Can teenage boys be sexually "abused" by an older woman?

Dear Stop It Now!

A male friend of mine who is in his 40’s told me that his neighbor, an older widowed woman, sexually abused him when he was 15.  Is this possible? I thought all teenage boys would jump at the chance at having sex with an older woman. Isn’t this just seduction and not abuse?

Dear Concerned Friend,

Teenagers, including teenaged boys can be sexually abused by adults. The media would certainly have many of us believing that most teenagers are sexually active, and that teenage boys particularly are looking for opportunities to be sexual whenever they can. However, while teenagers may be physically “ready” for sexual activity, and even if they express willingness, they are rarely emotionally ready to make decisions to have a sexual relationship with an adult.

Age of consent

An adult who seeks out a sexual relationship with a teenager, particularly when the teenager is under the age of consent (the age of consent is between 16 and 18 in the US) is legally sexually abusing a child. Adults alone are held responsible for engaging in sexual activity with a teen under the age of consent. The adult is held responsible for understanding what the adolescent is often not ready for yet.

Definition of sexual abuse

To be clear, all sexual touching between an adult and a child or underage teen is sexual abuse. If an adult engages in any sexual behavior (looking, showing, or touching) with a child or young teen it is sexual abuse. You may want to read “What is Child Sexual Abuse” from our website.

Support your friend

Probably even more importantly is believing and supporting your friend. If he has shared that he was sexually abused as a teen, then letting him know that you are there for him may be the most important thing you can do. It is never too late for survivors, including male survivors, to begin the process of healing. Your support will be valuable for him as he works to heal from this experience. You may want to share healing and recovery for adults abused as children from our website with your friend, where he can also find resources for adult survivors.

Take care,
Stop It Now!

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Last edited on: August 24th, 2012