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Stephenie Meyer Books Encouraging Abstinence?

According to some anecdotal acounts, the Wall Street Journal posits that the Meyer books are encouraging teens to wait. After all, Edward waits for over 100 years for Bella.

And here lies Ms. Meyer’s secret. She knows that romantic tension is often better built with anticipation than action. That there is enough excitement in gazes, conversation, proximity and maybe a few stolen kisses to keep young lovers busy for years — if they allow themselves to indulge in this slow kind of seduction.

I guess that is one way to put a positive spin on the mess that is Breaking Dawn. Thanks to Kay S for the linkage.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. DS
    Aug 10, 2008 @ 10:29:31

    I don’t know about abstinence, but I think the giving birth scene would might put some people off pregnancy.

    And weren’t we already told that a good percentage of teens were using anal and oral sex to get around that pesky abstinence thing? (Actually, I snickered at the idea some commentators had that this was invented by the current generation of teens. I remember reading in high school an introduction to the Heptameron by Marguerite of Navarre (1492-1549) which mentioned anal sex being used by Ladies in Waiting at the French Court to preserve their virginity.)

    Edited to add this was 30 years ago.

  2. katiebabs
    Aug 10, 2008 @ 10:48:07

    I applaud Meyer for promoting abstinence. I feel Bella and Edward’s relationship is much like a typical teenage one, well put aside Edward’s age difference and vampirism of course. Bella’s father talks to her about being sexually active and even Bella and Edward have conversations about it. We see this in all the books leading up to Breaking Dawn.
    I really did enjoy the slow seduction, if it can even be called that. The build up and the final act was one of the things I enjoyed reading in Breaking Dawn.
    As for the pregnancy,I agree with DS. I had visions of the movie Alien, when the alien pops out of John Hurt’s chest.

  3. Tracey
    Aug 10, 2008 @ 11:27:04

    Well, for most of those hundred years, Bella hadn’t even been born. So I don’t think it’s fair to say that Edward was waiting for her.

    Truthfully, I think that Breaking Dawn‘s pregnancy and birth–which features a death baby that weakens the mother, requires blood in utero, shatters its mother’s ribs, pelvis and spine, kills its mother and has to be chewed out of the uterus–is a LOT more likely to gross girls out and convince them that they don’t want any part of sex if they have to go through that.

    I suspect that Meyer is simply a very canny marketer. Most parents, especially American parents, have heard by now of the Twilight series and know that it is a) YA romance and b) Edward and Bella don’t even have sex until the last book, and then not until after they’re married. So they will think that the books are safe and good, and will buy them for their daughters, not realizing that there are a few other concepts in the books that are less than appetizing:

    1) Edward’s stalking being equated with Twu Wuv. (Just once I would like to see a romance novel NOT muddle the difference between love and stalking.)

    2) Bella getting married straight out of high school to a considerably older male–and everyone, including her mother, encouraging this.

    3) Two werewolves, Quil and Jacob, “imprint” on baby girls. The babies are, or will grow up to be, their destined and ideal mates. Not only does this rather smack of pedophilia, it also establishes that neither the werewolves nor the babies have no choice in this matter.

    (I think it’s a bit creepy that a girl’s entire life, including who she is going to fall in love with, could be determined for her in infancy. It’s rather more odious than an arranged marriage. A girl in an arranged marriage weds a man who isn’t of her choosing…but she’s not magically forced to like him.)

    Parents will likely miss the anti-feminist messages, though. The books and the movie will make money. I don’t think it’ll last–the tweens and teens will go on to something new, as they always do.

    However, I don’t think that boys and girls will instantly embrace abstinence as a result of the Twilight series. For one thing, this is a series that is mostly read by girls. I don’t see Twilight having a widespread impact on hormonal teenage boys (is there any other kind of teenage boy?). Secondly, the kids that love the series have been agitating for three books for Edward and Bella to have sex, and a lot of them seem pretty miffed that the sex scene in Breaking Dawn was fade to black. That, to me, suggests that they find Edward and Bella’s chastity to be frustrating rather than laudatory and worthy of emulation. (And a hundred and fifty-seven pages of M-rated Twilight stories on alone suggests that a lot of fans would like to eliminate the abstinence as soon as possible.)

  4. Emmy
    Aug 10, 2008 @ 20:05:56

    Edward wasn’t waiting for over 100 years for anyone in particular. And he was a professional high school student, which made no sense considering his age. Why not go to university and get a co-ed instead of a kid? Perv. And why let your daughter marry the guy who was trying to sex up your wife? What was Jacob planning on telling his wife on their wedding night…”Gee, you kiss better than your mom”? Seriously, the last book was just disgusting, and didn’t really promote anything other than kiddie porn.

    Besides, as I have been told by my 14 year old niece… virginity has been rather narrowly defined by teens these days as no vaginal penetration. Anything and everything else, including oral/anal sex, is fair play and not counted against the participants.

  5. CHH
    Aug 11, 2008 @ 00:47:31

    Actually, the chapter of Midnight Sun, Twilight from Edward’s POV says that he’s got several college degrees which makes his perpetual high school status even more stupid. Edward Cullen and his kin are the lamest vampires in the history of vampires and I’m including Bunnicula here.

    As for teens deciding to practice abstinence, I doubt it can be attributed to these books alone. I think any teen who is going to abstain from sex is going to do so regardless of what a fictional couple does and the same for any teen who wants to have sex.

  6. Ann Bruce
    Aug 11, 2008 @ 10:55:38

    a death baby that…shatters its mother's…spine

    Um…shouldn’t the mother become paralyzed or die?

  7. Sherry Thomas
    Aug 11, 2008 @ 13:26:39

    I always posit that part of the secret of the Twilight series’ success isn’t the lack of sex, but that Bella is never put under pressure for it.

    Edward is really the ideal highschool boyfriend in a way, he Luuuurves Bella like THISMUCH, he lusts after her madly but won’t touch her for a fairly legitimate reason, he doesn’t suffer from any peer pressure, he has independent means. And he never sweats, ha!

    I don’t want Edward. But were I 20 years younger? I might.

  8. Millie-Mei
    Apr 28, 2009 @ 03:33:40

    I am a teenager and i don’t think that this book has changed my mind on anything it’s just adults who think that this is twisting their childs minds. Well parents you have to trust your kids and if they do change their mind it won’t be because of some book. xxx It is a story of fantasy not a non-fictional one.

  9. jennifer
    Nov 11, 2009 @ 11:28:31

    i love your books

    write back

  10. YN
    May 08, 2010 @ 00:41:07

    I agree with Millie-Mei. Tilight doesn’t promote kiddy porn, in the book they clearly state that the object of the imprint gets to make up her own mind about whether or not she stays with the werewolf, as for the baby, they also state that the baby knows that its hurting her mother and doesnt everything within her will to try and not cause bella pain. Its a metaphor for how most kids don’t intentionally hurt their parents but sometime it happens regardless. Edward was waiting specifically for her because he was waiting for someone special and bella just happened to be that person. And no one ever said anything about jacob marying the baby! his imprinting is an involuntary reaction, also a metaphor because as you must know, not all the things we feel are voluntary!

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