Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo

Sexual Content in YA

Fiction Erotica Young Adult

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 JessTheDreamer

JessTheDreamer

    Invisible Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 416 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I wish.

Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:47 PM

Is putting sexual content in young adult frowned upon? Is it even done that much? How would one go about injecting that in their young adult work? When is enough enough? Does your young adult turn into new adult or erotica because of a couple scenes of that nature?

 

In my young adult story, my main character (17) gets a boner. He doesn't do anything about it, though, because it goes away. But he does get a little, you know...in the mood because of it. So how do I say that? Should I even say that (even though it would make perfect sense if I did)? Is it okay to say "boner" or "horny" in my manuscript? 

 

Also, there's one other section in the story where a guy has sex with a girl. Technically, it's non-consensual because the girl is dead. Should I leave that instance subtle--ex: Leave it so that there's no mention of "cum" or "orgasm" or nudity or anything like that but you still clearly see that there's penetration? 

 

What should I do? Any suggestions for how those scenes should look? Any and all feedback is much appreciated!

 

Thank you so much in advance.

 

-Jess


flamingtext_com_1374269667_719762476.gifflamingtext_com_1374269730_719762477.gifflamingtext_com_1374269782_719762479.gifflamingtext_com_1374269935_719762480.gifflamingtext_com_1374269975_719762481.gifflamingtext_com_1374270010_719762482.gifflamingtext_com_1374270042_719762483.gifflamingtext_com_1374270128_719762485.gifflamingtext_com_1374270214_719762488.gif

 

It would mean A LOT if you could check these out:

 
Queries:
Thralldom-->>-->>-->>--http://agentquerycon...528#entry132528
Duplicate: Undead-->>--http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/
 
Synopsis:
Thralldom-->>-->>-->>--http://agentquerycon...a-dark-fantasy/

Write on. ツ


#2 sharpegirl

sharpegirl

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,351 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:YA novelist with Hyperion (US) and Indigo (UK).

Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:19 PM

Is putting sexual content in young adult frowned upon? No. Is it even done that much? Yes. I really recommend you read widely in the category you're writing if you're asking this question. USES FOR BOYS, any of Sarah Dessen's books, LOOKING FOR ALASKA, PURITY, etc. are all books that deal with teen sex. How would one go about injecting that in their young adult work? However it fits into the story. When is enough enough? When you say it is. Does your young adult turn into new adult or erotica because of a couple scenes of that nature? No. A lot of what erotica is about is titillation and sexual gratification and is often very graphic about the sex act itself. YA sex scenes tend to be more about exploration, feelings and firsts, rather than the act itself.

 

In my young adult story, my main character (17) gets a boner. He doesn't do anything about it, though, because it goes away. But he does get a little, you know...in the mood because of it. So how do I say that? However you want. Should I even say that (even though it would make perfect sense if I did)? If it fits the story. Is it okay to say "boner" or "horny" in my manuscript? Yes.

 

Also, there's one other section in the story where a guy has sex with a girl. Technically, it's non-consensual because the girl is dead. Should I leave that instance subtle--ex: Leave it so that there's no mention of "cum" or "orgasm" or nudity or anything like that but you still clearly see that there's penetration? Rape of a dead body is really messed up, you would need to treat this scene with a lot of care.

 

What should I do? Any suggestions for how those scenes should look? Any and all feedback is much appreciated!

 

Thank you so much in advance.

 

-Jess

 

I really recommend you pick up a bunch of recent YA's in your genre and see how they deal with sexual situations. Because we haven't read your book, telling you how a sex scene should look doesn't really work. There are many different levels of sexuality explored in YA. Nothing is off limits. It just depends on how you approach it.



#3 KC Rivers

KC Rivers

    Official fangirl since Ocarina of Time

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 839 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:My first novel, "Prince of Light," is now available for Amazon Kindle.

Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:26 PM

What Sharpe said. My experience has been that it depends on what you feel adds to the story and your voice. Personally, I don't tend to put graphic sex in my YA stories just because I'm an old-fashioned prude like that. Especially if it's just gratuitous and has no purpose. Teens already deal with temptations every day without my adding to it. (Please note that's just my personal opinion.)

