The age of consent can vary among states, and some states differentiate between consensual sex between minors who are close in age (for example, two teenagers of the same age), as opposed to sex between a minor and a much older adult.
Due to the fact that many considered it inherently unfair to punish individuals for consensual acts, particularly given their comparable ages, many states created "close-in-age" exemptions - otherwise known as Romeo and Juliet laws.
The last state to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16 was Hawaii, in 2001. sets the age of consent at 16, but as best I can tell excludes situations where the difference between the two parties’ ages is four years or less.
Moreover, until recently the statutory rape laws applied only to girls, not to boys; heterosexual sex with an underage boy wasn’t statutory rape at all — now it is. On top of that, many jurisdictions have so-called “Romeo-and-Juliet” laws that lower the age of consent where the parties are close in age to each other. (Given how Romeo and Juliet ended up, I’m not sure “Romeo-and-Juliet” is the most auspicious label here.) 3. If that’s so, you may be shocked to know that — according to the accounts I’ve seen (e.g., here) — it’s 13 in South Korea and Japan, and, until recently, Spain; 14 in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Portugal; 15 in Denmark, France, and Sweden; and 16 in most of the rest of the Western world.
I often see people assuming that sex with under-18-year-olds is a crime (statutory rape); for instance, some comments on the 17-year-old gets help in lying about age to get abortion; later, she and her mother sue helper (the boyfriend’s mother) for providing the help thread assumed that the sex must have been a crime — though the age of consent in Indiana, the state where the sex likely took place, is 16.
Indeed, the great majority of states set the age of consent at 16 or 17, and many states set even lower ages of consent where the parties are close in age to each other. Let’s start with what I call the “general age of consent”: The age at which it’s not statutory rape for anyone (except a relative or someone in a particular sort of position of authority) to have sex with the person.