Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I am a man, and I was circumcised at birth.  It was done for "hygiene" reasons as a default by the hospital.  This was approved of my my parents.  I have experienced no observable dysfunction, and am quite happy with the state of my genitals. 

None of that makes what happened to me right. 

I'm a big fan of the concept of informed consent.  The idea that you don't do anything to another person's body without their informed consent is one of the most rock solid ideas in the whole of medical and sexual ethics. 

But what to do when a decision has to be made and the person can't give informed consent?  Maybe they're in a coma, maybe they're mentally unsound.  That's when you have someone designated to make the decision on the behalf of the patient.  For children, that decision often ends up in the hands of the parents in these circumstances. 

Most of the time, however, the default when the person can't provide informed consent is that you do nothing and wait until they are able.  The only time it's ethically justified to act without informed consent is when there is urgency and there is no expectation that the person will become able to provide informed consent until it's too late. 

Circumcision has no urgency to it.  It can be performed on an adult who can provide informed consent.  It can be performed on a child who has demonstrated the full understanding of what he is consenting to.  To perform this procedure on an unconsenting infant is thus completely unacceptable, for exactly the same reason it would be completely unacceptable for a parent to consent to have their infant molested. 

I don't hate my parents for being misled into thinking this procedure was in my best interests, and I don't hate my body because of the nonconsensual cosmetic surgery that was performed on me as an infant.That doesn't make what happened right, and the fact that it happened to me with so few consequences is no justification for subjecting other children to it. 

There's a genuine human impulse to say "I had it rough, so I'm not going to let you have it any easier."  This impulse impedes progress and only perpetuates a cycle of injustice.  Fortunately there is another genuine human impulse to see to it that our children have it better than we did. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nice Guys, Bad Boys, and Rape Culture

Human beings are social creatures.  We build our identities based on our relationships with the people around us.  To the extent that our biology dictates anything, it dictates that we will care about what other people think. 

Shunning and shaming have been used to enforce social and legal standards throughout human history and across cultural lines.  Solitary confinement of prisoners has been rightly called torture, and permanent brain damage has been documented as a result of it.  

It will come as news to no one that men and women get different social messages when it comes to sex.  Men are told to have it, or else.  Women are told not to have it, or else. 

That "or else" is not a trivial thing.  No one will beat you, imprison you, murder you, or otherwise do physical violence to you if you don't conform to these ideals (usually), but that doesn't translate into the ability to break from your assigned role without consequences.  And as I noted, the consequences of social ostracism are very real for social creatures like human beings. 

The more observant of you will have noted that the gendered expectations above are contradictory.  Men are supposed to have sex with women, but women aren't supposed to have sex with men.  It's impossible for both these outcomes to be happening simultaneously.  No matter which way it comes down, someone will end up hurt and shunned. 

In that context, I think I have an explanation for that old chestnut, "nice guys finish last" as it applies to dating. 

Women want to have sex, but are told repeatedly that doing so will have negative social consequences.  The term slut shaming has been used in feminist circles to describe this very real and not at all unreasonable concern women have.  By consenting to sex, a woman opens herself up to shaming and ostracism. 

Pickup artists figured this out a long time ago, and they've picked up on how women manage to have sex while attempting to shield themselves from the worst consequences of slut shaming.  They never unambiguously consent to sex.  Pickup artists council giving a woman plausible deniability, so that she'll be able to say "it just happened" when all is said and done, so she won't have to deal with the social consequences, many of them internalized, that come when she chooses to consent to sex.  

Now, that's a problem for nice guys.  Nice guys care about sexual consent.  They care whether the other person is uncomfortable, and will always seek explicit, unambiguous consent at every stage of a relationship.  And as a result, they're unintentionally denying women the ability to pretend that "it just happened." 

Bad boys, of course, provide all the plausible deniability a woman could ask for.  They demonstrate at every stage of the relationship that they do not respect other people's boundaries, so a woman with one never has to consent to anything. 

It's a tidy arrangement, but for one simple fact.  Sex without consent is rape, and women employing this strategy are never having explicitly consensual sex, by design.  I can think of no clearer an example of rape culture than the fact that our standard relationship model involves women putting up boundaries explicitly so that men will push through them. 

Meanwhile, nice guys are being told they're defective. 

Remember those messages men get that tell them just as strongly and just as often that they are supposed to be having sex?  So they start asking questions about why they are failing to get sex, often aggressively, because they are being shunned and shamed.  Men aren't inherently sexually aggressive beasts any more than women are asexual ice queens.  We're both trying to conform to social expectations because there are very real consequences to us when we don't. 

