*climbs on soap box* *clears throat*
A recent blog post sent my mind spinning. Because it hit so close to the mark of what has been bothering me and the portrayal of sex and relationships in YA books. http://yatopia.blogspot.com/2014/05/lets-talk-about-sex-in-on-screen-ya.html Go read it, I’ll give you a sec.
Does sex and relationships belong in YA?
Yes. It is a part of the life of teens. It is part of the transformation into adulthood. Teens make personal connections, find relationships, explore new emotions. IT’S THRILLING … IT’S MIND-BOGGLING … IT’S WEIRD!
YA writers should stay true to the teen experience.
As a teen, do I remember lusty nights where some hot, muscled guy ripped my clothes off?
Ummmm … No. I remember being so nervous I thought I’d puke. I remember my brain spinning do fast, I thought I’d explode. I remember not having a clue!
Are adult fantasies creeping into the books? I don’t know. Maybe.
As a teen, sex is exciting, but SCARY! It’s a big deal. The anxiety! The fear! The self-doubt! Why have I not read books linking those feelings to sex? Personally, I like to stay away from the romance-y stuff. When I come across a lusty scene in a book, I cringe, I curl up inside of myself hoping it will go away. It doesn’t feel real to me. It feels like a fantasy.
Should we show teens these sexual fantasies that, when they grow up, don’t exist? Or if they do, I’ve never discovered them. Possibly, I’m sheltered, naive … so be it. But I want teens to relate to sex as a real, scary, but incredibly exciting experience – a marvelous connection between two people.
When these kids grow up and become adults (whatever that means) there are plenty of books out there where they can dream of sexual fantasies with hot, muscled men and gorgeous women. For now, I want to give them reality … well, reality with a whole lot of weird like magic and faeries thrown in, but reality. I want them to revel in the awkward. I want them to relate to the confusion and self-doubt. I want them to know that all those crazy, new feelings are okay … they’re real.
And it’s awesome.
So consider sex and relationships. Okay, romance-nuts, what do you like to see in YA? And everyone else? Are we venturing too far into fantasy land?