Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

It is better for a 16yr old to sail the world alone vs sex with a partner over 18yr?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) June 11th, 2010

So, how is allowing a 16yr old to sail around the world alone less risky or less detrimental than allowing them to have sex with a partner over 18? I know the argument a 16yr old is not mature enough to consent or enter a liaison, affair or fling with a person over 18 but then how are they smarter sailing the world alone where the outcome can be captured and sold into sexual slavery, murdered for their water craft, frozen to death, or end us bobbing in the water as shark bait etc? It is almost like people applaud the activity that can end in death over one where their might just be a broken heart but the teen lives. Or is this just an American thing?

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57 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Uhg, this story. We read it in school.

I don’t think it really matters. Both acts are legal, and the person sould have their free will respected.

Nullo's avatar

Better for the kid to sail the globe. It takes an exceptional sort of person to do that.
More ecclesiastically, premarital sex is a sin; circumnavigating the Earth is not. Which, to me, is the real crux of the issue. We all engage in horribly risky behaviors every day just by going to work.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

” It takes an exceptional sort of person to do that.” Where does the “exceptional” line ends? Should a teen be allowed to own a fire arm, race cigarette boats, sky dive, or vote at 16 even if laws had to be bent, changed or broken to make it so?

” More ecclesiastically, premarital sex is a sin; circumnavigating the Earth is not.” That only flies if you believe in God which many do not, and a lot who do still are willing to break that one so, would that not go for anyone at any age?

” We all engage in horribly risky behaviors every day just by going to work.” Elucidate more please. By speeding, trying to shave while driving, how?

Nullo's avatar

1. I think that you misunderstand “exceptional.” Most people lack the right stuff to do a solo circumnavigation. Those who can do a solo circumnavigation are the exception. Hence “exceptional.” For the record, it is legal for a minor to hunt using a firearm.
I threw it in there because I was struck by the relative banality of sex.

2. I’d say that it goes regardless of your own thoughts on the matter, being nothing less than the will of God, Who owns creation.

3. Driving in general is pretty risky. Just yesterday I was nearly broadsided by a wacko who felt that the stop sign didn’t apply to him. In the winter (in colder places), we have ice on the roads. And sometimes you might take your foot off the gas and panic as the car keeps accelerating. There are drunk drivers, weather hazards, vehicle malfunctions and so on, resulting in thousands of deaths each year.

BoBo1946's avatar

Both are irresponsible on someone’s part!

rooeytoo's avatar

The Aussie girl who was only 15 I think, just completed her round the world voyage. She had a couple of knock downs and went through some horrendous storms and bad weather, but she made it okay.

There was a time when females were married off by that age and young boys went off to war. I think if the kid wants to do it and has the gumption to find financing and arrange all the myriad of details that would be required then off you go.

Cruiser's avatar

At that age it entirely depends on the individual. Maturity levels greatly and I know some 16 year old’s that could do a decent job of running this country and I know some 50 year old’s that shouldn’t be driving or voting.

That girl sailing the boat IMO seems quite mature and capable of doing what she attempted. ex is a natural biological act and requires little skill….anybody can do that!

tinyfaery's avatar

There is very little difference between a 16 year old and an 18 year old. The age of consent should be 16. Hell, in a lot of places it is.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Put her on the boat ;)

LuckyGuy's avatar

I was all a giant publicity stunt. Have you been to her website selling a line of Abby cloths and shoes? How much does a sail boat complete all the elactronics, guidance and communications systems? She had a full web site set up beforehand.
Successful or not, this was a very clever marking exploit.

john65pennington's avatar

Neither. she should be at home and dating someone around her age.

She is still a minor.

zenele's avatar

I’m with @BoBo1946 @john65pennington and the other old fogies who have daughters.

Nullo's avatar

@tinyfaery In Arkansas, it’s 14.

Coloma's avatar

I think if I had a choice, I’d choose sailing around the world AND great sex while sailing. lol

Nullo's avatar

@Coloma It’s a solo circumnavigation. =_=.