So what answers do nice guys get?  They get told about confidence, that jerks are confident, so they're more attractive than a nice guy who's feeling like a failure.  But that's wrong.  It isn't a lie.  It's just wrong. 

You look at a nice guy and try to see what's wrong with him, and you don't see any flaws.  He's decent, caring, sensitive, and has his shit together.  But you have to tell him something because what he's doing obviously isn't working, and you are a decent person and don't want to see him continue to be hurt by his romantic failures. 

You look at what possible positive traits he could be lacking, and the only thing you can find is that maybe he's lacking in confidence.  So you tell him to work on himself, try to be happy alone so that confidence can build up and then he'll naturally be attractive because that was the only thing you could perceive that might be even slightly wrong with him.

But that perception that nice guys lack confidence is rooted in two errors.  First is that lack of confidence is an effect, not a cause.  He lacks confidence because he's being subjected to shaming and ostracism for failing to conform to his gender role.  He's experiencing exactly the same social pressure that you try to avoid when you worry over being called a slut.  That's what is eating away at his self esteem, and the only way out of that trap is to either conform to his gender role and succeed at having sex, or to recognize the gender role for what it is and reject it outright. 

The second error is mistaking a willingness to push through boundaries as "confidence".  Being unwilling to push past boundaries and make someone else uncomfortable isn't lack of confidence.  That's respecting the other person as a human being, and accepting the words and signals telling you that your advances aren't wanted. 

So, with all that mess, what is a nice guy to do? 

First off, you're a decent human being.  Don't change that fact.  Yes, pushing past women's boundaries in order to let them avoid slut shaming is what they want, but letting them play that game only makes it harder for them to come to own their sexual choices and desires. 

Second, you're a decent human being.  Decent human beings don't slut shame.  When a woman agrees to have sex and owns that decision, never make her feel like she did something wrong.  When someone else makes a woman feel like she did something wrong by agreeing to sex, that person is part of the problem, and needs to be called out not just because he's being an asshole and hurting that woman, but also because he's perpetuating the system that makes women think they need to be able to say "it just happened". 

Third, and this is going to be the hardest part for decent human beings.  Don't let a woman say "it just happened."  When a woman uses those words, I recommend (and have used) the following script:

W: It just happened.
M: Were you raped?
W: No...
M: Then it didn't "just happen."  You made a choice, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I realize that this is hard to say, but the truth is, you're doing a woman no favors by letting her hold on to her deniability with you.  Because whenever you're told "it just happened," it's because she's afraid that if she told you she chose to have sex, you would slut shame her.  This script tells her that you are not going to slut shame her, and that she doesn't need to pretend. 

This won't get you sex. 

That isn't what the goal is.  You're a decent human being.  You will feel like shit if you start pushing past boundaries and having sex without explicit consent.  If you were willing to do that, you wouldn't be a nice guy having this problem in the first place. 

This is about confronting the underlying problem that leads to all those boundaries being put up in the first place.  The goal is to get to the point where women have the confidence to say they want sex when they do. 

You want to have sex with women who want to have sex with you and aren't afraid to say so.  Pushing past boundaries, no matter why they were put up won't get you that.  Breaking down the cultural expectations that are telling women they're wrong to want sex with you might. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Attraction to Virgins

I see people who are interested in having a virgin sex partner being mistreated a lot.  There are a few different camps of these people. 

The first, of course, are those who automatically assume anyone who expresses such a preference is a religious fanatic who will attack the speaker for not conforming to the tenets of their religion.  They mistreat those who express a preference for virgin partners as a kind of preemptive attack.  Doing unto others before they get the chance to do unto you. 

For those who don't automatically assume a religious motivation (or who have already had such a motivation explicitly denied), there are those who still treat it as an attack.  They've received so many messages judging them for sexually open behavior, they're certain anyone who expresses such a preference intends to look down on them or attack them for holding a different view. 

Next we have the group who treats such an interest as a sign of immaturity.   Much like the previous group, they've seen the social messages, but they treat it as a point of pride that they've rejected them.  These people view anyone who would express a preference in line with what the mainstream message tells them is "correct" as someone who's too stupid or immature to make their own choices. 

After them, we have those who assume anyone interested in a virgin is abusive.  They assume that the attraction is all about finding someone vulnerable who will put up with physical and emotional abuse or just plain bad sex without complaint because they don't know any better.  

