I don't really get the whole issue of age gaps. If someone was 17 and he/she consents to being in a sexual and emotional relationship with someone that is about 5 or more years older, what is the problem? Besides the legal reasons.
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It comes down to maturity. At 17, you tend to think you have the world all figured out, then you get a little older and realize you don't have a clue. Almost everyone goes through that period. And you're saying "well, not me, I'm different..." No, you're not. You're just like everyone else, and so were we.
The 22 year old is a little older and wiser, and is capable of manipulating a pseudo-wise 17 year old. So there's an element of "maybe this 22 year old is using this 17 year old." That may or may not be the case, but the stigma is there.
But once everyone is of legal age, the age gap dynamic changes. That same 22 year old can go five years the other way and date a 27 year old, and no one bats an eyelash, because everyone involved is presumed to have enough wisdom to make good decisions (which many don't at any age, but that's another discussion). Plus there's no adult-child dynamic. Different cultures have different ideas on what constitutes an "adult", in terms of romantic and/or sexual involvement. Personally, I think 18 is the line, although at 35, I'd have a hard time dating an 18 year old, but for someone a little younger, knock yourself out. Some states in America have an age of consent of 14, which I think is absolutely disgusting. There's nothing adult about a 14 year old. But that's in weird places where they don't care if you marry your cousin either, haha.4