 

However, I don't think that use of the words "boner" or "horny" are all that bad, even though I am a prude. The fact is, teen boys think about sex all the time. It's a part of life, and it adds a sense of realism to the character. If it adds to the storyline and has a reason for being there, it's probably going to be okay. Mentioning cum might be a bit much, in my mind, but others might think differently. Though the dead body is what makes me a little more squeamish, to be honest. I'd have to know more of the context of the scene.

 

I don't think it will throw an agent for a loop at all. In fact, some of them are looking for edgy material. I've read plenty of author/agent blogs and read about some YA books that were very explicit and still received rave reviews.



#4 sharpegirl

sharpegirl

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,351 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:YA novelist with Hyperion (US) and Indigo (UK).

Posted 17 July 2013 - 02:19 PM

KC brings up another point: only do what YOU as a writer feel comfortable with. I really feel that if the writer is pushing themselves beyond their comfort level (in a bad way, not in a challenging way) you can see it in the writing. And there's nothing worse than a badly written love/sex scene!

 

Almost all my books have sexual content in them, to varying degrees of detail. I've never been asked to tone it down, so I wouldn't worry!



#5 mwsinclair

mwsinclair

    Elephant with a trunk full of novels

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,561 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented, media
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Journalist covering U.S. nonprofits, foundations, and life in general. President and Chief Elephant Officer of Elephant's Bookshelf Press, LLC. Since establishing the company in 2012, we have published ten books, including short stories by several AQC writers and debut novels by AQC authors A.T. O'Connor (aka Cat Woods), "ScubaSteve" Carman, and R.S. Mellette. Heading into 2016, we're aiming to publish at least two books, including the second Mellette novel and an anthology. In 2015, I saw a few memoir/nonfiction pieces published in Red Fez. I expect to do more of that in 2016 and beyond, while also looking to add freelance editing and writing clients.

Posted 17 July 2013 - 02:20 PM

A lot will depend on the context. I don't write a lot of YA, but I've read a lot in the past several years. To KC's comments, boys will definitely talk about it among themselves and use a wide range of language when doing so, and from what I've seen, when they're out with their girlfriends in a story, most male leads tend to be rather proper even though their minds are fantasizing at speeds approaching mach 2.



#6 mwsinclair

mwsinclair

    Elephant with a trunk full of novels

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,561 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented, media
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Journalist covering U.S. nonprofits, foundations, and life in general. President and Chief Elephant Officer of Elephant's Bookshelf Press, LLC. Since establishing the company in 2012, we have published ten books, including short stories by several AQC writers and debut novels by AQC authors A.T. O'Connor (aka Cat Woods), "ScubaSteve" Carman, and R.S. Mellette. Heading into 2016, we're aiming to publish at least two books, including the second Mellette novel and an anthology. In 2015, I saw a few memoir/nonfiction pieces published in Red Fez. I expect to do more of that in 2016 and beyond, while also looking to add freelance editing and writing clients.

Posted 17 July 2013 - 02:22 PM

As for necrophilia, that sounds like dodgy territory in a YA, but again context is very important.



#7 JessTheDreamer

JessTheDreamer

    Invisible Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 416 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:I wish.

Posted 17 July 2013 - 02:48 PM

I totally understand. Thank you all for your comments. I was actually thinking of snooping around to see what similarities I could find in other young adult works. When in doubt, it's probably the best thing. And yeah, I've known my main character for years and I try to keep him a guy. You know? Was just nervous to step outside of any possible boundaries. But again, feedback was very helpful here. The character that turns him on is a bit different than the girls he had slept with in the past. So I thought that this scene was necessary to show how she changes him. I'll figure out that necrophilia scene with care, for sure. I thought it was quite symbolic. 

 

Anyway, thank you.

