Gawker wants Bella and Edward in the Twilight series to screw, already, dammit!
Counting down the days until the Twilight premiere?
I am, too, and I'm enjoying all the media attention the books and movie are getting.
But a recent Gawker post about the Stephenie Meyer series ticked me off. In "Vampire Chastity Belts: Anticipation for Sex That Never Comes is the Highlight of Twilight," blogger Alex Carnavale complains that the lack of sex in the book series is unrealistic, especially since the two main characters pine over each other for hundreds and hundreds and hundres of pages. Given the fact that Meyer is a Mormon, Carnavale seems concerned her book is preachy about sexual abstinence.
"...no one getting laid, even just in a passing reference? Some have chided the book for preaching abstinence and never discussing the sexuality of its central character, and it's hard to argue with that."
True, that's unrealistic -- especially for bored teenagers in a rural town! I do understand Carnavale's point, and I appreciate his concern about a "destructive message":
If Bella's attraction to Edward were based on anything more than his striking physique, I'd probably applaud the book's desire to push sex out of the picture. Yet she spends most of her time idly worshiping the chiseled features of her undead one-and-only. In the sequel, New Moon, Bella is now eighteen years old, and she never thinks for a moment about sex. Sure, sometimes she'll press herself against Edward's cold carapace and feel awesome, but that's as far as it goes.
The vampire side is more easily explained: Edward is consumed by a desire for Bella's blood (it sings to him), and he doesn't want to get too close. In fact, it's his elusiveness in the first novel that makes her disregard all the advances of her new classmates in the rainy Washington state hamlet of Forks. In this way, the book's story might make a better instructional tool for young men than young women. This approach makes less sense for Bella, who is far from free to express herself sexually. Was this the right move to ensure the books could be read by all ages? Indisputably, but that doesn't mean it can't also be a destructive message.
I'm the last person to say teenagers, young adults and even children shouldn't be exposed to safe, healthy sexual content -- I think American culture is schizophrenically both slutty and prudish. To that end, I support comprehensive sex ed in schools and I'd love to see a loosening up of the sex-related controversies in our pop culture.
But I also think we can't forget the Twilight books are young adult (YA) books. Young adults. Obviously not all young adults are sexually active, but what might be harder to wrap our heads around is the notion that not all young adults care to think about sexual activity at all times. If you've never kissed a boy before -- and certainly if you've never given a handjob or a blowjob -- it may seem frightening and overwhelming. It may seem like something you can picture yourself doing a year or two or five from now, but it's not a part of your life today.
And I think that kind of chastity, the kind that's not indoctrinated, is OK.
I think the commenter, ClicheLaMoron, on Carnavale's post was dead on (no pun intended). Even though she's much more cynical and doesn't think this is "healthy," I still think her point is right:
Ask a former teenage girl:
The book is TOTAL porn. But, not the scary kind with dicks. The kind that's PERFECT for teenage girls, which is all about getting off on the pain of loving someone so hard and not being able to have him. Which is a sexual feeling, even though that makes no sense to dudes. But in reality, you cannot have your idol because you are hideous and unpopular, not because HE LOVES YOU TOO MUCH TO EVER ENDANGER YOU WITH HIS LOOOOOOOVE, but the good/bad feeling is much the same.
I don't think this is healthy at all. But if you are raised to fear men as rapey, etc and be ashamed of your sexual feelings as making you dirty and worthless, you end up liking this book. Yaaaaaaay.
What's more, I thought the never-consummated sexual tension in Twilight was really hot. Maybe because it lets my imagination run wild? Maybe it's because I'm a tease and I'm attracted to teases who are my match? Maybe it's because I've confessed my love for chivalrous vampires? Who knows...I just wouldn't change the book at all. Are we so sexed up in our pop culture that we're taking to teenagers not having sex like a vampire takes to garlic?
Tell us in the comments section below....would the Twilight series be hotter with a long-hoped for consummatino of vampire sex? Or are these books hotter without it?