Then we have the people who just plain don't get the appeal, and so attack others because it's human nature to hate what we don't understand.  "Why would you want to be virgins on your wedding night?  The sex will be lousy because neither of you know what you're doing yet." 

For the sake of those genuinely interested in understanding the point of view instead of looking for an excuse to attack, I'm going to try to explain the appeal. 

People care about firsts.  A baby's first word is important to those who care about that child, even though that's the least articulate that child will ever be, even if all the words that come after will be clearer and convey more meaning.  That fist word means something.  It's a dividing point where what comes after will be different from everything that has come before.  Likewise the first steps are things parents want to catch on film, memories they cherish, even if they're the clumsiest steps that child will ever take. 

The first day of school is painful for a lot of parents because that's the first first that the parent can't be there for, can't share with the child.  

By the time we're in the process of selecting lovers, partners, spouses, most of those firsts have already passed for both of you.  Saving one first to share with a lover is giving them a chance to be there for an important moment, where what comes after won't be the same as what came before. 

For those interested in a life partner, someone who you will care about above all others, and who will care about you in the same way, being able to share a first is a means of being a part of their history from that point forward.  You may not be able to be there for their other firsts, but wanting to be a part of as many as possible is something a lot of us value, no matter what religion or lack thereof. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Oppression Olympics

The perfect is the enemy of the good. 

We all see different injustices in the world.  And we all have the right and responsibility to speak out against those injustices that we see, and that are important to us.  I care a great deal about the social and political disenfranchisement of minor children in the western world. 

There are other problems in the world.  Wars, genocides, slavery, rape, starvation, epidemic diseases, as well as workplace sexual harassment, artistic censorship, and outdated traffic laws being enforced as a revenue instrument. 

We are allowed to talk about what matters to us as individuals, even if what matters to us isn't "the worst problem in the world" by whatever standard you'd care to measure it.  We're allowed to push for change on a "less important" issue even if we've never done anything to attend to a "more important" issue.  And we should all feel absolutely zero shame in doing so. 

Time spent figuring out what "the worst problem in the world" is, is time not spent fixing any problem.  Fixing even the most trivial problem in the world is more important than wastefully arguing about who's problem is worse.  Worse, by trying to draw people who are trying to fix a "minor problem" into that wasteful argument and force them to justify the time and resources they're spending on an issue, you're impeding someone who's trying to fix a problem, and making that problem harder to fix. 

People can bring different levels of commitment and effort to different causes depending on how they feel about those causes and how those causes have impacted their lives.  I can tirelessly advocate for youth rights even in the face of entrenched opposition, but my resolve gets drained quickly speaking out against a particular war. 

That isn't to say we shouldn't try to convince one another that our causes matter, or that we shouldn't oppose those advocating causes we believe are harmful or evil.  I just think it's high time we acknowledge that when we're trying to make the world a better place, following our passions and advocating for causes that matter to us personally gets more done than telling each other how unimportant the other person's cause is.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Lies of Dr. Abel

"An estimated 88% of child molesters and 95% of molestations (one person, multiple acts) are committed by individuals who now or in the future will also meet criteria for pedophilia. Pedophilic child molesters on average commit 10 times more sexual acts against children than nonpedophilic child molesters."

The above statistics appear quite damning at first glance.  Still, like many things in life, the first glance can be misleading.  I decided to track down the source of these alarming statistics.  At length, I found that they could all be traced back to a single study published in 2001 by one Gene G. Abel and one Nora Harlow.

Among its findings, as could be expected from the above statistics is, "Pedophilia is the most significant cause of child molestation." 

This is in stark contrast to such statements as those of of FBI sex offender expert Kennith Lanning, which state that the exact inverse is true.  Until I actually located Abel's study, I had no means of reconciling this apparent contradiction, but with it, locating the source of the discrepancy was easy. 

The word "pedophile" when used as a psychiatric term, refers to an adult who is primarily sexually attracted to children.  Dr. Abel, however, chose to redefine the term for the purposes of his study.  Rather than refer to people who's primary sexual attraction is directed toward children, Dr. Abel took the term to refer to people who had engaged in sexual behaviors with children. 

Because this obviously would have constituted 100% of his child molester population (by definition), Dr. Abel took the following corrective action, "To separate admitted child molesters who fit the pedophilic diagnostic criterion that behavior must have continued 'for more than six months,' we used length of time of the continuing behavior." 

