Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Love scenes in YA Novels

When I was at school there was one book that was read more than any other in the library. It was 'Forever' by Judy Blume. And there were a couple of pages in particular that were quite worn... you guessed it, the pages about sex. 

Personally I don't actually love graphic sex scenes in novels. I prefer the author to leave it up to the readers' imagination as to what's happening, but when it comes to kissing I prefer full emotional and physical details! Do I have double standards? I don't think so. I actually think that making love is a very personal and emotional experience that gets thrown into too many books, just because. I like it to be there for a reason, not just a page filler. 

I also think movies have too much sex without enough of the responsibility. Do the characters ever use contraception? I think we, as authors, have to promote safe sex at least. Unless getting pregnant or a STD is part of your story. 

Anyway what are your thoughts? 


  1. I agree. I think we need to be really careful what messages we send when writing YA.

    Great post, Breeze :)

  2. I think it perpetuates a cycle where, perhaps some more vulnerable, readers believe that everyone's doing it, so they should too. TV is a bigger culprit than novels or perhaps movies, since it is the primary caregiver for much of society's young people. Reading a novel requires a greater personal engagement than screen media which makes it such a powerful media. YA authors have a tremendous responsibility to their readers when writing. Having said that, I'd rather kids were at home reading about it than acting it out!

    1. That's very true - reading it is better :)

      The media is such a powerful force in today's society. It can be used for good or bad. I want to make sure I'm the type of writer that uses it for good.

  3. Oooh, good topic!
    I agree that we need to be super duper careful. I like the whole kissing side - like you - and detest graphic sex scenes. When people love our work, they get lost in our worlds. Those worlds become a type of reality for readers. The last thing you want to do is send the wrong sort of messages - especially to teenagers.

    Once upon a time, when I was a fresh wee writer, I tried to write sex scenes... but it never worked. I finally figured out that in order for me to feel comfortable writing one - I had to consume a bottle of wine. The next morning I would wake up, pounding head, and then I would see that what I had written was absolute rubbish anyway. So I gave up.

    1. LOL - fantastic story!! That's awesome :)

      I have tried writing a few adult love scenes in my time and they never fully came together. I think writing a lead in and then leaving it up to the reader's imagination is always enough.

  4. I like writing those scenes in some stories/books where they are appropriate, but I think in my YA stuff there is a bit of a squick factor for me. I'd rather keep the juicy details behind closed doors, like the rest of you!

    Mel, I think writing a lead in and then leaving it up to the reader is a great way to do it :-) It's my preference.