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Mature Content (18+) > Debate: Proper Age to Read Erotica (18+)

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message 1: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicalynxo) Do you think that there should be a certain age restriction on erotica books, especially as to not scar younger readers?


message 2: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Parry (kathrynmorgan-parry) | 38 comments yes, the fifty shades was a great book but fifteen year old girls got the wrong impression of a sadistic lifestyle for that reason an age limit would be wise but then children would want to read it more. Um I guess as parents we can't win, the sure way to get kids to read something is to ban it or put age restrictions.


message 3: by Julie (last edited Aug 28, 2013 02:58PM) (new)

Julie Raust | 5 comments I agree, when you put restrictions on something it just brings more attention to the fact that they shouldn't read it.

I personally have been struggling with a similar challenge, I write erotic romance and have tween age children. They know I'm a writer and that I write love stories but not much more.

They've often asked me, "What's the name of your book?", "What are you writing about?", "Do people buy your books at the book store?" etc.

I hate to lie to them, but my books are definitely not appropriate for them to read (at least not until they're like....30ish - lol)

So far I've managed with vague responses, but I do struggle with this aspect of my chosen career. I want to set a good example for my kids. The best way I can do that is to follow my own dreams, despite what anyone may think of my chosen genre.

I just hope when they're old enough, they'll be proud of my work rather than embarrassed or disappointed.

Sorry if I got off topic, but if anyone has advice I'd love to hear it.

...Julie


message 4: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Parry (kathrynmorgan-parry) | 38 comments Julie wrote: "I agree, when you put restrictions on something it just brings more attention to the fact that they shouldn't read it.

I personally have been struggling with a similar challenge, I write erotic r..."


My kids are the same, erotic is what I write. My son is 16 so he knows what I write and don't want to know when I get a bright idea and blurt it out a beggining to a new book floating in my mind but my daughter has told her friends and her teacher when I keep telling her not to say anything. I'm glad she is proud of me but I don't like talking about what I write.


message 5: by Sarah (last edited Aug 29, 2013 07:19AM) (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments Julie wrote: "I agree, when you put restrictions on something it just brings more attention to the fact that they shouldn't read it.

I personally have been struggling with a similar challenge, I write erotic r..."


I started reading 'adult' books when I was about 13, I don't think the genre 'erotica' was around then - in the late 60's early 70's porn was porn and novels with sexual connotations were known as risque. The books I read contained sex scenes, but they were mild by todays comparisons. I have an eleven year old daughter and although I don't write erotica as such my books have chapters and scenarios that I would rather she didn't read until she is an age to understand. Her body is taking adult form but in her head she's still very naive of sex and stuff.

Sex in the city has a 10 yrs + sticker, I refused to let her watch it as it does contain graphic sex scenes. I am normally very laid back, she's seen her nephews in the buff so she knows boys and girls are different and I'm sure over the coming months she will learn all about sex and the human body at school. (Catholic School) so exactly how much knowledge is debateable.

Lol I get embarrassed when my 33 year daughter reads some of the stuff I write!

I tend to keep my sex scenes to myself, I write in seclusion up in my office in the gods, and my work is password protected in Dropbox so there is no way she can access it without my knowledge.

Sorry Julie, I think it depends on the maturity of your children, French Catholic education is geared to withold certain information until they think our children are mature enough to understand.


message 6: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 75 comments Always a difficult conundrum. Lady Chatterley's Lover be ignored by Secondary/High School students because he is too rude.

How about Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure|195144]Fanny Hill? Another erotic classic.

My own work has varied in explicitness and been commented on accordingly by friends and family. My own children are ow adults. I have always had a very liberal view of movies and books. I have more concerns about violence than sex!


message 7: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) That's such a good question. When I published my book, not erotica at all but it has a sex scene in it, I didn't take chances and rate it 18+. So if you're talking erotica, of course there should be a warning.
Not that I think younger people shouldn't read them, but I believe that they should at least be warned in advance.


message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments Philip wrote: "Always a difficult conundrum. Lady Chatterley's Lover be ignored by Secondary/High School students because he is too rude.

How about Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure|195144]Fanny Hill?..."


Lol! I didn't read Lady Chatterly until I was 30 something! And I totally agree, violence harms children more in the long run than sex.