So in effect, what the 88% number Dr. Abel presented actually means (once one learns his unique definition for the word "pedophile") is that 88% of child molesters molest children over a period greater than six months.  The 95% figure indicates that 95% of child molestations are committed by individuals who are molesting children over a period of greater than six months.  The 10 times figure, thus tells us that child molesters who molest children over a time period greater than six months commit, on average, 10 times the number of sex acts as child molesters who's activities last a period shorter than six months. 

In short, Dr. Abel's statistics have absolutely nothing to do with pedophilia.  Rather Dr. Abel has demonstrated through his study that child molesters who molest for greater than six months tend to perform more molestations than child molesters who molest for less than six months, and that child molesters, in the vast majority do molest children for a period longer than six months. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Simple Breakdown

Not only are pedophiles unlikely to rape children (in the same way heterosexual males are unlikely to rape women), but statistical evidence has shown that nonpedophiles are more than twice as likely to molest children than pedophiles are. 

Don't believe me?  I don't blame you.  Here are the statistics. 

FBI sex offender expert Kenneth Lanning stated in a 2001 interview that "About 90 percent [of child molesters] are so-called "situational child molesters" who capitalize on opportunities to molest children but don't necessarily prefer sex with children ... The 10 percent of child molesters who make up the second category are the bona fide "pedophiles," those who genuinely favor sex with children."

Here's the link to the interview:

Lanning's figure is supported by various sources.  Here is another source citing similar figures:

Studies of adult arousability has shown that pedophiles make up as much as 20-33% of the adult male population.  20% is the lowest number I've seen, but I haven't seen the actual study purporting this number.  I have seen, and can link to the study purporting the 33% figure.

For those uninterested in reading the whole article, it was done using a number of volunteers, and measuring their arousal using a device attached to the penis as they were shown different materials.  While 85% showed some arousal to pedophilic stimuli, in 33% of their test subjects, the arousal equaled or exceeded the arousal to adult stimuli. 

Taking the conservative numbers together, the math works out as follows:

Pedophile molesters 10% < 90% Nonpedophile molesters

Pedophiles 20% < 80% Nonpedophiles

10/20 is then the proportion of pedophile molesters to pedophiles relative to the figure 90/80 that represents nonpedophile molesters to nonpedophiles

10/20 = .5 < 1.125 = 90/80

The proportion thus is 1 to 2.25, making a given nonpedophile more than twice as likely to molest a child as a given pedophile.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Virgin Shaming

For those of you who missed the introduction, I'm a pedophile.  I try to be clear about that fact in my online dealings.  I want that fact to be doubly clear in this post, because that context should help make clear the absurdity of what I'm about to discuss.

Women and girls get judged for having sex.  The word slut being used as a tool of social pressure is something we're all aware of, but it goes deeper than that.  In a thousand different ways, women and girls are told that they become something lesser based on the number of sex partners they've had.  This is the classical model of slut shaming and anyone who claims not to have heard of it is lying.

Men and boys get the opposite message.  While females are shamed for having sex, males are shamed for not having sex.  Every time an implication is made about a male's meager sex life as a way of insulting him, that's reinforcing in him, and in all the males in earshot, the idea that a male only has value proportional to how much sex he's able to have. 

I get shamed for not having sex.  Read the first sentence of this post again then think about what it means when people who know that I'm a pedophile still use shaming language to insult me for not having sex.  That's how extreme this trend is.

And it's not just in the expected "you're only going after little girls because you can't find a woman who'll touch you" idiocy.  People have literally called me less of a man for choosing celibacy instead of molesting a child.

More frequently, however, are those who have been informed of my orientation, then forget in the heat of the moment and just reach for their go-to insult.  Those types will tend to act appropriately ashamed of themselves when the implications are pointed out to them, but it's telling that this type of insult is such a default that people can make that mistake in the first place.

People who judge others based on how much sex they are having are assholes.  Christian conservatives who lambast people who are having too much sex in their opinion are assholes.  The "liberated" types who judge people for having too little sex are not only also assholes, but they are the exact same kind of assholes. 

I find I'm particularly annoyed when the discussion turns to marriage, since it brings out both kinds of assholes.  The conservative asshole who declares everyone who's having premarital sex to be lesser is one I expect in such discussions.  But I foolishly expected more from the liberated types.

Instead, they'll always be there responding to the conservative's shaming with shaming of their own.  When the conservative issues judgement about matrimonial sex being less special because you haven't been saving yourself, the liberal issues judgement about the sex being awful because you haven't been trying each other out sexually before the commitment. 

