Writing Info

Can Authors Include Sex in YA Novels?

Yes, that’s right…sex is the topic of this blog posting.  At the MD SCBWI conference, I was in a workshop with one of the NYC agents.  When it came time for questions, I asked if it was ok or considered taboo for characters to have sex in young adult (YA) novels.  I mean, in Divergent, Hunger Games, and Twilight, none of the main characters have sex.  They’re pretty chaste.  So will the publishing industry baulk at the tawdriness of <18 yr olds having sex in a YA book series?  Are they the ones being puritanical or is it the readers themselves who refuse to buy books for YA’s with that topic inside?

Well…I was in an airport bookstore the other day when I saw three teenage girls all under 18 looking at the bestseller’s section in a Hudson News store.  They were buying 50 SHADES of GREY, and one of them could be heard saying, “Should I buy this?  My mom said that if I read it we could talk about the sex part of it together.  Like I’d ever want to talk to her about that!  I just want to read it myself.”

So I’m thinking the audience of YA readers wouldn’t mind the sex.

Well, the agent at the SCBWI conference agreed.  She said nothing is taboo in YA novels.  If we want to include sex, she was all for it.  What do you think?

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