Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Whatcha Think 'Bout Wednesday (3)

Whatcha think about Sex in Young Adult books?

Do you think body parts shouldn't be directly named?  What about motions? (think: Anatomy of a boyfriend.)
Is the "twilight fade out" more acceptable? (think: implantation of the idea of sex, followed by dialog confirming this and lots of feathers)
Do you think the idea of sex, at all, in any degree, doesn't belong in YA books?
Do you think it is what it is, being intimate is something we all know about and if it fits in the storyline then so be it?

Personally, I am on the side of 'if it is there, it is there, and it doesn't disturb or offend me.'  As a teenager I knew what sex was, my friends were doing it, and the idea of being 'intimate' with prince charming was like the ultimate romance.   Heck, I see more sexual situations on cable, watching shows targeting the YA audience than I see in YA books.  I think as long as the target audience is kept in mind (I don't want any teenage xxx, I'll migrate to the adult section to dabble in the more raw stuff) that this forbidden topic does have a place in YA fiction.  I like my YA fiction real.  And this is real....

So What do you think?

Do you think YA books which have intimate moments or sexual context be given a rating stamp on the book to warn parents and readers, like at the movies- to warn off those who are extremely against sexual situations in YA fiction?



  1. I agree, televsion shows have more sex in them than young adult books and are more graphic. And of course when I was a teenager I knew what sex was, so seeing it in books isn't surprising. I like how you said you want your YA to be real, that's a great point.

  2. I'm ok with sex in YA literature. I agree that I don't want it too descriptive like erotica, but they don't need to gloss over it either. I was surprised to find out though that publishers will tend to push books with sex out of the YA genre but they are ok with excessive violence.

  3. Lisa- Wow! I totally didn't even think about that! That is so true.

    I don't know. I find it odd where publishers/authors/parents/critics draw the lines. I don't see how some of them are weighted more then the others.

    Thanks for replying ladies!

  4. Ah, sex in YA novels is such a touchy subject. I am personally against the epic fade to black (thankfully so is my editors and publishing house). I think sex is YA can be done tastefully. As long as we don't have any of the "throbbing muscle of love" or "manhood" I think it's okay.

    YA Authors just have to be more creative with explaining what's happening without going into detail.

  5. Thanks for the laugh JLA! Throbbing muscle of love. I'm going to have to spread that *word* around.

    Love what you say about being creative. Thanks for replying.

    BTW #YouKilledMeDead

  6. Here's the thing with me...I don't think there's any need to name specific parts, and at the same time, I don't think a fade out is necessary. I'm a diehard Catholic that tells me one thing, but society teaches me another. I think that you can be appropriate and still have sex in the novels. My only stipulation is that I want sex to mean something in the book, you know? Not just an act...but that's just me haha

  7. Personally I've never had any problem with sex in YA novels. Like you said, there are TV shows and movies that are a lot more explicit. With books it's up to you whether you want the mental image or not, whereas with the other option they just sort of put it in your face (sure you can change the channel or turn it off but then you don't want to risk missing what happens after that). On the flip side, I can understand why some people would prefer that there not be too much of it.

    In general I say it can be there so long as it's not over exaggerated because that just turns me off from the book. It's a little naive to think that the majority of teens and other people who read these books don't know about sex. And if not in books, they're going to hear, see, or read about elsewhere.

    But that's just my opinion.

  8. This is such a hard one-- I like it when it is done right.. not too descriptive, but not left me feeling cheated! But I am also 26...

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  9. I agree that sex done tastefully in a YA novel is fine. Teens are well aware of what sex is and to write as though they don't is unrealistic.

    As for book ratings....that is a whole other kettle of fish. Lol. But they already do it for music, movies, and video games, so it wouldn't be a surprise if it eventually started happening for books too.

    My Blog

  10. If it's crucial to the story it's fine. As far as the details go, it really depends on the book. There are instances where describing an intimate event is truly important to the story, and there are others where I wonder why two characters even shared a kiss let alone more. It's such an individual thing, but I can't say that I've ever been shocked or uncomfortable by any sexual situations I've encountered in YA lit (with of course the exception of novels such as Speak which include rape scenes that are supposed to make the reader's skin crawl).

    There is a really great website - - which gives "ratings" based on sex, drugs, violence, etc. for books and other media.


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