Coloma's avatar


Yes, well…that’s no fun at all.

Okay..seriously, I think the girl is better off navigating the depths of the sea than the depths of sexuality at such a young age, on the other hand, if she is old enough to sail the world alone, it would be a shame to perhaps capsize never having experienced the turgid waters of her sexuality. lololol

Seek's avatar

I am fervently against this 16 year old circumnavigator. I opposed the idea when I first heard of it, for the very reasons that it’s in the news right now.

Sure, the 16 year old knows how to sail, and Daddy can afford to send her. Great. Now, what happens when something goes wrong? Oh, several different COUNTRIES have to put their citizens at risk to save her ass. Who gets to pay for the rescue efforts – the planes, and the three ships that are sailing out into the middle of nowhere to pick her up? Hm?

As far as 16 year olds having consensual sex, who gives a shite? It’s not hurting anyone that isn’t willing.

Pandora's avatar

I agree with @BoBo1946. Both actions would be irresponsible. I was an exceptional 16 year old. Not only my opinion but the opinion of others. I would always choose the right thing to do 99.9 % of the time. But there always is that .1 that can totally screw you up. There will always be things that can happen with anyone that are unforseenable. Even an adult may have difficulties in knowing how to deal with any situation. But at least as an adult you can sometimes forsee trouble coming because of past experience and a 16 year old doesn’t have enough past experience to be able to avoid trouble that they may be headed too.
There are people who look for the vunerable an weak. This is there profession and or illness and nothing says vunerable like a 16 year old left alone. Its like putting a baby deer who can run fast out in a field and letting go a bunch of hungry lions. He may be able to dodge a few but there will be a lion who was even faster.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

”As far as 16 year olds having consensual sex, who gives a shite? It’s not hurting anyone that isn’t willing.” See it is not the consensual sex the 16yr old has but whom they have it with. When it comes to sailing around the globe single handed people come out with all sorts of phrases like “maturity”, “skill”, “ability”, “capability”, etc. as if to say just because they seem to be more mature than their counterparts trust in their ability and maturity to make the voyage; that somehow that will overcome any pitfalls or dangers such as getting boarded and sold into bondage, being boarded and murdered for the vessel all those gadgets on the craft alone could be a boatload of cash (no pun intended), being swept over board and freezing to death on the end of a safety line because you can’t get back on deck quick enough, having the vessel sink and bobbing about as shark bait, being tossed about the cabin and breaking a neck or back, the list goes on. If you can ”trust the maturity” in a teen to go sailing a dangerous voyage why are so many not willing to trust that teen to have the same maturity to have consensual sex with whomever they please? That is what I would ask. Many nations have it right or near so, but many places a lot here in the US don’t.

Coloma's avatar

I think it’s awesome this girl had the cajones to depart on such an adventure as this.

So in this modern world it costs a fortune for search and rescue intervention…..oh well…,,this is not something that ‘should’ be an issue.

If I chose to sail around the world solo I wouldn’t expect to be saved from the perils of such an excursion, if someone wanted to search for and rescue me, that would be their deal, not mine.

Does every friggin’ thing in life have to be reduced to goverment cost?


So, nobody should ever set out on a challenging adventure because, in the event they encounter a problem it might be too much time, trouble and cash to intervene….whatever. lol

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Nullo Psst that is a hidden secret in America, you will get them labeled the “perv state” by bringing that up as well am many other states where it is 16yr Kill all game, talk about golf…......

Nullo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Just like reminding people now and then that California doesn’t make all of our laws.
See, most people learn about American laws through television, which comes from California, which uses its own laws, etc.

KatawaGrey's avatar

There is nothing inherently dangerous about having sex with an 18-year-old. There is a lot of danger in a mature, experienced sailor sailing around the world by him/herself let alone a teenager.

