While researching for and emailing Sex in Teen Lit Month II, I came across or was linked to some fantastic articles and blog posts that make for some really great reading. Take a look, then tell me what you thought about them on Twitter: @JoanneStapley.
~ Stacked has a really great post from 2013 by Kelly; Female Sexuality in YA Fiction: Exploring the Range of Experiences. Kelly talks about how female sexual experience in YA tends to focus on how it's going to hurt and be uncomfortable, and not so much on how the girl actually feels during sex, if there's any pleasure. This is from the post:
'The story features a scene with a female character preparing to have sex for the first time with a long-time boyfriend. She was excited about it, since sex was something her friends had experienced but she hadn’t yet. In that moment, she pauses mentally and reminds herself it’s going to hurt. She reminds herself that she is there for his enjoyment. Her partner climaxes in the scene, but we know nothing about what she experiences physically here. I think it’s in many ways true that characters (and people!) don’t necessarily have a grip on what’s happening to them in that moment, especially since it is a first time, but I do take issue with the fact she’s conscious enough of being scared of being in pain and it hurting and being uncomfortable that she doesn’t ever get the chance to actually experience sex and experience pleasure. She feels good because she did something good for someone else. She is very fixated on the fact that she is giving the boy her virginity. She gave it for him.'
Kelly then goes on to recommend in detail severa books that she feels do deal well with female sexual experiences for a number of various reasons. It's a really interesting read, and I have added a number of books to my wishlist. Do check it out because it's fantastic.
~ James Dawson wrote a really interesting article for The Guardian; Judy Blume's Forever: The First and Last Word on Teen Sex? In his article, James talks about how Forever dealt with sex and the loss of virginity so well, and how timeless it is, and how he was inspired by Blume to have a sex scene on the page in his novel All of the Above. He also says, "In fact, I think it’s fair to say that no novel since Forever has tackled virginity quite so comprehensively for young adults." I'm not sure I agree, but it's an interesting article nonetheless!
~ When discussing her involvement in Sex in Teen Lit Month II, Carrie Mesrobian sent me a link to the Sexual Violence in YA Project, with aims to use YA to talk to teens about sexual violence and consent. The link goes to the project's index, and there are links from there to so many discussion posts, reviews, videos of panels, and other resources. It's chock full of really interesting stuff, and I highly recommend you check it out. Links were also sent to three posts by Carrie and two others involed in the project, Christa Desir and Karen Jensen, where they recommend YA books with their favourite consent-positive sex scenes, that are also really worth checking out for recommendations. Also, you should pretty much just anything Carrie writes regarding sex and sex in YA; she has so many thoughts and opinions, and she's so honest, they're brilliant.
~ On Deliciously Ficticious, Samantha Bowers has a great post; Sex in Young Adult Fiction - How Far is 'Too' Far? What's great about this post is that it includes the thoughts of those working in publishing, but also those of actual teenagers of various ages, male and female, the thoughts of parents of teenagers, and even of a bookseller. It's really interesting to see what the teens and parents think, though I found I disagreed with what the people working in publishing said in regards to, pretty much, only if it serves the plot - after reading Carrie Mesrobian's guest post on this very phrase for Sex in Teen Lit Month II (coming on 14th November), I've come to think very differently about why books should include sex.
And some other posts you might want to check out:
~ Sex in YA Fiction, of "Fifty Shades for Kids" by Kelley Jensen on Book Riot.
~ 12 Young Adult Books That Get Sex so (Awkwardly) Right by Rachel Grate on Mic.
~ Let't Talk About... Sex in YA! by Nereyda of Nick & Nereyda's Infinite Booklist.
~ Sex in Young Adult Novels and How I Treat It by Amber Akye Forbes.
~ Ask an Editor: Sex in Young Adult Novels by Holly West on Swoon Reads.
Do you know of any other interesting articles or posts? Please share the links in the comments!