With the advent of modern birth-control methods, teens today don’t face the same dangers surrounding accidental pregnancies that their grandparents confronted. Nonetheless, sex remains a fraught topic, and many or most parents still feel tremendous reluctance about their children’s experiments with sexuality. Billy Black’s repeated warnings to Bella about the dangers of dating Edward stand in for the worries most parents feel when their kids begin testing the waters of an activity that can have serious repercussions.
The author, a practicing Mormon, carefully kept from her novel tobacco, alcohol, and out-of-wedlock sex. She designed the plots of her Twilight series so that Bella and Edward refrain from consummating their love while they’re dating. The plot device that assures this is Edward’s fear that he might lose control or become too forceful and injure or kill Bella during sex. It’s not until Edward proposes to Bella in the third book of the series that intercourse between them begins to loom as a possibility.
Meyer sticks to her principles throughout the series. In Chapter 12, Bella breaks her drug-use rule and takes cold medicine to help her sleep. She apologizes to the reader for using an over-the-counter medicine in a manner other than its intended purpose.