Age of Consent Laws
Age of Menarche in Norway [Chart]
This graph shows us the average year of menarche, a female's first menstrual cycle (often considered the beginning of puberty), from 1860 to 1980 reported by adult female patients at maternity clinics in Norway. It also includes data from Oslo school girls that follow the same trend downward in age. The downward curve flattens around 1960 between the ages of 13 and 14. A graph like this helps to counter a single interpretation of causes for the rise in age of consent laws.
Tanner, J.M. Foetus Into Man: Physical Growth from Conception to Maturity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978, reprinted 1990. Available online at http://www.mum.org/menarage.htm (accessed October 13, 2008). Annotated by Stephen Robertson.
How to Cite This Source
Stephen Robertson, "Age of Consent Laws," in Children and Youth in History, Item #230, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/230 (accessed December 7, 2016).
- Primary Sources
- The Trial of Stephen Arrowsmith (1678) [Trial Record]
- "The Violation of Virgins" [Newspaper Article]
- Petition to Raise the Age of Consent (1887) [Petition]
- "Review of the Age-of-Consent Legislation in Texas"[Magazine Article, 1895]
- Speech Defending an Increased Age of Consent in India (1891) [Speech Transcript]
- Adolescent Sexual Experimentation Should Not Be a Crime [Commentary]
- Jailbait (1957) [Song Lyrics]
- U.S. Supreme Court Decision Justifying Gender-Based Age of Consent Laws [Legal Document]
- Rejection of a Higher Age of Consent for Homosexual Acts [Legal Decision]
- Isn't she a little young? Sex with a minor. Don't go there. [Billboard]
- Age of Consent Laws [Table]
- Age of Menarche in Norway [Chart]