If my daughter came home and said, “Mom, either I can have sex with my eighteen-year-old boyfriend or I can sail around the world. It’s your choice,” I would tell her to boink her boyfriend. And I’d provide her with condoms, massage oil and a Barry Manilow CD. Myabe then she’d be too horrified to have sex. :P

Pandora's avatar

@KatawaGrey An 18 year old can transfer AIDs as much at any 30 year old. So there is some amount of danger. My question is however, why on earth would you give into a demand by a 16 year old. If she has to use extortion for one or the other than she would definetly not be ready for either.
At 16 shes not entitled to dictate. To rebel, yes. Dictate NO!

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Pandora: I don’t assume that all 18-year-olds are carrying AIDS. Also, I’m just curious as to why you think that the scenario I gave was a serious one? I have never heard of a teenager going to her mother and putting forth that scenario. Have you? I thought members of fluther were smart enough to understand when I was being facetious. My mistake.

Coloma's avatar

Lets not forget that it has only been this last 100 years or so, give or take a couple of decades, that kids are taking longer in every way to mature.

For centuries teens were marrying and having babies at 15, 16 17.

Modern ‘childhood’ is a pretty new thing in reality.

Plenty of boys were going off to sail around the world at 15 or so as deckhands and cabin boys last century and prior.

I am the mom of a 22 yr. old girl and while I was fairly conservative in many ways I also realized that at 16, the bulk of my job was done, and what she chose was part of her journey in the moment.

I am big on free spiritedness ( not recklessness ) and while I would have been concerned, I have always encouraged my daughter to live life to it’s fullest and to never be held prisoner to others opinions of what she ‘should’ or should not be doing.

I was extremely open, very supportive of whatever, no taboo subjects and….

funny thing…...she beat me by 5 years in losing her viginity.

I was 15 and she was 20!

There is no rhyme or reason and after a certain point it is just time to let the little birdies do their own thing.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t really think the two things are comparable.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@KatawaGrey My mother lived down the street from Barry Manilow as a kid. She said he was a nerdy little twerp, even back then…

Pandora's avatar

—@KatawaGrey Ummm, I always assume when people are giving a scenario that it is hypothetical unless stated otherwise. However it doesn’t mean that there isn’t some value to the hypotherical scenario, only whether you meant it in jest or not, I still stand by my answer.
And btw, I’m sure there are teens walking around with AIDs who also assumed that sex with someone young limited the chance of catching it and they know all to well that assumption was wrong.
Sorry I didn’t pick up on you trying to be witty. Maybe I’m a bit obtuse or maybe you need to practice your sarcasm a bit more.—

jerv's avatar

This is America.
America is a nation of Godliness.
Sex is evil.

Now, if you wish to refute any of those statements then expect some Holy Rollers to start a flame war :D

Nullo's avatar

@jerv Extramarital sex is evil. Rather like the way a crowbar is a tool until you clobber somebody with it. More accurately, extramarital sex is sinful, and sin is evil.

@Pandora There was a guy at a local high school who had AIDS and made a point of sleeping with as many girls as he could.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Sin…. not according to my religion… or lack thereof :D
See the issue now?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Coloma ”Lets not forget that it has only been this last 100 years or so, give or take a couple of decades, that kids are taking longer in every way to mature.” I would have say it is happening sooner than later, and It is American society well as some others are trying to prolong childhood past what is becoming biologically the case.
”Plenty of boys were going off to sail around the world at 15 or so as deckhands and cabin boys last century and prior.” So true, but they were part of a crew and not really the one doing the heavy lifting so, they were not really alone.
KatawaGrey ”There is nothing inherently dangerous about having sex with an 18-year-old.” There is nothing inherently dangerous about a 16yr old having sex with anyone above 18yr, that has been going on for centuries just not here in the US lately but it has in the early days. It comes down to if you are mature at 16yr sail around the world to thunderous hand clap but decide to boink that 25 year old college student you have a crush on before you go then it is a crime because she is too immature and stupid to know what she was really doing sexually, go figure?

