Monday, June 7, 2010

Creepy's Monday Misdemeanor

Today’s misdemeanor :  Corruption of  a Minor

Because ‘statutory rape’ sounds so….well, arrest worthy. 

If you’ve been following for a while, you’d know that I usually start off these misdemeanor posts with an anecdote from my own rebellion filing cabinet. (I originally wrote ‘cabinets’ but deleted the ‘s’ because, let’s face it- there’s only really one cabinet, way back in a dark corner.  And its contents are quickly being depleted by these posts.  I might just have to go out and start committing misdemeanors so I’ll have more material.)

As I was saying- yes, my experience.  So, long story short: I was sixteen.  He was eighteen.  And in the heat of summer while the moon shone down upon us on the sandy covered beach we…pfft!  (Yeah- like I’m really going to blog about that.  You thought I would, didn’t you?  Bunch a perves=)

Seriously though, has anyone else purposely waited until their characters were ‘legal’ before the sex scene is written or implied?  I’ve been noticing this as I read through some of the YA books that came in recently.  The mc’s are virgins and if they aren’t eighteen already, they either get down to business after their birthdays or quite near to it.  Ofcourse, there are more than enough literary examples of under-aged girls hooking up with an older guys sans problem as well.

What do you think about younger mc’s doing the 'woohoo' with an older counterpart in literature?  Do you think it’s something we as authors need to be conscious of or would you let the characters play out despite going against social norms?





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32 comments:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Are you kidding? Writing is my only chance to really rebel from the confines of social order. LOL Of course! :-) How about you? You didn't say whether you would ...

Nicole MacDonald said...

writing is one of the few places you get to be honest!

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Seriously? I can't imagine someone waiting until their eighteenth birthday just because they'll be eigteen. I mean, unless it's a super-cautious hero/heroine who doesn't want their significant other to get caught and thrown in jail. In my home state, the legal age of consent was 16 anyway - so long as the partner was under 21 or something weird like that.
Psh. Silly book writers, trying to be all legally correct. :D

Creepy Query Girl said...

lol- As for m'self: my mc does turn eighteen before the sex scene but then admits to not being a virgin and having lost it at 16. I think literature, like any other entertainment, should be believable and reflect reality when possible.

Aubrie said...

I stay away from it in my writing because I'm not sure what other people think about it and I don't want to turn anyone off. Since I write sci fi, fantasy, it's not necessary for the story line.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Well, in the span of five books, I had two MCs who waited until they were married, one who waited until she was almost 20 (and got married not long after), and two who were active with boys of the same age before they were 18, but it's implied not described. I have strong values, so I was trying to balance out reality with wholesomeness in my series.

salarsenッ said...

I think reality must be represented within YA books. I do, however, think we are responsible as writers to tread the 'sex' waters carefully and discreetly. I think a hefty lead-up with tons of steam, leaving the 'woo-woo implied, can have even a greater impact sometimes.

Nice question.

Matthew Rush said...

Personally I don't much like to read about sex. Not sure why.

My GF and I had our first daughter when I was 18 and she was 16 so I am well aware that it happens in real life - and there doesn't have to be anything wrong with it, but for some reason it's just not something I enjoy reading about - underage or otherwise.

That being said I don't think there's anything wrong with it either. I'd rather see writing that is true to life than not.

Candyland said...

Honestly it's what's going on anyways (younger +older before 18). Why not write about it?!

JustineDell said...

I don't write YA, so this isn't really a problem...but if I did I probably wouldn't be very concerned about the age. I mean, the cold-hard fact is that teen normal do the deed waaaay before they turn eighteen. I would write about it (not graphic like I do know), but I wouldn't tiptoe around the issue either.

Man, I just realized that I'm glad I don't write YA. I have decided it would be a very hard genre to write. There are so many different things to consider.

~JD

Slamdunk said...

I think it certainly depends on the audience you are trying to reach. With the stuff, I read it is not a problem though.

Tamara Narayan said...

I'll never forget the young woo-hoo scene in Stephen King's It when the 11! year olds are lost in the sewers. Appropriate or scandalous? Hey, it wasn't geared to YA. I'd give adult authors free rein to do anything, but if your audience is YA, then it gets tricky. I don't write YA, but if I did and a young character did the deed, I would want to take a hard look at the consequences. I wouldn't treat it lightly.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Actually, I've read a number of YA books in which the mc is younger than 18 when she has sex (even as young as 16). But the guys are usually the same age (or only a year older). For the much-older-than-the-mc relationships, the mc is usually 18.

I do have one book outlined in which sex occurs and the character is 17 (the guy is 18).

Jen said...

Haha sorry for being pervy, I guess it's in our nature! I mean isn't everyone a little?? Okay maybe not... I know I'm not alone here though!

I think you just have to be cautious, parents are very watchful over what their children read but I don't think romance is really one they take to seriously... its the "everyone is doing it" mantality that gets teens in trouble. I say go for it... live a life of rebelious activities... (in a book, not in real life... don't be a fool and get arrested!)

