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?
You can read the rest of this post at KD Grace (bestselling author of ‘The Initiation of Miss Holly’) fab blog, A Hopeful Romantic.