This is my personal blog and does not necessarily reflect the collective views of Hard Limits Press

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the controversy meter!

Today the controversy is sex wherein one of the participants is underage.

My current WIP, The Bittersweet Vine, features this controversy as one of its major romantic subplots.

Recently I came across a small press that forbids underage sex. It's something the morality police particularly loathe, or so it would seem. I, however, think the idea that characters in novels should whip out two forms of government issued identification before having sex is odd and in some ways a trifle offensive.

It's such an American/Western idea! It's not something we like to think about, perhaps, but there are many cultures that operate on different norms than ours. Those cultures sometimes have definite ideas about age, sex, and adulthood that differ from the American perspective. Even in our own country, the legal age of consent is often younger than the assumed eighteen.

Not to give too much information, but I was certainly not eighteen when I first had sex. (as an aside the people I know who were over eighteen are invariably male. Go figure) No one I knew was over eighteen at the time, either, other than the exceptions covered by my bracketed statement.

What I am trying to say is that I find moral ambiguity and the reality of people's messy, inconvenient lives much more interesting than things that are considered proper. Real life is not an orderly thing, wherein we all fall in love with the people best suited to us.

How about you, though? Do you ever write about this topic? If so, how do you handle it?


  1. Forgive me for remaining vague on the details, but this is a subject I may be loosely skirting in my current WIP. I think fiction allows us to explore the 'reality of people's messy, inconvenient lives' in a way that doesn't always make people comfortable, but may just make them think about things in a different way. I haven't decided exactly how to tackle it, it's more of an idea at this point, but it's something that I need to be very certain is worth including, otherwise it's getting thrown out.

  2. I think you're on to something there. I actually respect people who can include fluff, erotica, or horror elements just for the sake of them. Perhaps it helps establish atmosphere, and there's something to be said for fan service. But I want everything to have a point, and I can't write something like that unless I know why it's there and what I am saying with it.

    I also agree that at its best fiction makes us evaluate our values, especially genre works. Push those boundaries, I say!