Monday, March 5, 2012

Corruption of a Minor

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?

If you’d like to catch up on Creepy’s Misdemeanor Mondays- click here.


**I apologise to my old-time followers for the shameless rerun.  The kids and I all went back to school/work today so I had about zero time this afternoon. Hope you all had a great weekend!**

26 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I think that teen are virgins b/c YA is all about writing/reading about the first time. I don't know how realistic that is but no one said fiction was realistic!

Jen Daiker said...

I have no idea what angle I'd go with if I were writing a romantic scene. I think if you were to play the age card a little risky that parents might put you on the banned list, however, as we know, we still read and push those books because they're teaching us something.

I'd say if the point of your book is to teach, then age as you'd like. However if that is not the main part of the story, then stick with what's safe. In the end you'll end up going with your gut regardless.

Lisa Shafer said...

One of my current WsIP deals with a girl who finds herself attracted to a couple of grown men. She receives *ahem* invitations and turns them down because she's not ready for sex just yet. The men in question are both "available," as in not committed. But they are a good deal older than she is.
I put these scenes in because I wanted to show girls that it's okay to say "no" and that a decent guy will respect that, especially if the girl is clear and doesn't give "double messages." Still, some of my adult, female beta-readers freaked out over this and told me it was horrible to put that in. (None of the teen readers thought anything of it.)
Mostly, I think the "no older guys" thing has come about in the last few years with the stronger rape laws (most of which are good, but some of which weren't thought out too well).

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't write for that age group but I doubt I could put sex into the story regardless.

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

it all depends on who the characters are and the intent of the novel. i think that a great many more teenagers are virgins than people suppose... so, i don't really think that letting them wait suspends the sincerity of the piece. but each character has their own personality and situation...
but seriously 16/18 isn't a big gap.
but when older men (especially once they hit 20) are after a teenage girl i think they are disgusting...

Sarah said...

I just keep thinking of Vampire Academy--where the male love interest is 24 years old. I honestly can't remember if the heroine turns 18 before or after they have sex, but I think that's one of the more extreme age differences I've seen in popular YA. I haven't yet written sex into one of my stories, and I suppose I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, but I guess I'd just say it has to fit well with the story, and the consequences (good or bad) should be part of that.

SA Larsenッ said...

I think there is a fine line where sex is concerned in YA literature. We must be cautious but also realistic. It's a tough balance, especially if you're trying to send a wholesome, moral message. I haven't written a sex scene or even the illusion of one in YA yet. I like my characters to take it slow, I guess. But also, my characters have a host of problems in their world that take up most of their attention.

jabblog said...

In UK the 'legal' age is 16 but the truth is that many, many under-age kids experiment and indulge - and become parents. I don't write YA but if I did I wouldn't have under-age goings-on or sex per se but would consider the ramifications of sex. Warning rather than encouragement, I suppose;-)

Tracy Jo said...

I don't write YA and this is a hard call. I would have a hard time writing it in although it is a reality...not even so much fiction. Welcome back from vacation!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I must admit that I haven't read a lot of YA lit since I was a teenager, but what I remember is that a lot of the characters wanted to "wait", despite pressure from their boyfriends. I think that as far as the younger girl-older guy thing goes, it depends on HOW much older he is. If he's just a couple years older, that's one thing. But if he's 41 and she's 18 (like that creepy true story about the high school teacher who left his wife and kids and moved in with his former student), then that would definitely NOT be okay.

Meredith said...

It's a difficult question, but I say stay true to your characters. If it works with their personalities and with the plot of the book, then go for it, I guess.

Old Kitty said...

I say if it's as satirical and intelligent as Lolita - then why not? It's fiction people (yes, yes this happens in real life too but to elevate something real to art form is what story writing is about?) Just my very personal opinion!

Take care
x

Colene Murphy said...

I always wonder how to handle this. Like, not wanting to be graphic but realistic but not to corrupt anyone but teens pretty much corrupt themselves, in all honesty, so is writing about what actually happens going to make someone do something they wouldn't normally do and will I have eggs thrown at me by angry parents because I've led the corruption of their kids by writing about what teens actually do instead of trying to pretend all kids wait, and is it really my fault if your kid is so impressionable that they can't decide for themselves if sex at their age is right, even if my MC does it, and where the hell are the parents if reading a YA fiction book makes their kids jump the first guy they see, but you can't actually SAY that to parents without getting a black eye and caught in a chicken fight. I totally over process EVERYTHING like that. Still on the fence...>_>

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I think lots of YA has them talking about sex, with acts of self indulgence and under the shirt experiences, but I think it depends on the intent of the book. If it is in line with the plot, such scenes are appropriate, but need to remember that the readers are teens as well, and keep the description, etc. age appropriate as well.

Carrie-Anne said...

