For a certain (large) group of people, "Harry Potter" is synonymous with adolescence and growing up, becoming the wizard person you're meant to be. It's about challenges, friendship, morality and all the things you grapple with as you wander through your teenaged years -- except sex.
I read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" when I was 11 years old -- the same age Harry was in the book. The second book, "Chamber of Secrets" was already out, and after I finished that, I had to join the rest of the world in the agonizing wait between books. I was one of the many who grew up alongside Harry, experiencing the same life milestones he did, with two notable exceptions:
1. I never defeated a Dark Lord. Or even tried, now that I think of it.
2. I did have more than the most fleeting awareness of crushes and what happens when those crushes are acted on.
Let's face it: for a series in which all the main characters spend the majority of their time clutching wands -- a phallic object that is quite literally the way they channel their power -- "Harry Potter" is shockingly sexless. Like, yeah, Harry gets that vaguely funny feeling in his tummy around Cho, and he eventually kisses her, and then Ginny gives him a verrrrrry special gift before he goes off to hunt itty bitty pieces of Voldemort's soul. Fine. But we have no idea of which Quidditch hoops he gets to -- if any -- if you know what we mean.
I'm not the only one who's noticed.
Is it possible that famous boy wizard Harry really didn't have ladies throwing himself at him left and right? That he hasn't made any sweet bedtime magic himself? And, in a dorm full of boys that there would possibly ever be any sounds other than Neville talking in his sleep and Seamus snoring? There was the one time Dudley accused Harry of moaning in his sleep at Privet Drive, but that was because he was dreaming of actual murder. Um, Accio buzzkill much?
"It’s understandable why Rowling may have left acknowledgments of sex out," superfan and "thirsty girl" Green admits. "It’s a young adult fantasy and sexuality isn’t the point of the story. She may also have left it out because it’s still controversial. Part of why Harry Potter is so universally loved is because the characters are kind of 'pure.' Had Rowling bluntly acknowledged adolescent sexuality, their 'purity' would have been compromised. Maybe that speaks to how we see sexuality; it’s taboo and shameful, instead of part of life."
Green also takes issue with author J.K. Rowling's reveal of Dumbledore's sexual orientation -- he's gay -- after the series had already been published. I agree: it would have been powerful to have an in-text acknowledgement of an LGBT character in one of the most popular series of all time, as opposed to a post-script. I'll follow Laci's plan of action here: "Maybe if I have kids to share my copies with I'll write 'FYI, he's gay' in the margins."
The first of Rowling's announced 12 new "Harry Potter" stories rolled out today, and as of publication time, there's no sign of extracurricular wandplay. Could that change? We'll just have to wait and see -- or get a Time Turner -- to find out.