Friday, July 13, 2012

To sex or not to sex; It's a heavy question

For those who write in an adult genre, especially Romance. Sex is a bit of a non-issue. Readers expect your characters to have sex early and often. But for those of us treading the murky waters of YA, this is a huge decision.

after the first kiss
What happens after the first kiss?
I think most of us will agree that there is a certain level of non-disclosure that happens if a sex scene makes it into a YA novel. It's a good rule to leave out the details and focus on the strong emotions surrounding the moment.

But before we get to that point, we have to figure out if our characters have sex in the first place.

I'm working on book two in my Watcher trilogy right now and I'm starting to ask myself these questions. In book one, my characters' relationship was new and they were still trying to figure out how to be together. But now, they are growing closer with every hurdle they overcome. And I'm now faced with a tough decision.

In terms of my character, I think she's ready (or as ready as any teenage girl can really be). So the question becomes is my story ready for it? Am I ready to add in another layer of complexity? And if they take this step now, am I writing myself into a hole for book three?

I'd like to get your take on this, especially from those of you who are as crazy as me and choose to write YA. How do you know it's the right time for your characters to make the leap?


  1. Honestly, I think the characters tell you. Things fall into place and it makes sense. It finds a way to be pertinent to the story.

    My latest, (which I really need to get my butt into gear on) is about a girl who is a bit of a slut, at least she's used to getting most guys. So when she meets the love interest and that Sam night takes some other guy to bed it's fine because we know that that is who the character is. We establish this (obvs that'll change down the road) but it's in her character.

    Then there is another series of mine. I need the sex to happen for some...pertinent reasons. BUT this character is unlike the one above. She's new to sex, to love all of it. BUT it's pure. I really think that it's the way you address it. Sex works depending upon how you address it and who the characters are. It can never feel out of place. It has to go with the flow.

    I really hope that makes sense. :)

    1. Absolutely, I agree that it has to make sense in the story for our characters.

  2. This is my nightmare. My characters in the Guardian Legacy are so ready. They make out all the time, when not hunting demons. The other teen Guardians have sex too (they are 18 but my heroine is turning book 3 she will be 17) but I hint at it. My fear has been, what will readers think. She is 17 and he is 2 years older, both are ready...biting my knuckles... We'll see

    1. Glad I'm not the only one biting nails on this. Who knew my character's first time would be just as emotional for me as mine was. :)

  3. You have to go with what's realistic for the story. If you cut something out or use sex when it's not realistic, your reader will notice.

    1. Thanks, Kelly. Sometimes my characters become such real people in my head, I forget about reader expectations.

  4. I agree that it has to be relevant to the story and the way it develops depends on the characters involved.

    In one of my stories, the MC digs sex but doesn't believe in love. In another, the MC has zero experience with boys until she meets a guy who makes her feel wanted and desired, awaking a ton of self-confidence.

    I think if you take your characters there in book two that could be very interesting for book three because you could really dig into what happens to relationships when sex enters the picture.


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