The one time I've depicted an underage person with a legal adult, it was never written positively. The girl lost all of her friends for a long time after she moved in with her teacher, and everyone resented how she kept going to all their parties, meetings, etc., anyway. Of course, things ended very badly when she found out what the reader knew all along and what many of the characters had suspected for a long time, that he was lying to her about his name, his age, his religion, his national origin, etc. She learnt her lesson, and because of the horrific way in which their relationship ended, she was a little gunshy when her childhood sweetheart came to America after surviving the Shoah.

In my contemporary historical Bildungsroman, I have a couple three years apart, who are 15 (girl) and 18 (guy) when they meet. My original plans (years ago, when I was writing the discontinued original first draft) were for them to get together a lot sooner. When I finally went back to the project years later and started over from scratch and memory, I decided to not have anything romantic or sexual happen between them till the girl was 18. I felt it increased the tension between them (they're roommates), not to mention showed the guy was respectful of the age difference and the fact that she'd just run away from an abusive father when they met, and wasn't ready for any relationship.

LTM said...

I've actually been thinking about this quite a bit, K! Primarily b/c the MC in my SF is only 17, but she's been with her boyfriend since both of them were in middle school. How realistic is it to believe they've never done it? Not very, IMO. Esp when considering the homelife of our MC, which is the pits. So how to handle that? I'm not sure... As a mom, I understand we don't want kids to think it's OK to do that. But realistically speaking, are they taking their cues from us or are they already doing it?

Methinks the latter~ <3

Matthew MacNish said...

Hmm. That's a pretty tough question. I don't personally really write sex scenes, but I've seen examples of them in YA where I didn't mind a little age difference. I think purposely waiting to make sure the characters are both 18 is a little forced.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I agree that making them wait until they are 18 seems silly if they are in a serious relationship before that. I also don't mind too big of an age gap. But I wouldn't want to see a 16-year-old with a 26-year-old and have it be all okay.

Charlie Holmberg said...

Interesting to read the comments on this question.

I tend to write older characters anyway, so I don't personally hit this question a lot. That being said, I don't think I'd ever be interested in writing teenaged sex (I also don't condone it, truth be told). Sometimes I worry that YA is getting too explicit nowadays. I felt awkward knowing my little sister had read Breaking Dawn, ha ha.

Not that I'm anti-sex, I mean, come on. XD But those are the first thoughts that come to mind on the subject...

Dianne K. Salerni said...

This whole issue is tricky! Which is why I prefer to write historical and stick to scandalous displays of ankles, hand-holding, and stolen kisses. :D

Indigo said...

I think it all depends on the maturity of the MC. I'm not against sex in YA, although I do know it's a hot topic among writers. For me, I prefer to write life closer to reality, and the reality is more teenagers are exploring sex than not. Maybe this is why I'm writing for a slightly older crowd.

As for an older protagonist involved with the MC, once again it depends on the maturity of said MC. I wouldn't want to venture into statutory rape territory, I'm talking 5-7 years difference at the most and no younger than 15-16. It's so hard to determine what's right without knowing the MC's story or whether the plot is serving a lesson up.

Then again, sex can be alluded to in foreshadowing without going into explicit details. (Hugs)Indigo

Alleged Author said...

I teach high schoolers at night (meaning they were the ones to go against societal norms). BUT I think more novels need to focus on teens because the old *norms* have now become the standard. In my opinion, of course.

Tamara Narayan said...

I haven't read enough YA to comment on what the current trends are, but I think good writing trumps all. If a writer doesn't want to glamorize sex, they can put in the consequences as part of the story.

I think even young readers are smart enough to tell the difference between fun fictional romance and what happens in the real world.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

I do think sex in YA can be confusing. I mean, we had a situation in our community where a woman molested a teenaged boy and was put in jail, and rightly so. But it got me thinking that we glamorize sex so much and make it seem like teenagers are ready to take the plunge "when they feel ready" ... when, by law, they're still kids. I mean, we assume the woman in our community seduced the teenaged boy, but wouldn't a fellow sixteen-year-old, or an eighteen-year-old be just as capable of seducing? How are kids supposed to know they're "ready" for this? It's such a huge step to take. Just my humble opinion.

D.G. Hudson said...

In YA, the ages shouldn't be too far apart, even more so if the girl is a minor.

Lolita was creepy in my opinion, and I'd never call that art.

Gia said...

Hmmm...it's tough. I don't think it's realistic to wait til everyone's 18, but I've seen that too. I think any kind can be depicted as long as it's realistic. Hey, put a 16 and 40 year old together - as long as its portrayed as icky and not romantic and there are major consequences. Kids can handle stuff like that, I think. I mean, I read the lovely bones and lucky and speak when I was younger (very rapey) and it didn't corrupt me or anything...

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