I have a lot of thoughts about sex/sexual content in young adult novels. As a mother of 3 small girls, I want there to be no sex in the books (and no sex on TV, or in movies, or in song lyrics… you get the idea). I’d love to protect their little ears, eyes, and whatever else as long as I can. That also includes books. I love reading YA books, but some I wouldn't want my teens reading because of the level of sexual content (I didn't have that much ‘sexual content’ when I was a teen….)
As a reader of YA novels, I don’t mind an occasional rendezvous if it’s not too graphic and is part of the story line I don’t want over the top ‘do it just to do it’, but if it’s tame and I don’t have to ‘see’ every detail, I’m okay reading it. (Still don’t want to my girls too, though ;) )
As a writer, I don’t like to write sex scenes in my YA novels. Mainly, I write sweet romances (ie no cursing or ‘pink parts’ as my publisher, Astraea Press, calls it). My personal writer philosophy is I want to write books that aren't full of sex and language because not everyone wants to read it. There has to be another side to the coin. You can absolutely tell great stories without either sex or language (okay… the language is hard to cut… sigh. I do it, but sometimes my characters aren't happy about it.)
I do believe some YA books go too far in the sex, especially if it’s casual with no consequences (I’m not talking about pregnancy in all of them… but the emotional issues it can cause as well).
To sum up, as a mommy and a writer, I’m not a fan of sex scenes in YA novels. Am I naïve enough to think teens don’t “do it”? Of course not, but I believe there can be a happy medium between great storytelling and ‘taboo’ subjects.
Author Bio: Kelly Martin is a teacher, writer, and blogger. She has a handsome husband and three angelic (and energetic) daughters ages 2 to 7. Her first novel, CROSSING THE DEEP, is a young adult/Christian novel about two teens stranded in the woods during a hike and how being stuck for 4 days with no idea if they’ll get home changes them. It’s published by Astraea Press. Her second novel, SAINT SLOAN, will be out February 28th, 2013. Kelly loves God, is addicted to chocolate, and would rather write than sleep.