Is it true that The State of Virginia plans to make oral sex illegal for teens

I read this in my paper today:

“~ if the law is passed, [in Virginia] it will be a criminal act for an adult to give or receive oral sex with someone aged 15-17, yet it’s only a misdemeanour to have vaginal sex with a 15-17 year old. So, essentially, blowjobs will become more illegal than sex.”

Full article here - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/10624224/The-great-oral-sex-debate-am-I-alone-in-thinking-oral-sex-is-not-proper-sex.html

Possibly relevant thread here - http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=45633&highlight=“oral+sex” - The article suggests that Mormons give better BJs because they don’t do sex.

Here’s the top result when I google virginia oral sex:

There’s a bill proposed that would make oral and anal sex except between consenting adults a class 6 felony (It would also make having oral and anal sex with an immediate relative a class 5 felony). You can see the bill here.

It is not true, as one of the first sentences in that article linked to says, that “they’re planning to ban oral sex in America.” As the writer admits, this isn’t what’s happening. It is also not true that they’re planning to ban oral sex in Virginia. It’s not even true that they’re planning to ban oral sex in Virginia among teenagers. What’s true is that one legislator in Virginia has introduced a bill to ban oral sex among teenagers. I don’t see any indication that the bill will even reach the floor of the legislature, let alone that it will pass.

I am guessing - but this won’t pass. Will it?

So, as you realize, we’re talking about a bill that’s been introduced, so it’s premature to say “The State [sic] of Virginia plans” to do anything. Also, “teens” is literally true (that is, a 19 year old could not have oral sex with a 15 year old), but it’s deliberately misleading (in the way that 18 year old adults are often described as teenage children). The purpose of the bill would be to make oral sex between children and adults illegal. The fact that it makes activities between two people close in age a crime is the perennial problem with age of consent laws.

This case is a little different, though, and (in the interest of GQ), I’ll try to give a fact-only summary:

For many years, Virginia had a “crimes against nature” statute which make oral sex, anal sex, and bestiality illegal. Following Lawrence, the Virginia courts interpreted the decision to carve out consensual sex between adults, but otherwise left the statute in place.

Last year, the Fourth Circuit held that Lawrence had, in fact, invalidated the entire statute and vacated the conviction of an adult who had been convicted of soliciting oral sex from a minor. The current AG (to much mockery) appealed the decision and cert was denied.

So, currently, it is not a crime to have oral or anal sex with a child 15 and up in Virginia (whether or not bestiality is still a crime is unclear). This bill seeks to restore the status quo ante. There are reasons that could be offered to punish oral sex with minors more harshly than vaginal sex with minors, but I’m not sure they’ve been considered in this case. This guy is just trying to reenact the ban on oral sex with minors that existed (through interpretation) prior to the Fourth Circuit’s ruling.

Now, what are the chances of it passing? Who can say? Except that making sure that this sort of thing was not illegal was a prominent issue in the last gubernatorial campaign and, it seems to me, the electorate made it clear that they do not want such things criminalized. So, my guess is that it doesn’t get enacted, either by veto or because it’s blocked in the state senate.

Either way, it’s wildly misleading (if predictable) to portray it as either making it illegal for teens to have oral sex or to ban oral sex in America.

My thoughts exactly. As I was reading the article, I couldn’t help but feel it was a wildly disingenuous excuse to talk about how wonderful oral sex is, while all but ignoring the actual intent of the law. Either the author/blogger is an ignorant fool, or willfully misleading and confusing her readers.

In the first paragraph, she says the law will make it “illegal” for teenagers “to give or receive oral sex…”, only begrudgingly adding the second paragraph “…to an adult”. She then spends the rest of the article discussing teenage attitudes to giving other teens oral sex, which is completely irrelevant, (except for perhaps among 18-19 year olds).

As a Brit, she may also not understand the particulars of American law. She says oral sex between and adult will now be a “criminal offense”, but that vaginal sex between the same will remain a “misdemeanor”. Unless “criminal offense” specifically means that such oral sex will be classified as a felony, the law would make both oral and vaginal sex between adults and adolescents “criminal”.

Oh! I am quite confident that it is the latter. The piece is clearly meant to be an amusing dig at those crazy foreigners.

so you’re saying even Virginia won’t swallow that?

Then again, it’s illegal for teens to have sex in England, so I don’t know why she’s confused.*

  • By “illegal for teens to have sex,” of couse, I mean that since the age of consent is 16, some teens that have sex with other teens would violate the law (e.g. a 19 year old with a 13 year old).

Unless things have changed since I was younger, oral sex has always been a missdemeaner for teenagers. The more they miss, de meaner they get.

I don’t think that this bill will get any traction as there is no groundswell of support. It seems to have come prematurely.

Good thing they’re not going to jam it down the people’s throats.

Would it not be simpler to amend the existing statute to the effect that sex is sex is sex , and the same AoC and potential penalties currently in place for a statutory offense involving Pen/Vag intercourse apply equally regardless of orifice or bodily member involved?

JRDelirious, this bill was never intended to address the issue in the simplest fashion. In fact, this bill was never intended to pass. It’s one of those cases where the legislator is trying to make a point just by introducing a bill and doesn’t remotely care how it relates to any other law already on the books. Reread this link:

It looks like the bill (which was passed 40-0 by the state senate on Friday) was amended to do exactly that. (See here).

That being said, I think the answer is “no” because (as you’ll see from the final bill) there are a number of sex statutes and amending them all to include a more expansive definition of “sex” is more complicated (and administratively expensive).

Another option would be a definitional statute (i.e. “‘sex’ shall refer to…”) but then the question is: are there places where you want to draw a distinction between vaginal and non-vaginal sex? (I have no idea; some places treat vaginal rape more seriously than forced oral sex, for example).

I must make a correction, however. Looking at the bill as enacted, it does appear that the original bill merely proposed to reenact the old statute while specifically exempting constitutionally protected activity. Which would have the effect of criminalizing oral sex between minors. Whether you think that was an oversight or part of a nefarious plot is likely determined by your politics (of course, teenage oral sex was illegal in Virginia until last year; so I assume that all the outcry over the original bill is driven by the large number of prosecutions that took place previously rather than mere partisan opportunism).

Either way, I should have looked at the underlying bill and not assumed that some journalist would have gotten basic facts correct.

This really sucks.

  1. How is “criminal act” more serious than “misdemeanor”. Last I checked, misdemeanors were still criminal acts.

  2. “Sodomy”, while usually used to mean anal sex, also includes any sexual contact that isn’t genital-to-genital. So oral sex is already illegal in Virginia, it just isn’t usually prosecuted if both participants are adults.
    This law seems intended to address a problem brought up by our former Attorney General: he agreed that the anti-sodomy law should probably go, but felt it was an important tool in prosecuting pedophiles who somehow would be difficult to convict without it.

nm

Good to see they’re not taking this lying down.