Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Let's Talk about Sex Baby! INSANITY Day 3!!!

Congratulations to Marsha Sigman for winning Monday's Interview Packet! Marsha, shoot me an email at muchlanguage (at) gmail (dot) com, with a mailing address. :)

On a joint blog, Melissa Mar, author of the Wicked Lovely Series talks about sex in Young Adult novels.

I write YA. For now. I'm just comfortable with it, and the stories I want to tell are for that audience. Plus, more than half of what I read is YA. (The rest is witty women's fiction and fantasy.) So, everything related to YA is important to me.

My first Novel, Choosing Life, starts with a sex scene. That's right. A full-on, graphic sex scene. It's not a gimmick. That's where the book needs to start. The book is all about making choices and the repecussions of sex and sexuality. I'm actually thinking about toning it down some, but I'm not cutting it. That scene stays.

There are many parents who think teen books shouldn't have sex in them. For me, that attitude is like the parents in California who got the dictionary banned because kids looked up the wrong word. If you take sex out of YA novels, you are solving the wrong problem!

I don't advocate that all YA novels need a graphic sex scene. But sex is a part of a teenager's life. Teens are often defined by whether or not they're having sex. Even if they are not, some one around them is having sex, or someone is pressuring them to have sex. There is sex somewhere in their lives, whether they like it or not. Not including sex - even as a passing mention- is just plain unrealistic. Unless it's fantasy or sci-fi, because who has time for sex when there's dragons and hydroelectroatomic space bikes?

Universally removing sex from YA novels (or only allowing your teens to read YA that doesn't involve sex in any way, because really it's the same thing) is actually removing an acceptable way of a teen learning about sex. YA authors are generally responsible. They consider what they write and how it will affect young, impressionable minds. Taking this avenue away will not stop teens from coming into contact with sex.

On the contrary, they will find other ways. And if they want to read about it, they will. As a teen, I was totally not into the sex in books thing. Sex seemed to only be in romance novels, which tended to have as much plot as a grapefruit has agility. But all of my friends managed to get their hands on Loveswept and Mills and Boon novels. Some parents were cool with it, some weren't. And some... I remember a sleepover, where a friend's mother freaked out about the book I was reading. I think it was called Boy Talk. It was about some girls who set up a hotline that teens in their area could call anonymously with their boy troubles. She thought that book was too advanced for 13 year old me. The entire time she was lecturing me, I was thinking, "If only you knew what YOUR 13 year old reads!"

And that's another point about sex in YA. Teens are decent judges of what they want. People don't read books because every body else is reading them and that will make them cool. If a teenager doesn't want to read books where sex is a major part, they won't.

What are your thoughts on the issue?


Remember you have to be a follower and you have until 11.59 pm EST Wednesday night to enter!

Blogger's Choice Packet

Today, one lucky person will win THREE books!

To enter today, tell me your view on sex in YA. You can also throw in opinions on general censorship in YA, or inclusion/exclusion of other taboo things and topics, like cursing, suicide, drugs.

Good luck to you all!


Dianne K. Salerni said...

I agree with you that YA writers are generally responsible and do not include gratuitous sex scenes -- if they are there, they are there for a reason. Parents who try to shield their teens from too much will simply drive them to look for the information elsewhere.

Ask yourself, do you want your children to read about sex within the confines of a YA novel which explores the reality of today's world -- or within the pages of a bodice ripper romance, where "no" means "yes, take me" because he is brooding and handsome and she wanted it anyway?

Alleged Author said...

I have no issue with sex in YA. Withholding information from kids doesn't make them NOT do whatever it is people are afraid they will do. Just as reading about a sex scene won't make the average girl run out and have sex with the first guy she sees. The whole head in the sand thing is ridiculous.

Marsha Sigman said...

Yeahhhh for me!!!! I'm a winner!!!!
And even though winning Monday probably makes me ineligible for today...I'm still adding my two cents.

I don't think content should be censored for YA, teenagers are unbelievably smart and trying to keep information from them only makes them want it more. They curse, they know all about sex, most have been in some sort of contact with drugs, and suicide is a reality that should be addressed as soon as possible.

Parents aren't hiding anything from them...they are hiding it from themselves.

ElbieNy25 said...

You and I have discussed this a couple of times, but you can't blame a teen having sex on anything other than the teen having sex. Sex is everywhere and unless you live in a bubble or on a commune you're going to come across it in some form.

As far as sex in a YA novel is concerned, I think it should serve a purpose just like any other plot point. Is it there as a gimick or does it contribute to the story? I agree that sex is a part of every teens life in some aspect and I don't think a teen is going to start having sex just because they read about it in a book.

People don't give today's youth enough credit to make their own informed decisions. It's unfortunate, but there's nothing sexual in a YA novel that a teen hasn't seen or heard about in their own life.

M.L. Mansfield said...

I think YA novels and sex go hand-in-hand.

Teenagers having RAGING hormones. Would you rather have your daughter reading about a heroine having sex? Or would you rather her try it out herself?

Believe it or not, Marylin Manson didn't cause the shooting at Columbine. A character in a book will not cause teens to have sex.

At least through fiction, authors can show the up's and down's of sex. Maybe the heroine gets her heart broken by the boy who takes her virginity? Or, maybe they do live happily ever after.... It's all in what the story tells.

Even if it's a fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal driven novel, chracters are going to respond with human emotions. Teenagers are horney and are going to respond to sex scenes, yes. But as long as it is done appropriately, then there should not be a problem with it at all.

Sex is a part of life that can only be ignored for so long.

Amy said...

I think that writing about sex in YA books is smart! Especially if the author is able to convey some values around healthy sexual relationships. Need an awesome, but maybe a little dated, example? Judy Bloom's book Forever.