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Ooh, great question. I have a nineteen-ish secondary character and my protag's 16. They TOTALLY hook up. Mostly. Until something horrific surfaces and, yanno, totally kills the mood :D But, yes, I'd write some teen hook-ups even with an older character if it was true and served the story.

mi said...

how funny - my post today is slightly related to what you wrote.

in my first novel one of my MCs was only fifteen when she started having sex, but it was extremely necessary to the story (and creation of her daughter who was actually the narrator).

i think as long as there is a sense of NOT condoning sex at an early age, it is ok to have them losing their virginity early.

Jojomama said...

I think you can do it without being all graphic. But as long as we are writing "truth" and what really happens...we should be totally honest about how it affects the characters involved if they are young and having sex. In high school so many of my friends who were sexually active (Usually the kids with no self esteem or impulse control) got a little neurotic and obsessed and then after the inevitable break up some got all suicidal. Not to mention disease and pregnancy and other addicting behaviors that were dangerous that often seemed to follow... maybe I just went to a wilder high school? I don't know.So if you're going to be real--be real---don't just feed some romantic fantasy--- like chocolate that won't make you fat. Nothing is free. Right?

MBW aka Olleymae said...

I think it all comes down to whether or not it is believable. I don't care about the legal side so much because it is fiction.

BUT I do hate it when characters seem forced into a scene bc an author wanted to be edgy. Teens are flooded with that stuff enough on TV, sometimes it's nice just to have a decent story line. I know lots of ppl who didn't have sex until they were out of their teens, so I hate it when books act like that's impossible.
*rant over* lol

Diane J. said...

Wait, you mean it's not normal for teens to have sex prior to 18? I know parents don't want them to, but in this day and age, I'm kinda thinking what parents want and what kids do don't always (nor have they ever) gone hand-in-hand. I think it just depends on scene, if it's just a forced scene to keep readers, then no it's not necessary. But if a teen really felt He was the one, chances are she'd go for it no matter her age.

Geez, I sound like a sleezebag! I'm just trying to remember what it was like to be a teen and I remember that first time, I was 17.

Good question and I've got to go back and read the responses.

Solvang Sherrie said...

There are girls who wait and girls who don't. Assuming that everyone under 18 is having sex is just as lame as assuming that sex should wait for marriage. I think literature should be an honest reflection of the age it's written for, but what's being reflected is going to depend on each author's personal experience.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Great question.
I think it depends on the story. I have no problem is writing about an underage YA character having sex so long as it doesn't feel forced. We all know lots of kids don't wait until they are legal.

WhisperingWriter said...

It doesn't bug me if I read about people under 18 doing the nasty. I think I've been corrputed by VC Andrews novels where people were doing it left and right and getting pregnant...

Laura Pauling said...

I think it depends on the story, the genre, the target audience and what you as a writer are comfortable with.

Lynn said...

Writing that challenges social norms is creative, thought provoking, and kind of part of the territory to being writer, I think. I also agree with Laura-important to keep your target audience in mind.

Theresa Milstein said...

I hadn't hit the sex snag until last spring. Once I realized where it was going, I had to figure out how to handle it. Then I attended a workshop about writing teen sex at a conference around that time. (Perfect timing.)

I've always made my characters the same age, so it's not a misdemeanor issue. People should makes less of a deal about it. Parents are less concerned about videos, music, TV, and movies than they are with books.

Carolyn V. said...

My friend told me a really tasteful way it was done in a book. The writer just skipped it, but it was implied so the reader would get it if they paid attention.

Susan Fields said...

I've never given the character's eighteenth birthday any thought, but in the books I read (and write) they don't usually get that far anyway.

Tracy said...

As long as the age difference isn't too severe (as in, "that freaky cradle robber should be arrested!!") or the teen in question isn't younger than 16 I don't really focus on it.

It's been a little while since I was in high school, but I'm pretty sure we all weren't sitting around waiting for our 18th birthdays in order to get down to business. And if a guy I liked was already old enough to drink alcohol, that was probably part of the allure. Keep it real, I say.

Vatche said...

Hey, Creepy Query Girl! May I say that this was a really hilarious post.

As for writing about teenagers and their sex lives, I believe that a story should reflect reality as much as possible.

If your MC is not of age, but she/he is going at it, let them do it, I guess, unless it is out of the character's personality, of course.

Anyway, really awesome post, write on!

Dawn said...

I'm a firm believer in that you have to be true to your character if you want the story to be authentic.

Erin Kane Spock said...

Most teens are sexually active. Having a sexually active leading gal under the age of 18 would be realistic and relevant.
But I would not let me daughter read it.
Of course, then she would want to and read it behind my back. And then the naughty bits would become the whole focus... but I would stand firm and explain my position and she'd laugh and call me a hypocrite... (BTW, I have two daughters, ages 5 and 4)

Erin Kane Spock said...

Addition to the statement above: My first historical has the main characters sexually involved at 14 and 15 - but they were in an arranged marriage and sex was awkward. And the story takes place 10 years later.

Their immature sexual relationship was a hangup throughout their marriage because they never got past being awkward teenagers with each other.

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