So I stumbled on to wonko's writeup "Quick, put your shirt back on before the cop gets here", read through it, and went Huh? What, exactly, is the crime involved in making out with a consensual partner in a parked car? Why would almost getting busted leave someone with feelings of guilt or teach them lessons about maturity? A handy link to the mysterious term sexual delinquency was included, but it contained nothing but a nodeshell.

I typed the phrase into Google and started poking around for the answer. Soon enough I stumbled onto a few sections of Oregon's penal code, one of which goes like this:

163.435 Contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor.
(1) A person 18 years of age or older commits the crime of contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor if:
(a) Being a male, he engages in sexual intercourse with a female under 18 years of age; or
(b) Being a female, she engages in sexual intercourse with a male under 18 years of age; or
(c) The person engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person under 18 years of age or causes that person to engage in deviate sexual intercourse.

(In case you're wondering, "deviate sexual intercourse means sexual conduct between persons consisting of contact between the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.", to quote 163.305(a).)

Section 163.430, the document noted, had been repealed in 1971. Adding these two together, I concluded that if "contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor" means having sex with a minor, then "sexual delinquency" must mean having sex as a minor. (The wording above is odd though: is there such a thing as "sexual delinquency" for non-minors too?) While evidently no longer a crime in Oregon, I'm not sure where wonko's story took place, so maybe it's still a crime there. The other possibility is that maybe one of the people involved was over 18, and the other under 18, so it was a Class A misdemeanor (at least in Oregon) for them to have a little nookie.

As a European, I find all this rather bizarre, although I gather that similar legislation still exists in Great Britain. In most of the rest of this continent, the age of consent is between 14 and 16, and above that pretty much anything (deviant and otherwise) is OK.

Update: wonko tells me the story indeed took place in Oregon. Curiouser and curiouser...

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