Discussion #14: ^^Eh…well… there’s no easy way to ask this but….

Posted August 31, 2015 by Keionda Lei Lewis in Discussion / 31 Comments


Soooo, I’m a writer in YA Fantasy Romance genre so this question I’m rolling out on you guys today you may think is kind of strange but fear ye not. I shan’t make this convo awkward and stuff. Just business. (Mostly)


First, let us get personal. And by us getting personal I mean moa. I decided long ago when I saw all my friends getting preggos in high school that I wouldn’t that be one of them. I was going to go to college and make something of myself– I also made the decision to save myself for marriage.


                            Here’s a pic for you guys to see of my purity ring.


      It was an easy decision and it was also the main reason for some of my break ups. Pfft. *Shrugs*


                                         But Keionda–WHHHYYY YOU TELL US THIS?

Well my sweet bumblebees you see, this all ties into my question for you guys hence the reason for this discussion post: I want to talk with you guys about *cough* sex scenes in YA. Now, being a writer in the upper YA, my characters are mostly 17 to 19.


So my question to you guys is how “descriptive” are they? I’ve seen ones where they brush along the scene and what is actually happening but YOU KNOW they are getting it on. For example, of course in Twilight, Bella and Edward were obvi doing it and we knew this was going on but the way it was explained it was likeinnocent. if that makes any sense?

Also in THE Selection series, Maxon nor America never did anything but when they were about to do it and were *cough, cough* interupted, it was still touched on. BUT in the Lux series by Jennifer Armenteout, it was more descriptive.


So, obvi teens are having sex in today’s time. Maybe not all of them but I think it’s safe to assume that most teens these days have been around the bin and back again. So it’s not like their little ears can’t take it.


I’ve only written two sex scenes for my characters with them ranging from not descriptive to a little bit more. Soooooo, what do you guys think? I’ve heard if the scene is borderline uncomfortable, it’s best not to write it for YA. It may be more suited for NA. But I think I’m on the right track because none of my scenes have made me feel the slightest bit uncomfortable–but I may be completely bias here. I’m totally being bias. Not.



                        Over to you:

How do you feel about the steamy, scenes in YA? Have you found any that are inappropriate? Or nah? TELL ME ALL. I NEEDS TO KNOW, YO.

                                        Don’t forget to be awesome!




31 responses to “Discussion #14: ^^Eh…well… there’s no easy way to ask this but….

  1. Ro

    Ironically, when I was a kid, I don’t remember any YA romances (lol), so I was reading Harlequin and other historical love stories that were a little racy and steamy, but nothing truly erotic or hardcore. Despite that, however, my parents were very strict and I was a virgin when I got married. Young people today are much more educated than I was back in the day, but I believe that if you’re writing what you feel comfortable with, you can’t go wrong. Once you start changing your writing style to suit the needs of others, you could be an unhappy camper. It’s the same with musicians who change to fit the norm. Look at the Rolling Stones. Man, they’re singing the same songs they did from back in the day and everyone is loving it still, right? (lol) As always, awesome topic! Hugs…

    • I so agree Ro! I’m deff going to take your advice and not change even a thing about my writing because everyone has so many different needs and likes and it would be IMPOSSIBLE to please them all, right? THANKS SO MUCH for always giving me encouragement! You’re always so awesome!

  2. Usually in YA they aren’t very descriptive. They hint at it or gloss over the finer details and I like it that way having teenagers that read the genre.
    I do know that a few don’t gloss over the scenes and I won’t let my girls read those, I just don’t think it is appropriate for YA regardless of whether or not kids are having sex in high school or not. I don’t want my girls reading about it.

    That is more from the “mom” stand point but there you have it anyways. I’m okay with knowing the characters are doing it and I think heated kissing scenes are fine (petting, whatever) but, actual sex scenes in YA? Nope, I don’t think they should be there since these books are marketed for 11 on up.

