1. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    Young Adult Horny teenagers

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Ettina, Feb 21, 2017.

    I'm writing a YA Queer Dystopia, and one of the main characters is figuring out that she can be attracted to any gender. I'm wondering, how much detail would be considered appropriate for this age group? I have a scene where she gets flustered in a girls' change room because she's liking the view a bit too much (especially her best friend and one-sided crush), so she flees to the bathroom. My view of the scene is that she'd probably be physically aroused (ie wet) and clean herself up a bit as she's finishing up changing. Can I describe that explicitly, or should I just focus on the emotions and gloss over the physical aspect?
    On the one hand, when I was a teen, I would have benefited from more explicit discussion of what sexual arousal feels like, especially since I'm asexual. But on the other hand, I don't want to scandalize people over this, especially if they might otherwise find it a good YA queer novel.
    Also, since I'm ace, does this sound like a reasonable reaction for a teenage girl, or is she coming across as having too high a sex drive? Is this sort of thing plausible when a questioning queer girl is changing with a crush?
     
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  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    I'm no expert on this, but from what I gather about YA, violence and adult themes aren't a problem at all (Hunger Games) but profanity and graphic sexual imagery is a big no-no. Think of it like TV. They don't bother to censor violence much but the boobs and f-bombs are a no-go. YA isn't my thing though so the rest of the crew will probably have more insight than I.
     
  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    YA has a huge range - from stuff that's really pretty tame to "edgy" YA that takes on rape, drug abuse, mental illness, etc.

    That said? I don't know - the "cleaning up" thing doesn't work for me, personally - it just feels kinda gross. I wouldn't want to say that with any sort of authority, but purely as a personal reaction? I'm not a fan.
     
  4. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Asexual too (specifically AroAce).

    I personally focused on my characters' romantic orientations in my YA novella and completely ignored their sexual orientations, but that was mostly because I'm trying to break the popular "straight = love, gay = sex" narrative, not because I don't understand sexual attraction myself (if I was going to ignore it for that reason, then I'd also have to ignore their romantic orientations).

    I personally preferred John Saul's books with little-to-no YA sexual description (The Homing, Black Lightning, Perfect Nightmare) over his books with more (Punish the Sinners, The Devil's Labyrinth), but my understanding is that he never got in trouble for the books he wrote with more description.

    Though I would on general principle look into misconceptions about gay and bi people sharing locker rooms with straight people.
     
  5. Nicoel

    Nicoel Senior Member

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    My vote is Yes. I loved all the explicit details in books when I was younger. I also had a very high sex drive. Lol. However. Media. Christian Moms. Etc is all a factor. I mean - you are already writing about a queer person exploring their sexuality. You've already insulted a demographic of people with that alone - just ask yourself, "Do I mind insulting more people?"

    If you reference her cleaning herself up, I would mention some subtle masturbation. If shes that aroused then just touching herself to clean is gonna lead to some mild rubbing and touching. Not saying it'll go any further than that (I mean, it COULD) - but that was just my personal experience as a female teen with a high libido.
     
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  6. S A Lee

    S A Lee Contributor Contributor

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    I have to agree with @Nicoel here, you can't write anything without upsetting someone and something that helps a YA understand sexual-related feelings is important because we have enough rubbish shaming something that is perfecting natural.

    For the record, I'm demi-hetero, I don't get the 'he's hot!' part but I develop the interpersonal part.
     
  7. MangoKate

    MangoKate New Member

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    One part of me thinks you should focus less on the being wet part and more on the other feelings. Feeling flushed etc. Maybe the emotional side of it.
    The other part of me thinks young adults are certainly old enough to read about the more physical side of things and it would probably be helpful for some teenagers to not feel so weird or gross for having these feelings themselves.

