General Question

NostalgicChills's avatar

Is it legal for a 16 year old to go out with a 20-21 year old?

Asked by NostalgicChills (2774points) July 6th, 2011

Just curious.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

46 Answers

MrItty's avatar

It’s never illegal for someone to “go out with” someone else. It is only illegal to perform certain sexual acts. What acts and what ages depend on the state or jurisdiction in question.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Neizvestnaya's avatar

Google statutory rape for the state you live in.

If you date with the consent of the younger person’s parents then it becomes a gray area but be very careful not to make the younger person angry because accusations without witnesses and/or proof are ugly and hugely damaging in the age where anything can be instantly broadcast by phones and computer.

NostalgicChills's avatar

@Neizvestnaya
I’m talking about a relationship. Not sex. At all.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

No.
I am guessing since its a 16 year old then its okay for them to perform any sort of sexual activity. If everything is going well and there is no abuse or illegal drugs being used then its okay.
If you love the person go ahead. No one should stop someone from loving the person they love just because of the age.

MrItty's avatar

@nailpolishfanatic you are incorrect. 16 is well below the age of consent for many jurisdictions. It is not “okay” for them to perform “any” sort of sexual activity. As I said, it depends on the state or jurisdiction in which the activity takes place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_North_America#United_States for more information.

NostalgicChills's avatar

@MrItty
I am STRICTLY talking about ONLY a relationship. Not sex.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Dating is legal. Sex is illegal.

MrItty's avatar

@NostalgicChills I know. Read my answer directed to you. I was replying to @nailpolishfanatic in my second response.

MrItty's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate No. Sex is not necessarily illegal. It depends on the state or jurisdiction, as I have now said three times. In some states, the age of consent is indeed 16.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes, you say ONLY a relationship but I’m cautioning you to what sometimes happens what relationships don’t go the way the younger person may like and accusations arise. The older person can suffer real and lasting damages, intercourse never having truly taken place. Again, check your state regarding what it termed sexual acts and also intercourse.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Relationship yes and I know thats what you’re asking. Sex would depend on the state. In NJ 16 is the age of consent as long as you’re within 4 years of it, its ok. So at 16 you can have sex with someone of 20, 17 21, and then 18 anyone.

King_Pariah's avatar

Dating/going out is okay. When it comes to whether or not it’s legal to do anything sexual depends on what the age of consent is.

JLeslie's avatar

In America, as far as I know, most states, maybe all, would say sex is illegal in that situation. He, assuming he is the older one, could be brought up on charges of rape. The idea that they are just dating is not realistic.

FutureMemory's avatar

When I was 16 I had a girlfriend that was 20. We had a lot of sex. Since I’m a guy no one gave a shit, I guess. The End.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I only know about the NJ thing because I was 16 dating a 20 year old and her parents tried getting her in trouble and called the cops. They said since I was 16 and she was only 20 there was nothing they could do.

King_Pariah's avatar

@uberbatman isn’t the age of consent 16 in NJ anyways?

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@MrItty Yeah but most places its 16 isn’t it?

WasCy's avatar

As @MrItty is taking great pains to say, correctly, that there is no “one size fits all” response to this question, it is not “always okay” or “never okay” for these two people to have a sexual relationship. In some states (and other legal jurisdictions, including other countries) 16 may be a legal age of consent. In some others it is not.

But the OP is very adamant about stressing that this is NOT for a sexual relationship. In that case, it’s still not correct to state that “anything goes” if it’s not a sexual relationship.

Part of the reason is that we can’t all seem to agree on what a “sexual relationship” is (that is, where it starts), and part of the reason is that, again in many places where 16 is below the age of consent (or the age of “majority”, that is, the age when a person is a legal adult), then the child has to live with parents who themselves may say what is and is not okay for various types of relationships, including “just friends”.

GAs to @MrItty.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@King_Pariah as I said in the first one its 16 and then within 4 years. So if I was 16 and she was 21 she would have gotten in trouble.

rts486's avatar

I hope so…

blueiiznh's avatar

of course it is legal.

MrItty's avatar

@nailpolishfanatic See the link I posted earlier, please. It is 16 in 30 states plus DC. It is 17 in 8 states. It is 18 in the remaining 12 states. That gives a 40% chance that a 16 year old having sex with a 21 year old is illegal. Not a great thing to lay odds on.

JLeslie's avatar

I will never understand a 20 year old wanting to date an 11th grader.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Honestly, at the time @JLeslie I didnt either but I was 16 and she was 20 so who the hell was I to complain :P

FutureMemory's avatar

@JLeslie According to her I was just that awesome.

nikipedia's avatar

What are you going to do, take her to the mall and buy her candy?

