Essay:Why can't you just wait?

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People often ask, Why do you have to have sex with a minor; why can't you instead wait till she turns 18, if you truly love her? Several reasons. First, after the passing of several years, either or both parties may find the other less attractive (physically or otherwise). If the older partner prefers minors, then he will not get what he likes the most if he waits. It could also be that the younger partner will not find him as attractive when he's several years older. So, in short, each may miss out on enjoying the other party sexually when that person is at his peak attractiveness.

It could also be that the preferences of either or both of the two parties change over time. E.g., suppose there is a 40-year-old who has a sexual interest in a 10-year-old. Eight years later, he might not care as much about sex, since libido tends to naturally wane over time. One might argue, that's a good reason for them not to have a relationship in the first place. Untrue; there could be marginal situations in which it would be worth having the relationship if they could be together for those several additional years, but not worth it if they couldn't.

People might argue, You can still have a relationship with the person all that time; you just can't have sex. True, but then one or both parties will have to be tantalized. Also, as a practical matter, if the law prohibits sexually relations between two parties, people tend to not allow them to have a non-sexual romantic relationship either.

There are basically two options available if they are not going to have a sexual relationship until the younger party reaches 18. They can either wait, or they can make do with other partners in the meantime. (I say "make do" because it was their preference to be with each other, and now they're settling for less than what they wanted; if they preferred other parties, then they would have gone with those other parties and there would have been no need for this discussion.) If they wait, then that's an unnecessarily abstinent time; the sands of the hourglass are draining away, and the opportunity costs can never be recouped. If the goal is to maximize days spent happily enjoying a sexual relationship (as a means of generally maximizing days spent at a certain level of happiness), then this option is a fail.

The other option is to make do with other parties in the meantime. Automatically this means that they enjoy a lesser level of happiness during that time, because they're not getting their first choice. This option gives rise to three sub-options: they can either break up with the person they're making do with once the younger party turns 18, or they can stay with the person they're making do with, or they can have one big happy foursome (a ménage à quatre). Breaking up can be psychologically painful; forgoing the love of one's life can be psychologically painful; and not everyone's into that latter option of polyamory.

One of the main arguments for why minors shouldn't date older people is that they'll be taken advantage of due to their naivete. A person the minor's own age could also take advantage of her, and might even be more likely to do so, since young people are often jerks. Also, wisdom is often gained through experience; depriving the minor of the opportunity to have certain experiences means she'll be more likely to make mistakes when she does turn 18, so little is really accomplished by the waiting period. Also, this argument that it's better to wait assumes that it's more costly to try to have good experiences than it is to "play it safe" by forgoing those experiences. But there's no such thing as playing it safe; no matter what we do, there are costs because something has to be forgone.

We may as well sit down to lunch with a person and say, "Why do you need to eat that food now? Why don't you wait till a few hours from now?" The person may say, "But I'm hungry now; if I wait till later, I'll have to endure several hours of hunger, plus the food won't be as fresh. Plus if I wait, I'm more likely to just eat a bunch of junk food out of the vending machine." Exactly.

If we're going to just start arbitrarily denying ourselves pleasures without good cause, why not take it to its logical conclusion and just shoot ourselves in the head? Seriously, why not? The arguments are pretty much the same: by shooting ourselves in the head, we avoid all possibility of pain or loss. If we shoot ourselves in the head, we won't cause pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.