I'm happy to let my daughter read my work, when she is of an age to understand without giggling behind the book and when she can read fluently in English!

Her English reading age is well behind her French reading age and by the time she achieves total comprehension I imagine she'll be of an age to understand without a fit of the giggles! And if there are explicit scenes a warning should always be printed. I'd have thought it was compulsory to have at least marked it adult reading?


message 9: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Sarah wrote: "Philip wrote: "Always a difficult conundrum. Lady Chatterley's Lover be ignored by Secondary/High School students because he is too rude.

How about Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure|195..."


I know things were I am are not mandatorily marked because I have been QUITE surprised a couple times.


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicalynxo) Irene wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Philip wrote: "Always a difficult conundrum. Lady Chatterley's Lover be ignored by Secondary/High School students because he is too rude.

How about Memoirs of a Woman o..."


So have I.


message 11: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Jessica wrote: "Irene wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Philip wrote: "Always a difficult conundrum. Lady Chatterley's Lover be ignored by Secondary/High School students because he is too rude.

How about Memoir..."


Glad I am not the only one! I know if I pick up a book that is labeled as romance then I might get surprised. However, I have picked up mystery novels and gotten completely surprised by 'spur of the moment' things.


message 12: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments Irene wrote: "Jessica wrote: "Irene wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Philip wrote: "Always a difficult conundrum. Lady Chatterley's Lover be ignored by Secondary/High School students because he is too rude.

..."


Yep, it sneaks in everywhere, even in horror stories! James Herbert has caught me out a couple of times!


message 13: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicalynxo) I think as long as there's a proper warning and you feel you're mature enough to read it, that's okay.


message 14: by Sarah (last edited Jan 20, 2014 08:39AM) (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments Jessica wrote: "I think as long as there's a proper warning and you feel you're mature enough to read it, that's okay."

I agree, maturity comes earlier to some people while others never seem to actually achieve it. My parents were horrified at some of my reading material at 14 and they only saw the ones I had to read as part of the curriculum. The other's I kept well hidden!

I won't read erotica if it doesn't have a strong story line holding it together. Sex is a natural act, but crude language and bad description is off putting, even for me. And books like 50 Shades give erotica a bad name, the sex was like my mothers' coffee...INSTANT. Not even lukewarm, never mind hot.


message 15: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 104 comments I think it depends on the maturity of the reader. I have erotica elements in my book and I have an advisory warning about it BUT I know plenty of adults who won't read erotica and younger people who would. Teens are curious and will get hold of books with sexual scenes in one way or another. I think the questions have to be asked - how is the sex portrayed - is it between consenting persons? Yes? Then surely that is important. Oddly a lot of people are far more concerned about sexual scenes than violent ones.

I would say mark it appropriately then it is up to the individual and their parents.


message 16: by Sarah (last edited Jan 20, 2014 08:56AM) (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments And needless violence damages a young mind far more than learning about love and relationships ever can. Though imagining ones parents having sex is horrifying when you're a teenager! Gross, so uncool.

When I was 16 my mother came into my bedroom and announced that she was pregnant...the first words that came to mind were 'does my dad know'...Duh, I would hope so, or Houston, we have a problem! But in my defence, I was still half asleep!


message 17: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Jessica wrote: "I think as long as there's a proper warning and you feel you're mature enough to read it, that's okay."

Right, I would like the warning to be there. I don't care if it's in there or not, will probably read the book either way, but I don't particularly enjoy reading it when it has been constructed like Sarah said in post 14.


message 18: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments A.L. wrote: "I think it depends on the maturity of the reader. I have erotica elements in my book and I have an advisory warning about it BUT I know plenty of adults who won't read erotica and younger people wh..."


You bring up a good point with how is it portrayed. I mean, take 50 Shades of Grey, I haven't read them (flipped through them yes, actually sat down, not), but I know people who have and would know whether or not you can do those sorts of things. Now, it doesn't bother me that they are about a sexual relationship, what does bother me is the way things are portrayed and the fact that I see pre-teen or young teen girls reading them. I mean maybe they are mature enough to realize that they are more of a fantasy than anything, but what if that is the first introduction they have to sex? To me that seems like it would be damaging, just as much as violence could.

