I learned something from Piers Anthony

People on Tumblr were discussing how much bordering-on-pedophilic (or actually pedophilic) stuff there is in his books, and it reminded me of this. This is not really about pedophilia in Piers Anthony’s books, though. It’s sort of separately related to both his books and abuse.

There’s a scene in one of the Xanth books– I don’t remember which one or even which characters were involved, so I can’t really fact-check the details, but this is what I remember.

Background: in the Xanth series there’s a magical force acts as a censor. It physically prevents people from cursing, or talking too explicitly about sex in front of children, and it also prevents anyone under 18 from having sex.

As I remember it, the scene I’m thinking of is actually pretty unobjectionable. Two teenage characters have been interested in each other for a while, and they’re alone together in a private place for whatever reason, and they want to try doing something sexual together. Either one or both of them aren’t 18 yet, though, so it’s theoretically impossible for them even talk about it.

The details of what they do or don’t do together are time-skipped over, but it’s implied that they did actually have sex, because they were almost 18, and, one of the characters says, “Some things can be done but not talked about,” or something like that.

And teenage-me (who was reading books like this, that dealt explicitly with child abuse, around the same time) went “Holy shit, that’s true, but it’s not a good thing like you’re making it sound. Things that can be done but not talked about are how people get hurt. Things that can be done but not talked about are how people get abused and then don’t know what to do or how to tell anyone.”


 This is part of why I nope’d so emphatically at that fic.

… I now realize that I didn’t go into detail about this in that post. So, that fic deals with a relationship with a significant age gap, and most of the fic takes place when they’re both adults and it isn’t/wouldn’t be an issue, but they’ve known each other since the younger one was a kid. And in the early part of the story, the younger one is like 16 and the older one is a teacher at his school.

The younger character has a crush on the older one, and long story short, he propositions him by sneaking into the teacher’s bedroom and just being sitting there naked in his bed when he gets home. And in this context, in the context of “I have to explain to my already naked student that student-teacher relationships are inappropriate,” at the point where the student goes to say out loud “I want to have sex with you” or whatever, the teacher claps his hand over the student’s mouth and is like no no don’t say it out loud your mother would roll over in her grave.

And I was like SADDLE UP THE NOPETOPUS, because of the above. Like oh sure, great, that’s what’ll improve this situation: shameful secrets!

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