Nullo's avatar

@jerv Not at all. What is sin, what is not, has nothing to do with what you believe.

Seek's avatar


It has everything to do with what you believe. According to Christian rule, it’s sin to rip out a person’s heart and throw them down a 1000 foot flight of stairs. According to Mayan rule, that very act keeps the sun from falling from the sky, and is perfectly acceptable.

Seek's avatar


I think you and I are looking at this from separate angles.

My angle is: do whatever you want, as long as you’re not putting uninvolved people at risk. Go ahead, have sex. At 16, I don’t even care who or even what you have sex with, as long as it’s not a child, and provided you’re willing to take the consequences. I, however, don’t think there’s any reason for anyone to sail alone around the world, unless they are completely willing to take the risks they are setting themselves up for, without relying on other more responsible parties to bail them out.

jerv's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr A Christian may not consider that a sin if the person whose heart they ripped out was of a differing faith or no faith at all though, or at least that is the historical precedent.
Kind of sucks for all of the nice Christians who would never do such a thing under any circumstances to be lumped in with those people though.

@Nullo Defining what sin is requires having a concept of sin. Not all of us do, at least in the normal sense.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jerv: Good point about all the nice Christians. Most Christians don’t care who I have sex with or whether I’m married to them.

@Nullo: Sex is not sinful to those of us who do not believe that it is so. Do I believe in sin? Yes, yes I do. Does it mean something different to me than it means to you? Yes it does.

@Hypocrisy_Central: Hm… I don’t necessarily agree that it would be okay for a 16-year-old and a 25-year-old to have sex depends on both parties but I agree that it is absolutely ridiculous that a teenager having sex causes more controversy than sending her alone on a trip around the world.

Coloma's avatar

The true definition of ‘sin’ is to miss the mark.

Like an archer that needs to adjust his aim so as to not miss the bulls eye.

It is a widely used and abused word.

“Sin’ does NOT mean someone is evil…just that they are off target in their actions which will not support happiness or compatability with one’s higher self.

Nullo's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr The Christian faith sets the will of God as the rule. You might not think that a thing is sinful, but if God does, it is. You might not think that God exists, but that determines nothing except for your own behavior.
In short, your atheism will not save you.

@KatawaGrey None but the last two or three Shakers think that sex is inherently evil. It’s the misuse or misapplication of sex that is the sin, just as it is the misuse of the crowbar (i.e. murderizing with it) that is sinful. Part of why God isn’t very accommodating in His views on homosexuality.
As I said above, what you or I think are sins has no bearing on whether a thing is sinful or not. That is not for us to determine, but God.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Nullo: I’m glad your faith is unshakable. Please keep it on your side of the fence though. Your god and I have crossed paths. I respect him and he respects me, but we respect each other from afar. We leave each other to our respective existences and do not pass undue judgment on each other. You should learn from his example.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, judge not lest ye be judged.

Anyone proclaiming to hold the monopoly on ‘truth’ is committing the ‘sin’ of pridefulness.

This is the issue I take with organized religion, an entire group of the population that feels a sense of superiority over others.

Who said that if Jesus were here today he certainly would not be a chistian. lol

Seek's avatar


On the contrary, my atheism is the only thing that has saved me.

Your mythology is no more true or accurate than the thousands that have already fallen by the curb of history. In fact, if you ask the Sumerians who were a thriving civilisation at about the same time as your god “created the earth”, it’s much less true and accurate than some.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr: Don’t you know that the dirty, dirty scientists put those fossils there fool us?~

Seek's avatar

@KatawaGrey I thought it was the Debbil, doing it to turn people against the One True God™

jerv's avatar

@Nullo I think we both agree that Christians vary in their definition of “sin”, often to the point of calling those that share the belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior but differ in the their definition of sin “not true Christians”. It is that sort of squabbling that led me to a more Agnostic view since it is obvious to me that we mere mortals cannot truly understand any instructions given to us “from above”. But I think that you and I have been here before, so lets save a bit of time and typing by trying to find a middle ground here.
Given the number of people that seem to agree with me, I think it safe to say that what you consider sin may not actually be a sin; there is enough doubt about that and what God’s Will really is that even many Christians would disagree with you. You are not wrong, but you are not correct enough to make empirical statements either. And given the subjective nature of faith, I don’t feel that any of us can make empirical statements about what is/is not a sin.

