There seems to be a heated debate as to whether or not it’s appropriate to have sex in young adult novels. You can see that the bestsellers have gone all over the spectrum. Some have created teenage lead characters that are sexually active, some develop relationships then have sex, while others wait until marriage.
Here’s are the big questions: What is the moral responsibility of the writer? Should we be politically correct, rely on our own religious beliefs, or are we to stay current?
As a mother, I can certainly see the appeal of encouraging young readers to wait. I hope that my daughter will grow up and want to save herself for marriage. I wouldn’t want to see her get used or mistreated in any way. I pray that I am able to raise her with enough confidence that she makes her own decisions.
Having said that, I can see the other side of this argument. The fact is, teenagers are having sex. They have been for quite a while. Don’t these characters deserve a voice? We have to represent sexually active teenagers as much as we represent the virgins or we’re not be honest. For the record, I have yet to meet a teenager who said they decided to have sex because of the influence of their favorite movie, television, or book character.
I feel that as writers, our responsibly is less to society and more toward the identity of the protagonist that we create. The character has to develop along with the story. Readers will respect you more if your characters are diverse and multi faceted. If you have a relationship between characters then you should see it through even if it means sex. Let the story go where it naturally goes, but if you have characters that are virgins then don’t feel obligated to force them into sexual situations.
Bottom Line: There is no black or white answer in this debate. Personally, I like that we have a variety out there. I really hope I get alot of comments on this because I’m really curious about your opinions.