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21M and 17F is it legal?

KyxKyx Posts: 4 Newbie
I'm sure it is but friends are saying it's not

Comments

  • chubbydumplingchubbydumpling DurhamPosts: 355 Moderator
    Hi @Kyx and welcome to the boards :3

    It's great that you're posting here and looking for advice on this - it's always better to be safe than sorry. It would help if you could say a little more about the situation, as long as you feel comfortable doing so. <3  

    In the UK, there is no law stating that it is illegal for a 21 year old to date a 17 year old. At 17, you are classed as a young adult and, as such, you're old enough to decide if you want to be in a relationship with this man. The law only comes into it if something is happening between you that you're not comfortable with. 

    It's important that both partners consent to the relationship, and that it is built on mutual trust and respect. So, whilst the law doesn't specifically refer to dating between adults and young adults, a lot of people do sometimes become concerned about large age differences. This might be what your friends are referring to. Often, older adults have a level of confidence and understanding that young adults haven't experienced yet and this can cause an imbalance of power in the dynamics of the relationship. For example, if the older person pushes the younger person to do things outside of their comfort zone because "they know best". This can be a sign that the relationship has stopped being an equal partnership. 

    I hope this helps, but if you want to talk more about this then you can always refer back to this thread. In the meantime, you might find Childline's Sex & Relationship section helpful when it comes to spotting unhealthy behaviours in relationships:

    https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/friends-relationships-sex/sex-relationships/

    KyxHan93
  • MikeMike Hummus-Fuelled Whovian LondonPosts: 1,884 Staff Moderator
    Great advice from @chubbydumpling there. :3

    Just chipping in to add that it gets a little more complicated if you're sexting. UK law says you need to be 18 or over to send nudes or sexual messages because they're counted as pornography. Also, if the older person in this situation is in a position of trust over the younger person, the older person may be breaking the law (e.g. if they're a teacher).

    We've got an article on age of consent which covers this stuff pretty well. I've copied some relevant excerpts below which might help:

    What about, sexting, chatting online and sending nude pics?

    Lots of relationships start this way, but unfortunately this is where the law gets REALLY confusing. By sending sexually explicit images or messages you’re actually breaking two laws. Any sexy photo of someone under the age of 18 is considered a paedophilic image in the eyes of the law. And, sexy messages as well as photos could count as ‘sexual activity’ in the age of consent law. So, if either of you is under 18, it’s considered illegal – even though you can have actual sex at 16.


    What about teachers and people in positions of trust?

    There are different rules when one of the people involved is in a ‘position of trust’ with the other person. For example, a teacher is breaking the law if they have sex with one of their students, even if they’re over the age of consent (16) but under 18.


    There's also a consent bot you can talk to at the end of that article which will tell you what's legal, depending on the situation you're in. It'll ask you a few questions and then give you some info. :3
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.
    chubbydumplingKyx
  • KyxKyx Posts: 4 Newbie
    Mike said:
    Great advice from @chubbydumpling there. :3

    Just chipping in to add that it gets a little more complicated if you're sexting. UK law says you need to be 18 or over to send nudes or sexual messages because they're counted as pornography. Also, if the older person in this situation is in a position of trust over the younger person, the older person may be breaking the law (e.g. if they're a teacher).

    We've got an article on age of consent which covers this stuff pretty well. I've copied some relevant excerpts below which might help:

    What about, sexting, chatting online and sending nude pics?

    Lots of relationships start this way, but unfortunately this is where the law gets REALLY confusing. By sending sexually explicit images or messages you’re actually breaking two laws. Any sexy photo of someone under the age of 18 is considered a paedophilic image in the eyes of the law. And, sexy messages as well as photos could count as ‘sexual activity’ in the age of consent law. So, if either of you is under 18, it’s considered illegal – even though you can have actual sex at 16.


    What about teachers and people in positions of trust?

    There are different rules when one of the people involved is in a ‘position of trust’ with the other person. For example, a teacher is breaking the law if they have sex with one of their students, even if they’re over the age of consent (16) but under 18.


    There's also a consent bot you can talk to at the end of that article which will tell you what's legal, depending on the situation you're in. It'll ask you a few questions and then give you some info. :3
    I'm a university student (21) and my girlfriend will be at university next year
  • chubbydumplingchubbydumpling DurhamPosts: 355 Moderator
    Hi @Kyx

    Apologies for assuming! I think it's great that you're seeking advice about this - do you have any particular concerns? Age differences can be tricky to navigate so I hope that my advice was somewhat helpful regardless. I also think @Mike has chipped in with some really useful info about UK law and sexting.
    Kyx
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