Sex sells. It sells movies. It sells books. It sells CDs. Sometimes, unfortunately, it even sells people. And as our culture gets more and more obsessed with youth, the stories of the young and the lustful are pretty much everywhere: in both living and undead form. As this occurs, many are getting, in my opinion, creepishly okay with our teenage pop icons sloring it up for the cameras. And as sexy-time increases, the age that kids lose their virginity decreases. Soooo....how is our media dealing with this.
1) Books: As a pretty avid reader of YA I've noticed a few major themes as far as "the first time" is concerned
a) It's super-duper, comically awkward and, in the end, the pair ends up either giving up, being mortified, or laying in each other's arms saying "well, I guess we're just not ready for this."
b) Their's some super slutty character (he/she is usually hiding from something, btw) who screws anything with a pulse and a nice car until he/she meets the person of his/her dreams or comes to some other epiphany and realizes it was all a mistake and "really, I only ever wanted to be loved."
*It is also possible that this person never learns and comes to some horrible end...Sorry.
c) All goes well, except then one party doesn't call the other or turns out to be a horrible person and the other person involved has to learn how to get over it
d) Everything's wonderful and the pair live happily ever after
2) Music: If you look at popular music (because going into all genres would take too long) there's two main themes.
a) Sex, sex, lots of bitches and hos having sex, bringing sexy back, or droppin it like it's hot...aka virginity does not exist. STD's...don't exist. There is only one thing that exists: Sex
b) OR the Taylor Swift version...I gave everything for you. You were a jerk to me. I'm never going to fall for someone like you again .... at least not until I have to write more songs for my next album.
3) Television: Take mediums 1 and 2 and mix them together.
Sometimes, in all of this, it seems hard to find something accurate. When I was writing my dystopian, it was easier to bring up, because the character's didn't know anything about anything from the outside world, so giving them honest dialog about a lot of their feelings was more feasible without making it sound preachy. Still, you always want to guide readers towards learning without them feeling like they're reading a fable or being preached to, which is always tricky. There's so many books that remind teens that being sexual is normal, which it is, and so many top 40 songs that act like having a new suitor every night is no big deal, but there's so many other feelings before and after that are so much more than just the sex itself. It's so much deeper than that. You know that. I know that. And yet, a surprising amount of folks haven't figured that out yet.
Actually, I'd venture to say, that adult novels do a better job with that. When an MC finds the person she's been looking for, despite previous relationships and sexual encounters, and then learns to deal with that, whether things work out or turn sour. Every relationship has it's own "first time" after all, a chance to turn your world upside-down and make it all seem new.
That's another thing, I think there's too much pressure about sex and virginity for young people. School's, despite talks on safe sex, preach mostly abstinence. Media either makes kids feel like losers for not having it or like miscreants for wanting it so early. Or, as mentioned in 1a, gives the message of "You want it, but it's just going to end up a mess, so don't worry silly, just hold out." I mean, kids aren't really more sexual now than they ever were, it's just that there's more of a spotlight on it now. The idea of virginity was originally created by men as a way to control women anyway. It's synonymous with purity and being clean. And don't those things have to do with more than just sex?
<3 Gina Blechman
New song titled "Virginity." Ironically created just in time for this weeks sex & writing theme, not the other way around. (And yes, I'm nearly 20 and still have a Harry Potter blanket hanging on my wall.)