 

-Jess


flamingtext_com_1374269667_719762476.gifflamingtext_com_1374269730_719762477.gifflamingtext_com_1374269782_719762479.gifflamingtext_com_1374269935_719762480.gifflamingtext_com_1374269975_719762481.gifflamingtext_com_1374270010_719762482.gifflamingtext_com_1374270042_719762483.gifflamingtext_com_1374270128_719762485.gifflamingtext_com_1374270214_719762488.gif

 

It would mean A LOT if you could check these out:

 
Queries:
Thralldom-->>-->>-->>--http://agentquerycon...528#entry132528
Duplicate: Undead-->>--http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/
 
Synopsis:
Thralldom-->>-->>-->>--http://agentquerycon...a-dark-fantasy/

Write on. ツ


#8 CheG

CheG

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 62 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published
  • LocationUS West Coast
  • Publishing Experience:Forthcoming- Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight from Black Opal Books
    And lots of other stuff...

Posted 19 April 2014 - 02:21 PM

It's fine in context and if it's not written strictly to titillate. You should read a lot of YA in a lot of genres and see what other authors are doing. 


DogFightcoversigsize_zpsfe772a9d.jpg

Please check out my MG query here 


#9 jls4

jls4

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 74 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Southeast

Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:41 AM

I totally understand. Thank you all for your comments. I was actually thinking of snooping around to see what similarities I could find in other young adult works. When in doubt, it's probably the best thing. And yeah, I've known my main character for years and I try to keep him a guy. You know? Was just nervous to step outside of any possible boundaries. But again, feedback was very helpful here. The character that turns him on is a bit different than the girls he had slept with in the past. So I thought that this scene was necessary to show how she changes him. I'll figure out that necrophilia scene with care, for sure. I thought it was quite symbolic. 

 

Anyway, thank you.

 

-Jess

LOL - one of the things I'll tell you as a GUY is that just because we get a b0n3r doesn't mean that we're horny. It sometimes just happens as a reflex. It can be annoying at times as well. So if you want to be realistic, you really have to think about what boys go through and many times we're not thinking about sex. We're not always lusting after girls. Most of us are quiet and shy. Most of us are the "good guy" that never gets the girl in YA. most of us are protective over the girls we like, or that are our friends. Boys don't have boundaries as defined by women - for example two friends can date the same girl; but it's rare for girls to date her friends old boy-friend. Boy's tend to dream and zone-out. Boys are more aggressive and go after their dreams quick. One of the most hurtful things a woman/girl can do to a guy is say that she doesn't believe in him or his dreams. She could say that she doesn't love him, but saying that she doesn't believe in him is a HUGE no-no.


Adventurous Query Looking for Readers to Share in the Excitement - If Interested Critique My Query Here!

Blog - Creative Rambles


#10 DogHugger

DogHugger

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 59 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:FREYJA'S DAUGHTER (2018 from City Owl Press)

Posted 03 September 2014 - 03:34 PM

From what I've been told, as long as the scenes allude to sex rather than showing it play-by-play, graphically, you're fine. Of course, if it's upper YA you can show more, but still more alluding to it than anything. 



#11 sharpegirl

sharpegirl

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,351 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:YA novelist with Hyperion (US) and Indigo (UK).

Posted 03 September 2014 - 04:56 PM

From what I've been told, as long as the scenes allude to sex rather than showing it play-by-play, graphically, you're fine. Of course, if it's upper YA you can show more, but still more alluding to it than anything. 

 

It's totally fine to show it play-by-play, as well. I have a sex scene in my debut that does NOT fade to black, and I get letters from teen readers, from librarians, from adults, telling me how much they appreciate that the sex was dealt with frankly (but hopefully romantically :D) and wasn't full of allusions or flowery descriptions. 

