Trigger warning: some mention of rape

TMI warning: masturbatory themes

In Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Habibi (which is problematic to say the least), there’s a scene where Zam, a preadolescent boy, watches with horror as his female caregiver and sole companion, Dodola, is raped. As Zam and Dodola live alone in the desert – and as, through a strange twist of circumstances, Dodola is less than ten years Zam’s senior – his sexual awakening has thus far consisted of a burgeoning, awkward attraction to Dodola, who is quite literally the only woman he knows. But after he witnesses her rape, he starts to loathe his own sexuality. Because that single, awful, abusive image is Zam’s sole frame of reference for adult sex, it’s what he pictures whenever he tries to imagine himself with Dodola; instinctively, he recoils from it, but without any knowledge of what consensual sex might look like, he draws the conclusion that male desire – his desire – is inherently evil, not only because that’s his sole experience of it, but because that image has invaded his fantasies, turning them into something repugnant. He doesn’t know how to be aroused without linking that arousal to something vile, with the result that he ultimately comes to despise his own sexual identity.

This is both a fictitious and decidedly extreme example of negative sexual reinforcement, but one which nonetheless makes me think about a vastly different, non-fictional account of sexual awakening: that of writer Caitlin Moran in her hilarious, feminist biography, How To Be a Woman. To quote:

Coupled with the pan-sexual, freak-show silliness of Eurotrash – Lolo Ferrari, the woman with the biggest breasts in the world, bouncing on a trampoline; drag queens with dildos and butt plugs; gimps in harnesses; hoovering bored Dutch housewives’ flats – this is the sum total of all the sex I see until I’m 18. Perhaps ten minutes in total – a series of arty, freaky, sometimes brutal vignettes, which I lash together, and use as the basis for my sexual imagination.

Thinking back, my own initial exposure to sex scenes came from a similarly weird melange of sources. Like most Australian teenagers of my generation, I’d memorised the page-number for the bit in John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When The War Began where Ellie and Lee had sex, while my copy of Nicholas Evans’s The Horse Whisperer ended up with several similarly well-thumbed sections. Combined with a 1972 edition of The Joy of Sex I discovered lurking in a forgotten corner of my parents’ bookshelves and the bit in Money Train where Jennifer Lopez sleeps with Wesley Snipes, this constituted the sex-positive end of my masturbatory spectrum. Somewhere in the middle was a volume of archaic erotic bookplates (shut up) that was similarly liberated from obscurity, the sex scenes from Shakespeare in Love and the sometimes-positive-but-usually-problematic-and-occasionally-outright-rapey sex in Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books and Sara Douglass’s Axis and Wayfarer Redemption trilogies. At the far end were the disturbing and numerous glimpses of aggressive sexuality, coercion and rape that constituted the bread and butter of my favourite crime shows, plus the aforementioned rape scenes from writers like Douglass and, much later, Terry Goodkind.

In other words, it was a mess, and one which left me with a mental sexual landscape dominated by male  aggression. It took me years to to understand that the dissonance between my private sexual fantasies and what I actually like in real life was, in large part, attributable to the fact that the overwhelming majority of sex scenes I’d encountered in my formative tweens and early teens explicitly situated male dominance as sexy, or at least as the default form of sexual instigation: I hadn’t realised I could fantasise without it. This bugs me less now that I’m an adult and can, up to a point, sort through it all rationally, but as Moran goes on to say in How To Be a Woman, most teenagers now don’t have to rely on strange, half-glimpsed sex scenes in adult books and TV shows: instead, they can just look up porn on the internet – and that’s a bit worrying, because as weird as all those pre-internet sex sources were, at least they involved some mystery and variety, to say nothing of everyday bodies, whereas the online porn industry is rife with institutionalised misogyny, fake boobs, vaginoplasty, airbrushing and contextless, unemotional grunting scripted solely for the male gaze.  And that’s bad for everyone: boys because they assume that’s what girls both want and should look like as a default, and girls because they’re taught to try and emulate sex-scripts and bodies that are anything but natural. (That’s for hetero boys and girls, of course; I can’t speak to the experience of LGBTQ teens browsing porn online, but by and large, and particularly given the wealth of lesbian porn that is in fact produced for straight men, I’m going to assume it’s not much better.)

And nor, by and large, are TV and movies. The fact that there’s more visible sex and nudity in a single episode of just about anything produced by HBO (Deadwood, A Game of Thrones, True Blood) than I managed to glimpse in my whole adolescence cannot help but bring this comic to mind; but more importantly, the current abundance of televised sex is not the same as an abundance of sex-positivity. Almost exclusively white women being grabbed forcefully, raped and abused, or else being coyly and passively coaxed into sex by active hetero menfolk? That, we have aplenty. Women initiating sex, lesbian sex that isn’t written with heterosexual voyeurs in mind, actual gay sex, loving LGBTQ encounters, men being passive in sex, sexiness being tied to something other than male dominance, and interracial or non-white couples having sex? That, we have not so much of, and in some cases none at all. Cinema is infinitely worse than TV in this respect, because television, for all its faults, is much less bounded by that peculiarly hypersexualised-yet-1950’s sense of  what sex sells, or ought to, that so toxically pervades Hollywood. But even so, it’s far from the full and well-rounded spectrum of tastes it ought to be.

