The 17-Year-Old Child: An Absurdity of the Late 20th Century Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, Vol. 16, Nr 2/3.
Recently enacted EU-legislation will affect interferences with the sexual life of adolescents across Europe in an intensity so far not known in any of the European states. The Framework-Directive on combating sexual exploitation of children and child-pornography will oblige all member States of the European Union to create extensive offences of child -pornography and child -prostitution, defining as child every person up to 18 years of age, without differentiating between five-year-old children and 17-year-old juveniles. These offences go far beyond combating child pornography and child prostitution, thus making a wide variety of adolescent sexual behaviour, hitherto completely legal in the overwhelming majority of jurisdictions in Europe, serious crimes; for instance: sex between 16-year-olds for remuneration , which includes invitations to cinema or to a dinner; lascivious drawings of a 17-year-old girl possessed by a 15-year-old boy; photographs of a 16 year-old girl in her bikini lasciviously exposing her pubic area, taken by her 17-year-old boyfriend on the beach; standard pornography involving younger looking 20-year-old adults or webcam-sex between 17-year-old-adolescents; even pictures of one's own adult spouse in lascivious poses, if this spouse looks younger than 18. No European jurisdiction so far has such a restrictive law. The massive criminalisation and the equation of adolescents with children caused heavy criticisms among experts but this criticism could not prevent the project from becoming law. This essay provides an analysis of the background, the legislative process and the content of the EU-Framework-Decision.