. There is no doubt in my mind that it is all based upon many factors, such as legality, morality, life experience, human decency, and so much more.

You can watch this YouTube video here to hear more about my thoughts on the subject as well as my own experience with dating older men.

Let me know your thoughts/experiences below.


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