John Hudock links this rather amateurish site, which lists the age of consent for every country in the world and all 50 US states. It also lists whether male-male or female-female sex is legal and if so at what age. It is, presumably, out of date with respect to those issues in light of Lawrence v. Texas.

What strikes me as odd about the list is the wide divergence among the US states, with Iowa allowing 12-year-olds to give consent if they are married (an amazing concept in and of itself) and several states requiring people to reach 18, which is rather absurd in today’s society.

Of course, I’d also note how rapidly our mores have change with respect to these issues. There was a time, not that long ago, when it was perfectly normal for 13-year-old girls to be married and having babies. We’ve clearly prolonged adolescence–indeed, created the very idea–to the point where what was once normal is now practically bizarre.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. joy says:

    You’re right about the prolonged adolescence. I don’t have the time to write out my experience of being considered a very young Mom, but let me just say that people think of it as being strange having a baby in your early 20s! That goes double if you *gasp*! went to college.

  2. Mark Hasty says:

    I’m going to comment on this later on tonight, James. As you might expect, I work a lot with marriage-related issues and teenage sexuality, and I have my own thoughts on exactly how sick uor culture has become–though probably not in the way you think. But I’ve no time to write about it at this moment.