Legal Question in Discrimination Law in Virginia

Is it illegal for a 16 year old female and a 18 year old male to date, and occaisionly have sexual relations with each other, even if parents of both parties know of activities going on?

Asked on 5/04/10, 12:35 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathon Moseley Moseley & Associates Law Firm

Surprisingly, there is no law against DATING a person of any age, except that (a) it is illegal to french-kiss someone 13 years or younger, and (b) there are a variety of laws covering all kinds of semi-sexual activities at or below the ages of 15, 14, or 13, including simply displaying sexual anatomy or proposing that the child display anatomy, and all sorts of things of that nature.

But simply dating someone, if this does not involve any sexual contact, is not prohibited by any law, even dating someone at 16, or even younger. However, I think it woudl be extremely unwise for an 18 year old person to hang around or "date" someone 14 years or younger.

However, when it comes to sexual contact or activity between a 16 year old female and an 18 year old male,

1) This is very different at the age of 16 from a girl at the age of 15 years or younger

2) Technically, at 16 years old and older this is NOT "statutory rape." This is above the age of consent for sexual intercourse. A 16 year old can legally give consent to sex and have the law recognize that consent.

3) HOWEVER, this might still be the misdemeanor of "contributing to the delinquency of a minor."

When I read the statute for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, it seems to me that it would be very, very hard for any prosecutor to make that stick simply for an 18 year old having sex with a 16 year old.

Despite what most people may think or expect, I do not think that an 18 year old having sex with a 16 year old WITH THE PARENTS CONSENT would be a violation of this statute.


The application of this statute would be contributing to a child becoming dysfunctional OUTSIDE of the family's protection.

The fact that the 16 year old continues to be a normal part of the family hosuehold and has the parent's consent, and is continuing to be under the protection and guidance and within the family environment woudl -- I think -- make it very unlikely that 18.2-371 could apply.

However, I also think that a lot of people would disagree with me, and a moralistic or aggressive prosecutor might see it differently.

4) Technically, Virginia still has a lot of laws on the books that make ANY sex outside of marriage illegal.

Technically, if a 45 year old man and a 45 year old woman who are not married have sex of any kind, but also in particular oral sex and other types of sex, this is illegal under Virginia laws.

THESE LAWS ARE ALMOST CERTAINLY UNCONSTIUTIONAL in light of the US Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas a few years ago. THEY ARE NEVER APPLIED, to my knowledge. The chance of these ever being applied is about 0 in my opinon.

However, technically, until someone brings a case to get these statutes affirmatively ruled unconstitutional, there are some statutes that prhobit unmarried sex by ANYONE of ANY AGE.

Again, this last category has nothing to do with AGE and applies to people of any age. In fact, Virginia has some prohibitions on certain sexual acts that even apply to MARRIED people who are adults.

Read more
Answered on 5/09/10, 6:41 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Other Discrimination Law (Age, Race, Sex, Gender) questions and answers in Virginia