Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sex

Speak now or forever hold your peace. (OK, not forever...) But right now there is a pretty cool convo going on at the YA Author's Cafe about Sex in YA books: YA Authors Cafe: Open Discussion: Let's Talk About Sex

To recap my own comments to that post:

-- we need a wide array of books about sex, including books without sex. I want books that support teen choices; and take those choices seriously. I want a wide range so when a kid asks, I have a number of books to offer, whatever it is they are asking for. And it's not my job to challenge their choice. It's my job to match the reader to the book.

-- while the YA Cafe is talking about what the reader is asking for, there are readers who read not to duplicate experience but just out of curiosity. There is nothing wrong with a teen who wants to read (or is not bothered by) sexual content; and there is nothing wrong with a teen who doesn't want that. Both should be respected.

-- in terms of Reader's Advisory, I 'd love more non-Christian publisher books that have the viewpoint of wait till marriage for sex.

-- in terms of Reader's Advisory, what I want to know is which of these is OK or not OK in terms of sexual content:

---- John and Mary hold hands. It's clear and explicit that there is no sex.
---- John and Mary disappear for a few hours. It's never said that they do have sex; it's never said that they don't. It's up to the reader to decide.
---- John and Mary have sex. And that's the entire description. So it happens; but it's not explicit.
---- John and Mary....page after page after page. Explicit.

So which of these is OK or not OK for the reader? Is it only the first two? Or is the third one OK? Is the last one OK if the two are married? These are the things I'd want to know in matching a reader to a book (and then I dream of a catalog that helps me match the reader and book.)

2 comments:

Cheryl Kobe said...

Sex and teens are inseperable. When I turned 13 in 1970 (gasp!)I perused the adult section of my library looking for romance books that contained "adult content"--there was no such thing as YA books.

I believe we must offer teens good books to read. And give them the credit they deserve--most are intelligent with the ability to differentiate between reality and fantasy and right and wrong, depending on there own moral upbringing. Only parents can say no and choose to censor their reading material, no one else--not librarians, authors, bookstores, etc..

As the parent of three teen sons, I have never censored their reading material, only made myself avaible to openly discuss what they've read.

"...in terms of Reader's Advisory, what I want to know is which of these is OK or not OK in terms of sexual content:

---- John and Mary hold hands. It's clear and explicit that there is no sex.
---- John and Mary disappear for a few hours. It's never said that they do have sex; it's never said that they don't. It's up to the reader to decide.
---- John and Mary have sex. And that's the entire description. So it happens; but it's not explicit.
---- John and Mary....page after page after page. Explicit."

I believe all four options are OK, it all depends on the content of the book and the reader.

Becky said...

As long as most of those Reader's Advisories don'tget turned into those stickers on the spines of books, to, erm, advise the reader :).

I suppose you could have stick figures of John & Mary (or I guess John & Gary), and in the first instance, they're holding hands, standing up. In the second, they're horizontal. In the third, they're upside down. Sort of the way the hands of a clock go 'round.

Heavens, I must still be OD'ing on the Easter chocolate...

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