Which leaves books: both adult works that teenagers find themselves reading and, more specifically, YA novels. And even though this is a post about the importance of sex-positive sex scenes for people of all orientations and genders, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that literary sex scenes are particularly important for girls, not only because of the staggering number of teenage ladies looking to YA for romance and sexiness in the post-Twilight period, but because when it comes to the representations of sex in other media – porn, TV and movies, to say nothing of magazine ads and sex advice columns – girls are almost universally the ones being grabbed and raped, the ones depicted as passive sex-objects, posed like dolls or lusted after as unattainable conquests. As things stand right now, YA novels are pretty much the only place a teenage old girl can go to find the image of someone like her receiving cunnilingus from a caring, considerate lover, and when you look at it that way, the power of sex scenes in YA novels should instantly become apparent. In a sexual climate where women’s wants and needs are so often painted as secondary to male desire, and where male dominance, instigation and aggression are seen as sexual defaults, any medium where girls can lash together their sexual landscapes from scenes of female desire, mutual respect and non-aggression is made fundamentally radical.

Not, of course, that this always happens: while Twilight, for all its many troubling failures, at least produced a heroine with sexual agency, one who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to ask for it, some other prominent novels haven’t managed even that much. Others, though, have, and that’s the point – that sex in YA novels can and does do what sex in other media doesn’t, namely: focus on female pleasure, needs and desires. Which is, I suspect, why the merest prospect of it freaks so many people out: because if there’s one set of bodies that puritanical conservatism has always yearned to shame, contain and control, it’s young female bodies. It’s not even a question of how graphic (or not) the sex/sexiness might be, though as with all matters of personal taste, YMMV – it’s a question of who the audience is. And absolutely every time I’ve seen journalists, concerned parents or censorship groups get up in arms about ‘inappropriate’ sexual content in YA novels, it hasn’t seemed irrelevant that the books in question have overwhelmingly been aimed at teenage girls. (Not that gender is ever mentioned as justification for the complaint – heaven forbid!)

And maybe it’s just a consequence of the fact that YA is a genre currently dominated by women writers, women who perhaps grew up with few or no books to read whose heroes were in fact heroines like them – a problem they likely also encountered in TV and movies – and who subsequently have set out to rectify the disparity; and maybe it’s because society carries a tacit but biased expectation that teenage boys are inevitably going to buy magazines like Zoo and FHM and look at boobies on the internet, and are in any case less interested in romance than they are in pure, abstract sex, with the result that there’s less of a perceived market for sexy books for boys, and hence fewer books of that type and minimal objections to the ones that do exist. Or maybe there’s as many sexy books for boys as for girls, and it’s just that people are more freaked out by the latter than the former, perhaps because the raging, overtly romantic teen-girl fandoms outstrip in their sudden visibility the quieter teen-boy fandoms, because caring about stories and fictional couples and queuing for hours to see your favourite literary idols are all acceptable things for girls to do, but which for exactly that reason boys are likely to be stigmatised for doing, even though that sort of sexist double standard is, well, a sexist double standard. But the point, the point, is that whenever I hear someone talking about how it’s wrong to have sex and sexiness in YA novels, what I actually hear is this:

I’m terrified that the first fictional sex a teenage girl encounters might leave her feeling good about herself. I’m terrified that fictional sex might actually make teenage girls think sex can be fun and good, that reading about girls who say no and boys who listen when they say it might give them the confidence to say no, too – or worse still, to realise that boys who don’t listen to ‘no’ aren’t worth it. I’m terrified that YA novels might teach teenage girls the distinction between assault and consensual sex, and give them the courage to speak out about the former while actively seeking the latter. I’m terrified that teenage girls might think seriously about the circumstances under which they might say yes to sex; that they might think about contraception before they need it, and touch themselves in bed at night while fantasising about generous, interesting, beautiful lovers who treat them with consideration and respect. I’m terrified of a generation of teenage girls who aren’t shy or squeamish about asking for cunnilingus when they want it, or about loving more than one person at once, and who don’t feel shame about their arousal. I’m terrified that teenage girls might take control of their sexuality and, in so doing, take that control of them and their bodies away from me.

Which is also why I get so angry whenever I come across negative sexuality in YA novels: books where the brooding hero treats the heroine badly, ignores her when she says no, abuses her trust and feelings and slams her bodily against walls, and where she’s made to feel uncomfortable about and disquieted by her feelings, because not only do such romances fail at sex-positivity, but if that’s your bag, then every other form of pop culture is ready and willing to oblige you.

