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Can an 18 Year Old Date a 16 Year Old?

In most states, an 18-year-old can date a 16-year-old provided that the relationship is not sexual. However, if the relationship becomes sexual, then it could be illegal.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape is the act of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of consent. This is considered rape whether the 16-year-old consented to the sex or not.

There does not need to be force or threats from the 18-year-old for statutory rape charges. By law, minors are not considered capable of consenting, so any sexual activity with a minor will be considered to be coercive.

What is Consent?

Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent cannot be given by underage people, those who are intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or asleep or unconscious. If someone agrees to an activity under the pressure of intimidation or threat, that isn’t considered consent because it was not given freely.

What is an Example of Consent?

Consent is most often verbal.  This is the clearest and safest expression of consent.  Examples of verbal consent include:

  • “Yes”
  • “That sounds great”
  • “That feels awesome”
  • “Let’s do that more”
  • “I’d like to . . .”
  • “It feels good when you . . .”
  • “Would you please . . .”
  • “I want to keep doing this”
  • “I’m enjoying this”

Age of Consent by State

Alabama 16
Alaska 16
Arizona 18
Arkansas 16
California 18
Colorado 17
Connecticut 16
D.C. 16
Delaware 18
Florida 18
Georgia 16
Hawaii 16
Idaho 18
Illinois 17
Indiana 16
Iowa 16
Kansas 16
Kentucky 16
Louisiana 17
Maine 16
Maryland 16
Massachusetts 16
Michigan 16
Minnesota 16
Mississippi 16
Missouri 17
Montana 16
Nebraska 17
Nevada 16
New Hampshire 16
New Jersey 16
New Mexico 17
New York 17
North Carolina 16
North Dakota 18
Ohio 16
Oklahoma 16
Oregon 18
Pennsylvania 16
Rhode Island 16
South Carolina 16
South Dakota 16
Tennessee 18
Texas 17
Utah 18
Vermont 16
Virginia 18
Washington 16
West Virginia 16
Wisconsin 18
Wyoming 18

Related Article:  What if a Minor Lies About Their Age Online?

What is Enthusiastic Consent?

Enthusiastic consent is a newer model for understanding consent that focuses on a positive expression of consent which means looking for the presence of a “yes” rather than the absence of a “no.”

This form of consent can be expressed verbally or through non-verbal cues, such as positive body language like smiling, maintaining eye contact, and nodding. These cues alone do not necessarily represent consent, but they are additional details that may reflect consent. However, it is still necessary to seek verbal confirmation from your partner.

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