Sex in YA novels...
Should it be kept under the covers or do readers want more?
This is basically just a small discussion to see what opinions people have on these more intimate moments in YA novels. I thought it would be useful for authors to see what their audience desires and just fun for YA readers to voice their views to one another.
I'm going to treat this post as a "chat" so you can comment as many times as you like, change your opinion a million times, whatever! It's a Discussion.
*As YA covers a range of ages (and even some adults or younger advance readers) please can you state your age (if you don't mind doing so) in your first comment as age will affect our opinions dramatically - it's also useful for authors to pinpoint their desired target audience.*
Here we go!
"Your characters are heading towards the bedroom - do you prefer to be left at the door, have it slammed shut in your face before you even get a whiff of what's about to happen or do you like to stay with your characters every step of the way?"
I'm 16! :) I personally think that closed doors are a little boring, wood... grain... door knob - being oblivious to what's happening distances you from your characters and can appear a little wish-washy; but on the other hand, being right there under the covers has me blushing like a lobster! I think having the door ajar (metaphorically of course) is probably the best approach. You can hear what the characters say, you know what they're thinking and feeling, you can even see that there's skin on skin and tangled limbs; you get the gist of what's happening with enough detail to keep you satisfied without anything becoming too graphic.
When a book builds up romance for 300 or so pages and then all that results is a kiss, I find it a little... disappointing? I find a kiss here and there too little but "woo-hoo" in the bedroom every chapter too much! Y'know?
I don't think that young adults are too young to be reading about sex (unless it's unnecessarily graphic) as it's a part of life, it allows you to understand the relationship between characters more - I mean if your protagonist is sleeping with the swoon-worthy hottie then you want to know if she was hesitant or whether or not she was ready for it/enjoyed it/was scared etc but if the scene is cut off as they hit the sheets, you never find any of this out - and it can be good for teens who want to be eased into the topic because they aren't comfortable enough to openly discuss it.
YA novels handle topics such as alcohol, drugs, bullying, abuse death and more so why is 'sex' such a sensitive topic when it comes to teen novels?
I think that this topic is handled well in both YA novels "Hollowmen" and "Amongst the ruins". I've taken a 'sex scene' from each book which you can read below if you're interested. (These are scenes containing sex, not just sexual tension so I'd recommend you be 14+ to read them - as the authors intended).
"I expected him to kiss me, since his lips were nearly brushing against mine, but he didn’t. He reached down and grabbed both my wrists and pinned them above my head. With his body pressed against mine and my hands above my head, I couldn’t move. I felt powerless. He kissed me passionately, almost roughly, and I closed my eyes, focusing on nothing else except how wonderfully warm his mouth felt. And the heat of it. When he pulled away from me, I tried to follow him, to keep kissing him, but he kept me pinned to the wall. He used one hand, holding both wrists together, while his other hand worked its way down my pants, pushing them and my panties down. Once he’d gotten them to my knees, I helped the rest of the way, moving and kicking my legs until my pants were on the ground and I could step out of them. He kissed my neck, and now his lips felt cool on my skin. I was flushed with warmth, with excitement and anticipation. A hungry heat flowed through me, radiating from my belly down to my thighs. I didn’t even know he’d undone his pants until I felt him thrust inside me. I cried out in surprise and pleasure, and he was kissing me again, silencing my moans. I wrapped my legs around him, and then he let go of my arms, letting me hang onto him as he pushed me harder against the wall. Something changed between us then. There was a frantic hunger in the way we kissed and moved. Even the way he gripped me, his fingers digging into my bare back and pressing me to him, it felt desperate and primal. Our bodies intertwined, moving together in the most animalistic way, and we were firmly in the moment. Neither of us was in control, and it felt wonderful."
This one's probably a little more graphic and it seems a bit choppy because I cut a few bits out.
"If I'd thought him eager before, I had been mistaken. His tongue delved into my mouth. His hand slipped down my body till his fingers grabbed the crotch of my underwear. Then his fingers passed the last cloth barrier. Then it wasn't his fingers. His most intimate part met mine. Pressing into my body, he slowly changed it forever. "Relax," he whispered against the sensitive skin below my ear. I bit into the flesh of his arm, and a tear pooled at the inner corner of my eye. When I thought the discomfort would end, he moved reawakening the pain till his body stilled above me.
Releasing his flesh from my teeth, I gasped. Tilting back my head, I strangled his biceps. Would it be this painful the entire time?
"It's always been you. Always." He began slow movements inside me.
My body relaxed as the pain subsided.
The rhythm he created with my body was maddening, yet pleasurable. Hands, lips, and limbs, I lost track of where he ended and I began. The words he spoke during our intimate dance stripped away the feelings I'd masked.
The tingling touch of his hand rebuilt the multiple sensations he'd created earlier.
They pooled in the pit of my belly. Unsure of what to do about it, I raked at his back and curled my legs around his thighs. I moaned some unrecognizable words.
He grasped and pulled at my body, pushing us closer, harder. The sensations burst into complete euphoria. Calling out, I fisted the sheets and arched my back. He slid his hands over my chest, moaning with his own pleasure. His body jerked, and warmth filled me."
So what do you think about sex in YA? Where do you like to draw the line and do you know any books/authors who have handled it well?