Now, let us get back to the topic :)

In the olden days, and even now in many non-Western cultures, the age that one is considered mature or adult was/is lower than it is in 21st-century America. I’ve heard it said that 26 is the new 21. We treat people as children longer despite the fact that they are maturing faster in many ways. A couple of centuries ago, it was normal to see a girl married and have at least one kid by age 20, but in modern America that is considered foolish.
Until fairly recently, it was legal to get married at 12 in parts of the US yet nowadays people are outraged that the age of consent is “only” 16 in more than half of the US; sometimes that outrage extends to not even admitting that that is true and saying that it is 18 everywhere. This despite the fact that girls are having their periods as early as 8 and usually by 13, or about 5 years earlier than they did a couple of decades ago. Or that we used to think nothing of someone dropping out of school when they were in their early/mid-teens to join the workforce as recently as fifty years ago.

My point is that our views of when a person is considered an adult have changed a lot here even recently. And the fact that we no longer consider someone an adult until they hit their late-20s does not mean that they are not adults in other cultures, or that they cannot make decisions for themselves earlier than we admit. Look at history. Look at the rest of the world (not just the Western world; the whole planet). Step outside of your opinion for a moment and look at reality objectively.

Nullo's avatar

@KatawaGrey Your business with God is your business. I’m just pointing out that what you think, or what you don’t think, has no bearing on what is.

@Coloma That verse is for use among believers, actually. In any case, judgment is passed down from the Judge; it is not I that judge, but God. I’ve never quite understood that bit about the faithful being prideful.
It was likely a disgruntled atheist who said that Jesus wouldn’t be a Christian.

@Seek_Kolinahr Apparently you missed the point of my comment to @KatawaGrey: truth doesn’t depend on faith, mine or yours.

@jerv The various sins are pretty well-outlined in the Bible. I would say that deliberately ignoring chunks of the source material makes for a lesser product, no?
As I’ve said before, here and elsewhere, truth isn’t about consensus, nor opinion, or even belief.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo If things in the Bible are so well outlined then why all of the internal schisms? So, which segment of the Irish population do you think is wrong; the Catholics or the Protestants? Both are Christian.

You are correct that ignoring chunks makes for a lesser product, but you have not convinced me that your interpretation of the Bible is correct either, so we haven’t made any progress.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Nullo: Interesting words from someone who believes there’s a cosmic zombie in the sky.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv I had said sins.
Since you asked, the internal schisms arise from procedural matters, extrabiblical addenda (praying to saints, the sanctity of the church picnic), and when people decide that they don’t like parts of the Scriptures, for whatever reason. I probably missed one, but you get the idea.
Catholicism in general tends to be heavier on the non-Scriptural stuff. Purgatory, praying to saints, confessionals, the office and attributes of the Papacy, and the concept that salvation is won through works are all unsupported by Scripture. There is less wrong with Protestantism, but even that isn’t the ideal.

I don’t believe that I’ve explained my interpretation of the Bible to you. I haven’t organized my thoughts on the matter, so this is going to be incomplete.
I am broadly defined as a literalist, but in fact I maintain that the Bible has pieces that are meant to be allegorical, and that those portions are clearly indicated by the context. Parables come to mind. I believe that all Scripture is divinely inspired, though not necessarily dictated. The Mosaic Law was dictated, but Paul’s letters are more like one of those “in your own words” writing assignments. It helps, but is not strictly necessary, to know about the times, places, language, and culture that help make up the writer’s context.

