Honestly, what is the ideal age of consent?

egarcia1360
This question may be controversial, so I want to preface it by making abundantly clear that I do NOT condone or excuse any form of child abuse. This is a thought experiment regarding hard limits to protect the well-being of everyone involved in sexual activity, but social norms would still apply, and they would likely continue to be more effective than any law at regulating this behavior. That said, let's begin.

In the U. S., the age at which a person can consent to sexual activity is typically between 16 and 18 years old, and various nations across the globe stray even further from this range. Assuming there is a "correct" age of consent, this discrepancy must mean at least one of three things:

1. some places set the age too low, leaving naive children vulnerable to abuse;
2. some places set it too high, prosecuting people who are effectively innocent; and/or
3. the same act between the same two people can magically become more or less ethical depending on geographical borders.

Option 3 seems a bit unlikely, meaning that either 1 or 2 is true (if not both), either of which has very real and harmful impacts.

In order to address this issue, many jurisdictions make an exception for minors and adults close in age, known as "Romeo and Juliet law" — such a law allows, for example, a 19yo and a 17yo to have intimate relations without consequences even if the age of consent is 18.

Still, 18 is a pretty arbitrary age to use for defining adulthood or any of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that come with, as is 16, and 21, too (the legal drinking age).

Objectively speaking, it makes more sense to either lower the age to about 13, when most people hit puberty, or raise it to 25, when the brain is fully developed.

Another solution is to measure the ages relative to each other, as in the widely used formula for what's socially acceptable — half your age, plus 7 (14 & 14, 20 & 17, 30 & 22, etc. would be okay).

So, what do you think it should be, and why?
Honestly, what is the ideal age of consent?
Make it 13, around when sexual desire starts to emerge.
Vote A
Make it 16, around when hormones intensify and understanding of sex grows.
Vote B
Make it 18, when people become considered adults for many other purposes.
Vote C
Make it 21, when people are legally allowed to drink and smoke.
Vote D
Make it 25, when the brain is fully mature.
Vote E
Vary it based on the age of the older party.
Vote F
Abolish it altogether/Something else entirely/Neutral/Unsure/See results
Vote G
Select age and gender to cast your vote:
GirlGuy
Honestly, what is the ideal age of consent?
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