Diana Landen: How did a sexually abstinent vampire become the idol of American teens and their mothers? We grew up after the Sexual Revolution. Most Americans no longer expect to wait until marriage before they have sex. So why do we love Edward Cullen?
The life of a teenage girl is confusing. You're full of hormones, and lust for boys. You want love, and you want the boys to want you -- except that you keep meeting the jerks.
I remember J. -- who yelled out the window that I was frigid because I wouldn't make out with him. J. was unattractive, but of course I couldn't say that. I might have hurt his feelings.
Or T., who made it clear that he knew how to give me an orgasm, but wasn't going to unless I had sex with him. Alternatively, he'd be glad to accept some oral sex. None for me, though -- giving it to a girl was gross. When I turned down his fabulous offer, he went on to the next girl at the party.
Enter Edward Cullen. Edward craves Bella's blood. Not just anyone's blood, Bella's luscious-smelling blood. But he loves Bella so much that he won't drink it. He won't do much more than kiss her either, for fear he'll be carried away.
Edward isn't pressuring Bella to do things that she doesn't want to. He desires Bella, not just anyone with the proper girl-parts. He cares about her and what happens to her. Assuming teenage boys haven't radically changed, Edward Cullen looks pretty damn good.
Of course, most guys aren't jerks. It's just that the jerks get around, and we all meet them sooner or later.
Still, when I was a teenager, you had to watch out with the decent guys, too. They would never push you to do something you didn't want to do, but they would do everything you let them. I was in charge of stopping things and being careful. I had to think about what I was ready for, how far I really wanted to go, and getting pregnant.
I would have loved the freedom of making out with Edward Cullen. To know that I could lose control because he was going to stop me ... That's a gift young women don't usually get.
So I understand the appeal of Edward Cullen -- an absolutely gorgeous guy who comes into your room at night and holds you all night long. He wants you more than anything, but he's not going to pressure you or use you. You can show him how much you desire him, even lose control, because he's not going to let you do anything too dangerous. That's the kind of vampire every girl needs.