I live in an unusual world where most of my conversations on a daily basis are either about good sex or bad sex. It is a strange thing being a rape victim activist/author of a book about sexual violence and also a romance editor. But to me, these things are compatible. They have an overlapping theme: how can we integrate intimacy, sexuality, and positive experiences into our culture so that both men and women feel empowered to make good choices with regards to sex.So when the Sexual Violence in YA Lit Project team started talking, conversations naturally flowed from “how is sexual violence represented in young adult literature” into “how is positive sex or sexuality represented in YA”. Which began a conversation about what teens know, what they don’t know, and the importance of books in helping them see their own sexual agency in the best possible light. Whatever choice they want to make about it.And we started a list of books that have positive representations of sex. Below is my list, but please go check out the lists of Karen Jensen, Carrie Mesrobian, and Trish Doller. (SPOILERS AHEAD)The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: I wanted this book to be first on my list because I think it has an amazing scene of respect for the main character’s emotional landscape and inability to consent. Charlie pulls back from sex with Sam and is listened to and honored for his choice. Charlie is a sexual trauma survivor and he’s not ready to be in that place with Sam even though touch feels good. I was pretty much sobbing when Sam said, “It’s okay that you’re not ready” and then helped him get dressed. This. Yes. Perfect.How to Love by Katie Cotugno: This is a beautifully written “consent” scene in which Sawyer asks “are you sure?” twice, and Reena is solid about her yes. But more than that is the part of this adorable scene where he promises to go slow. And in that promise you understand something important about these two, which is that not only do they both want to be there, but there is no “let’s get it over with” backdrop to this conversation. It’s a scene where it’s made clear they both want a positive experience from it.Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma: I wanted to include this book because the author puts the reader in a uncomfortable place of witnessing the growing sexual attraction between a brother and a sister, understanding their shared trauma and how they got to that place, and drawing us into an incredibly intimate sex scene between the two of them that is equal parts horrifying and heartbreaking. It is incredibly difficult to write sex scenes that are not at all sexy but are still emotionally devastating. Suzuma does it beautifully.If I Stay by Gayle Forman: So the “play me” scene where Adam teaches Mia how to be comfortable with him intimately by having her hands on him like she’d play the cello and then he plays her like he would the guitar, well, holy hell, it’s beautiful and sexy and perfect because it has this shared understanding of something they’re both passionate about (music) and how they can use it to get past the awkwardness of Mia’s first time. And it takes the reader through all the emotions of first time sex and awkwardness and honesty and yes, this scene is one of my favorites I’ve ever read.The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry: This book has an absolutely beautiful scene with a one-armed guy back from combat having sex with his girlfriend for the first time and it’s so perfect and awkward and sexy. And it starts with him saying this, “The second you say pause, we pause or we stop”. And then he says, “I’ve never done this with one arm. I mean, I might need some help.” And then I just about died of cuteness and all the awesome sexiness in this scene. And gosh, Jolene does awkward in the best way and makes it way more awkward for him (who has had sex before) than for his girlfriend (who has not) because she is the instigator of the whole thing and he’s the one who keeps wanting to make sure that she’s sure because he likes her and doesn’t want to screw things up. PERFECTION.And now, I’m going to add one more that was originally pubbed as a YA and has since been re-categorized as an NA. I want to include it because it involves gay characters and it also involves something that is important to include in the discussion: “good sex” that happens even though it is a bad idea for both characters.Hushed by Kelly York: I loved this book because it’s what I call the gay Dexter book. Serial killer, high stakes drama, a girl who has gone off the edge and the guy who has pretty much followed her there, and then in the midst of it all is this other guy named Evan. And I love the shower scene between Archer and Evan in this book because it comes amidst drama and all sorts of questions but it’s so natural for these two guys. And the way it’s written is sexy but also frantic and you are deep into Archer’s emotional landscape and you understand how much he is craving solace and you also in the back of your head understand that this is not a good idea for either of them, and I think there’s something really important about seeing good sex done for the wrong reasons. Because that happens too, and the raw honesty of it is really important to add to this conversation.
