Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex

Sex in YA. It's a touchy subject, and one I find few people can agree on.

Personally, I think ignoring the fact teenagers have sex and refusing to acknowledge it in the books written for them is silly. It doesn't have to be graphic, or even 'on-screen', but teenagers are horny little creatures, and trying to write realistic characters without sex is difficult.

I'm not saying every character in every book needs to be doing it on a regular basis, but avoiding a sex scene where one is organic to the plot seems dishonest. There are sex scenes of various types in all three of my YA books, and the book I'm about to start has one too (this is going to be probably the most controversial one of all since the MC is only 14).

Writing sex scenes is hard. Especially in YA. You don't want to get graphic about it the way some adult romance novels do. It has to be simple and tasteful, but still show the power of the act. In one of my books the only sex scene is an attempted rape, and obviously that is portrayed in a very different way than the shy, fumbling attempt at expressing first love in another book.

How do you feel about sex in YA? Do you write it? Do you avoid it?


  1. I'm certainly not for excluding sex from a story where it's needed but I do think that often less is more. Implication and innuendo can be just as effective as detailed description in some instances. Determining what style is appropriate and when is where the art comes in.

  2. I have a sex scene--probably controversial--in one of my YA contemporary novels. It's not filled with details, but it's there. It is organic to the character and her progression. I didn't plan it; it was just a natural part of her path. So I think as long as it's integral to the storyline, it is all right. But I agree with Adam that less is definitely more.

  3. I agree. Not all teens hav sex, but some do, so some of my books have sex in them, while some don't. Depends on the characters and their story, but I'm all for keeping it real ;)