I think the conservative sex police are getting plenty of blowback for their hateful behavior.  I don't think the liberal sex police are getting enough blowback for their hateful behavior.  The real mark of maturity in dealing with these issues is not whether you favor more sex or less sex.  The mark of maturity is that you're willing to let people make the decisions that are right for them, without judging them when those decisions are different from yours. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I am a feminist.

I believe that men and women deserve full legal equality.  I believe that the overwhelming majority of differences that can be observed between the genders in this culture are social constructs, and that forcing people into those boxes is harmful to them and to society as a whole. 

Unfortunately, when I self-identify as a feminist, I have to defend that identification.  I'm called upon to answer for every sexist, bigoted, or ill thought out statement ever made by anyone who's described themselves using that label.  I have to clarify, "I'm not like those feminists." 

The thing is, I don't like referring to those feminists as feminists at all.  People who espouse sexist and gender essentialist views not only fail to fit my definition of feminists, but they are at the polar opposite of what it means to be a feminist. 

I've seen feminism defined in any number of ways.  Some of them would preclude sexists from the word go, while others would be welcoming.  To take one example I see frequently, "the radical notion that women are people," has nothing present to bar sexists from operating under that flag.  So long as you hold that view, you're qualified to be a feminist, regardless of how narrowly you define the word "women" and regardless of whether you think anyone other than women are people. 

So, how does one address the presence of sexists who claim membership in a movement for social justice and equality?  What do you call someone who uses the label of feminist, but doesn't care one whit for equal rights?  Do those of us who care about equal rights just stand back and let misandrists sully the name of a legitimately positive social movement?

Which brings me to the title.  I've seen individuals flying a false flag of feminism in an attempt to legitimize or deflect criticism of their sexist positions.  And I've seen those selfsame misandrists called "feminazis".

The word feminazi was coined by Rush Limbaugh, and he has used it as a pejorative in reference to all major feminist organizations.  But I would contend that the meaning has shifted.  In every instance I've encountered the word "feminazi" in the wild, it was never being used to refer to the movement as a whole.  It has always, in my experience, been a term used to identify individuals who claim to be feminists, but who display sexist attitudes. 

And every time I see the term used in response to sexism displayed by the self-identified feminist, the discourse changes.  Other feminists act as though their honor has been insulted, and immediately move to set the record straight on what feminism is all about.  These feminists clearly and unambiguously state that feminism is about equal rights and treating women as people.  And they are right to be offended.  The problem is that they're offended by the person who used the word "feminazi" to attack the sexist instead of being offended that the sexist asshole was misrepresenting the movement in the first place.

Even if you believe the word feminazi is as unsalvageable as the word nigger, that doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of sexists of both genders out there.  That's sort of why we need feminism in the first place.  And when sexists use false claims to be feminists in order to shield themselves from criticism, that is a problem.  When those false claims aren't called out, or worse when the people making them are defended, it makes it seem as though we reasonable feminists agree with the toxic views put forward by those individuals.

Now personally, I don't use the term feminazi anymore.  I find "misandrist asshole" is usually more than sufficient for the majority of cases.  And it keeps the well intentioned feminists in the audience from feeling the need to defend the honor of feminism from me instead of from the sexist jackass misappropriating the label. 


Some time ago, I was involved with the creation of this proposal.  It came about as the result of a back and forth between myself and another individual going by the handle PoeticVengence.  I asked what the function of Age of Consent was.  I asked what people who were under the magic age line supposedly lacked that people above the magic age line supposedly had.  The feedback PoeticVengence and others provided, both during and after this initial back and forth, served as the base for this proposal.

Proposed Relational Maturity and Sexual Competency (RMSC) testing schema:

In order to be declared mentally competent to engage in consensual sexual activities (rather than having had a certain number of birthdays) under the proposed system, the test-taker proves his/her mental competence by passing a test.

