I have no idea if any of this is true. I hope that it is not.
But I can also see the difficulty of being someone who gets a lot of attention, and, by extension, someone whom a lot of people would like to *be* with. If someone came on to me, and they matched whatever predilections I had, details such as age, etc., might get a short shrift.
... and younger. All my great-grandparents, one set of grandparents and many of my aunts and uncles were all married by sixteen. What has happened over the last few generations that has resulted in this denial of teen sexuality?
We've recognized the fact that age, money, and status can allow an adult to take advantage of people who are relatively unable to navigate the world with full foreknowledge of events and consequences.
Also, our levels of maturity are quite different, as are economic and social structures and individual and family expectations. It's not as though age of consent is the only thing that's changed; everything has changed, the operating environment has changed. My grandmother had three grown adult children at my age - she was herself a grandmother. She had married at twenty. She had a well-paying professional career with full benefits on a Catholic high school diploma (try that now). My mother had me at nineteen, and it was not some kind of exceptional teen pregnancy, she was a young woman just starting out in life. When she talked about going to college her parents laughed at her. But she got her BA at the age of 62, so she worked it out in the end.
Social norms change, because our goals and potentials change. In the past, when people married at sixteen, for the most part that was the defining choice of their entire adult life, and everything that followed involved servicing that commitment. Today we try to ensure more range of choice and more full opportunity for people, and that involves reaching a stage of maturity where you can make informed comparative choices about sexual partners and about life partnership .
The issue here is not teen marriage, of course. I advocate the granting of full majority at the age of 14, every right and privilege of a 21 year old, the whole enchilada. This was my position when I was a teenager, and my experience raising my son reinforced it.
I find the current current victorian prudery concerning teen sex to be both radically conservative and ripe with hypocrisy.
I'm a little surprised this conversation has taken a sharp left into a discussion of teen marriage
Consent, maturity, the social understanding of where people are expected to be by a certain age - all of this is related to the ability to give legal consent as an adult and to the construction of law surrounding statutory rape. It's not a left turn. It's all of a piece. Saying "40 years ago it was different" is a pointless comparison. 100 years ago you could be married off at 11, and your consent wasn't needed. It's not as though because something happened in the past, that makes it great for today.
I'm not a prude about teen sex. I'm all for it. That's got nothing to do with a situation in which a massive age differential is at play, and one of the parties is a minor.