Hi! I don’t remember whether I’ve specifically answered this, actually! No, in the Genesisverse there is no such thing as an Alpha rut. It’s a trope that I have issues with, tbh, because I feel like people use it as, or at least excuse it being, a form of societally-sanctioned rape within A/b/o ‘verses that use it, and that’s one of the more problematic parts of A/b/o in general. Besides being the opposite of the message I wanted to go with in Genesis, it also just grosses me out as a concept, ha. I feel like when you already have a trope where the penetrated partners have a week of being just beyond a line of conscientious consent in their desperation for sex, adding in a second element of the penetrating partners literally can’t control themselves from fucking people really crosses a line from dubcon to noncon. (And since the whole Heat thing is generally used as an aphrodisiac/a way to make Alphas equally desperate to fuck anyway, then I feel like ruts are unnecessary? If Alphas already have so much trouble controlling themselves from penetrating whoever walks past and is an omega, why give them more leeway?) Bleh!
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this is so important
- Charlie Sheen
- Sean Connery
- Gary Oldman
- David Hasselhoff
- Mel Gibson
- Michael Fassbender
- Nicholas Cage
- Gary Busey
- Bill Murray
- Alec Baldwin
- Tommy Lee
- Josh Brolin
- Sean Penn
- Woody Allen
- Roman Polanski (also a known pedophile)
- Axl Rose
- Sonny Bono
- John Lennon
- Sean Bean
- Elvis Presley
- Kelsey Grammar
- Chris Brown
- Jared Leto
- Kobe Bryant
- Ben Roethlisberger
- R. Kelly (also a known pedophile)
- Woody Allen (also a known pedophile)
- Jimmy Page (also a known pedophile)
Who Tumblr/Internet/Society cares about when they beat/rape women:
- Chris Brown
When questioned, girls in middle school are able to come up with countless ways of “protecting themselves”, “keeping safe”, and “avoiding rape”. Middle school. It doesn’t start that early, it starts earlier, because by that ripe old age of 12 or 13, they can rattle off more ideas than you can write. They have already been dealing with this kind of harassment, and they know what else is a possibility.
So if girls are practicing these “techniques” at such early ages, and we still have a rape epidemic, what does that say?
It says girls teach themselves how to avoid rape and assault, They grow up in this environment, they know it, they breathe it. Unfortunately, aligning to a rape schedule comes naturally, because it has to. Because they know they’ll be blamed if they didn’t do everything perfect, always.
Girls know “how to avoid rape”, but that means absolutely nothing if there are people committed to raping. They’ll find a way because we can’t all be “perfect” always; and this societal ideal of women being perfect and avoiding rape means not existing as autonomous beings who can exist in a world of peace and agency.
Rebloggable by request!
I am so fed up
of stupid halloween costumes
having to look ‘sexy’ if you’re a female.
I just want to dress up and act like a kid again!
But it’s ok! Because even kids get to experience this too! I mean-
~deep sighs~ don’t they grow up fast?
ooh look, a nice practical sailor costume-
The whole idea that ‘when women say one thing they actually mean another’ or that ‘men can’t understand women’ or any variation thereof is incredibly dehumanising and basically paints women as some alien race that no one can ever understand.
The result of this is that it makes it a lot easier for men to completely shut out and ignore our opinions and emotions by saying ‘that’s not what you really mean’ and it also contributes to rape culture because then people go ‘well she didn’t really mean no when she said it’.
It’s basically just another way for men to completely ignore us and act as if our voices do not deserve to be heard because we ‘can’t be understood’ or ‘we don’t really mean it’.
IF YOU BLAME YOUNG GIRLS FOR NOT KNOWING HOW TO REACT TO UNWELCOME SEXUAL ADVANCES FROM ADULT MEN I WILL DESTROY YOU, I WILL ERADICATE EVERY PROTON THAT COMPRISES YOUR WORTHLESS BODY, HOW DARE YOU