The testing requirements include:
1.) Factual knowledge about sex, sexuality, reproduction and STDs.
1.a.) Subject must understand the mechanics of sexual intercourse.  Sexual anatomy, some common intercourse activities (at least the big three oral, anal and vaginal), masturbation, and outercourse activities (mutual masturbation in its various forms) should all be understood at a mechanical level. 
1.b.) Subject must understand the mechanics of human reproduction.  Ejaculation, sperm fertilizing egg cells, warning signs of pregnancy including missed periods, a basic understanding of the nine month gestation period, childbirth, and the intrinsic physical risks of pregnancy.  (Including factors that can increase those risks, ie low body mass and lack of physical development.)
1.c.) Subject must understand his or her options in terms of preventing pregnancy.  Subject must be aware of the existence and usage of barrier methods like condoms, hormone options like birth control pills, sterilization procedures like vasectomies, spermicide options, and demonstrate an understanding of the relative failure rates of these products.  While it is not necessary to be able to prattle off statistical failure rates, an understanding of which are most and least effective must be demonstrated, as well as the understanding that they can be more effective when used together. 
1.d.) Subject must be aware of abortion, what it is, the legal status of the procedure locally, and, if legal, the risks inherent in this procedure. 
1.e.) Subject must know about STDs.  Subject must be aware that exchanging bodily fluids, particularly sexual fluids runs the risk of transmitting diseases.  Subject must be aware that some such diseases are incurable.  HIV in particular should be understood in terms of its transmission methods, and its effects. 
1.f.) Subject must know where to go for testing and medical advice regarding STDs. 
1.g.) Subject must be aware of methods besides abstinence for preventing STDs, in particular the efficacy of barrier methods and the risks of multiple partners and anonymous sex. 
2.) the capacity to use critical thought to judge situations (consequence acknowledgment, goal setting, etc)
2.a.) Subject must understand that actions have consequences.
2.b.) Subject must be able to use prior experience and provided factual information to select the course of action leading to the best outcome in a hypothetical situation.
2.c.) Subject must be able to recognize when there is not enough information provided in a question to provide a meaningful answer.
3.) Ability to identify the fact that people lie to and use each other, and be able to judge (to a certain extent) when that's occurring in certain examples.
4.) Understanding of the concepts of rejection (both non-personal caused and personal caused rejection, as well as being able to reject people themselves).
4.a.) Subject must understand that not everyone wants to have sex with them.
4.b.) Subject must understand sexual orientation, and that some people just don't want sex with certain categories of people.
4.c.) Subject must recognize that some people do not want to have sex with them personally.
4.d.) Subject must be able to reject others.
5.) Understanding sexual ethics (like how rape is considered wrong, using sex to hurt people is considered wrong, etc. All because these hurt people for no justifiable reason.)
5.a.) Subject must be able to differentiate between rape and consensual sex in examples.
5.b.) Subject must understand that rape is illegal.
5.c.) Subject must be able to recognize sexual abuse other than rape in examples.
5.d.) Subject must understand that sexual abuse is illegal.
5.e.) Subject must understand the consequences and implications of using sex as a commodity. 
5.f.) Subject must be aware of how to report the crimes they were required to be able to identify.
5.g.) Subject must understand that they have the right to request any potential sexual partners be tested for STDs before consenting to sex.
5.h.) Subject must be aware that they can insist upon a partner using adequate means of prophylaxis (STDs, pregnancy)

The proposed testing format is as follows:
Use a review board, and allow researchers to propose alternative testing methods, approved by the review board, and allow anyone applying to take the test to use whichever approved test they wish. (I should point out the need for an oral test, under the assumption that even illiterate adults or children could potentially have the necessary skills and knowledge even if they lack the skills and knowledge of reading and writing. And, of course, the need for a version of the test to be available in multiple languages so as not to discriminate against non-native english speakers.)

At the testing facilities, social workers will be present to evaluate and ensure that test takers are here by their own free will. Abuse intervention programs and counseling services will be available at testing centers.

On site sex education classes will be available in order to help prepare test takers for acquiring the factual knowledge required for requirement two. This should help alleviate the imbalances in educational backgrounds of test takers.

Upon having passed the test, a picture ID is issued indicating you are competent to have sex. Having sex with an unlicensed individual is treated as statutory rape.  Test status will be hidden from third parties (First is Child, second is Government) unless the first party decides to tell someone (Ostensibly to prove sexual legality).

If there is reason to suspect that an individual is trying to "play the system" (by deliberately remaining untested despite being actually competent in order to maintain access to partners unable to offer meaningful consent or by deliberately failing the test), the court could order that the parties involved be tested, and dealt with accordingly in terms of the results.  (A stripped down version akin to current criminal responsibility tests should be used in order to prevent deliberate failing.)  If one party is found be capable and the other not, it should serve as compelling evidence that this was a case that should be treated as statutory rape, and the now competent party would have to prove in some way that they only gained this competence in the intervening time between the act and the sexual encounter.  If neither party proves competent, there's nothing to be done, regardless of ages involved.  If both parties prove competent, they should both be held criminally responsible, but not to the same level as if they were the only one involved who was competent.  Likely a fine of some sort would be the best choice for such an infraction. 

