It’s everywhere we look – In magazines, television, movies, books, bedrooms, back seats of cars…you the idea. There’s no escaping it. I don’t care how “good” we claim to be, we’ll look. We’re curious about the body, what it looks like (more importantly, what other bodies look like). Let’s admit it and move on – naked bodies or scantily clad bodies – are a complete turn on. We shamelessly flock to online sites en masse and hoot our approval. For the males, they have the Hooter Girls, the Jaegermeister models, and a long list of others scantily clad women toting tools, beer bottles, and motorcycles.
Us women love, love, love it! We create it! Look at what CJ West is doing for the cause! (By the way, comment on his challenge post and you could win a $500 Amazon gift certificate – but the biggest prize is to get CJ shirtless!)om 1953…
What about brain candy? Look at the success of Fifty Shades of Grey. Sex, sex, and more sex. And the public is eating it up! Then there’s Gabriel’s Inferno and the eagerly anticipated The Winemaker’s Dinner (available July 31, 2012). It’s all about the seduction that makes us squirm (in the very pleasurable sense of the word).
Which brings me to my original topic. How young is too young for readers to be exposed to sex in literature? Where should we draw the line? Should we draw the line?
I’m not advocating it one way or another, because that is a purely personal opinion for authors and the parents of young readers to deal with. What I have observed, though, is the fact that these young adults are getting younger and are already well-schooled about the ins and outs (yes, pun intended) of sex, the very same stuff some of us try to keep out of their hands.
Let’s face it. The act of sex is primal. Used for procreation or not, there is, at various levels, arousal. None of us are immune to it.
In my day job as a medical transcriptionist, I’ve lost count of how many reports I’ve typed regarding 14-year-olds who go to the emergency room due to complications from their pregnancy. As much as I’m against babies having babies, the reality is that they know all about sex and keeping it out of books probably isn’t going to stop them from doing the wild thing. In fact, they’ll see it, read it, and do it if they want.
A friend of mine understands that mentality, and even though her son is only 14 years old, he has a girlfriend, so she keeps a stack of Trojans within his reach. Just in case.
When I was in seventh grade, there was a couple who spent every lunch, every recess playing throat hockey and copping feels. Sheesh. If they did that in public, one could only guess what they did in private.
I’ve been told by a few teens that they’ve read my novel, Again, which has a few choice sex scenes ranging from sweetly intimate to raw. (My guess is that they actually skimmed the book for the “best parts” and ignored the rest.) And they seemed rather proud of themselves for having read it. I totally cringe at the thought, but then I remind myself of the time when I was 12 or 13 and the stuff I got my hands on. *shrugs* Whaddya gonna do?
I’m not going to tell you if I wrote any sex into my next Young Adult novel, Souled, or not, because that would be a total spoiler, but suffice it to say, I kept it as real as possible. I would love to hear your thoughts. Is there a line you draw as a reader or writer? What are your beliefs?
The eyes – the proverbial windows of the soul. They reflect a myriad of emotions – fear, sadness, elation, excitement, confusion, anger. Most novels have some reference to them. Regardless of what the rest of the face is doing, the eyes are what tell the truth. “…he smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes.” “Her eyes flashed with passion.”
No, these are windows that can never be shut.
Covered, perhaps, but never shut. They hold the light of our soul until we are no more.
Eye contact connects one soul to the other. How comfortable are we when talking to someone who refuses to look in our eyes? Or soothed when words are emphasized by a caring look? Words are strengthened with simple eye-to-eye engagement. Eye contact also helps us decipher what words can so cleverly conceal.
But not only do these fabulous, expressive orbs transmit emotions, they can transmit something more – the actual soul of a being.
Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes – a stranger’s – and just…known…them? Were there, within those eyes, years, maybe lifetimes, of friendship? Perhaps that is what seals the deal between Elena Aitken and her “Besties.” I’m fairly certain that is what happened between my friend of 30 years, Marie, and I when we met in college. We were picking roommates in our dorms and with just one look, one “Hi there!” and we’ve been best friends ever since. Months will slip by without us speaking to each other, but we are always able to pick up where we left off without skipping a beat. My neighbor, Jill, and I had met about five years ago, but from day one, I just knew her, almost like a sister. And my cousin, Toria, and I are closer than most, though I didn’t meet her until I was 30 years old. Same with Kathleen Mulroy. We connect on so many different levels, I knew when we met six years ago, that our friendship was solid.
Now let me bump up the intensity. Tell me about your lifemate/husband/wife. Did you “just know” that he/she was the one? Like you both knew the same dance, the same rhythm of life? What was it when you first looked into each other’s eyes that told you that, yeah, I know you from somewhere?
For me, it was a volleyball player from UCLA. The recognition was instantaneous and riveting. So much so, it scared me. I bumbled my way through the few words that we exchanged, and I turned that meeting into one of those, “Damn! If only I had said…” He ended up walking away, and me…I’ve been kicking myself ever since.
That was 24 years ago. His face, more specifically, his eyes, are just as real today as they were all those years ago. I still wonder who it was looking out at me. Was it an angel who wanted to offer me encouragement or perhaps he was my twin flame who wanted to connect? My nerves and/or shyness had taken over and I had blown it. Or maybe the timing was off. Kind of a ships-that-pass-in-the-night thing. I’ll never know for certain, but that encounter had such an impact on me, I just had to include it in my first novel, Again.
Now here’s a kicker. We have built such a strong social circle with our followers and those we follow through our blogging, commenting, and connecting through tweets …how would all of that change (if indeed it would) if we could Skype in blips of say, 10 or 15 seconds? We hide behind our words and profile pictures now, but what if we actually showed our face and our eyes? (Gasp!) Not only would we have to make sure our hair is brushed and we are out of our pajamas and slippers (maybe), but we would have to make sure our intentions are cleaned up as well. Would there really be a difference? Our fingers type one thing, but is our soul saying another? Do our words and eyes really corroborate with one another? After all, there is no “delete” or backspace button and we can’t tweak our eyes.
Sure, there will always be exceptions, but overall, where do you stand? Come on, be honest here…or perhaps we could have this conversation through Skype…