Underage Sex in a Novel? - Page 2


Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 31

Thread: Underage Sex in a Novel?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    People do all kinds of things in real life, it doesn't mean those things ought to be promoted as normal in fiction. It comes back to context again. Just because you can write about something doesn't mean you should, doesn't mean it deserves it.

    It comes back to the point of it all. The Ellen Page movie Juno is 'about underage sex' in the sense that it's a story about a girl who gets accidentally impregnated by her friend. It's a romance, of sorts, but at its heart it has a point and that point transcends the sex. There isn't, of course, any explicit sex in it. Which again, prompts the question, to what level is describing sex necessary in any given story? Does the sex actually need to be depicted? What are we trying to say?
    That's true, I was going on the assumption that such a scene may add something.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by seigfried007 View Post
    It's not that I don't agree with you, lucky; it's that I've written it and suffered the backlash. I write it--still write it--so I do understand valid reasons for including it. But I also suffer for it.
    But that's you.

    There are plenty of books that cover this subject matter and don't have problems. I mentioned John Green. I mentioned Stephanie Meyer. I mentioned Juno. I could mention a number of other teen romance and other books. It's not like it's uncommon.

    You seem to be saying 'disregard all those countless examples and rely on my experience with my work'. You seem to be thinking of this as though it's an either/or thing, where either people accept kids having sex in writing or they don't and there is no room for subjective evaluation based on context, execution, messaging. That isn't good advice. It just isn't.

    If you're receiving a rough reception from your depictions of underage sexuality, it's possible you are either including it gratuitously or writing it in a way that is unnecessarily crude. It's also possible you're showing your work to the wrong audience. It's also possible you're just unfortunate enough to be unfairly maligned. It could be something else. I have no idea why you are getting backlash, but also... this thread isn't about your work.

    Nabokov kind of proves my point. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a copy of the book in print, but I've been hearing about the book my whole life--and always (except from you) with the timeless message (from people who've never read the book) that the author is unequivocally a pervert of the highest order. You are the only person I've ever witnessed defend Nabokov. No joke.
    According to Wikipedia: Many authors consider it the greatest work of the 20th century, and it has been included in several lists of best books, such as Time's List of the 100 Best Novels, Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century, Bokklubben World Library, Modern Library's 100 Best Novels, and The Big Read.

    If you think I'm the 'only one' who has ever defended Lolita, you might want to widen the scope of who you have conversations with. Or at the very least read the book and form an independent opinion before maligning it/the writer.

    Regarding King, even I've called him out for the "kid fucking." As an abuse survivor, I find his treatment of the subject insulting, gratuitous, and unnecessary. And yet, one could easily argue that I've written far worse, but the issue here is that I know what my intentions were behind writing said scenes. I also know how hard I'm trying to keep everything as tasteful and necessary as possible. I know my justifications for including any given scene. I know that I'm working to include as little detail in as possible and do as much by implication as possible.
    I'm not sure what you are referring to. I don't know what scene(s) King has written that involve child abuse that is 'insulting, gratuitous, and unnecessary' and look forward to you providing those examples so we can discuss them.

    King has written about kids having sex -- most notably the infamous 'It gangbang'. But that was not child abuse, unless under some new definition child abuse involves sexual encounters where all the participants are children (which is interesting -- who is abusing who?)

    I kind of get the feeling you are approaching this subject more from a personal standpoint than from anything that is really to do with what works in writing for most people. That's fine, but being an 'abuse survivor' doesn't qualify you to critique books you have not read.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    You won't go to jail for child pornography in the United States because under U.S law, child pornography does not include depictions in novels. Plenty of novels include underage sex in varying degrees of explicit detail. Even some mainstream ones (Stephen King, Brett Easton Ellis, etc) have 'gone there'.
    But funny, when they make movies of TV specials of those works, they always omit those scenes. Go figure.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by seigfried007 View Post
    As someone who's already been there; done that; experienced the backlash:

    It's never worth it.

    Someone is always going to claim your depiction fits under some obscenity clause, or that it's too graphic, or that it's erotic (but no one will admit to being turned on by it EVAR--they'll just claim that it's erotic for *other people* out there in the ether).

    Everyone puts the line between "edgy" and "creepy" (and, for that matter, "perfectly okay") in totally different places. These lines vary by religion, by state, by country, by era, by individual. For instance, even if a situation is legal in the era/state/country/alternate universe/imaginary realm, you will always be a pervert for depicting it. The state of Delaware had ten-year-olds as totally legal once upon a time, but don't expect to see any epic historical romances involving ten-year-olds set in said era.

    Keep in mind that I've never met a teenager who was offended at their age group being included in the "sexually active" category. The people who get offended are always adults. Teenagers, in my experience, are more offended by adults stifling their sexuality and denying them the capacity of free will and reasoning.