    • I’ve been getting a lot of comments that tell me that YA basically has a ‘tell-not-show’ policy when it comes to sex scenes so you guys have given me SO MUCH more to work with! Thanks girl for your FAB input xoxo

  3. I like my YA to tell, rather than show, sex scenes. We all know that teens have more sex than grownups. It’s true! They just hide it from their parents. You need to read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, which releases tomorrow. Obviously, the reader knows whats happening but it isn’t so descriptive. Twilight is a great example, so that was a good comparison. When it gets to be uncomfortable (I don’t have that reaction to sex scenes. I’m an adult after all), then I don’t think YA is an appropriate genre. That’s NA territory. Still, it can be done and I have faith that you will get it right.

    • Awwww Lekeisha! Thanks boo! I appreciate all the advice you guys can give me because your input and insight TRULY MATTER to me, so TANK YOUUU! <3 Twilight, like you said had no kind of description when it came to the sex scenes so that helps me out a lot, all the examples you gave 🙂

  4. Sophia Rose

    I sometimes feel like the sex doesn’t belong in the YA, that its fine as a fade to black/closed door thing, and on fewer occasions that graphic descriptions work, but it really depends on all the other components in the book- tone, plot direction, characters/maturity, etc. I’ve read some YA that the sex feels awkward, wrong, dirty, shameful, but its usually b/c of how the characters are perceived and how the sex doesn’t fit the story. I’ve also read some when it fits organically into the story just fine. It really depends.

    I don’t know how helpful I was since I didn’t definitively answer your question, but there you go.

    And BTW, your stance on it personally is impressive. I took a similar stance and have no regrets. I finished HS and college when some of my friends who got entangled with guys did not.

    • Thank you so much Sophia for your kind words! And yes, sometimes I feel that sex isn’t really needed but I STILL love that moment when it finally does happen, you know? But you’re right, it’s not as ‘graphic’ as let’s say, a NA novel. 😉 Awesome input!

  5. You are awesome. That is all. Well, I really don’t want to see or read teenagers getting it on, so fade to black is more my speed when it comes to sex in YA books.

    • I agree girl! 🙂 And yes, I have to admit I would find it a tad bit awkward if they were so young and were doing the nasty. It’s a different story if they’re older though. hehe

  6. Red Iza

    YA is not my to-go genre, so I can’t be a reference here, but since it’s called *young* adult, I think it’s best if it’s not too descriptive ? Believe me, I’m a full grown-up and love my hot romances, but I wouldn’t be looking for them in YA. However, if as a writer, you felt comfortable with the scenes you wrote, I think you’re on the right track 😉
    PS : I remember a sex (?) scene in Lux, it was so brushed that I’m still not sure of what really happened there, lol ! But not all scenes were like this one 😉

    • Teehee Oh believe me, I know how much you love your hot romances giirrrlll. 😉 😉 😉 And yes, I agree that the romance/sex scenes shouldn’t be too, too descriptive. So far I’ve been comfortable with the scenes I’m writing so like you said, pretty sure I’m on the right track with this. <3

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever read a YA sex scene that’s “show-and-not-tell”. There was a sex scene in Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi and I could only guess it was one because of the charcaters getting naked and a mysterious “weight” or something haha. It was more about the emotions of the characters and less to do with the physical aspect.

    Even Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas has plenty of sex scenes but it was also just implied from the characters being naked and the heroine talking about pain the day after. Her other book, A Court of Thorns & Roses, was more detailed about the physical aspects of sex and it got rated as NA heh.