 

This is a great blog post by Andrew Karre, head of Carolrhoda Lab, about talking with teens about sex and YA and what they want to see in it. (A lot of "No fade to black!" demands in there :D I found it very insightful: http://carolrhoda.bl...08/the-sex.html



#12 Midnight Whimsy

Midnight Whimsy

    Indie Author

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,025 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationCanada
  • Publishing Experience:Self-published, Amazon Top 100 YA Author

Posted 03 September 2014 - 08:33 PM

This is a great blog post by Andrew Karre, head of Carolrhoda Lab, about talking with teens about sex and YA and what they want to see in it. (A lot of "No fade to black!" demands in there :D I found it very insightful: http://carolrhoda.bl...08/the-sex.html

 

That was a really interesting read, thanks for sharing!

 

M.W



#13 Jackstar

Jackstar

    Jackstar

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 53 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationCanada

Posted 03 September 2014 - 10:24 PM

I am writing a YA novel where one of the characters is a prostitute. When I wrote it as a short story it was for adults and its graphic so when I decided to write a full novel I was worried the story would lose something if I toned it down. When I gave it a try I found that I changed a few parts to allude to certain things but when it packed a punch I went all out and left it as I originally wanted it. Young adults face difficult choices and situations all the time, why sugar coat it?

 

Your story sounds interesting! Sex with a dead person? I'm curious how you worked that into your story!

 

Jackie



#14 A. E. Costello

A. E. Costello

    Aspiring Novelist

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 100 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS South
  • Publishing Experience:I have the first chapter of my debut novel posted here: http://figment.com/books/339173-The-Other-Side/

Posted 28 November 2014 - 11:35 AM

 

This is a great blog post by Andrew Karre, head of Carolrhoda Lab, about talking with teens about sex and YA and what they want to see in it. (A lot of "No fade to black!" demands in there :D I found it very insightful: http://carolrhoda.bl...08/the-sex.html

 

Thank you so much for this link! I came here with the same questions about how much sex is allowed in a YA novel and this entire post, then the added help of the link really cleared it up for me. I've been feeling a bit guilty about the light make out scenes that were happening between my main couple and wondering if actually having them go all the way (they're both virgins) would be too much and I'd have to skip over it (fade to black like it was mentioned above.) I'm comfortable with the idea of writing the full out scene, it doesn't have to be as descriptive and expilict as erotica but not like the 1950s Harlequin's either. Thanks again


Love is being stupid together - Paul Valery

If you haven't experienced frustration, don't hope for joy- Zico

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug,"- Mark Twain
Quote: If the mountain was smooth, you couldn't climb it.
My twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/
My blog: http://novelistabutt....wordpress.com/
My novel: http://figment.com/b...The-Other-Side/


#15 TheAuthorPhoenix

TheAuthorPhoenix

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 42 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 02 January 2015 - 08:23 AM

It's totally fine to show it play-by-play, as well. I have a sex scene in my debut that does NOT fade to black, and I get letters from teen readers, from librarians, from adults, telling me how much they appreciate that the sex was dealt with frankly (but hopefully romantically :D) and wasn't full of allusions or flowery descriptions. 

 

This is a great blog post by Andrew Karre, head of Carolrhoda Lab, about talking with teens about sex and YA and what they want to see in it. (A lot of "No fade to black!" demands in there :D I found it very insightful: http://carolrhoda.bl...08/the-sex.html

 

Thank you so much for this post. I'm currently working on a book in the upper end of the YA age range and have been going back and forth on how to handle the one sex scene that's come up, because how it actually plays out is very important to both of the characters participating and I feel like fading it to black would be an incredible disservice to both the characters, and the story itself. So it's a huge relief to know that I can write the scene as my characters need it to be written. :)


My Query: The Demon Within (YA Urban Fantasy)
http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/
 


#16 RSMellette

RSMellette

    I Have Many Skills.

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,193 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:The Xena Scrolls on-line and episode TV credit. I worked on the show for the first two years.
    Billy Bobble Makes A Magic Wand, Dec. 2014 Elephant's Bookshelf Press

Posted 02 January 2015 - 12:17 PM

I haven't read the thread at all. I just dropped in to say that Sexual Content sounds like a great title for something.

From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

51xExIpByyL._SS140_SH35_.jpg51n1zBAR2vL._SS140_SH35_.jpg

by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fiction, Erotica, Young Adult

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users