Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Age of Consent in Spain

After my recent post about the age limit for seeing a doctor in Spain unaccompanied by your Mum (16 see here), I got one or two queries about age limits. I did a bit of research and collected them together in an article on the Advoco website called "They Grow Up So Fast. Age Limits in Spain".

I didn't know half of them before I began researching the piece and was more than a little surprised by the news that the age of consent was 13, gay or straight. That seems a bit young to me. Most countries around the world go for Britain's 16 or even higher:

In these liberal days I suppose I should applaud the intent: to let young people decide for themselves when they are ready and leave the law out of it.

There are two arguments for having a higher age of consent though, both of which have some merit:

(1) kids are not emotionally mature enough at 13 to know what they want or to handle the responsibility and complications that come with young love. By letting them loose too young you risk more lives ruined with teenage pregnancies not too mention more STDs.

(2) young teenagers have no protection from sexual predators outside of their age group, either the classic "dirty old men" or fellow teenagers a few years up the food chain. I wonder ifall the liberal intent of parents who favour the lower limit would go out of the window if they saw a 50 year old stranger buying their 13 year old son or daughter a drink and chatting them up.

Being branded a molester is a strong deterrent for men (and women I suppose) making inappropriate advances to young teenagers and pressuring them. It is interesting to note that Jonathan King, the pop impresario jailed for sleeping with 14 and 15 year old boys in the UK, would have had the full blessing of the law in Spain.

Over on the Rock of Gibraltar there is a debate going on in a different direction: the Gib Women's Association want to raise the age of consent from 16 to 18.


  1. i read somewhere that stds and teen pregnancy is actually lower in spain. go figure.

  2. I was 11 when I lost my virginity, it was to my 27 year old aunt. I cannot speak for every one and I think maybe I might have just been precocious. But I was absolutely certain of what I wanted. I got precisely what I wanted. I enjoyed every bit of it. I was never emotionally scarred. Of course I also knew Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Jesus were all myths by around the age of 4. It did help that I read a sex education book at 7 and had a fairly thorough (if only academic) understanding of reproduction. The only disadvantage I had emotionally was I became somewhat abnormally attached to my aunt for a couple of years but then I hooked up with a neighbor who was only 22 and taught me the whole idea of there being more fish in the sea etc. All this said, I am fairly content that there is an age of consent law and that it is somewhat higher than I was. Not because I thought what happened to me was bad but because I don't think it is normally that good for most that age. I am thinking maybe 14 is better for most. At 13 I had some experience and kept it to myself while my classmates were bragging about whose body part they groped (which I am certain was a complete fabrication). Perhaps they could devise a test. If someone under say 14 wanted to engage in sex they have to take a psychological test first and if they pass then they get to play.

    1. I think that is a very good idea. What kind of psychological test do you think would be accurate?

  3. I was sexually aware from a very early age and after much experimentation finally had full intercourse at 13 with my girlfriend who was 12. We had a wonderful relationship for several years. I met her again recently after 40 years and we hugged, laughed, and chatted about old times.

    We, and the rest of our bunch of friends who shared our teenage years, have all grown up happy, balanced and successful with none of the 'harm' the doom-mongers and puritans seem to believe will result from enjoying sex too early!

    Nature will tell most of us when the time is right and as long as no-one is forced or coerced into more than they want, I can see no harm resulting. Sex is a wonderful thing, to be celebrated, not suppressed and shamefully hidden away!

    I'm now in my mid 60's, still enjoying a very full and varied sex life. Happy, succesful, undamaged.

    1. it is true that sex should be taken seriously but it is told to kids nowadays that it is a dirty lusting thing although it is a way of life


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