From what I understand the relationships in the books are consensual but that part isn't really stressed and that concerns me a little...too often I have a read books where the woman is an object in the bedroom, not a person who has the right to say no (or if she does she is treated badly for "denying her man"). I just think that sort of image can be just as damaging and maybe that's why people make a fuss over sex versus violence.


message 19: by Ebonee (new)

Ebonee | 3 comments I do not think there should be an age limit. With that said if I had children I would not want my ten or thirteen year old reading erotica. I feel that it has less to do with content as much as it has to do with the mind of the individual doing the reading. I also think that people confuse erotica with romance. Those titles are used interchangeably.

I also feel that if a person is to monitor or put age limits on certain genres they need to not only monitor the content but the way the people in the works are being portrayed. There is a difference between a book where the people whether it be men or woman who are being objectified. Versus a book where the characters are fully developed and there may be sex and other mature content related to the act but there is no objectification.

I think the bigger issue is not censorship or monitoring who reads what, but what is read and how to educate younger readers on context rather then content.


message 20: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Ebonee wrote: "I do not think there should be an age limit. With that said if I had children I would not want my ten or thirteen year old reading erotica. I feel that it has less to do with content as much as it ..."

I completely agree!


message 21: by D.L. (new)

D.L. Hodges I'm a bit late to this party and might have a slightly different view (I have skimmed most of the posts but not all so forgive me if this has been mentioned). My book is gritty and descriptive in both the sex and violence (it isn't erotica). I let my 15 yr old read it. But here's the thing, we discussed it. I feel if you take a mature approach and speak to your kids that way, they will respond appropriately. I'm not necessarily speaking of pre-teen because most, likely, wouldn't understand the text/context of what is written.
Several years ago I caught one of my sons looking at porn on the internet - he was 13. Rather than going off the handle and telling him he couldn't/shouldn't look at it, we discussed what he was looking at and I explained that what he was viewing wasn't a true representation of how people interact. He actually brought that up this past summer (he's 20 now) and mentioned that he was surprised by how I handled it - and how scared he was - and that it did have an impact on him (in a good way). If we don't make it a taboo, it won't be perceived - thus a temptation - as such.


message 22: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 601 comments At times my writing can contain erotic elements but isn't necessarily erotica, and I still label it as Adult. The reason being some young adults are mature enough to handle the world as it is, and others aren't.

Often enough young minds react badly to adult subject matter because they haven't had better instruction on how to deal with topics they don't understand.


message 23: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 75 comments Richard wrote: "(I saw RFG post here and decided to jump in... Aargh...)

This topic comes up once in a while, and here's my take. First, I don't recommend any of my work for people under the age of 31, so don't b..."


Couldn't agree more.

I have a liberal attitude to this and I am far more concerned about common violence on TV, movies and in books than sex and nudity. When a bared nipple on mainstream TV (especially in the US) causes more outrage than a serial killer we have our priorities completely wrong.

I from the UK and remember thinking how restrictive the UK was compared to my travels in Europe. The USA was and continues to be worse. Has NBC or ABC ever shown full frontal nudity on it's screens? Yet the USA remains the largest producer of porn in the world. Contrast this with its approach to violence on TV where multiple murders are shown often in gory detail.


message 24: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 601 comments Having done information analysis there is a link between the Puritan ethic, Prohibition, and porn production.

If you're brought up to understand yourself and the world around you, you tend to have healthier attitudes toward sex, nudity, and the differences between genders.

If you're brought up to be ignorant of yourself and to fear the world around you while your elders harp on how disgusting and sinful nudity and sex are, then odds are you're going to seek what you can't have.

When Prohibition was passed in the US it was supposed to do away with alcohol consumption, gambling, prostitution, and non-medical drug use -- the effect was quite different, and spawned many tragedies.

Making some natural aspects of human life verbotten while pushing violence leads to a society that eventually destroys itself just as surely as teaching the masses to blindly follow those who would be the masters.

Personal responsibility, self-control, reason, and respect for the rights of others should be instilled in children before they become adolescents, not thrust upon them at age 18 when it's too late.

I saw a post where someone rebuked Richard by saying Xenophilia in SF is very niche, yet it's a topic I've seen in traditionally published novels many times. In fact, if you study the human genome, as humans we're all the products of Xenophilia in the sense that our species as we know it today is the result of hybridization with other near cousin species.

