Guest Post on My "Sex in YA" Article
Hey y'all! Welcome to Words Like Silver! I wrote a guest post on "Sex in YA" for Kimberley Johnson's blog based on both an article that I previously wrote on the subject and her book, The Virgin Diaries, and how it impacts the thoughts of a fourteen-year-old girl. People sometimes don't believe that I have an opinion, or I'm aware enough to be able to write about it, but if you're interested in my opinion, here's my guest post:I recently wrote an article on sex in young adult fiction and how it impacts me and other readers. People don't usually look to a fourteen year old to talk about these things. Some encourage hearing my thoughts while others think that I'm growing up too fast. I'm not; I just choose to have my voice heard, because while a ton of adults worry about how we'll react to it, we worry about peer pressure or first times and wonder what it's like and all the things associated with it.The first time I heard about sex was actually from an older friend. At the time, she was probably in sixth grade and asked whether I knew how babies were born. I was only in fourth grade, and I didn't. She explained the concept to me using really basic terminology and not explaining it very well, but I got the gist of it.A year later, my parents took my twin and I to a health class at our church, while we sat there cringing awkwardly while we watched a low-budget movie about puberty and sex. I was with a few friends and we sat there making faces at the screen and griping about how we were forced to go to this class. We thought that sex was disgusting and we certainly had no thought of ever doing it.Starting in sixth grade, we had health class, which included our school nurse talking about sex, teenage pregnancy, consequences, and of course, her personal favorite, the scarring STD-slideshow, which meant that all the sixth graders cried out in horror "My eyes! My eyes!" while disgusting pictures of STDs inside the body flashed on the screen.Now in eighth grade I'm hearing all these stories about other people both my age and older, and a few even younger. I go to a private Christian school which means that nobody here has "lost it" but we hear about people who have graduated or people at other schools who have done it already. We pore over Facebook statuses of "hacked" profiles saying things like "Sarah likes it hot" and "lms if you like sex" and things like that. Pictures of girls and guys making out, pictures of girls with clearly visible bras. Just last week, we heard that a girl my age was caught having sex in a bathroom at one of the middle schools.I remember the first time hearing about a girl doing awful things and being like "but she goes to bible study!" when the youth director had just talked with us about purity. Sex is everywhere and adults don't like to talk about it with us, which means that some of us get our knowledge from books. The Virgin Diaries is perfect for any questions, and it's also an entertaining and thoughtful read!Sex is everywhere in the media. In movies, there will either be a chaste relationship, or James-Bond style where it's a string of one night stands. Some of this media is encouraging and honest while some are almost like propaganda, telling us to believe this or believe that.In books, I think that it's more realistic. While in a movie, it's straightforward and you can't see what is going through the character's heads. In a book, you see what's leading up to it, the actual act, and the impacts. When you're put into a character's head like you are in books likeDifferent books handle it differently; I, personally, am a fan of how Stephanie Meyer handled it in Breaking Dawn, skipping ahead to the next morning and not making it too graphic for younger teens to read while still being romantic. My personal opinion is that a more descriptive sex scene (for young adult, not compared to adult books, which can be more graphic) only works if it is in a book with a focus on sex, like Kiss It or Lost It or anything similar to that. Of course, The Virgin Diaries is a bit descriptive but that's only because it has a need to be. Teenagers like me look to these sorts of books to answer or questions and help us make decisions about our boundaries.I've been told by people that my views may change if I get a boyfriend, or when I go to high school, but I don't really believe this. It's because of The Virgin Diaries and similar books that I've made an informed decision about abstinence and know about the feelings surrounding it, even though reading about it and experiencing pressure and situations are two extremely different things.As I do enter high school in the fall, I've been worried that I might go too far and regret it but because of books, my faith, and the people I surround myself with, I think that I have the courage and strength to stick to my decision. Sex is different for everyone. I don't think anything bad about anybody who has sex as a teenager, although it isn't my personal choice. If you make an informed decision and are aware of the consequences and risks, then only you can make your choice.Sometimes I go out of my way to read a younger book just to escape from the sexual tension that constantly pops up in books. One of the problems that I run into with books focused on sex is sometimes we don't get to hear about anything else. In books, sometimes it goes to one extreme or the other: chaste or extremely risque.I know that as I grow my decisions may change. I know that my parents will support my decisions and I know that I won't steer from my views on abstinence because the guilt if I did would haunt me. It's my personal belief, and nobody else has to think the same way that I do.However a lot of the reasons why we read books like these are because we're curious. We don't know what it's like or how it will impact us. Granted, we still don't know by reading this, but it shows us the good and bad of it, and gives us an idea of what it means to "do it".The Virgin Diaries was a huge help, just for somebody who is curious what sex really means, physically and emotionally.It's definitely tough talking about sex because there's a lot of confusion and mixed feelings regarding it, and everybody seems to have a different perception of it. What I know is from health class and young adult books.It's no secret that teens are having sex and while I don't think that that's a good decision with your life ahead of you, I don't agree with people who judge others like that harshly. I have my own opinion and since sex is personal, it irritates me when people try to force their opinion of it on others who maybe have made choices that they regret or are completely comfortable with their lifestyle.It honestly depends on the person, but since The Virgin Diaries has a completely diverse collection of stories, it appeals to everybody. It's beneficial to help with curiosity and it appeals to both adults and teens. Whether you're a virgin or not, this book is definitely helpful and entertaining.