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Are Teen Vampire Books too X-rated?

Some people think so and they want something done about it. According to an article published by Fox News, a study of young adult books was conducted and it was discovered that these books were a little racier than parents would like.

Researchers reported in the Journal of Sex Research that books aimed at 12 and 13-year-olds were no less sexy than books aimed at readers ages 14 and up. On top of this, the sex was rarely presented in a healthy light, meaning that safe sex (contraceptives) and the consequences were almost never mentioned, said study researcher Sarah Coyne, a psychologist at Brigham Young University.

“I would never argue for censorship,” Coyne told LiveScience. “But I do think we’re missing something here.”

Coyne and her colleagues checked out the top 40 books for young adults from a 2008 list of best-sellers published by The New York Times (many of which are vampire books). What they found was that many of the books the researchers examined were free of age-inappropriate sexual content, Coyne said. The “Harry Potter” books, for example, are fairly free of sex. Of the 55% of books that did have sexual content, Coyne estimated that only a half-dozen or so had explicit or implicit references to sexual intercourse.

The “Gossip Girl” books and a vampire series “The Anna Strong Chronicles” were two series that were particularly focused on sex, Coyne said.

While I agree that some young adult books do push it a bit and shouldn’t be read by younger and less-mature readers, I fail to see what the Anna Strong books have to do with anything, seeing how those books are for adults. I mean, the main character is in her thirties so it’s pretty clear that they aren’t meant for the kiddies. Also, next to the article is a picture of Twilight, yeah, why? I am guessing the person who constructed this article has never read the books, because Twilight is not sexually inappropriate, they wait until marriage for goodness sakes and the scene isn’t even described.

But those minor issues aside, Coyne did make a point to say that “A lot of the books were just great. But other books had quite a bit, some quite graphic sexual content. Some that I was actually really surprised that it was aimed at an adolescent audience.”

Coyne then added that the goal is not to censor books or discourage reading. However, she feels parents should be aware that you can’t always judge a teen book by its cover. In some cases, she said, the content of a book aimed at a 12-year-old would earn it an R rating if it were a movie.

“What I would love is more information on the back of the book about its content,” Coyne said. “That just empowers parents.”

So, it sounds like she wants a rating system on books, similar to what you find on video games and movies.

Read the entire article HERE (I highly suggest checking it out).

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this. There have been a few times where I have read a young adult book and was like, “Whoa! Did the author really just write that in a book meant for 14-year-olds!” So I do understand the need for a ratings system, but at the same time, I’m not some uber-prude looking to control young readers. I know damn well that I wasn’t reading “age-appropriate” books when I was a teen, I first read Anne Rice at 14, and it had no negative affect on me and I am sure the same goes for most teens now.  Also, I know how badly authors are struggling as it is, will a rating system hurt or help them? I really don’t know. Who is to say what is appropriate and what isn’t?

What do you guys think? Can you imagine a ratings system on the back of your favorite vampire books?

book ratingsharry potterJournal of Sex ResearchSarah CoyneThe Anna Strong ChroniclestwilightVampire Bookvampire booksvampire sex

Moonlight • July 11, 2011


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Comments

  1. Christine July 11, 2011 - 10:24 am Reply

    Not against rating system if it makes them happier but I saw Hammer film Lust for the Vampire as teen and I was no traumatized by THAT – it is pretty TAME film despite hardcore title and 18 rating. Unlike potty-mouthed violent teens I was asked to socialize with “because it´s normal” sensuous bisexual Carmilla and her breasts in gorgeous Gothic setting were like stepping from the sewers.

  2. Marishka July 11, 2011 - 11:33 am Reply

    ok so ive read hellsing anime and manga series and tha mangas have a rating of 13+ on the back even though it has words like fuck and rape scenes. it bothered me that it was only 13+ which could be misleading to parents. secondly if you have read Darren Shan’s demonata series, you will understand that those books are explicitly gorey and bloody with profanity at every corner. i read those a couple years ago at 11 and it scarred me but not in the bad way, i guess. anyways all im saying is that maybe a rating system might be needed but not mandatory

    • Moonlight July 11, 2011 - 11:39 am Reply

      Yeah, I was surprised that Shan’s Demonata series was meant for young adult readers. I read the first one and it was pretty horrific.

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  4. Monica Rewiako
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  6. Angela Stapleford July 12, 2011 - 12:54 pm Reply

    I would say that the Twilight novels though not sexually explicit show teenagers unhealthy relationships. Though they wait till after marriage the sex is far from safe…

    The best thing is to have open discussions with teenagers about safe sex, respecting their bodies and making informed choices. There is no point in trying to deny teenagers access to “adult” content, they will then only read the more racy stuff secretly. When I was 13 I was reading Stephen King and DH Lawrence. My Mum was outraged, but it did me no harm! (I think!)

    • Moonlight July 12, 2011 - 1:49 pm Reply

      I agree, Twilight sends terrible messages to teens (and adults). But it is by no means sexually explicit.

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  10. Vampire 18 July 14, 2011 - 10:08 am Reply

    i think a rating ystem on books will suck. i am a major reader and most of the young adult books that are ‘tame’ are just too boring for me. yes it’s bad if someone too young or immature reads them and it effects them, but then the parents shouldnt have let them read that in the first place. but i agree with getting more info on the back, that way you know what is in it and you can decide if you will be comfortable with that or not.

  11. Tenebris In Lux July 14, 2011 - 1:18 pm Reply

    It’s Fox News .. -_-

  12. Pat July 19, 2011 - 11:02 pm Reply

    Honestly I think its stupid because by the time a kid turns 14 they already know more about sex than we expect them to. There are some books that are pretty over rated; but if thats a problem might as well enclose kids in a convent, because in our day and age you can find sex everywhere (TV,internet, on the street, and even in school). I’d be glade that they are reading books even if it has some sexual content in it than having them out on the streets doing god knows what. Either way eventually the child will read them with our consent or without it. I think that the parents should just talk to their kids and explain the matter. When I was a teen my parents let me read books, and i loved because of the love storeis or action. I remember them giving me hope about finding the person that fits with me, and helped me live day by day in High School.
    Besides just because they are vampire books does not mean they evolve around sex.

  13. Cody November 25, 2011 - 10:43 am Reply

    I think a large part of the problem is not to the books themselves, but many adults struggle to accept teens sexuality. I know i read the Vampire Chronicles when I was fairly young, and to a certain degree, these books were a safe outlet for the sexual feeling I was beginning to have. I know parents don’t like to think about it, btu the truth is that even kids have some urges, and it’s better they are reading aout these things and having healthy conversations with their parents about what they read then experimenting amongst themselves with no guidance and getting themselves into serious trouble.

  14. . March 7, 2012 - 7:57 pm Reply

    Just because they wait for marriage in twilight doesnt mean its ok for writers like Meyer to include highly sexualized content because they are books meant for a much younger audience (mainly 12 year old children).

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