    In saying that I don't think most girls would get turned on enough by the visuals to get so wet they had to clean themselves up, but hey, everyone is different and maybe that's normal for your MC. Nicoel mentioned mild rubbing and touching. Maybe your MC could struggle a bit because she could feel her crouch getting a bit wet and was having to fight the urge to reach down and touch herself? I probably would go too much further than that though with explicit details of how she was touching herself, though most teen readers would probably love it if you did haha
     
  8. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    This is purely my own opinion, but I think of YA as pre-watershed, in which case the odd "fuck" (as in the swear, not the act) is allowed, and implied sexual content, and some justified violence off-screen... but going into the sloppy details might be a bit much. I don't know though, just my take on it.
     
  9. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    OK, so I'm getting that her getting wet/aroused just from being in the change room would suggest a very high sex drive? I'm hoping to aim for more average to low, so I'll tone it down.

    I do need to make it clear that she is both romantically and sexually attracted to people, though, because the other MC is a homoromantic ace and I want it to be clear how their attractions differ. (And argh! This is so tough for an aroace like me to write! It feels like I'm writing a book in a specialist field that everyone else is an expert in and I'm not!)
     
  10. ChaseTheSun

    ChaseTheSun Senior Member

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    Seeing somebody's naked body and feeling aroused may or may not lead to wetness (not being 'wet' does not equate to not being aroused), however pure visual stimulus alone would hardly be enough to produce wetness to the point of needing to be mopped up. Some physical stimulation would be necessary to get to that point.
     
  11. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Contributor

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    Speaking as one who always avoided girls' change-rooms if I could help it let me say this (I think I am a pretty average heterosexual): Visual is only one sense, and, in my personal opinion, the weakest, with the smallest impact on sexual arousal. Disregarding touch (I can't really see how that would work in the named location), a specific tone of voice can immediately arouse me to the point of physical reaction. However, I can't say if they'd horse around in a change-room ;)
     
  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    You could communicate the attraction with emotion and thought rather than a physical reaction. I realize that that might be harder, but I think that it would be more plausible.
     
  13. G. Anderson

    G. Anderson Active Member

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    I think it depends on the market you are addressing the book to? I think that you write in English but I couldn't see where you're from.

    Growing up in Northern Europe including Britain, explicit scenes in YA novels were fairly common. I've read more physically explicit YA novels than adults novels actually, which fits the curiosity of teenagers. But from what I know from my American friends, it's not so common over there.

    So, I'd check the specific YA market to see if it's scandalising or not. Also, no, that she's physically attracted to her crush, I don't think makes her come across as having a very high sex-drive.
     
  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Speaking as one who nearly got expelled for drilling a hole in the wall between a storage lobby and the girls changing room, and charging my male classmates a quid each to look through it ( Hey, it was about 30 years ago... I'm sure we all did stuff we arent too proud of at that age ) I would say that the girls changing room is a bitter disapointment from the point of view of arrousal ...

    I agree about visual being just one sense, and yes tone of voice, accent, scent, taste, touch etc can all move to to physical reaction as easily as visuals - although again changing rooms are generally a dead loss from the scent point of view unless you are deviant enough to get turned on by "eau de sweaty trainer"
     
  15. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    And, let's be honest, most people (male and female) are pretty hideous when naked.
     
  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    you speak for yourself ... i have the scupted body of a young greek god (shame its hidden under 80lbs of wobbling fat)
     
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  17. Comatoran

    Comatoran New Member

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    Given the speed with which people change when they're in a public changing room, (at least every one I've ever been in,) it's probably going to be unrealistic for anything much to happen. If I were you, I'd probably go with something along the lines of, "Main Character realized that she'd been staring at Crush's body as she changed. Heat rose to her cheeks, as well as other places, and she quickly turned her attention back to putting her own clothes on."
     
  18. amerrigan

    amerrigan Active Member

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    Is the poetic nature of what you tried to write something along the lines of that her mind and her body are doing two separate things?

    While her mind was wondering down a path of its own accord, it started turning on new feelings. When she realized this, she fled. Mentally and physically.

    After she had fled, her mind was now cleared. But in this clarity she was able to discover that her body had manifested her 'feelings' in a very physical and undeniable way.

    Am I right in reading this as the flow of your subtext?

    If so... how do you show the concept of mental feelings manifesting into an undeniable physical desire using the female body as your canvas?

    Surely it has to have been done before? How did other writers do it?
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2017

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