Can a reader younger than 18 years read my work without losing their mind, yes. But would I recommend my work for young people who are raised to live in a bubble fantasy, no.


message 25: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 75 comments R.F.G well said.

Humans are the only species I am aware of that have sex not just to procreate but for sheer enjoyment. Human beings have enjoyed the viewing of nudity throughout history (check out ancient art from any society) now we have religious and non-religious bodies that make nudity obscene. Sex the most natural thing we do (all species primary aim is to procreate) is dirty, shooting guns at bad guys is OK. It's a mad mad world.


message 26: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 601 comments Phillip,

Overcrowding is partly behind the human societal psychosis, and unless humans can come to terms with their place in the world...

There are people I wouldn't mind seeing nude, and others I'd rather not. My father used to walk down the hall for his 04:00 cup of kaffee naked, and several times I commented, "Dad, could you grab some underwear first?" His reply was typically, "If you don't like seeing it, you don't have to look."

I have a battle ax and a firearm. I also live where rattlesnakes, bobcats, feral hogs, coyotes, and the random mountain lion share the environment. If someone breaks into my home intent on reaving, they get the ax. I'll only shoot a natural predator if there is no other choice.

Erotica has it's place in our collective psyche for a reason, without it we're doomed to extinction.


message 27: by D.L. (new)

D.L. Hodges I believe part of it is because watching/reading sex often involves emotions and vulnerability (something many are uncomfortable with)...watching/reading violence, generally, doesn't.
Always loved the George Carlin bit about sex and violence and how much more comfortable people are with the latter scenario. In the bit he says a line then exchanges the word 'kill' with the word, ahem, fornicate.
The initial line was something like "Okay, Sheriff, we're gonna kill you but we're gonna kill you slow."
He may have been making fun but the point was spot on.


message 28: by R.F.G. (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 601 comments Manly men have no emotions -- manly men never say they cant do something. I've heard that a few times during my life.

When my first child was miscarried, I held my grief. When my first grandchild was miscarried, I found a private place to cry, because I didn't want any consolation.

Some things I could do easily in my youth are troublesome now due to damage suffered through the years. Does it make me less, no. All it means is I survived the childhood of my genetic line long enough to learn a few things.

I've seen people uncomfortable with their emotions and vulnerabilities, and they're also usually very uncomfortable with the thought of their own mortality.

And George Carlin often made valid points through his humor, points people wouldn't have heard otherwise.


message 29: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicalynxo) R.F.G. wrote: "At times my writing can contain erotic elements but isn't necessarily erotica, and I still label it as Adult. The reason being some young adults are mature enough to handle the world as it is, and..."

I completely agree.


message 30: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessicalynxo) Like I said, I don't think there should be a proper age. It just needs to be a maturity level. Because, as we all know, everyone matures at different rates. (Which is why some 20 year olds are scholars and other 20 year olds are still playing Lego Star Wars on Playstation in their parents' basements.)


message 31: by Ingrid, Just another writer. (new)

Ingrid | 928 comments Mod
Ebonee wrote: "I do not think there should be an age limit. With that said if I had children I would not want my ten or thirteen year old reading erotica. I feel that it has less to do with content as much as it ..."

This was really wise, and I completely agree. And (guilty as charged) I've read many erotica stories to differentiate the insubstantial, hollow ones from the ones where emotion is incurred


message 32: by Ingrid, Just another writer. (last edited Jul 12, 2014 06:08PM) (new)

Ingrid | 928 comments Mod
Philip wrote: "Richard wrote: "(I saw RFG post here and decided to jump in... Aargh...)

This topic comes up once in a while, and here's my take. First, I don't recommend any of my work for people under the age o..."


I'll add to this and say that I think it has to do with the US glorifying it's youth and their innocence (which to me is ridiculous because middle schoolers NOW are NOT like middle schoolers 10 years ago). Even though the majority population isn't 17 and below, we always censor rough topics. So yes, the US finds it acceptable to run a ponzy adult porno industry underwater and produce movies that show harrowing horrors but as soon as a young babysmooth face pops up on that screen, the blinds come on. It's hypocrisy, to some degree.


message 33: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Marie Gabriel (lisamariegabriel) | 7 comments Jessica wrote: "R.F.G. wrote: "At times my writing can contain erotic elements but isn't necessarily erotica, and I still label it as Adult. The reason being some young adults are mature enough to handle the worl..."

