Monday, May 27, 2013

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby... No Diggity..

( If you haven't seen Pitch Perfect, you probably don't get the title reference at all. Sorry. Anyways, that's like my favorite scene of the movie. Love the songs throughout it all, and it's one of my favorite movies! Watch it- it's awesome! :P )

That’s right. We’re discussing a topic that seems to be a bit popular right now in the book world. S-E-X. Of course, I don’t have anything against it all. I enjoy reading books where I can swoon over the characters and their romantic actions. We’re seeing it picked up more even in YA and now with the category, NA, can get a lot steamier romance with a still kind-of young adult feel but older characters.

But I’m having a lot of quirks with this topic at the same time because I’m seeing some issues along the way with these books I’m picking up that it seems is not being noticed or worried about much. Is it just me? Perhaps. Maybe I worry too much. But there are readers who are getting an impression from these romances and I feel I have to put my two cents in finally.

I read books where girls have pregnancy scares because they haven’t used protection. But there’s no fear or worry of STDs. Not even a mention. My curiosity has risen to a level where I just want to ask authors and readers why? If this was reality, there could be serious consequences. And what is being taught to readers? These are YA and NA books, by the way, so it bothers me. Hell, it would bother me even as adult reads. Did you know females can get a type of cervical cancer from a STD/type of virus? Yep. I know this because I battled the cancer when I was 20 years old. I’m ashamed to admit that to be honest, but at one time I was young and stupid and I got pregnant when I was 18 and the guy gave me that virus that resulted in a stillbirth, and later cancer. All treated and cured now so no worries.

Anyways, my biggest concern lately has been these reads with these characters. Sex? Great! Get steamy! I don’t mind a bit! Especially when I’m swooning over the romantic interest right along with the character. But no protection? Why? Why do that? Is it really that important to your plot? You can’t write in a quick addition of someone grabbing a condom? Practice safe sex. C’mon. I feel like you’re treating the reader like an idiot. Unless I see that it’s crucial to the plot, when I come across a scene like this, I’m instantly going to roll my eyes to be honest.

How I see some of these scenes:

Girl: OMG, I think I’m pregnant!

Friend: Did you use protection?

Girl: No, it just…you know…happened. *girly giggle* But seriously, what if I’m pregnant?!

Friend: Just take a test!

Girl: Okay!

Girl runs to store with Friend, buys test and runs to the store bathroom because she can’t wait until she gets home to pee on the stick. They gossip in front of the mirror while waiting for the results. When it’s ready, they fumble with the box for five minutes trying to figure out what the lines mean before they learn the answer.

Girl: Whew! I’m not pregnant! That was close. I thought I almost lost my chance at wearing those heels to prom.

Friend: I know, right? And the blue dress wouldn’t have flattered you if you’d had a baby bump.

And they exit without another word the rest of the book on the matter.


Okay. Of course that’s not from a REAL book. Completely out of context. But it’s an example of things similar to what I’ve seen. Haha. But do you get what I’m saying? I’d like to know why isn’t more discussed upon when it comes to anything remotely serious in any of these areas. Pregnancy, STDs, etc. If you’re going to have characters get into something as serious as sex, they’re going to need to face the serious consequences and realities of it, too. Right? The implications that many of these characters aren’t using protection is concerning in my opinion, but could open an opportunity for authors to share more about it. It’s impressionable to readers. Is it just me? Or would you agree?

And the virgin characters? Just stop. Please… they’re not going to be the “perfect” lovers the first time in bed. That just doesn’t happen. I’m tired of reading that. Many of us already know that sex is just awkward-- even for those of us who have done it many times. My problem with the virgin characters though is that once they lose their virginity in most of what I’ve read so far, they’re suddenly written as either experts--or written to be “slut-shamed” to move the plot along--and this bothers me. Why should one suddenly be labeled a slut just because she lost her virginity? Or even be labeled as such for any reason at all? The slut-shaming in books has to be the worst either way. I hate seeing the treatment of characters by other characters just because they’ve had sexual relationships, because this does lead to a lot of the problems we’ve seen in reality. Yes, people are cruel. They slut shame. It happens unfortunately. There are books out there that can make it feel realistic with the right type of voice. But more than often it’s too overdone and unbelievable.

All of this is almost as bad as my quirk with some of the actual relationships I’ve read. Why would any woman think a man that is controlling and manipulative is “hot” and “romantic”. That’s completely beyond my understanding. I won’t go into this topic really or I might be here all night. O_o

Like I said, I’m probably over-thinking too much.

What are your thoughts on the above topics? Do you think maybe the sex in books recently isn’t stressed seriously enough? Taken too lightly? Or do you think any of it really shouldn’t be a worry? Discuss!



  1. Actually, you are not overthinking at all. I was thinking this just yesterday as I was reading a New Adult book. I am also bugged by the virgin characters who turn out to be perfect lovers on their first try. And suddenly know how to be so, just because they lost their virginity. Not realistic. Also with the slut shaming. And It bothers me that there is no mention of protection for STD's. Just pregnancy.

    It's so crazy. It's like. Getting pregnant is the worst thing. How about disease as well?

    I'm annoyed with the portrayal of sex not only in YA but NA books lately, in general. It sometimes makes me not want to read some of them, because they are doing these portrayals that are so unrealistic and uninformative and it bugs me!

    I'm so glad you brought this up, girl. I felt I was the only one who felt this way.

    Great post!

    Jennifer @ Dream Reads

  2. Yes!! I totally agree, and I thought I was overreacting! Steamy New Adult books are all well & good and there have been some really great books that I've read, however I agree that the portrayal of sex can often be so ridiculous. The lack of protection is worrying, and it's not even just the fact that it's not mentioned, but that it's blatantly said that they didn't use any.

    Fallen Too Far is one book that I disliked because of it's portrayal of sex. I know that it was a hugely popular book, but it was so unrealistic the way Blair suddenly became a sex goddess after her first time. But what I really couldn't believe was when Rush said he wouldn't use any protection:

    "No condom tonight. I'll pull out. I just need to feel all of you" he said

    And that's a direct quote! Not only is that totally unreliable, but it reinforces the idea that pregnancy is the only reason to use one.

    I have heard some authors say that they don't write about using protection because it spoils the moment, but I've read plenty of scenes where it's done very effectively. Just mentioning that they grab a 'foil packet' doesn't effect the sexiness of the scene does it?

    A great article!

    Amy @ The Reading Realm


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