    I don’t mind if sex is “faded-to-black” in YA as long as they don’t portray it as some disgusting/”slutty” thing to do lol. It’s just an extra special way of showing love (or just too have fun, whatever works lmao)

    • Gahh Ju, you’ve helped me out so much girl! I now have a totally better picture of how I should write my scenes! Thanks so much for all of this awesome input. (I’m so happy with it I may or may not paste it to my inspiration wall.) –> And I’m so totally not kidding her. xoxo Thanks again Ju! <3 MUAHHH

  8. I think as long as it fits a story, whatever you want to write is fine! I personally prefer it to not be totally detailed, but I’ve read my fair share of NA/romance/erotica (and not going to lie, I skim sex scenes the days instead of reading them properly – particularly when a book has multiple ones) so am not fussed if they *are* detailed lol

    As long as they are sex-positive ones instead of shaming then whatever works for you as a writer 🙂

    • I SO agree Wattle! I think I prefer to have a little bit of ‘sum sum’ in my stories whether it be NA or YA. 😉 And you’re totally right! Whatever works for the writer because if you force yourself to write how you think someone would rather you to write, you won’t enjoy your job as much. AWESOME INPUT GIRLLL!<3

  9. I don’t think I’ve read a steamy scene in a YA book, NA yes but YA? Well no. It wouldn’t bother me but I like without them as well. I confess that when I was a teen it wasn’t that banal so it just depends on the age of the characters. 17 to 19 sounds ok.

    • I’ve read some steamy scenes in YA before, but they were mostly just ‘make outs’ and things like that. The sex was brushed upon now that I’m thinking about it. Thanks for your input Mel! That really helps me! <3

  10. Ah man. I had a nice little comment then WP ate it. Blerg, WP, blerg! lol

    I love steamy scenes but I really do not like seeing them when I read YA. It just squicks me out especially when the characters are underage (usually) and in high school. I’m fine with detailed scenes once in NA territory but in YA if they must have sex scenes I want very little description.

    For me it would also be an issue of what I wanted to encourage in teenagers who were hopefully reading the books. Yes kids are having sex but do you want to contribute to the idea that it’s okay to have sex at a young age? I know for some it’s not a big deal. It’s one of those issues I have though. Yes a lot are but that doesn’t really make it right or advisable and including it in books does that make them think it’s okay to do the same? Because we’re definitely influenced by what we read especially at a young age.

  11. I actually don’t mind sex scenes in YA, I know most people like to see a limit, but I rather have it be realistic than if it feels fake to nto have sex. I think it depends on the book and the character and what feels natural/ realistic. I would like to see more genuine awkward sex. The kind of sex how it really happens that first time. And like you mentioned we all know that teenagers are having sex and they can find info about it anywhere, I think books can be a safer way to explore that topic than some other mediums out there. I am also okay with the fade out, that way you still know it happens. I guess it just depends on the book and what fits the story and characters. Some books are great without sex and in other books I think they are better if they do handle the topic in some way or another.

    • I definitely agree with you here Lola! Thanks so much for this awesome input because it makes my life as a writer THAT MUCH easier! <3 Like you said girl, it all depends on the book/characters but some books yes, are STILL great without the sex. 😉 Thanks girl!

  12. Yay! Someone who is saving themselves for marriage like me! *high fives*

    But of course, I still do love my steamy romance scenes, as much as I can appreciate the YA books that have no sec scenes but some where it is definitely steamy as well *for people like me ahaha*. So, I am fine with it being either way! I am perfectly happy to read about it, or to just be aware of it. I think in cases like this it is all about how comfortable the authors feel about what they are writing, more than the readers. Most of them (generally speaking) accept it all?

    • OHHHHH YEAHHH *HIGH FIVES YOU RIGHT BACK AND THEN GIVES YOU A TACKLING HUG* I’m so glad to hear there’s someone else out there in the world that’s saving themselves. KUDDOS to you girl! <3 It’s not easy and there will always be temptation but stay true to yourself and your values and you’ll be just fine. 😉 And yes, writing my first sex scene was kinda awkward because pfft, you know (I’ve never done it and so…how the heck am I going to make my characters do it??) Teehee Thanks for your FAB input giirrrlll. <3

  13. Hmmm…this one’s tricky.I personally no issues with show-y sex scenes in YA. I remember what it was like being a teenager and to be curious about sex. Being Cuban American, it wasn’t a cultural norm to ask your mom questions about sex or sexuality because then she’d just assume you were doing it and then the bible study sessions would double lol.

