Banjofrog wrote:And if not why not?
Most people agree that actions which harm others are wrong, but many actions are illegal which do not harm anyone and are known as victimless crimes. How can society justify criminalizing having sex with kids if it doesn't hurt anyone?
Many assume that a child will be 'traumatized' by having sex with an adult, however this is not true. Firstly ages of consent vary across the world (from 13 in Spain to 18 in California) - proof that there is no consensus on what the minimally acceptable age at which a person can engage in sex is. Secondly much of the 'trauma' (guilt, shame, victimization) felt by 'victims' is in fact caused by society, such as in the case of Africa's 'Witch Children', many of whom genuinely believe they are 'witches' - not because they are but because they have been told they are.
Suppose a child has consensual safe-sex with an adult in a society where this is permitted (and therefore not immoral/taboo etc). In what way would the child be harmed?
The short answer to this is that not even adults handle sex very well, so why on earth would you think children would?
No it is not ok to have sex with kids, and here is why.
Sexual ethics are really easy. Anything is completely fine and above board provided it is made with informed consent and does not kill or permanently damage an individual such that they may regret it later. This allows for an impressive array of sexual festishes which are acceptible. The only things I can name off the top of my head that are not acceptible are the following: Rape (Sex without that person's consent), Pedophilia (Sex with a child, who by definition lacks informed consent)
, Necrophilia (Any kind of sexual act involving deceased persons or the killing of a person), Beastiality (Sex with another species, who by definition lack informed consent---and also this isn't exactly good for your own sexual health either), Cannibalism (Though not necessarily involving the death of someone does otherwise permanently damage someone) and finally some of the more extreme forms of BDSM which involve permanently damaging people i.e. bone breaking, mutilation, immolation etc.
Even if a child lets you have sex with them, or even instigates it (yes this can happen), it is still wrong to have sex with them. To have sex with someone you need their informed consent. A child is not informed. They are not informed because knowledge of the biological processes and consequences of sex is not all that sex is, sex also has deep emotional significance, something which puperty takes years of hormonal development prepairing young people to handle, and even then it invariably goes horribly wrong. For example, how many people are actually happy with the manner in which they lost their virginity? How marriages and relationships are ruined because of sexual infidelity? How many teenagers, and even adults, spend hours every day worrying about whether or not they have failed at life just because their friends claim to have had more sex than them? How many accidental pregnancies and STDs are there because people were too caught up in the moment to think about the basics of contraception? You can't look at all this and seriously say that sex isn't a big deal, it clearly is, and given how well adults deal with it, do you really honestly think a child could handle that? Or more importantly would understand what they are getting themselves into?
Suffice to say they wouldn't have the faintest idea. Children arn't stupid, nobody is saying that they are, but they are not knowledgeable of these things (physically they arn't, they lack the hormonal development to think about sex the same way teenagers and adults do), and it is knowledge that is neccesary for informed consent, not intelligence.
-- Updated Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:56 pm to add the following --
In response to your last question about safe-sex with an adult in a society where this is permitted, you've only to look at history to answer that question. In the middle ages for example, girls were married to husbands in their early teens or even younger. In ancient sparta, apprentices were taught the arts, combat skills, and sexual skills, all while they were young boys. None of this means it was a good idea. What was once normal has no bearing on what is right or wrong. These were not nice times to be around relative to modern civilisation. We modern people complain about our lives constantly, but when was the last time we had where half our body weight in chainmail in order to walk out the front door just because some nutter with a broadsword might want to come at us? None of these sexualised children of history has any idea what they were getting themselves into, in fact most of them never had any choice whatsoever.