Sex Sex Sex
18 May 2001
I got an e-mail request from my sister-in-law this morning: could I recommend fantasy novels for a co-worker's 12-year-old? Yes! I said. Oh, and could they not have any sex in them? (This is the co-worker's request; Sarah has more sense.)
Um. We're not talking about "no explicit sex." That would be easy. Nope. No sex at all.
Am I really unreasonable to think that perhaps at twelve a kid should be able to deal with the idea of people going into a bedroom and shutting the door? Sex is a part of life. My parents didn't tell me not to read specific stuff. They told me to be careful what I believed, and they told me to discuss stuff with them if I had questions. But they didn't have an Appropriate Reading List for me. How do you enjoy exploring the world if you have Areas That Are Okay To Explore? Eventually a kid has to think about points of view other than his parents'. Why make it a Really Big Deal?
And why on earth is "no sex" the guideline they're looking for? There are some amazingly violent books that have no sex in them. There are some books with difficult, seductive, dangerous ideas in them and no sex at all. This is like the radio censors who seem to think particular words are bad.
I don't talk a lot about sex in this journal, because we're talking about my life, and it's not anybody's business unless I say it is. I'm not looking to have entire character development here. This is, quite clearly, not my whole life. (And Susan's take on journomancy has me laughing every time I have to use a few expressions now....) But in my books, I do have sex scenes. My characters' lives are my readers' business. My first two books are YAs. The characters aren't having sex. They're twelve. But if you're going to read about grown-ups, well, a large percentage of them are going to have sex. It's something people do. And learning to deal with sex without snickering is pretty important at twelve.
Or fourteen. Or twenty-five or thirty, for some people.
It's not dirty. It's not nasty. And it's not a concept from which kids need protecting.
So. Do you know of good fantasy that doesn't have sex in it? Let me know if you do, and I'll try to get the kid a good reading list without sex in it. It's not impossible. It just doesn't seem like a great goal.
Christopher came over last night -- late, but that turned out okay. I just worry with this apartment complex, because there's a security gate, and it's hard to get to our apartment from outside. It's a rabbit warren. I want a house. Kari and Jake have a house. Erica and Dan have a house. Heather (not that one) and Dave and Siri have a house. Now Ed and Jen have a house. I'm all jealous. Stupid Bay Area housing market.
Anyway. Christopher is doing much better than I feared he was, and we had a nice evening, good conversation, and I had good ice cream. So all is well on that front.
I also got a big plot breakthrough on Reprogramming, so that was a good feeling. Made me feel much better about this week's work. I'm going to go back to reading about Finland, though, and work on Reprogramming later today. Have a good weekend. I plan to.
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