I've been thinking about sex again. As a woman and a feminist and an educator, I've been struggling with what to do about the sexy stuff in my own writing.
Have I mentioned I love romance novels? It's a guilty pleasure--and one most folks don't expect me to have. More than once, I've been accused of creating that snooty I only read literary fiction kind of atmosphere. But it's not true. It's not me. My favorite novels of all time are:
1. Dune, by Frank Herbert
2. A Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold
3. Fool's Fate (the 6th book in the Assassin/Fool series), by Robin Hobb
ALL genre fiction.
I remind myself: I am an educator, and over the years, I have seen so many teenagers who are having sex, some happily, some un-. In most cases, I believe it wasn't the best choice for them, boys and girls. And it is a choice--one I recognize high school students have the opportunity and time to make.
In my workplace, we create a sex positive culture intentionally--in policy. We offer an incredible Sex Ed course from 4-12th grade (each year more developmentally appropriate than the last). We offer time to talk about individual choices and situations in Gender and Ungendered Mysteries Council, and we puzzle together about how much we don't understand about sexuaility, both teenagers and adults alike. And I still often counsel students to wait, to focus on their own growth and put off sexual exploring until they are older.
So I decided to cut the sex scenes from my YA novel. Not because I believe that ignorance and abstinence are best for our teens. I decided that my protagonist needed to focus most heavily on the other pieces of her story. Her romance with the hot lead guitarist is just one part of her story--and not the most important part.
But other authors are doing teen sex scenes and doing it right. Rainbow Rowell is undoubtedly one. Another is John Green.
I'm curious. As parents, as writers, how much sex do you want to see in genre fiction you or your teen is reading? And why?
Coranna Adams is a writer, filmmaker, and educator from Asheville, North Carolina.