Kelly Lawrence on Writing About Sex for Teens
There has been a lot of talk in the publishing and literary world this year about the emerging ‘New Adult’ genre, particularly those stories focusing on romance and relationships, which thanks to their increased heat levels have been dubbed ‘teen steamies’. It’s a great opportunity for writers of erotic romance to reach a wider market. But just how steamy can they be? As erotica authors, we have to ask ourselves how much responsibility we have towards providing suitable content for possibly underage readers, and how we balance this with writing commercially readable stories – after all, sex sells.
‘New Adult’ stories feature and are aimed at young women in their late teens to mid-twenties. The title ‘teen steamie’ is then something of a misnomer. Of course the average nineteen to twenty year old is probably having a fulfilling sex life, so why shouldn’t she be entitled to read about it? But just as women from their twenties to their eighties enjoy stories aimed at much younger women, so most teenage readers will read above their age group; one of the recent works reported to have contributed to the rise of the steamie is in fact the infamous ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ which is most certainly aimed at fully grown adults; this hasn’t stopped schoolgirls reading it in giggling groups on the buses! Which brings me back to my first question; how steamy should they be?
Predictably the very mention of ‘teenage’ and ‘sex’ in the same sentence gives rise to outraged parents and political tub thumping. Teenage sex is bad, is the general consensus. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to stop them indulging in it, if the rates of teenage pregnancies in the UK and US, both major markets for NA fiction, are anything to go by. For authors to ignore this seems to me both unrealistic and even irresponsible. Do you remember being sixteen?
As with all and any possibly controversial subject matter, the important thing is surely how it is handled. In my first YA (New Adult? crossover?) romance, ‘Unconditional’ I have tried to find a balance between writing a realistic and dramatic love story and handling the more erotic scenes sensitively. The main character, Ashley, is about to go to university and is still a virgin, in direct contrast to her friends, one of whom is a teenage mother. When she meets self-confessed ‘bad boy’ Joe he is the catalyst for her sexual awakening. Although I would categorise the sex scenes as ‘sweet’ rather than ‘steamy’ others may disagree. As much as the heroine makes – I think – empowered choices during the course of the novel and I have tried to address the issues facing young women in this situation (contraception for example, and that utterly modern phenomenon, sexting) I was ultimately aiming to write a good, sexy story, not a moral fable.
And on that note…here’s a sneak peek at Ashley’s first experience of getting hot and heavy with the delectable Joe…
Extract from Unconditional
What starts as a tender moment quickly turns into a full on passionate kiss, with my butt pressed up against the edge of the table and his hand coiled in my hair, tugging on the back of my head gently. I explore his mouth with my tongue, the warm taste of him and the feel of his arms round me and the smell of oil and aftershave and sweat all combining to make my head spin. I’m lost. I’m so caught up in sensation that I scoot back on the table slightly and open my legs to pull him in between them, my feet hooking around the back of his calves. We’re pressed together so tightly I can feel the heat of his body through his trousers and my jeans. I want to take his clothes off. I want him to take my clothes off.
I arch into him, giving an involuntary whimper when his hand slips up my top and runs lightly over my bra. I don’t freeze or try to stop him this time; I want him to touch me. He cups one breast in his hand and rolls my nipple gently between his fingers. I gasp at the sudden intense pleasure of it and kiss him harder, my tongue diving into his mouth. When he pulls away I think he’s going to stop and disappointment zings through me until I realise he’s lowering his head to my chest.
Published by Lodestone Books
Buy Unconditional Here:
eBook — Amazon.co.uk
Print — Amazon.co.uk
eBook — Amazon.com
Print — Amazon.com
Kelly has been writing since she was able to pick up a pen and wrote her first novel, an historical romance about Anne Boleyn, at the tender age of twelve; it consists of 200 notebook pages tied together with string and still takes pride of place in her grandmothers’ display cabinet. She was married at eighteen and divorced at twenty-one, and graduated with first class honours from Warwick University in the meantime. After seven years as a literacy teacher she now writes full time. ‘Wicked Games’ is her first book, a true-life erotic memoir that she hopes will scandalise the locals in the beautiful village she now lives in, in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. She lives with her wonderful and long-suffering partner and has recently become a practicing Buddhist.
Find Kelly Lawrence Here