Friday 6 November 2015

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Sex in Teen Lit Month II - Judith Tewes: Didn't We Already Have a Sexual Revolution?

Today, I'm fortunate enough to have Judith Tewes, YA author of My Soon-to-Be Sex Life, stopping by my blog to discuss how everyone wants to know why Charlie wants to lose her virginity.

Judith TewesDidn't We Already Have A Sexual Revolution?

My novel centers around Charlotte (Charlie) Webb, a teenaged girl who starts off with a simple and focused mission to lose her virginity and then discovers there’s more to life to lose than your v-card. My Soon-To-Be Sex Life is a raw, angsty, funny, kinda/sorta romantic quick read with more than a little irreverence thrown into the mix. It’s not the book for everyone. There’s mention of sex, drugs, religion, and yes, lots of swearing. However, there’s also a dysfunctional family struggling to repair past wrongs, see each other through some serious life changes, and overall themes of – it’s okay to not be okay and if we stick together things can get better.

The virginity aspect is really the sub plot, bigger fish are swimming in this fictional sea. Yet the most common question I heard when sending my manuscript around to beta readers for feedback, then agents and editors in hopes of finding MSTBSL a home: Why is Charlie so set on losing her virginity?

That was it.

Nothing about how Charlie was helping to hide her grandfather’s dementia so he wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home. Nothing about her mother’s drug addiction or the impact of the death of her father – who died in a car crash along with the hooker he’d secured for the evening. Or Charlie’s desire to be a screenwriter and her tendency to shift points of view, to become the camera, distant, apart, when moments in her life become emotionally overwhelming.

They just kept asking – why does this teenaged girl want so desperately to lose her virginity? Now, let’s play devil’s advocate for a second. Let’s say Charlie is a teenaged boy. Would that question still be at the forefront of everyone’s minds? I doubt it.

My Soon-to-Be Sex Life by Judith TewesAnd, it’s not like Charlie isn’t being smart about this. She’s got a freaking list of devirginizers. Goes through them systematically, but, similar to TV’s ultimate commitmentphobe, Seinfeld, none of the guys quite do it for Charlie. There’s always some little weird thing that turns her off...and then, life happens. Suddenly she’s thrust into a situation where her virginity project takes a backseat and it’s then that she starts to grow as a person and maybe find someone she can truly fall for.

So you really want to know why Charlie is keen to lose it? Okay, I’ll bite.

This isn’t some girl going to a party, getting drunk, and waking up minus a hymen. This is a girl setting out to take control of one thing in her life that’s hers alone. One right of passage that won’t slip by without her say so. Not like the first time she realized her mother wasn’t a superhero, but simply a human - vulnerable, depressed, and even suicidal. Or that her father wasn’t a knight in shining armour. Or that her grandfather was losing his mind – and yet understood enough of what was happening to be terrified of the future and desperate to retain the past.

This isn’t some girl who wants to wait until she’s married to have sex and discover they have no chemistry, or marry the first guy she has sex with, or the one who accidentally knocks her up. Her mother basically did all that and where did it get her?

No, Charlie wants some measure of control. She wants some power over her own destiny.

And, in her own words...

Quote from My Soon-to-Be Sex Life by Judith Tewes

Such a fantastic post, Judith, thank you! I love the feminist undertones of that quote! Be sure to check out my review of My Soon-to-Be Sex Life and Judith's website.


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