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Author: Subject: Teen Sex Writing
Michy
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[*] posted on 11/23/2009 at 07:32 PM
Teen Sex Writing


Okay, here's the deal... it's no secret that I left home at 15 and was pregnant by 16. I watch lifetime movies about teen pregnancy all the time, and sometimes they do show at least moderately, the scene leading up to the sex.

Now, let's assume, for example, I were writing my life story -- purely fiction -- but based on things that happened in my life back then.

So let's put the character in there, she's 16, with a guy who is abusive, both sexually and physically. She eventually leaves him, and soon thereafter, meets someone, she lies to him about her age (or rather, he assumes and she doesn't do anything to correct him), but he's so tender, gentle, loving... in contrast to what she's used to.

But that puts her at about 17 years old at the time - which is still under age. Now, when she's 15 and 16, the writing just glosses over the 'sex' part by mentioning it only in passing.

What do you guys think of writing about teen sex? I mean, it's not like it's kiddie porn and it's tastefully done, and it's done from the perspective of a 'grown woman', but the fact is, the character is a minor.

What's your personal take on this?





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Michy
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[*] posted on 11/23/2009 at 07:56 PM


100% acceptable in my eyes. Simply glossing over certain areas of LIFE, because they are socially objectionable, is a big mistake if you ask me. Issues are issues, and sometimes shit happens. If we ignore them, we cannot in any way improve our own lives, or the lives of those around us.





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Melanie
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[*] posted on 11/23/2009 at 08:08 PM


I admit I have a problem with full-on, graphic sex writing when the person is, oh, 16 or younger. I think a little fading to black is better, though the subject of sex is fine. No 16 year olds in erotica. I think 17 is fine for fictionalized sex, but not, again for erotica. 18 and up only for erotica or porn writing.

I was talking to a girl once who wrote sex scenes between a 14 year old girl and an 18 year old guy. Graphic sex scenes (thought not very well written). To me, that borders on paedophiliac child porn.

In most states in the US, the age of consent is around 16, so writing about it should be no problem.





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[*] posted on 11/23/2009 at 08:12 PM


These days anything goes in YA. Though I have heard that homosexual stuff can get you banned from the libraries.

As long as it isn't gratuitous sex it is okay.




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Michy
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[*] posted on 11/23/2009 at 08:17 PM


Yeah - I agree.

I'm thinking more along the lines of focusing on how it feels different, how she never really knew what sex was all about - so it will sort of gloss over the sex aspect itself and focus more on the feelings and observations than the actions.

I don't want porn or even an erotic scene, but it's extremely important that some of the emotional aspect of it comes out. I could change it and make her 18 - I mean, what's a year, right? but one of the things that's important to me in the story is just HOW young she was when she started out on this path.

I just don't want to turn anyone off just because she's underage, or venture into an illegal area, but I think it needs reality too.

I think the difference here would be that the intent of the scene is not about the sex or for the reader's sexual gratification. I think that makes a difference.





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Michy
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[*] posted on 11/23/2009 at 08:17 PM


I don't even really know what YA is... I mean what ages is it for? 14-18 or something? I went straight from Amelia Bedelia and The Borrowers to Stephen King and V.C. Andrews (Thanks for the education, my friend in 6th grade. Ha ha.) I remember a librarian telling me, "Oh, you should check out the young adult section," and having no clue what she was talking about.

Do they really have full-on detailed sex scenes between 14 year olds?




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[*] posted on 11/23/2009 at 08:40 PM


Full on graphic detail no. But detail scenes like what Michy was saying because it makes a point about how different it was for the girl yes. I think for YA books sex is more about how the character is feeling, the emotions etc. Not the mechanics of it.

Now would I let my child read it- probably not.

Young adult is a newer genre (I thought anyway) I don't remember it when I was a kid. I read it more now though.




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[*] posted on 11/24/2009 at 11:52 AM


I think it needs to be more than focusing on the feelings if it's going to avoid the label of kiddie porn. For me, the writing needs to include ONLY the feelings associated with the sex.

Actually, I really don't like the idea of teenagers reading about sex as some kind of mystic experience, BUT, that is not the question here.

This makes me think of a book, Ask Alice, which is supposedly the reprinted diary of a tween/teenage drug addict. It is sold in the YA section of the bookstore. The story involves running away from home, adult boyfriends, homosexuality, intoxicated sex, substance abuse... There are NO sex scenes. There are, however, lots of entries during Alice's relationship with her college-aged boyfriend describing how it feels to have sex with him. She describes how she feels when she walks in on him with another guy.

This doesn't make it "safe." My copy of this book was stolen from me in 7th grade by a friend who clearly wanted to keep it so she could read the parts about "lightnings and rainbows" continuously in the privacy of her own bedroom. But it probably is what keeps the book on the literary side of the line between literature and pornography.

[Edited on 24-Nov-09 by tanyakaterina]




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Michy
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[*] posted on 11/24/2009 at 12:00 PM


Yeah, I get that... this book though is NOT YA at all. It's a book for mainstream market, and only the first few chapters discuss this issue before it jumps ahead in time, so to speak. But because I'm telling it in first person present tense, it makes the writing of the story 'inside' the story by a kid about a kid. I have considered changing it to past tense, so I could make it more like the narrator is looking back on her life, though, and that is still an option I might consider.

For now, I'm just going to worry about the 'writing' and then focus on the fixing later... but I wanted to have feedback in the back of my head from others as I went through making the decisions.

I will say this... as a teenager, I read trashy romance novels. I read the sex scenes. Real life sex wasn't and isn't anything like the novels... at all, not even close. It was messy and bumbling and clumsy, and quite frankly, it was nearly two years before it was even 'good'! I frequently wondered what all the fuss was about....

And that's kinda sorta what this character is trying to say here... that it's NOT like the fantasy.





Love and stuff,
Michy
~~Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations~~


Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again." James R. Cook

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[*] posted on 11/24/2009 at 08:11 PM


I am currently writing a scene in which a 4 year old girl is raped by her father. Is it HORRIBLE? YES. Is it necessary to the story line? Yes. Is it required that I make it horrible and real and graphic in terms of the emotions and the violation? yes! As writers it is not our job to hold to a code of morality that says some things are too offensive to be thought about. It is ours to simply SHOW the story! Anything less than complete honesty is arrogant and takes a license that we should never assume when we deem to tell a story. Our job as authors is more that of an archeologist than it is the work of a god.

The truth about stories is that we may not like all of them, and our readers may even hate our stories, and vicariously hate us for telling them, but if we fail in the test of honesty, we will never have readers to begin with. never hesitate to tell the story. That said, never hesitate in scenes of a controversial nature to limit the telling to that which is germane to the story. For example, the pain and the smells and the sounds and the feelings of violation are germane to a rape scene, but any writer who dares to use the word rape and the word vulva in the same sentence should be strung up by their entrails to a high voltage power line.




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