Postcard For Reader + thoughts on

An open letter to parents who are freaking out about their teenage children reading adult romance novels.

(Alternately, in which Nicole creates a really long post title but doesn't really care because that's exactly what this post is.)

Dear parents:

I understand that knowing your teenage child is reading an adult romance can be a bit scary. You don't want to think about your children thinking about sex. (I mean, they're only 14-16-19! They're still kids!) But cheer up. There's nothing to worry about.

Once your child hits the ripe old age of puberty, sex is going to be a part of your lives whether you want it to be or not. Sadly, you can't keep them in that nice safe little bubble forever. (Nor should you, because one day they will escape and go to college and you really don't want that to be their first experience with sexual knowledge!)

Sex is a part of life. Without sex, you - and your child - would not exist. Trying to hide it from them or shame it out of them is just going to make it seem like a big monstrous scary thing when, in fact, it is not. (At least not if it's handled safely and properly and what have you.)

But I'm not here to rant about my personal thoughts on sex. I'm here to rant about why you shouldn't worry that your child is possibly reading about sex in an adult romance novel.

When I flocked to Twitter to ask the question about teens reading romance, the overwhelming consensus was not to worry about it - and that many of them had, in fact, read romance when they were a teenager. (Click to read, and read from bottom up.)

But Sarah MacLean, author of The Season (a young adult historical romance) and Nine Rules To Break When Romancing a Rake (an adult historical romance), summarized it best:

It sets up a stage for which there are standards to sex! Yes! It's not just some big scary thing that happens. It sets up a stage where there should be consent, where it shouldn't just be this blanket thing where you don't feel anything, and that girls have the right to enjoy it.

Of course, if you think this is a bad thing, feel free to worry. But then I'd think you were a bad parent.

I read my first adult romance when I was about 12. It was given to me by my grandmother because she thought I'd like the plot. And I did! I skipped right past the sex scenes at the time - and I'll be honest, I do that a lot in adult romances I read now. I like the plots more than I like the sex. I like seeing the girl choose her guy after he earns her, not just because he threw herself at her. I like seeing the guy have to earn the girl, not just expect her to throw herself at him.

I like the stories, the books.

But most of all, I like that they don't look down of me for being picky, or not dating just for the sake of dating. I like that they expect me to have high standards, and not do something I'm not comfortable with, and expect me to damn well enjoy it when I finally do what I'm comfortable with.

So parents, don't worry. The stories are good and the plots are great and the writing is spectacular. And the sex? Well, that just helps sets a standard. And who knows? Maybe it'll help your child become more open with you. Or you more open with them - ask them if they liked the story, and the characters. (Don't push sex. They'll talk if they're ready.)

And don't freak out and take the book away. Because that will just make them more curious, and they might venture onto... *whispers* fan fiction.

Yours truly,

Nicole.

PS: If you are looking for an adult romance to read, teenager or not a teenager, I recommend all of Sarah Maclean's books. Not only is she an absolute sweetheart to talk to, but her writing is fabulous and witty and just awesome.

Feel free to continue this letter/discussion in the comments, or to argue with me. I don't mind!

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An open letter to parents who are freaking out about their teenage children reading adult romance novels. + thoughts on