Today we have Lauren Strasnick, author of Nothing Like You, which everyone should go buy October 20, 2009! Check her out at LaurenStrasnick.com.
Teens receive so much pressure to be sexually active. Do you think the media is at fault in some ways?
Oh, hard question! And I’m no expert – but yes. Well, yes, and no. I think you’d have to be an extraordinarily strong individual to resist media influence. Teen or not, it’s nearly inescapable! And I’m not just speaking about sexual pressures – what we eat, what we wear, who we like – we’re all vulnerable. That said, do I think teens would still be feeling pressure to be sexually active without media influence? Yes. I think that sort of pressure comes at teens from a billion different angles: friends, significant others, etc. But do I think the media adds to those pressures? Absolutely. Television, movies – they all make sex seem much simpler than it actually is. And I think the media perpetuates the myth that everyone is doing it. When trust me, not everyone is.
So many teens plan this “perfect” first time. Is this a reality?
I think that depends on your expectations. There’s so much importance placed on the physical – I’m not sure many teens prepare properly for the emotional ramifications of sex. If you love the person you’re with, if you go into it expecting an intense emotional experience, I think your expectations might be met. But most people I know would describe their first time as awkward, scary, perplexing, and um, painful (well, okay, most girls).
In your writing what do you try to show readers when it comes to sex?
I try to be as honest as possible when writing sex scenes, sexual themes, etc.
Is there a point at which you think a novel would have too much sexual content to be considered YOUNG ADULT?
Hmm. Another great question! Honestly, I don’t know. I think what’s so fantastic about YA fiction is that there really seems to be no limits. I’m hesitant to say that, yes, if something is too explicit, it shouldn’t be marketed as YA. Personally I see no harm in reading about it. There’s nothing wrong with curiosity – seeking out information about sex, etc. And what’s better than being able to experience something in a book that you may not be ready to experience in life? It’s the safest way I know to curb curiosity.
What would you say to your teenage sister who tells you she is planning on having sex for the first time?
I’d ask: why? What her expectations were. I’d consider her particular situation. Whether she had a boyfriend or girlfriend she felt particularly close to. I’d give a lengthy lecture on safe sex! :) And I’d encourage her to wait if she felt at all pressured. There is absolutely no rush. Seriously, it’s not a race. You have your whole lives to have sex!
Why do you think the media focuses on virginity so much? In almost every sexual book I have read it involves girl’s virginity being lost.
Well, it’s a doorway we all pass through. And I think most teens are curious about sex, whether they’ve had it or not. As adults, we all remember the befores and afters so vividly. How big it felt before it actually happened – and then afterwards comes the realization that we’re all pretty much exactly the same as we were before. It’s a topic that never stops being compelling! Clearly. Teen authors can’t stop writing about it.
Any last thoughts?
Thank you, Ashley, for hosting me on your blog! And for asking such smart, thoughtful questions.
Thank YOU Lauren! As I said, be sure to get your hands on Laurens upcoming release as soon as it comes out :)