    According to many adults, 18 years minus 1 minute = cannot possibly consent or want sex. But, if the character (or person) in question is 18 years + 1 minute, well, that's a whole different situation. Pile on the graphic depictions (as soon as they've got Kleenex and a personal lubricant in hand--they don't want to miss anything, after all).
    Writers have to keep in mind that the people who have all of the money and all of the political power are the adults, not the kids. It doesn't matter who you're aiming your book at, it's the parents that are going to scream to keep it out of the schools and the libraries and complain to the media and call your publisher and demand it get removed. It absolutely isn't worth it. Now that's not to say you can't mention that it happened, if it's important to the story, but to show any of it, at all, is a terrible idea.

  5. #15
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Indonesia
    Posts
    383
    There is a fiction (later on adopted into movie) that basically suggested such scene.

    So long you do not describe your sexual act in detailed description, I don't think that counts as porn.

    It's still risky however considering people could blow anything into a problem.

    So I'd say just suggest the scene. No details.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    But funny, when they make movies of TV specials of those works, they always omit those scenes. Go figure.
    There's honestly not much to 'go figure'...if you know how the law works. Underage characters tend to be played by underage actors and underage actors participating in sexual scenes on camera creates problems, because U.S courts have consistently drawn lines defining child pornography as involving primarily images.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Writers have to keep in mind that the people who have all of the money and all of the political power are the adults, not the kids. It doesn't matter who you're aiming your book at, it's the parents that are going to scream to keep it out of the schools and the libraries and complain to the media and call your publisher and demand it get removed. It absolutely isn't worth it. Now that's not to say you can't mention that it happened, if it's important to the story, but to show any of it, at all, is a terrible idea.
    I find this repeated 'don't do it/it's a terrible idea' stuff really simplistic and without interest in fact. It really just seems like some half-assed polemical.

    Numerous examples have now been provided about wildly successful books that address the subject matter in different ways, to different extents of explicitness. You literally have published authors like Bayview telling you they have included sex in YA books with no issue' and you are STILL standing there arguing the 'don't do it' line without providing any evidence. Terrible advice.

    Like everything else in writing, the rules in underage characters having sex are the same: Think through the purpose, understand the risks, work on the execution, take the risks you want to take. Blandly parroting 'don't do it' is just tiresome.

  7. #17
    Expect everyone to spit on you and call you a pedobear and blacklist your work as child porn. It won't matter how tastefully you write it, how old the minors are or aren't, if things were consenting or not.
    Considering the fact that there are many people who have written about such content and not experienced extreme backlash, let me suggest that it was perhaps not the content but the way you approached it that turned people off. Take the movie Dead Calm. Straight, consenting adults, filmed tastefully, and it was vomit-inducing purely because of how the filmmakers approached the scene and the way it was contextualized in the rest of the film. You can't just throw up the "It was tasteful!" "They were consenting!" "They're almost 18!" flags and expect people to receive something positively, because none of those things necessarily say a sex scene isn't completely disgusting. "But maybe that was the point!" screamed Clive Barker atop a squirming pile of bodies.
    According to many adults, 18 years minus 1 minute = cannot possibly consent or want sex. But, if the character (or person) in question is 18 years + 1 minute, well, that's a whole different situation. Pile on the graphic depictions (as soon as they've got Kleenex and a personal lubricant in hand--they don't want to miss anything, after all).
    Literally no one believes this.
    It doesn't matter who you're aiming your book at, it's the parents that are going to scream to keep it out of the schools and the libraries and complain to the media and call your publisher and demand it get removed. It absolutely isn't worth it.
    Movies show teens having sex all the time though. And contemporary parents were raised on said media. I mean, I unless you are literally, physically, just going to show two people having gratuitous sex I guess that's a different matter. Most people would consider that pornography regardless of the age group.
    do whatever you want just don't be a creep I guess lol
    Dead by Dawn!

  8. #18
    Thank you for everyone's input.
    To be more specific, it was just going to be a mention of two 17 year olds in high school. I wasn't planning on getting in to extreme detail. There's no age difference, and there was nothing illegal about it when actually happening.
    That being said, this book will contain liberal use of foul language, and frequent graphic violence. I'm not so concerned about readers finding something offensive or "morally wrong" in general. There's next to no sex in it, but still if you're easily offended it's not going to be your read. There is going to be a sex scene between two adults, but I still haven't decided how to approach that either. I feel like with the language and violence, it would be a sham to just skip over it like a sheepish nun, but at the same time I don't want and have no intention of being an erotica writer, the story being known as that, or the weird creepers getting their jollies off on my work.
    I know writing is fairly protected, but I'm completely new to this and just trying to cover my own hide. But now that it's mentioned, I do remember the scene in Kings "IT"

    I wish I could give more of the context to the scene as to the story but it's just something I get uneasy about, as every time I've talked about it I get laughed off of every site. It's borderline spiritual based (though I'm trying to remove that as much as possible).
    The story features two intertwining timelines. The teenage scene was a scene that would help tie the two together. But, there will be many tie ins, so maybe the teen sex can be left out. It's not a scene I've even started writing. I'm just getting a lot of the ideas together and realized "technically these are children, this could be creepy or illegal" and was looking for input as to how to handle it.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  9. #19
    I wish I could give more of the context to the scene as to the story but it's just something I get uneasy about, as every time I've talked about it I get laughed off of every site. It's borderline spiritual based (though I'm trying to remove that as much as possible).
    Don't do that. I know what you are trying to get at. Sex is a spiritual experience. Or at the very least, it is intended as a transcendent experience. Uniting of two into one flesh and all that.
    Dead by Dawn!