JLeslie's avatar

@FutureMemory @uberbatman Oh, I get why men want to have sex with an older women when they are 16. At minimum it sounds cool to them. I mentioned on another Q once that pretty much every guy I know says they lost their virginity with an older women. Who the hell are these women? Anyway, you make my point, and I think you agree, that it is either sex or immaturity on the 20 years old part the marjority of the time. I wprry more about the 16 year old girl, because the 16 year old boy is in it for the sex also I figure.in the scenerio stated, supposedly there will not be any sex, just dating, as I said above, that sounds unrealistic.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

@MrItty Thanks for filling me on that.

plethora's avatar

It’s both very legal and very stupid, especially for the older one, who is usually a guy.

Bellatrix's avatar

People mature at different speeds. A 20 year old can be very immature and a 16 year old can be very mature. As @WasCy said, whether the non-sexual relationship is logical depends on the individuals involved. A non-sexual relationship is not illegal though.

Would we be so critical of a 26 year old dating a 30 year old? Age is a number. It does not denote with any certainty the maturity of the person wearing that number. I was very emotionally mature at 16 but I know 50 year old men and women who still act like children in terms of emotional maturity in my opinion.

As long as the relationship remains non-sexual it is not illegal for a 16 year old to date a 20 year old. Can I ask you, why you ask this? I would like more contextual information if possible?

choreplay's avatar

Sex is inevitable, unless you’re in the 1% category. That is not a real number but it seems like it should be. Heightened emotions lead to heightened attraction lead to heightened sex drive. The harder you fight it the more appealing it will get, until it seems so incredible no resistance is left. Unrealistic is an under statement.

nikipedia's avatar

@Bellatrix, if you think age is just a number, try hanging out with a 2 year old for a day. Age is a very important number, and there are certain milestones we have established that indicate different levels of maturity. For better or worse, before the age of 18 we don’t consider people capable of making reasonable decisions. A lot of people don’t do so hot after 18 either, evidenced by the 20 year old who thinks dating a child is a good decision.

Bellatrix's avatar

@nikipedia I have hung out with two year olds. Often. I have three children and even then children are all individuals. There are some very serious two year olds. There are children of quite young ages who have made life saving decisions. Such as being able to know to pick up the phone and ring the emergency services when they notice the adult taking care of them is in trouble. There are equally children who have no common sense whatsoever.

We have had this discussion before anyway @Nikipedia and I STILL think maturity should be judged based on the individual rather than the number they have reached in terms of their birth date. And who is this “we” you refer to? It doesn’t include me. Who is this we? I personally think 18 year olds can make reasonable and rational decisions. You go on to say some 20 year olds can’t make reasonable decisions? Doesn’t this exactly support what I am saying? People are individuals. You cannot judge people as immature and incapable of making sound judgements because of their age number.

As to the “we” question, if you are talking about when someone legally reaches maturity. That doesn’t mean that prior to that legal date they are immature and incapable of using their own judgement skills to form an opinion or make a decision. It is a legal boundary that dictates when the majority of people should be able to make rational judgements. It doesn’t suggest all who fall below that number are incapable.

FutureMemory's avatar

@JLeslie Not to sound egotistical or whatever, but I was very mature for my age. The 20 year old and I stayed together for 5 years. Before me, none of her relationships lasted more than 2 months. We were in love, it was far from ‘just’ sex.

NostalgicChills's avatar

Okay, I got my answer in the first response, I don’t need anymore.
Thanks.

JLeslie's avatar

@FutureMemory Ok, you were one of the exceptions, I believe you. I am making generalizations, which of course does not mean everybody. I think I mentioned somewhere on the thread that there are exceptions, maybe I didn’t on this one, but I usually do on these types of questions.

choreplay's avatar

@NostalgicChills can’t shut the faucet off here once it starts. You could opt to stop following the question. Does the boyfriend have an opinion on the subject of the abstinence?

FutureMemory's avatar

@Bellatrix You say you know some mature 2 year olds…ok I believe you..but can you honestly make the same claim about any 22 month olds?? Huh?? Didn’t think so.

Bellatrix's avatar

Nah, I said some two year olds are serious minded. You’ve got me there though @FutureMemory. Those 22 month olds are never serious minded. It is all play, play, play with them. Can’t trust them to make a serious decision. That extra two months makes all the difference.

Same happens at the other end of the scale too. Can’t trust 90 year olds to think straight either. All the same. Hit that 90 mark and that’s it. All rational thought leaves the building.

NostalgicChills's avatar

@Season_of_Fall
I don’t have a boyfriend, I was simply curious, so I asked that question. :)

choreplay's avatar

So your saying there is no one behind your hypothetical, no one even potential?

NostalgicChills's avatar

@Season_of_Fall
Okay, maybe someone potential, but it would never happen anyways. xD

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes. Including sex. Depends on the country you’re in.

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