My Random Thoughts

Why I don’t mind sex scenes in YA books

A little break from TTT this week as I couldn’t stop thinking about this. This was something I came across on Monday morning on my twitter feed. The person was saying that not all YA books need to have sex in them which I agree with as not all of them need it. Sometimes it seems like it’s just thrown in because if it had no sex in it “is it really a YA book?” Yeah it still is a YA book because sex isn’t solely a YA trait.

That being said, I’m ok with sex depicted in books because of a few things:

Schools don’t cover any more than they have to.

In my experience sex education was the teacher sitting me down in front of a TV with the rest of my class at 9 years old and the video (yes video) was of a woman giving birth. That was enough to put me off for a while because I wasn’t emotionally ready or mentally prepared to watch that at 9 with no other knowledge from the school before then.

Next sex education lesson was 3 years later where we were supposed to leer to put a condom on a banana but this didn’t work out as the condoms were “stolen.”

That was it. Everything else I’ve learned is from boyfriends and friends because I felt like I lived under a rock and didn’t get what they were talking about.

Sex is a “normal” thing to experience. (quotes are because I don’t like the word normal)

In my personal opinion having sex is something that shouldn’t be taboo. I don’t get why some people aren’t comfortable with saying words such as penis and vagina because they’re medical terms for the genitalia. I feel that is sex was normalised sooner, then these people wouldn’t make up “cute pet names” names for their parts.

In older books, you very rarely (unless you know where to look) see sex scenes in them due to this taboo. If sex hadn’t been taboo maybe teenagers wouldn’t actively seek it out.

As you may have guessed I wasn’t one of these teenagers. However, every Monday morning I’d hear certain people talking about the weekend’s sexcapades and who had done what with whom.

Now bearing in mind I left school at 15 it became the norm. So reading about these young adults having sex isn’t a problem for me. Yes, not everyone has sex early and I was one of them but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Consensual sex is important

I cannot stress this enough. If you do not consent to have any type of sex then this is RAPE and you need to get out of the situation ASAP.

Having sex for the right reasons

Don’t just have sex because everyone else is. If you don’t feel ready then don’t do it. Which leads nicely onto.

Only having sex with someone you want to – Do not feel pressured into it.

See above point.

Birth Control

This is an important topic to be discussed and I love Sarah J Maas for putting Rhys on birth control rather than Feyre.

Not having an orgasm through penetrative sex (it doesn’t always happen)

Again this is something that some people don’t know but no one ever seems to bring it up so it’s nice to have something clear and understandable as some people (more specifically women) might be self-conscious about this.

That being said I think Sexuality should be a wider known thing.

Bearing in mind this is coming from a straight woman and I’ve never gone out of my way to look for books that have gay or lesbian characters but I can honestly only think of a couple. I think it needs to be more prominent for those who are not sure about what their label might be.

img_2373-2

At the end of the day, YA books are written exactly for that young adults, and the protagonist is more often or not around the age of 17. It’s not uncommon for 17-year-olds to have sex so let us stop pretending it is. While YA books cover these topics the readers might actually learn a thing or two without unnecessary embarrassment.

I’ve probably missed a few things during this post but this is my point of view and I think that some books should cover these topics not because sex has to be in a YA novel but more for reassurance for the readers as I see it as more of an educational matter rather than smut for the sake of smut. If I wanted to read a book purely for the sex (not that I’d choose to) then my first thought isn’t to head to the YA section of my local bookstore.

5 thoughts on “Why I don’t mind sex scenes in YA books”

  1. Hey Laura! What a fascinating discussion! I love how you talked quite frankly about why you think sex in YA books is important. And I can agree with all of these reasons being important for teenagers to know about too! ❤️ I do wish that when sex is touched on that these details are more the reason sex is in the book rather than to capture the erotica readers.

    Personally I don’t enjoy reading about others having sex. I don’t mind if it happens off the page and we get more of the dealing with the befores and afters of sex but reading about the act itself feels like a sexual primer and makes me feel uncomfortable. It is true though that books teens read will be a place for them to “get the facts” and those facts should be true to life.

    I read one book where a teen couple went away and had sex on a trip together and it was rather under wowing for the girl orgasm wise but she was happy to have gone to that step with her boyfriend. I thought that was really true to life! 😀

  2. I worked in a high school for 12 years, and there are lots of kids having sex in high school. To omit it from all of YA would be denying it happens. Does it have to be in every book? No, but if it fits the story, the author should not feel like they cannot include it. What I will say is that YA authors are taking the sex part of their stories quite seriously. You mentioned many of the things that I am seeing more and more in stories with sex scenes. They are showing characters being responsible, using birth control, and what I have been noticing A LOT more, is explicit consent. Teens who may be having sex or thinking of having sex ever should be seeing this sort of stuff. I always praise sex-positivity in books, because it’ something many people do and enjoy doing, and there should not be a stigma attached to it.

    1. I’m glad you agree with the points I’ve made and like you say it doesn’t have to be in every YA book.

  3. You bring up some amazing points! I completely agree that sex should be normalized in YA books. People can’t expect understanding in a topic that is almost shameful to discuss.
    The sex ed in schools is lacking. In 5th grade we were split by genders and given the talk about our changing bodies. The next time we talked about anything sex-related was my senior year of high school.
    Children are curious and without being open about sex, they go into it without the first clue. By being more open in real-life and in books, teens will hopefully learn what safe and consensual sex is.

    1. That was exactly the point I was trying to make but you make it sound so much better 😂. People do go into it without the first clue and probably wouldn’t even think about protection because some think it’s only from pregnancy. However, it’s for so much more and I think that if the right adults aren’t giving them the information they need they should be able to get it from somewhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.