Although adolescents know right from wrong and understand consequences, she explained, "their ability to carefully consider these matters is somewhat limited relative to adults." Sexual relationships and marriages between adult men and adolescent girls have very been common historically and continue to be in many other cultures.But experts seem to agree that in contemporary American society the potential harm to a young woman depends on both on her age and how big the age gap is with her partner.What's different about the Hutchinson-Stodden marriage and the Cox-Catsimatidis wedding is that the grooms were willing to enter so publicly into relationships with teenagers, with the apparent approval of their brides' parents.Catsimatidis, who is now 21, told that her father "wouldn't have given me up to anyone else," while Stodden's mother Krista was quoted as saying, "We are totally supportive of this marriage.Some 16 percent of girls had sex with male partners who were 4-6 years older and 11 percent had partners that were 7 or more years older.According to the NCHS's William Mosher, the average age for first-time sex for women is between 16 and 17.As the age gap increases, Manlove explained, the likelihood of using contraceptives decreases.Judy Prays, a 24-year-old graduate student living in Atlanta, dated older men from the time she was 16 -- intentionally. "I thought it was so romantic and glamorous and adventurous," she said. I was interested in the other person being in control of everything, being the smarter one, the stronger one.
"When you start stretching decades and you're talking about young girls, under 19 or so, it's probably problematic," said Dr.I was interested in letting them drive." Prays said she never felt any of the men she dated were manipulating her and added that sex was not the focus.She argued that these relationships are too harshly criticized.There can be physical consequences for young women in these sexual relationships, too.