A grandfather clause is included in this proposal, such that anyone who is over the local age of consent at the time this proposal goes into effect will not need to be tested so long as they wish to be sexually active only with other individuals who were also grandfathered out of the program. If they wish to be sexual with someone operating under the new system, they must submit for testing, and thereafter abide by the new system as though they had not been grandfathered out of it.

The primary difference is that actual competency as determined by the test, rather than assumed competency based on age is the primary determiner.

Thoughts? Additional testing requirements you feel are important?

Criminal Responsibility

Whatever your position on this subject, it is a fact that in the United States, and many other parts of the world, people of differing ages have differing access to the criminal justice system.

The defense of infancy in Common Law holds that an individual under a certain age cannot be found criminally guilty due to it being presumed impossible for them to have understood that their actions caused whatever harm it was they would have been punished for had they been adults. For example, an infant, having somehow gotten its hands on a gun, and shooting its parent in the head would be subject to neither murder, nor manslaughter, nor even criminal negligence prosecution because the courts (rightly) assume that the infant had no way of knowing that in playing with the gun, the death of the parent was a risk.

In between that age, and having full access to the criminal courts, many places have a juvenile court system. The specifics of such courts vary considerably from place to place. In some ways, the courts in the US treat juveniles with more leniency (lower caps on sentences, etc.), and in some ways some of them treat juveniles more harshly (no access to juries).

A long-standing problem with this system is how one is classified as an "infant", "juvenile" or an "adult". One common choice in this is to use age lines. These lines, while simple to implement, leave much to be desired regardless of which of the underlying reasons for having such divisions one subscribes to.

If one is most concerned with the understanding of the criminal, as is the presumed case with the defense of infancy, mental competence to stand trial serves as a much more effective and accurate metric than an age line. Not that said assessment of competence need be particularly sophisticated in the case of actual infants.

Concerns about the possibility for reform, often cited as the reason behind so many of the differences in sentencing at the juvenile level seem to practically beg for a mental health treatment of the criminal behavior rather than a criminal justice treatment in the first place. As such, a mental health style evaluation regarding the likelihood of reoffense and treatment course would serve better this goal than drawing an age line and saying that people below it can be completely reformed, but people above it cannot.

Muddying the waters still further is the concept of trying juveniles in the adult court system. When the crime is severe enough, a juvenile will occasionally be tried "as an adult", losing access to whatever protections their local juvenile court laws afford. This practice puts juvenile offenders in the worst of both worlds in terms of their ability to defend themselves, when it is the prosecutor, not the defense who gets to make this determination. Either they are denied the full slate of due process protections present in the adult court system, or they are denied the sentence caps of the juvenile court system, depending on the assessment of the prosecutor of the strength of his case.


The 26th Amendment to the US Constitution reads:

The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. Congress shall have the power to enforce this law through appropriate legislation.

While this amendment represented, at the time, an important recognition that citizens should not be subject to being drafted into a war by a government which was unaccountable to them, it largely ignores the larger issues involved with the existence of a voting age.

The United States government style is described as a representative democracy, and that says something about the nature of what it means to be granted the vote. The entire point of sending representatives to make decisions on our behalf rests on the idea that citizens aren't able to spend the needed time to educate themselves on every issue of significance to them. So instead, they appoint someone who's sole job is to become educated on these issues, and to make decisions in the place of the citizens who they are representing. The representative is intended to be someone who's judgment the citizens trust, as that representative is, ideally, acting on what the citizen would be acting on had the citizen had the time to properly review an issue.

I felt it important to go over the basics of representative democracy because I feel it's important to a common argument for why people under 18 ought to be denied the right to vote. The common argument is that people under 18 aren't educated or informed enough to have sufficiently developed political opinions on the relevant issues of the day.

The problem with this reasoning, is that, as I outline above, the whole point of having a representative rather than a direct democracy is that we already assume the voters are uninformed. It is an implicit assumption written into our form of government. The governing system is explicitly designed to handle uninformed voters. That's the whole point of it.

Another common argument for denying the vote to individuals under the age of 18 is that they are too strongly influenced by their parents, and this would effectively be giving parents more votes than the childfree, and parents of larger families more votes than those who have smaller families. On that front, I submit that the problem doesn't exactly go away when someone crosses the magic age line.

