Mary Kole, agent extraordinaire and brilliant bloggist, wrote a great post about sex in YA that I won't try to duplicate or top, but I will provide my own two cents. See, this, being my blog, allows me to do that. Check out her post about whether it's good or bad or what (and I agree with 100% of what she says).
Now consider this: why are we, as a society, so up in arms about it? Why does it get our panties in a twist? Or was that too sexual a reference?
I know some of you out there are from overseas, so feel free to chime in and entertain us with your perspective from across the big lake.
My perspective? America, being still an infant in the grand scheme of things, is desperately trying to avoid growing up.
Our society is no different than the growth of a human being - primarily because we ARE human beings. But consider - Europe has been around as a progressive culture for centuries. They've gone through their witch trials and Spanish Inquisitions and all that rubbish a long, long time ago. Britain banned and abhorred slavery when we were still trying to get out from under their skirt. We just gave African Americans equal rights FIFTY YEARS AGO. Think about that. Sixty years ago African Americans couldn't even ride the same bus as whites in some states.
We tend to think in terms of days and weeks now, because the velocity of progress is so fast. We get a new iPod every three months, and the technology outpaces our own ability to effectively use it that half the things we know aren't even being put to good use.
But, in the essence of global progression and evolution, our past one hundred years has been a blink. Now maybe the rate of progress will accelerate as compared to our brethren across the sea, but it will still take a long, long time before we can come close to replicating their level of social justice and secularism. Boobs on TV? In America? HELL NO!
So, what does all this have to do with sex in YA? How does this affect your career as a writer of good soft porn? Well, it's like Mary Kole said in her blog. You have to be true to yourself and to the characters.
Sure sex for sex sake can be over the top, but then again so can stomping feet or say "like" every other word. Anything in excess without purpose is annoying. But sex when it fits the situation and the story? Gotta have it. Otherwise the alternative will feel forced like you're trying to avoid the elephant in the room.
Teenagers have sex. Not mine, thank God. But others. Teenagers drink. Not mine either. I'm kinda batting 1.000 here. But my character who lives in a broken home? Or who has an alcoholic for a father? Yeah, they will.
And that's because in reality it really happens.
SO - if you plan on writing and you have some scenes where sex is to be mentioned, and you really feel it's necessary, go for it. But remember the infantile country we live in: people will hate you. You'll get hate mail from evangelicals who think you're trying to corrupt the minds of our country's youth. They'll all but try to burn you at the stake.
But don't let them stop you.
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