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    Is it not possible to simultaneously hold the following opinions:

    1. Children aged under 16 aren't deemed competent to consent to sex because, well, they're children. It follows that sex with anyone under 16 is illegal.

    2. It makes no sense to label a teenager as a sex offender because he has sex with his boy/girlfriend who happens to be under 16. It's still illegal, but it's absurd to rank him alongside rapists, flashers and child molestors.

    3. Paedophilia is specifically the sexual attraction of an adult towards a pre-pubescent or pubescent child. Anyone who has such impulses and is unable to control them should be considered highly dangerous, and locked up for life.

    4. An adult man who is sexually attracted to a well-developed 14 or 15 year old girl, say, is not a paedophile. It would still be illegal for him to have sex with her, and she should certainly be protected by law from being taken advantage of. It does nobody any favours to conflate this situation with a real case of paedophilia, though.

    There are lots of things which are wrong. Not all of them are paedophilia.


    Sam, it seems that you too subscribe to the idea that sexually pursuing physically well developed underage girls is not paedophilia. There are quite a few girls of ten to twelve who are past puberty and well physically developed. As far as I'm concerned, any man in his twenties, thirties or forties who seeks sexual contact with a girl (or boy) of that age is a paedophile, however physically well developed the victim is. Is a man in his fifties who sexually pursues a fourteen year old girl or boy a paedophile? I think he is.

    Ed Snack

    Judy, Sam is correct, unless of course you wish to redefine paedophilia. It is not, IMHO, paedophilia to pursue "physically well developed" girls however illegal and improper or whatever it may be.

    You are arguing purely over nomenclature, neither Sam (I assume) or I argues that it is normal or acceptable to do as you claim, only that it is not, strictly speaking, paedophiliac on the original intended meaning of the word.

    Do you then think there should be no distinction between someone who seeks sexual contact with pre-pubescents and someone who desires such contact with sexually mature but young people ? Kind of trivialises both offences doesn't it ?


    Ed, I think there's a major issue as to what is meant by sexual maturity. In my view, that's not the same as the menarche in girls. I think there's no difference in the category assignable to a man trying to have sexual contact with a highly developed ten year old and a man trying to have sexual contact with a pre-pubescent thirteen year old. They're both paedophiles in my view. The issue may become more obvious when seen in terms of boys of these ages having sexual contacts with either men or women. And whatever one calls these offences, they're never trivial, especially in terms of the lasting psychological and emotional damage done to the victims.

    James of England

    Judy, you can say that they're serious offenses without calling them paedophilia.

    Statutory rape is a crime. That's all about consent. Doesn't matter if the girl's got a body like Pam Anderson, or Dame Judy Dench for that matter.

    Paedophilia is a sexual dysfunction. For the overwhelming majority of definitions it is about prepubescent children. They're different things.

    Adloyada does the very thing she's protesting against, weakening the emphasis on consent, by confusing the two.

    Hip Gnosis

    Whether or not sex with a person who is physically mature but under the age of legal consent is paedophilia depends ultimately on how one chooses to define "paedophilia".

    We can achieve some clarity, though, by observing that:

    1) Sex with a person who is NOT yet physically mature can reasonably be considered dysfunctional, i.e., pathological. It is of course also criminal because it's illegal (unless the not-yet-physically-mature person is above the legal age of consent, in which bizarre situation the act remains pathological but not strictly illegal) and highly unethical.

    2) Sex with a person who IS physically mature, but under the legal age of consent, is illegal and criminal, and, for different reasons, unethical. It is not pathological. It is:
    a. illegal and criminal because the law says so.
    b. unethical because it is abusive of a person whose physical maturity is not matched by his or her mental and emotional maturity (which is why the law has been put there).
    c. non-pathological because it is a normal biological drive.

    Whether paedophilia would best be defined so as to encompass only pathological sexual behaviour towards minors, or ALL unethical or illegal sexual behaviour towards minors, is a question I don't have the time to even begin to think about. Were someone to put a gun to my head and require me to choose within five minutes, I think I would say that it's best to define paedophilia to encompass ALL unethical and illegal sexual behaviour towards minors, as that would strike me at first glance as offering perhaps that much more protection to vulnerable teens who ought indeed to be protected as much as possible. Thus I would probably disagree with this Chief Constable Grange.

    Richard Head

    I can't go along totally with Chief Constable Grange, but do appreciate his attempt to modernise this area of current UK legislation. The following are situations where the law looks more of an ass than usual:
    - Consider two 15-year-olds in a "Romeo and Juliette" sexually active relationship where one is a few months older than the other. The law winks at this until one of them reaches 16. Then, assuming it's the boy, he is liable to arrest for paedophilia and placed on the Sex Offenders' Register. Seems age difference is the major issue rather than carnal knowledge of a minor.
    - With the age of consent at 16 and pornographic modelling 18 (both model and anticipated audience), there is the situation where sex with a 16-year-old would not be a problem, while filming it would be an offence under child pornography legislation. Consider the number of men, often middle-class and outwardly respectable whose lives have been ruined by this type of witch-hunt in paedophile crazy UK. Really sickening to see certain smug sites listing and labelling these men as paedophiles when they never so much as laid a finger on a child in the wrong way. Far from condoning this “self-dating” life style, I do feel obliged to point out the way the law is used to put Internet users on the back foot. Essentially, you can be arrested and charged with viewing Internet pornography, simply on unsubstantiated police accusation. There are a lot of ifs and buts here, but who’s to say the police don’t doctor the evidence. “The police wouldn’t lie: Give me a break.” Please refer to class action litigation being taken by those prosecuted under Operation Ore.
    - The age of consent varies considerably according to country, so the British man that has sex with a 15-year-old in a country where this is legal, is liable to prosecution when he returns to UK. Agree, a adult man having sex with a 15-year-old is reprehensible, but does it break the law?
    Making a man responsible for accurately judging the age of a young woman is so ridiculous. I defy anyone to accurately guess how old Ms. Keira Knightley was when she starred in "Pirates of the Caribbean". Well, she celebrated her 18th birthday the day after filming finished. No wonder the director wanted her mother on set. Presumably if he'd said, "Can you get your top off, love", the entire crew and cast would have been involved in the making of child pornography.
    I can take an opposing view only because I am essentially beyond UK jurisdiction. Would take a brave person resident in UK to publicly hold such opinions. However, ever setting foot in UK again would, as far as I’m concerned, be a risk too far.


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