A few months ago, I wrote a post on Sex in Young Adult books. I got some great feedback from parents and teens, some who said yes, it was okay, some who said no, absolutely not, and others who had caveats… yes, if it’s presented tastefully, etc.
I went with the yes, if it’s presented tastefully crowd because– truth be known– the story has sex in it, and I need to tell the story as it comes out of my brain. Livvy and her boyfriend eventually make the decision to have sex (not in the first book, though), and it was something that I struggled to write. It had to be tasteful and non-descriptive. I censored myself more than normal and had to rewrite a few things to make it tame enough for young-public consumption.
Now… a few weeks ago, I started watching a show called Friday Night Lights. It ran from 2006 – 2011 on network television, and focused on a group of football players and their classmates at a fictional Texas high school. Ummmmm…
What. The. Hell. Was. I. So. Worried. About?!!
All the years that I ignored that show, I assumed that it was some wholesome show about a coach who was a positive influence on his players’ lives. Well, everything about that was right, except for the wholesome part. Not only do all the teens have sex, they all cheat on one another, too! If it wasn’t for the beautiful, monogamous relationship of the coach and his wife, I wouldn’t even be watching it anymore because no one else was faithful at all– even the ‘good’ kids cheated! I hated most of the main teenage characters for the majority of the first season, just because they had no self control and very little loyalty to people they supposedly ‘loved.’
I guess the show did confirm the belief that most kids that young don’t know love… but that’s not my point.
My point is that this was on mainstream television for years, and many, many teens (and younger kids, I’m sure) tuned into this show every week! And I’m worried about a book depicting monogamous sex between two teens that do, in fact, love and respect one another?
Yet another thing is confirmed: I worry too much.
All this being said, Friday Night Lights is an amazing show. After that first season, the characters started to mature, and I began to like them. The relationship between the coach and his daughter and her quarterback boyfriend make me realize I’m on the right track with Jack, Livvy and Jon. I love that dynamic, and it’s been fun to explore it.