Age of consent for dating
In the United States, most laws governing sexual activity, including issues of consent, fall under state jurisdiction.However, the federal government passed laws in 20 that increase the circumstances in which certain sexual activity, especially with anyone under 18, is a federal crime.If you are 12 to 15, a person can’t have sex with you, touch you sexually or perform a sexual act in front of you if they are more than two years older than you, even if you agree.However, it is not an offence if the person honestly believed that you were 16 or if there was less than a two-year age difference between you. For example, if a person is 17 and has sex with someone who is 15, it is not a crime.The crimes defined require the making of an image; they do not apply to sex acts that are not recorded.For an example of the application of a similar (but state-level) discrepant age of consent for appearing in pornography, see Police blotter: Teens prosecuted for racy photos, CNet News, February 9, 2007.
Major US federal laws governing sexual activity were passed in the PROTECT Act of 2003 and the Adam Walsh Act of 2006.Activities so prohibited generally include any sexually motivated contact with the genitals of either person by the other, and may extend to related areas, such as exposure of genitals and lascivious talk.The minimum ages are called ages of consent because the basis of the laws is that the activity is deemed to require consent and a person below the given age is deemed psychologically incapable of granting such consent.The age of consent for same-sex relationships is the same as it is for heterosexual relationships.
If you are under 12, a person can't have sex with you or touch you sexually or perform a sexual act in front of you, even if you agree.There is no exception for marriage, so an American of any age marrying anyone under 18 in another country, even with the blessings of the parents and with a legitimate marriage license from the local jurisdiction, is breaking this law. The PROTECT Act, § 503, makes it a federal crime to make (or possess or post online, etc.) sexy photos or videos that include a person under 18, even if under the relevant state law any activity depicted is legal and even if the photos or videos are made (or possessed or posted, etc.) by the juvenile(s) depicted in them.