Underage Sex in a Novel?


Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 31

Thread: Underage Sex in a Novel?

  1. #1

    Underage Sex in a Novel?

    Hey all. Haven't been active much lately, life has gotten in the way and I haven't had much time to put in to my writing.
    I had a question about this topic. I am writing a novel that intertwines two timelines, one of which is current and based on my life.
    Part of the story would take place say in mid to late high school. How does one approach sex in those circumstances, considering it would legally be children? Is it best to leave it out, dance around it. Even if it's an accurate account of my life?
    I want to be as accurate and truthful as possible yet I don't want to come across as some pedo or go to jail for child pornography.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    You can write it all day long, but you can't post it here. For all practical purposes, God grants genitals to good boys and girls on their 18th birthdays (and not one day sooner).

    There are publishers (and self-pubbing) which allow for such things.

    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.

    If you write it at all, you're a filthy, dirty, horrible pedobear for even thinking about the subject of minors getting it on (and a liar, because of course, minors aren't physically able to get it on and would never do such a thing, even if they could).

    If you don't write it, you're either a paragon of normalcy (for not thinking about such things and/or being uncomfortable around such subject matter and/or being terrified of the backlash)... or you're a liar for all of those same reasons (because, of course, it happens and probably shouldn't be shunned and swept under the rug just because it makes people uncomfortable. Sane people know that failure to acknowledge something doesn't make that thing cease to exist, after all).
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

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

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JasoninNV View Post
    I had a question about this topic. I am writing a novel that intertwines two timelines, one of which is current and based on my life.
    Part of the story would take place say in mid to late high school. How does one approach sex in those circumstances, considering it would legally be children? Is it best to leave it out, dance around it. Even if it's an accurate account of my life?
    I want to be as accurate and truthful as possible yet I don't want to come across as some pedo or go to jail for child pornography.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    I suggest tracking down similar novels and seeing how they handle the topic to get a good idea of what's okay and what's not.

    ETA: But generally, you'd probably just want to make sure it couldn't be considered graphic or erotic/with the intent of "turning people on."

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JasoninNV View Post
    I want to be as accurate and truthful as possible yet I don't want to come across as some pedo or go to jail for child pornography.
    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 just because you can do it, of course, doesn't mean you should. How you would come across and whether it's a good idea is really hard to answer without reading the scene(s) themselves and putting them in the context of the overall story. There's a fine line between edgy and creepy.

    In general, I think it's best to stay away from graphic portrayals of underage sex unless (1) It is absolutely necessary for the story and (2) You are actually capable of writing it well. You can still most likely accomplish the point without descending into erotica, and consider how including such scenes might impact future opportunities. Many/most mainstream publishers are going to be very cautious about including that stuff, especially from a guy who is -- presumably -- quite a bit older than a high schooler.

    Basically, you're assuming a risk, one that may not be necessary... Is it worth it?

  5. #5
    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).
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

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

  6. #6
    Okay maybe this is just me, but I don't see why this is so bad. People underage are having sex all the time in real life, and no one is making a huge scandal out of it as long as they are both minors and not one is an adult. So it really that bad to describe a sex scene, if no one makes a big deal out of it in real life, and it happens all the time?

    I mean in fiction, I read of characters doing terrible things to each other, so I didn't think consensual sex even if underage, would read as that bad, unless I'm wrong?
    Last edited by ironpony; November 30th, 2019 at 08:57 AM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by seigfried007 View Post
    As someone who's already been there; done that; experienced the backlash:

    It's never worth it.

    We need to be careful about not leaping to conclusions about a scene we have not read, in a book we have not read, in a writer whose motivations and abilities are not clear. We need to be careful about absolutisms. The OP gave no such indicators as to how they intended on approaching the subject matter.

    And... that matters. While it's true that 'everybody's standards are different', to refrain completely -- in the manner you suggest -- from things like the sexual existence of children in fiction is the nail in the coffin of art. More to the point, it's not reflected by reality. Plenty of YA books include 'underage sex' with no issue whatsoever, if by underage we are talking about a couple who are similar in age (say two sixteen year olds) and by sex we mean the broad scope of 'sexuality'. That's, like, every John Green novel ever. Is John Green a creep? Depends. I find him creepy, actually, but legions of teenagers, teachers and parents generally approve. So what do I know? The man's a millionaire, in part from writing about kids who want to bang each other. Likewise, Stephanie Meyer.

    On the flipside, of course, you have child rape, incest, pedophilia. Even that can be reasonable subject matter. Lolita by Nabokov is controversial, but it's hardly pornographic to most sane-minded people. Stephen King wrote about kid fucking in several books and it didn't do him any harm, presumably because he's quite a good writer and was able to provide reason for including it that was acceptable to enough people.