Individuals under the age of 18 are subject to the laws of this country. They are required to pay taxes on any income earned, and they are punished by the legal system when they violate laws made by individuals they had no part in electing. This is an immoral state of affairs, and one rather important American war has been fought over the very issue of taxation and legal responsibility without representation.

The 26th amendment forbids states from denying people over 18 the right to vote, but that is a minimum standard. States are free to grant the vote to minors as they see fit.

Suffrage has taken a long, difficult road to reach its current levels, gradually including non-land-owners, blacks, women, but we've still got entire groups of people denied basic representation. The way our representative democracy is supposed to work, a person deserves the right to political representation once they've reached the point that they can articulate an opinion, and age should not be a factor.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sexual Ethics

I'm going to take a controversial position.  Informed consent is a moral requirement, and any sex act that happens where there is not informed consent is morally rape, regardless of the legality of whatever you're doing.

What's that?  You say that isn't a controversial position at all?  I don't think you've been paying close enough attention.

Informed consent means that everyone involved in a particular sexual act is fully aware of what they are agreeing to, understands the relevant risks they are taking, and is fully free to accept or decline.  It does not simply mean "everyone's over 18".

When you claim to be STD free and you aren't, you do not have the informed consent of your partners.  When you claim to be on birth control and you aren't, you do not have the informed consent of your partners.  When you claim to be in a committed relationship with your partner and you're cheating on them, you don't have the informed consent of your partners.

When you try to trick people into performing sex acts using lies, you make informed consent impossible, and transform whatever you are doing into a rape, regardless of whether the law acknowledges it as such.

There are a ton of people over the legal age of consent who have received a poor or nonexistent sex education, and regardless of what the law says, those people are not capable of providing informed consent.  One of the major problems with legally defining an age of consent is that it sends the message that anyone over that line is fully informed and capable of practicing informed consent. 

There are people who argue that the age of consent is the age at which a person should be ready to practice informed consent, and if they aren't, that's their fault.  They argue that they have a right to sexually exploit the ignorance of others, and that any blame rests with their victims.  These people don't care about protecting the vulnerable, and regardless of the legality of their exploitative behavior, they are still rapists.

Treating the age of consent as a starting gun is a serious problem with our culture, and at its root is the failure to understand and really internalize what informed consent really means and why it's so important.


Hello readers,

I'll be going by the handle YouthRightsRadical for the purposes of this blog and blog related interactions.

I've spent many years on many websites and forums putting forward my views on a wide variety of political and social issues.  Because I've ended up repeating myself so often in those debates, I decided to finally bite the bullet and get a blog.

For those of you unfamiliar with the derivation of my handle, Youth Rights is a social movement with the goal of empowering young people.  Among my beliefs is the firm view that age based restrictions are fundamentally unacceptable.  I've never apologized for this position, and I never will.

While the subject of Youth Rights is near and dear to my heart, and it's one where I have a great deal to say, it's far from the only subject I have strong opinions about, so you can expect posts on other subjects as the fancy strikes me.

While I have no intent of posting personal information and enabling stalkers, I'm sure some of you are curious about basic demographics, and I feel safe enough providing that information.  I am a heterosexual, cisgendered white male in my late twenties.

So far so good, but there's one more thing I think we should get out of the way in the beginning.

I am a pedophile.  Specifically, I am sexually attracted to young girls in the age range of 0-10.  I'm also celibate, meaning regardless of my sexual desires, I don't act on them.

No doubt that for some of you my orientation casts my Youth Rights views in a sinister light.  Why would I even mention something like this if it can only serve to undermine my positions and give free ammunition to my detractors? 

There are two main reasons. 

1) I find that anyone who espouses the idea that society has screwed up ideas on the subject of age lines will always be accused of pedophilia in the course of a debate anyway.  By outing myself at the beginning, I can preempt that accusation and cut to the root of the reason people think it's relevant. 

The fact of the matter is whether or not my motivations are sufficiently "pure" for your liking changes not one thing.  Either my arguments are compelling and well supported, or they are not.  Either I am right, or I am wrong.  I refuse to spend so much as one second pretending that anyone who would dismiss my arguments because they came from a pedophile was ever honestly engaging in the debate to begin with. 

2) I've already spent too much time in the closet.  Hiding a part of yourself as big as your sexuality is a burden, and it eats away at you.  I've come out to close friends and family out in meatspace, and I've made a commitment to being open about this aspect of myself online as well. 

So, welcome to my new blog.  Let's see where this goes.