Having recently read an interesting and provocative blog about the legalities of appropriate age and sexual responsibility, I was disappointed that the lengthy stream of comment that followed it immediately seized upon the recent celebrity headlines, condemnations and vilification of the older person in each case. How easy it is to judge bathed in the bright light of social morality.
Despite fully understanding that there have to be clear lines of demarcation to maintain order and discipline in what we prudishly describe as a moral society, such pronouncements have absolutely no control or bearing on this earth’s natural cycle of life and living. We human-beings are still just warm blooded beings with a range of basic imperatives however much the majority like to try and differentiate themselves from the rest of the animals on this insignificant little blue marble in the vastness of space.
Not advocating the dismissal of law and order, far from it, I would however question the often unfair branding of people for things that are not always so clear cut as society finds it easier to make them.
The matter of age is the main point in this concern. Puberty has no regard for the law, it’s state of confusion may well need guidance but the basic hormone driven imperative of sexual activity cannot be controlled by statute. Society might like to get squeamish at the thought and think that we didn’t go through it but we all did; the threat of hairy hands from masturbating didn’t deter me or any of my peers I know that much. So to the crux of the matter.
We may legislate that consenting 15 year olds are ‘raping’ each other but even one day later on from their birthdays they are not, surely the same could be said of 14 or 13 year olds; where should the line be drawn? Responsibility I hear you cry, or perhaps the lack of it. Education, the abdication of parental responsibility, I might expound on these another time; for now, a personal memory.
Aged 13 I was spotty, only just a teenager but as rampant and insatiable as the next boy in my class. The difference for me was a total lack of confidence, in myself or my understanding of the changes that were happening. I had wonderful parents but sadly suffering with not feeling the need for discussing the things of growing up. Farm life was considered the ultimate in self education as we could watch but not discuss the mating of pigs and see where those babies came from, eggs and chickens were easy whereas the sticky patches on my bedsheets most mornings were a no-go area; I had to take it upon myself to find out these things.
Knowing that you didn’t just play with yourself and attracted to boys, even at that age although out of every social circle for many reasons, it became very difficult to make any progress. I have to make clear that despite much effort, I didn’t get the results that I thought I wanted at this stage in my life; but it didn’t stop me trying.
My class mates were the obvious choice, games lessons were never for the sport, lots of showing off in the showers but definitely not an opportunity for hands on experience. The gym teachers were the next target, physical perfection, compared to my overweight inadequate form that is and of course the chance for some degree of sight of more mature manhood, if not any contact. After constantly making boyish attempts to let them see me, showers and locker rooms etc., it came down to me to engineer seeing them, bursting into the staff changing rooms regularly and even on a more relaxed school camping trip, none of it worked. Obviously.
There was an uncle, yes a real one, passed now so there is no real embarrassment, but we shared many interests, music, walking and other day to day things. As it is often said ‘it takes one to know one’ I always thought that he would be a good candidate to share certain physicality. To reiterate, this was still mostly in my head and he was definitely more ‘moral’ than me so it was a lost cause. Even when sharing a room in a hotel on a walking holiday and me lingering about aroused and naked, nothing happened; my sad lack of initiative was probably his saving.
The question is, was I wrong to want something to happen, peers, teachers, uncle, anyone and if it had, who would have been wrong? Legally, any of the older people could have been prosecuted for abuse or statutory rape. My peers, even at 14 or 15 the would have possibly been same although I’m sure that there would have been less fuss; a good talking to and in my house, extra jelly and ice cream for the trouble.
The other question would be, is it right to assume that the adult has to be in the wrong and always take the wrap? On the grounds of individuality, it can’t always be the case. Try pleading entrapment and it won’t get you far you can be sure of that. My point is that it’s not always as easy to judge these things as society makes it out to be; black and white might be more convenient but it rarely happens. Where it does I’m all for the full weight of what we have for a legal system but it’s not always that simple, is it?