Sex in YA Novels
Let’s not beat around the bush. Fifty Shades of Gray and all its replicas have made everyone hot and bothered. The erotica trend has hit the mainstream and everyone’s blood is pumping. Unfortunately folks in the industry are now scrambling to capitalize. One influential man who runs a website devoted to mentoring new authors told a writer friend of mine to sex up her Young Adult male protagonist. She cringed.
“It’s for teens,” she bemoaned.
He replied, “Hey, there’s sex in YA now.”
And that one statement frightens me to no end.
Now, I know that there are plenty of books with teen sex in them. There have been for a while and I don’t see that trend ending. Most of them are the edgy, coming-of-age stories that show the gritty realities of the world in which we live. Myself and my friends write fantasy and science fiction, a genre that, in the past, has shied away from sex scenes. There is usually kissing. Someone may get to second base, but that’s it. It’s a genre that’s innocent in a way. And that is how I like it.
If the new trend is every book must focus on sex in order to sell, I cringe at what we’ll be reading. Imagine Katniss in a sex scene or Thomas from The Maze Runner taking a break from running for his life to have a quicky. All those great scenes building worlds and racing from enemies will be rushed out of the way to get to the hot and heavy. And what will all this sex do to our teen readers? Aren’t they over-sexed as it is thanks to Barbie and MTV?
Hopefully writers will take a stand and fight back against the onslaught of sex seeping into our literature. I’ve always believed in avoiding trends and sticking to what you love. For me, I love a great romance, a push and pull until the final moment where the heroine and her love interest kiss for the first time. There’s something magical about that moment. And for me, that’s enough.
Katie French imagined herself an author when her poem caught the eye of her second grade teacher. In middle school she spent her free time locked in her room, writing her first young adult novel. Though her social life suffered, her love for literature thrived. She studied English at Eastern Michigan University, where she veered from writing and earned an education degree. She spent nine years teaching high school English. Currently she is a school counselor, doing a job that is both one of the hardest things she’s ever done and the most rewarding. In her free time she writes, reads great books and takes care of her two beautiful and crazy children. She is a contributor and co-creator of Underground Book Reviews, a website dedicated to erasing the boundaries between traditional and non-traditional publishing. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. You can find her at www.katiefrenchbooks.com, at www.undergroundbookreviews.com or onFacebook.