I was having breakfast the other day with a friend who was giving dating advice to his son.
For purposes of his anonymity, I am going to call just call him "Son." My friend said, "Son, you're 18 years old, so I am going to tell you how you date.
But if these teens are having sex, and you live in a state where prosecutors aggressively enforce the law, it’s possible that your son could be charged with statutory rape.
Take, for example, the widely publicized case of Marcus Dwayne Dixon, an 18-year-old high school honor student and star football player who had sex with a 15-year-old female classmate.
"I think it's about the maturity," she relays, recommending that parents meet the person their son or daughter is dating to decide if both of them have enough maturity to handle the relationship.
"If you meet him and decide he is wonderful, she should be allowed to date him," she says.
It's because of this urban legend that has gone around forever.
Based upon this rule, the only time that a man can date a woman his own age is when he's 14 years old (because half of 14 is seven, and seven plus seven is 14).
However, this age of consent varies widely from state to state.
Statutory rape is a strict liability crime, meaning that the consent of the younger person or mistake about their age is not a defense.
All sexual activity without consent is a criminal offence, regardless of age.
These are serious offences that carry serious penalties, including mandatory minimum penalties. In some cases, the age of consent is higher (for example, when there is a relationship of trust, authority or dependency).
And that means I can date a woman who is 16." From where did this ridiculous rule come?