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Writers have to keep in mind that the people who have all of the money and all of the political power are the adults, not the kids. It doesn't matter who you're aiming your book at, it's the parents that are going to scream to keep it out of the schools and the libraries and complain to the media and call your publisher and demand it get removed. It absolutely isn't worth it. Now that's not to say you can't mention that it happened, if it's important to the story, but to show any of it, at all, is a terrible idea.
    And that's most of what I was trying to get at. The teens themselves don't care; the parents and teachers do, and those are the people who pay for things and make the laws and blacklist authors.

    I wish more people could be mature and accepting about these sorts of things, but that just hasn't been my experience. There are too many highly vocal people out there who get offended by something they simply can't deal with and have to get nasty. Anything involving minors and sex is on the shit list of writing.

    Am I fine with it? Of course. I write it. I'm also pretty damn sure JasoninNV will do a fine job of making said scene just as elegant and tasteful and necessary and all kinds of wonderful as it needs to be. That he shows any kind of concern about the subject whatsoever give me great confidence that he'll treat it respectfully. He gets all the support in the world for me, and I applaud his willingness to ask about it and write it in the first place. I'm never going to shout someone down for writing something controversial. I applaud any author willing to take on controversial subjects. I don't think any subjects should be so taboo as to not be written about.

    My problem isn't with him or the scene or the subject matter--it's with nasty vocal people who can't handle the subject matter and do stupid crap like launch PR campaigns against authors who dare approach said subject matter with a ten-foot pole. The Internet has given a very easy platform for people who 1) get offended, 2) are vocal, 3) love to badmouth stuff they don't understand. And nobody ever makes such people apologize for this stuff. Even if said people are absolutely misconstruing the art in question. Even if they're downright slandering the artist. Or threatening them. And since most people are lazy and go along to get along and aren't willing to do the research or read the book for themselves, they'll believe whoever shouts loudest and gives them the most salacious "news."

    The risks can be enormous, and so I'm not going to blame anyone for not having the cajones to take on controversial subject matter. The payout isn't good; it's not like these sorts of books are guaranteed bestsellers or anything, and they can be difficult to find publishers and agents for. Most people aren't interested in reading about said subjects (smaller audience=less returns for the effort). Said subjects are also easily botched because--no matter which side of what line the author is on--somebody's going to disagree royally with however the author handled the execution. The author didn't go far enough; the author went too far; the author touched it at all.

    There's no winning when writing controversy, and unlike with other books where the worst fate is simply being ignored, an especially controversial book can get an author dead, behind bars, cause him to lose everything he has, start arguments, net him stalkers and abuse and alienation. Huge risks... but what's the reward? Maybe some respect? There won't be more accolades or respect or money--not really--not when compared to all of those other authors who hit the stratosphere writing relatively safe topics that have bigger audiences and broader appeal.

    A lo of it comes down to the reason for the scene's inclusion. Why is the author writing it? If the author needs to write the scene or about the subject for personal reasons, then I'd say the author absolutely should write it--but maybe not publish it. Like any scene--sex scene or otherwise--there ought to be a good reason to include it in the final product. If said scene must be in, I advise to err on the side of subtlety as much as possible. YMMV, and feel free to do it however you wish.

    Regarding older teenagers, there's usually a bit more leeway with PR so long as said teens are roughly the same age, and everything's consensual. The novel being based on personal experiences should also help mitigate criticism (though in the OP's case, care should be taken that the other partner can't be identified--especially if they were also underaged). The younger the character, the more likely someone is to find the scene unbearably offensive. Bigger age gaps and dubious or non-consenting sex are also very likely to offend. Doesn't mean they shouldn't be written about, but it does mean that an author might be seeing some torches and pitchforks in the future.

    As lucky mentioned with Green, an adult writing sex between teenagers is pretty much always going to be viewed as creepy by somebody--even seasoned, mature, understanding writers. However, teenagers writing about sex is often even worse 'cause they can't write as well and tend to err on the side of being hella tastelessly explicit... so yeah, I'd probably rather read sex between teenagers written by adults (unless I want to read something that might be so bad that it's hilarious--like erotica written by virgins).
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
This website uses cookies
We use cookies to store session information to facilitate remembering your login information, to allow you to save website preferences, to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.