C., has looked at contraceptive use amongst teen girls and found that those dating men who are 3 to 4 years older are at higher risk of STD and pregnancy than those having sex with boys their own age.
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.
These laws exist for a reason, and they're there to protect young people from predatory jerks. If you and your friends are meeting up with dudes in their 20s and you're trying to keep it on the DL, you might be worried about getting caught.
And honestly, as cool as forbidden love sounds, it's often not always worth the anxiety. Think about it like this: You might be mature for your age but is he immature for his? If women his own age aren't giving him the time of day, then that means something.
There can be physical consequences for young women in these sexual relationships, too.
Child Trends, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.
"Based on 29 years of practice," Lee added, "I don't think you could be that mature at 17. Mani Pavuluri, director of the Pediatric Brain Research and Intervention Center and professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois Chicago, teenage brains are still in the process of developing until age 19 or 20.