    But yes, if we are talking the True Pedo niche: That of fifteen year old phalluses penetrating fourteen year old vaginas described in raunchy stroke-by-stroke detail...if we are talking Mary-Sue The Teenage Super-Slut screwing her way through the football team...if we are talking Jodie Foster the preteen prostitute staring at her nubbin-boobs in a mirror with hefty descriptions of each nipple...if we are talking about that style of lecherous 'Hey Old Man Perv, you can buy and jack off to this and it's okay because it's a book not a video tape', then I agree completely: That shit is not pushing boundaries of writing, it's pushing boundaries of legality and decency and can GTFO forever. The legions of damaged neckbeards who write such things deserve dragged through the mud for hiding their masturbatory fantasies behind the sacred craft of storywriting. I can smell them a mile off -- and they stink.

    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Okay maybe this is just me, but I don't see why this is so bad. People underage are having sex all the time in real life, and no one is making a huge scandal out of it as long as they are both minors and not one is an adult. So it really that bad to describe a sex scene, if no one makes a big deal out of it in real life, and it happens all the time?

    I mean in fiction, I read of characters doing terrible things to each other, so I didn't think consensual sex even if underage, would read as that bad, unless I'm wrong?
    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?
    Last edited by luckyscars; November 30th, 2019 at 09:55 AM.

  8. #8
    I've written several YA novels in which the characters had sex. I had no trouble finding a reputable publisher, the books sold fine, and there have been no issues.

    That said, I agree with those who are saying you need to be careful about the way the scene is written just like you need to be careful about how EVERY scene is written. What is the effect you're going for? How are you planning to make your readers feel when they read the scene? If you're writing the scene in a way that is designed to titillate, then, yes, there could be an issue for some publishers and some readers. Not LEGAL issues, but issues of taste and/or marketing.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    We need to be careful about not leaping to conclusions about a scene we have not read, in a book we have not read, in a writer whose motivations and abilities are not clear. We need to be careful about absolutisms. The OP gave no such indicators as to how they intended on approaching the subject matter.

    And... that matters. While it's true that 'everybody's standards are different', to refrain completely -- in the manner you suggest -- from things like the sexual existence of children in fiction is the nail in the coffin of art. More to the point, it's not reflected by reality. Plenty of YA books include 'underage sex' with no issue whatsoever, if by underage we are talking about a couple who are similar in age (say two sixteen year olds) and by sex we mean the broad scope of 'sexuality'. That's, like, every John Green novel ever. Is John Green a creep? Depends. I find him creepy, actually, but legions of teenagers, teachers and parents generally approve. So what do I know? The man's a millionaire, in part from writing about kids who want to bang each other. Likewise, Stephanie Meyer.

    On the flipside, of course, you have child rape, incest, pedophilia. Even that can be reasonable subject matter. Lolita by Nabokov is controversial, but it's hardly pornographic to most sane-minded people. Stephen King wrote about kid fucking in several books and it didn't do him any harm, presumably because he's quite a good writer and was able to provide reason for including it that was acceptable to enough people.

    But yes, if we are talking the True Pedo niche: That of fifteen year old phalluses penetrating fourteen year old vaginas described in raunchy stroke-by-stroke detail...if we are talking Mary-Sue The Teenage Super-Slut screwing her way through the football team...if we are talking Jodie Foster the preteen prostitute staring at her nubbin-boobs in a mirror with hefty descriptions of each nipple...if we are talking about that style of lecherous 'Hey Old Man Perv, you can buy and jack off to this and it's okay because it's a book not a video tape', then I agree completely: That shit is not pushing boundaries of writing, it's pushing boundaries of legality and decency and can GTFO forever. The legions of damaged neckbeards who write such things deserve dragged through the mud for hiding their masturbatory fantasies behind the sacred craft of storywriting. I can smell them a mile off -- and they stink.



    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?
    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.

    Every time you've brought up, you've mentioned this "Does it really need to be there?" sentiment. I understand your reasoning (because I've already written it). "Just because you can doesn't mean you should."

    And what I'm saying is that--speaking from my personal experience--the backlash isn't worth it.

    Other people (sane or not) will be offended, and some will stop at pretty much nothing to ruin the author. No matter how tasteful or necessary the scene is, someone out there will still be incredibly offended and lob a ton of awful allegations against the author. And rather than read it for themselves and make their own decisions, other people will hear said allegations, believe them and also jump on the bandwagon to condemn the author. People love to believe the worst about each other and will cheerfully read authorial intent into a piece. In other words, if anyone can possibly construe perversion as a motive/intent of the author, they'll do it, and they'll blab to everyone else they know, and everyone will think the author's a pervert without even necessarily reading the book.

    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.

    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.
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

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

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by seigfried007 View Post
    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.

    Make that two. I've read Lolita. I've also seen both movie versions and I found the James Mason and Jeremy Irons characters creepier than Nabokov's Humbert Humbert to be honest. Writing about a pedophile doesn't make you one any more than writing about Hitler makes you a Nazi. If the latter were true we'd be in a lot of trouble.


    I think the OP is talking about two consenting teenagers if I read it right. I agree with the consensus that it depends on how you write it. The way Juno handled it is probably a good example of talking about sex between two teenagers without making it sound pornographic. In other words don't make it graphic and you should be okay.
    Last edited by mrmustard615; November 30th, 2019 at 08:23 PM. Reason: typo
    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

Page 1 of 4 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.