Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Right Age For Sex

Recently I was explaining to a friend how now that my kids are all hitting puberty, I intend to buy a gun, build a ten foot wall around the house and vet any prospective admirers by pointing the gun at their face and letting them know what’s the what. After all, I’m the parent and I need to protect my innocent children from the risk of being exposed to sexual predators, or worse, having sexual desires themselves.
My friend asked me what age I felt was the right age for sex, and I had to think for a minute. I reckon mid thirties is a good age. You know what you want by then and you’re beginning to experience the feel of being a grown up. And sex, after all, is for grown-ups. Or is it?
Recently I was staying in a house where the 15 year old daughter had her boyfriend stay over for the night. Luckily, it was in Germany, where the legal age for consensual sex is 14. In Ireland it is 17, with a clause that allows non-carnal contact at 15. Now who the hell knows what ‘non-carnal’ contact means? Does it mean you can go to bed with someone and have oral sex instead? Typical Irish really: there’s a rule, but there’s a way around it and it’s all hazy and unclear and in reality everyone is having sex from an early age but we all pretend that they’re not, so that we don’t have to deal with it because nobody wants to talk about sex anyway. It’s the Irish guilt thing. And after all, guilt is a quintessential ingredient in sex if you're Irish.
Well I can’t say it didn’t make me think when my friend’s daughter was merrily taking the boyfriend home for the night at her young age. Wondering if it was legal or not, I looked up the age of consent in various European countries. Spain was the sexiest, with the age of consent being a tender 13 and most countries came in somewhere around the 15 mark.
I suppose what scares me about my teenage kids having sex, is the thought of them doing it for reasons other than pleasure, affection or the love thing. A lot of the younger generation just do it in order to have done it. And I’m terrified at the thoughts of girls being used by boys – old fashioned, I know, but I am old, so I’m allowed to be. So I changed my mind about the ten foot wall and the gun. I’ve decided that my kids can bring home their smelly, spotty teen beaus if it means the objective of the encounters is consensual pleasure. I just don’t want to hear them though, and I refuse to give breakfast to any of them. At a stretch they can use the kitchen and have some cereal once I’ve moved into the living room in order to pretend to myself that my children are playing with Action Man and Barbie and only love Mammy and will never grow up, well not until they’re 35 anyway. 

For those planning to travel. A list of the age of consent in Europe:

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