@KatawaGrey Ooo, condescension!
But I dare say that I’m right.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo And I think that that is where everything falls apart. There are many who maintain that that the entire Bible is literal truth. Do you honestly believe that the first woman actually came from the rib of the first man, or do you believe that to be allegory instead? Either way, there are millions who disagree with you.

And that right there is pretty much the heart of the problem; you truly are not in a better position to interpret the Bible than those who read the same scripture and come up with a different interpretation! And all of them believe themselves to be correct.

So tell me, how do I know that what you call “sin” really is? Regardless of whether you actually are correct or not, my point still stands that there is a lot of subjectivity in what is perceived as sin, and perception was enough to kill a few million people throughout history.

According to many (especially Satanists, but also many Atheists and Agnostics), stupidity is a sin, and their beliefs are just as strong and valid as yours. So, do you agree that stupidity is a sin, or will you concede my point about objectivity? The only third choice is to declare any belief system other than your own to be invalid, and I don’t think that that sort of ego is appropriate for us mere mortals ;)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@KatawaGrey ”Hm… I don’t necessarily agree that it would be okay for a 16-year-old and a 25-year-old to have sex depends on both parties but I agree that it is absolutely ridiculous that a teenager having sex causes more controversy than sending her alone on a trip around the world.” That is the lynch pin right there as all the debate on sin, God vs. no God etc don’t show If one concludes the ideal of sin then any sex outside marriage would be sin, even if a 16yr old had sex with an 18yr old, 27yr old, or 61yr old the sin is the same in the eyes of God. Believe that there is some magical number to OK sex or creepy sex is not scientific it comes more to one’s ethics which comes from some other place than science. That is why so many will get bent behind the sex and not see the apparent danger of solo sailing around the globe. So, yes it would be ridiculous to think some teen boinking some 27yr old dude is more risky and dangerous than a teen traveling the world alone in a sloop. With all the things that can go wrong naturally there is no comparison.

Now to tackle the logic of this running debate of sin, what is not sin or who or if there is a God that so many seem to be having. To those who believe there is sin. Sex IS NOT sinful it was created by God that is why it is so great, but sex outside of marriage is. Satan hijacked sex to use against man, to make him sin and fall short as @Coloma alluded to. There is gravity you can’t see it, you can’t shut it off, you can’t move it from place to place and of thousands of scientist published in a prestigious scientific journal that there was no gravity trees, animals, cars, buildings and human will not go flying off into space. Gravity will be and do what it always had if you believe it exist or not. What @Nullo was trying to say was sin is as that. To believers sin is sin even if you do not believe in it. The existance of sin has nothing to do with if man believes or not, it will be here because God has allowed it to be here. For those who don’t believe you won’t. You cannot or will not receive any data or information on sin that will make you believe it or in it anymore than a person who does not believe in reincarnation or astrology could find any truth in that.

What is going to happen is people who believe will follow the Bible the worse that can happen is that the Book will give them a blue print for a peaceful less chaotic life and if they die and go off to the great white zephron instead of heaven they at least had a good life. Those who don’t believe will live their life as they are and when they die if they discover they have an appointment with God for a very interesting conversation as to why they did not believe and follow Him. What happens after that conversation might not be so pleasant. I myself would err on following the Book and avoiding that conversation. Believe what you want how you want to believe it just hope or pray you chose the right one.

jerv's avatar

Gee, I wonder how people would feel about a 5 year old mountain climber.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jerv: The difference is that she goes with her family and also she is very intelligent which may denote a certain maturity beyond her years. I can’t add and subtract four digit numbers without a calculator. ;)

jerv's avatar

@KatawaGrey True, but there are many people who seem to be outraged by five year olds doing anything beyond finger-painting so I figured I’d throw this out there. I mean everybody knows that it’s impossible to show even the slightest sign of maturity before age 18 ;)

Nullo's avatar

@jerv People are going to throw the same fit when that kid decides, at 15, to solo a mountain. Unless we have a High Adventure Czar by then who will ban all fun outdoorsy things for everyone. :D
Reminded me of this.

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