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Question
Why would a 16 year old girl have sex with a 40 year old man if this is legal under UK law? Why would she do that even if she has know him for a few days.

Answer
Hi,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

There are clear laws around the age of sexual consent in the UK and although the age is 16 years old, it has to be clear that the person is able to consent to sex by both understanding the consequences of going through with it but also, by making the decision to have sex themselves without pressure or cohersion. In cases where there is a significant age gap between the child (still termed a 'child' until after the age of 18) and the adult, it needs to be investigated as to whether or not there has been any sexual grooming by the older person in order to promote sex with the child for whatever reason. Even if the child consents to having sex with an older person, they need to be able to prove that they did so of their own free will and that there was no pressure from the older person that influenced this decision.

I would not be asking why a 16 year old girl would want to have sex with a 40 year old man but the other way around. Why would an adult of 40 years old have sex with a 16 year old girl? What is it that she can offer him that an older woman, closer to his age cannot offer him? There does appear to be something odd about a relationship where the age gap is so wide and the young girl is so young. Neither party is innocent but as the adult, it should be the guy that says 'no' to the girl because he has a duty to act within the law and use his judgement to prevent himself from breaking the law and from protecting this girl from being used or developing unrealistic expectations of a relationship.

If both parties only wanted sex, then again, the question needs to be asked, what is the attraction that they have to each other that they cannot find in someone their own age? For the girl, she may be looking for an older person to take care of her, an almost father figure or someone who she deems to have a lot of experience around sex. For him, if this is the case and she has attraction to him (and even if he has attraction to her), he should be diswaying her from pursuing any kind of relationship sexual or otherwise.

Regardless of the legality, there is the aspect of morality and the idea that this guy is older enough to be this girl's dad. Although he is not her father in reality, he has the same moral obligation to prevent her from harm by not allowing her to have sex with him as he is the older and more responsible party and if it went to court, this is what would be considered not the other way around.

I hope this helps.

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)

Expertise

My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.

Experience

I have volunteered for AllExperts.com for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with Advice4teens.co.uk, Teenadviceonline.org and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

Organizations
The Albert Kennedy Trust

Publications
Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

Education/Credentials
BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

Past/Present Clients
Allexperts.com Advice4teensuk.org Teenadviceonline.org lycos.co.uk askjeeves.com Connexions Direct

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