    As a teen I read a lot and if I had read about characters confused about their sexuality and curious about sex like I was, I think I would have made smarted decisions when it came down to waiting or not waiting. I was super shy and didn’t have my first kiss until I was 18 even though I was fly as hell XD Lol. But anyways, I read more than I interacted with real people so I probably would have taken more from it seeing characters struggle like I did. But then again that’s me.

    Oh and btw, I’m not talking 50 shades of grey sex, I’m talking awkward first time sex, because that’s just how it is when you’re younger and insecure, awkward as hell!

    • HHEEEYYYYYY Guinevere! <3 I still have to stop by both of your blogs girl. (I’m pretty sure you told me that you and your sister share two blogs right? One for your awesometastical book and the one about diversity book reviews?) Gosh, I hope I’m right. teehee And yes, I started reading adult books at a young age, like tenth grader in high school (which I probably shouldn’t have been reading at such an influential age) but meh, *shrugs* everything turned out okay. 😉

      Have you tried 50 shades of Grey? My mom….girllll she is so obsessed with that series and I’m just like…STAAHPPPP. hehe And girl I know you were fly *sweeps hair off shoulder* I can already imagine. 😉 I’m actually kinda shy IRL so…. yeah, but whenever we talk I’m always a chatterbox and can’t shut up…much like right now…

  14. The more you chat with me, the more you’ll learn that I’m the ” hump queen” of the crew lol so I do like steamy scenes in YA. For me it depends though, if you’re doing upper YA 17-19, (which to me is NA) then go for it! & when I mean go, I mean give me alll the details lol. But if it’s 16 and under, then keep it light, if not done at all. I remember when I read The Duff, girl I was so turned off that all she did was have sex! Idk if I thought she was too young, or if I thought it was because she was having sex with him for all the wrong reasons, but I rated the book super low because of it. But in all honesty, I really like when authors are pro-sex in YA. It’s something that’s happening, because like you mentioned, teens are sexually active, so it’s definitely a realistic aspect. So I guess to answer your question, I don’t mind sex in YA as long as the content is appropriate for the targeted audience. Keep the steamy scenes for upper YA when the characters have graduated high school and are headed to college!

    P.S I think it’s so dope that you have chosen to remain pure! I need a friend like you in my life lol 🙂

  15. Okay, so, apparently, I have a lot to say about this. Here goes:

    Sex is sex. It happens. It’s how you and I are alive and breathing, and I think we make too big of a deal about it. Having sex in your teens is your prerogative, YOUR choice. And I think we need to remember that when we read YA.

    It really makes me mad when readers hate on a character for having sex–because why not? Why should a teen not have sex? As long as it’s consensual (to both parties) and it’s protected, I really don’t see the harm.

    But what about the TEEN readers of YA? Since YA is generally aimed toward a 15 onwards demographic, I don’t see anything bad in a sex scene–especially if it shows the vulnerability and intimacy of the moment. Not all sex is mind-blowing (especially not the first time) and if the scene is done in a way that is both classy and
    pro-sex, then I think it’s perfect for a young mind. Sex is something they have to tackle in their adult lives, after all, maybe even earlier, and there’s no harm in educating them about it in a way that is positive and informative.

    Rhea @ Rhea’s Neon Journal

  16. For me it’s important that sex in YA isn’t just sex. To me it’s about how the characters feel about it. It’s just sex but for someone to have sex for the first time of course it’s going to be a big deal. Teens learn about sex from books (I know I did) and some of my favourite YA books that touch the subject have been very realistic and not too idealising about it.

    • I learned most about sex from books as well. Like in 10th grade I started reading a series with very explicit sex (and believe me, I learned SO MUCH…) *Blushes* teehee but I so agree! Sex in YA should be more about how they FEEL instead of it being explicit with the showing details. 😉