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WaPost’s Charles Lane: 18-Year-Olds Too Young for Porn



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Charles Lane writes:

Yet no one has asked: Why is it even legal to cast an 18-year-old in a sexually explicit movie?

Eighteen is, for most purposes, the age of majority. You can vote, serve in the military and so on. When Congress set 18 as the minimum age for porn “actors” in 1984 and, four years later, required producers to document performers’ ages and identities, lawmakers’ goal was to fight child pornography — by defining it precisely.

Still, I would think that having sex with a stranger for money and on camera belongs on the short list of risky behaviors that one can’t legally engage in before age 21. That list includes: buying a handgun from a federally licensed dealer; gambling in most casinos; working as a stripper in a bar; and smoking pot in Colorado. Porn-acting’s first cousin, prostitution, is legal in 11 Nevada counties, but nine don’t license anyone under 21.

Heck, Carnival Cruise Lines won’t even let under-21s book a stateroom. (That’s a contractual limitation, not a law, but the courts apparently enforce it.)

And, of course, the drinking age is 21. In Delaware, Melissa King isn’t old enough to enter a liquor store.

Well, since I consider voting and serving in the military much greater and important roles of our citizenry, Lane — at least to me — is making an argument that porn, prostitution, booking a room on a boat, drinking alcohol, etc., should be allowed for 18-year-olds.



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