D.H.Lawrence is a personal hero. When I first read Lady Chatterley's Lover it was on the recommendation of my Head of 6th Form far too long ago to mention. He also recommended Tropic of Cancer. In context, this was a group read in a course he ran on the history of the novel which also included Moll Flanders, Tom Jones, Lucky Jim, Brave New World, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Basically it was about books that were revolutionary in their time.

My mother was horrified and wanted to complain to the Headmistress. I said "Read it first, it's not what you think!" She read it all through and said the "rude bits" were actually not that bad and most of the novel was about social issues. Correct!

My point is that what we perceive as "Adult", "Romantic","Erotic", "Erotica" or "Porn" all depend on the context of the sexual scenes as much as the content. It also depends on the age, background and personal taste of the reader.

I personally would not call Lady Chatterley's Lover erotica although I have no doubt that it was regarded as such by the judge that banned it. It was written in 1928 and not published openly until 1960 but it does deal mostly with the class system in 1920s Nottinghamshire and the morals of the early 20th century with regard to marriage and divorce. I am sure there will be those who still avoid it, which is sad. Is 50 Shades of Grey erotica? I only read book 1 of the trilogy and would have called it erotic romance rather than erotica.

I have no doubt that writers have far more freedom these days than when I was under 18 and I think within the context of a well written story that is probably fine. Would my mother cope with it? Possibly not, but she no longer regards D.H.Lawrence as a "naughty book". My Head of 6th Form won her over at least.


message 34: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Vince (patrickbvince) | 134 comments A little something to add on. My writings are poetry and some of the context is for mature reading. I touch base on the dark and gritty like rape, miscarriage, domestic violence. My daughters who are 20 have read my work and we had discussions about it. They are okay with what I wrote and proud to call me Dad.


message 35: by Trysh (new)

Trysh (tryshx) | 100 comments Just to jump in here... I truly think that 'age restrictions' aren't necessarily the answer... Every child is different, so every child will reach the level of maturity needed to read certain stories at different ages.


message 36: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Trysh wrote: "Just to jump in here... I truly think that 'age restrictions' aren't necessarily the answer... Every child is different, so every child will reach the level of maturity needed to read certain stori..."

Yes, the never ending "If we could only gauge maturity levels and replace age ratings with maturity levels, everything would be fixed." suggestion :)


message 37: by Mark (new)

Mark | 1 comments I put a warning in my preface, but didn't mention any age.

This may seem like a very dry and boring thing to say, but I think erotica in fiction can be educational. For example some of the issues around consent and informed consent could only be explained by example situations that I doubt would ever be discussed in a classroom and are unlikely to be read if in non-fiction.


message 38: by L (last edited Aug 23, 2015 02:08PM) (new)

L Interesting! I certainly don't think that this genre should be a teen's first introduction to sex, as it would be rather damaging.

certainly, I wouldn't have an under 18 read "Fanny Hill" or "Fifty Shades of grey".


It depends on the guy/ girl's maturity level -- which is hard to gauge?

personally it's just not my genre really.


message 39: by R.F.G. (last edited Aug 23, 2015 02:35PM) (new)

R.F.G. Cameron | 601 comments I label my work as for adults / contains graphic scenes, not so much for sex (though I have one or two risque scenes) but due to knowing some people can't handles some adult themes regardless of age.

What one thirteen-year-old would consider tame some sixty-year-olds would consider shocking due to factors like upbringing, mental maturity, and so on. That said, there are some kids who will go for a book simply due to an adult tag.

As for consentual issues, too many people mistake Age of Majority (voting or contractual age) with Age of Consent (for sexual relationships). Age of Consent varies by jurisdiction, with some having no such age for the unmarried to fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen in many.


message 40: by V.W. (new)

V.W. Singer | 43 comments I was interested in girls before I could read, and I searched out the "dirty" bits in every novel (even if it was just one line) I could find.

I would say the right age is when the child expresses an interest or tries to get it on his own. If he or she is determined there is no way a parent is going to stop a child from finding porn, whether it is from the Internet or from friends or "suppliers".


message 41: by Kat (last edited Sep 17, 2015 05:30PM) (new)

Kat Desi (katdesiwrites) | 15 comments I've been reading erotica since high school and I turned out okay... I think... Maybe not... I don't know. Heh.


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