Sex/y scenes in YA matter because YA novels aren’t contraband. It’s not like sneaking a glance at the late night movie, then frantically switching channels when your parents inevitably walk in during the naked bits, or covertly trying to hide a Mills and Boon under your bed, or having to clear your browser history and check that the door’s locked if you want to look at porn or read slashfic on the internet. You can read YA novels openly – on the bus, at school, at home – and never have to worry that someone’s going to find your behaviour suspicious. Sex/y scenes in YA matter because, by the very nature of belonging to a permitted form of media, they help to disassociate sex from surreptitious secrecy: they make it something open rather than furtive, something that rightfully belongs to you, the reader, because the book was meant for you to read and remember. It doesn’t matter if the scene is detailed or not, if it’s only fiery kisses or much, much more: the point is that you’re allowed to have it, allowed to enjoy it, and that perhaps for the first time in your life, you’re viewing something arousing that doesn’t make you out to be a sex object in heels, but an active, interesting heroine who also happens to have a love life.

To quote one of my favourite ever YA novels, Laini Taylor’s utterly brilliant Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

‘I don’t know many rules to live by,’ he’d said. ‘But here’s one. It’s simple. Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles–drug or tattoo–and… no inessential penises either.’

‘Inessential penises?’ Karou had repeated, delighted with the phrase in spite of her grief. ‘Is there any such thing as an essential one?’

‘When an essential one comes along, you’ll know,’ he’d replied.

No wonder the conservatives are terrified.

  1. This.

    Although Meg Cabot doesn’t usually write the actual sex scene (she writes the before and after), I’ve always totally admired the fact that her characters have sex (after careful consideration and purchasing of appropriate protection), enjoy it and DON’T GET PUNISHED. More like that, pls.

  2. Juan Pazos says:

    This is all very well, I agree absolutely. But how many teenage readers, boys or girls, but essentially girls, obviously, are going to read this? Profit but how sensible this is? I have the feeling that YA is quite automatically dismissed as something of a phase that needs to be overcome, grown-out-of, and therefore policed by parents or teachers so it doesn’t do any harm. So I wonder to what extent the conclusions the teenagers and “young adults” are going to draw from their reading are going to be informed by their parents and teacher’s bias. I can imagine a girl reading about cunnilingus and feeling guilty because that’s something she intuitively knows is not to be talked about. Or maybe I’m going back to how I felt about such things when I was a teen and today things are better… but I have my doubts.

    • quentin cavell says:

      if that is the case, the negative process has already started, and quick action is needed. and are you suggesting that a parent, much less a teacher, would tell a teen: “hey! stop reading!”? i find that to be a preposterous idea. and books don’t come with warnings that say “CAUTION:HEALTHY AND SAFE SEXY FUN TIMES HAPPEN WITHIN”, so unless parents who would disapprove of such things either read (unlikely) or researched (again, unlikely) the books, there’s almost no reason i could see that they would stop their child from reading them.
      also, it’s a blessing in disguise if teens don’t discuss it with their parents, because then they have the opportunity to learn about sexuality without the biases of adults droning in their ears.

  3. I so agree with you! I have a 17 year old daughter, and I am horrified at the books with wishy-washy heroines who are more or less abused both sexually and emotionally by the “hero”.
    I recently read the third book in Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade trilogy, and it has the sweetest sex scene I have read in a very long time. That is the kind of thing I’d like my daughter to read! It was so tender, filled with love and respect, and the couple were both so careful with each other and their feelings.

  4. […] for why problematic portrayals of sex can have consequences for readers, check out this great post by Foz Meadows about why YA sex matters. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Short Sunday Morning […]

  5. Holly says:

    That comic you link to contains a personal gripe of mine — those boys aren’t talking about seeing vaginas; they’re trying to see vulvas. It would be a huge step toward sex positivity for girls if more of us knew the right names for our own parts, and insisted on using them correctly.

    This was a good, thoughtful post on the subject of sex in YA. I’ve been obsessing about it because I’ve been working on a novel where my 16-year-old vampire heroine has sex with her living boyfriend, and I try to give her a very nice experience, which she certainly deserves after 100+ chaste years. But I worry about people getting upset about those sex-positive things for girls that you list so well in italics. Horrors, that she should initiate the first time, and like it. And horrors, that her boyfriend is a nice guy totally worth doing it with.

    Thanks for helping to, um, firm my resolve.

    • fozmeadows says:

      Knowing the right names for the parts – and being unembarrassed about saying them in public, or having the freedom to say them without people thinking its icky – is a huge part of the issue. I mean, fuck: some American politicians don’t even want a woman to say vagina when vaginas are expressly what they’re talking about. Vagina is not a bad word!

    • scrivener212 says:

      Go for it. YA editors are made of sterner stuff than you’d think.

  6. Penni says:

    This is fantastic Foz, so true and compelling and a little bit frightening.

  7. […] long ago, I wrote a piece on why YA sex scenes matter — in a nutshell, because they’re pretty much the only form of sex-positive, […]

  8. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for this article, and the one you wrote about sex in fanfiction. I have a tween daughter who is getting interested in boys. Do you have any other book recommendations for her? Thanks!

    • fozmeadows says:

      Thanks for reading!

      For great teenage reading, I would recommend:

      – Tamora Pierce’s Provost’s Dog trilogy, which apart from being brilliantly awesome in every respect (teen girl policewoman solving crimes in a gender-equal feudal society with magic) is perfect on the topic of relationships: the protagonist, Beka, has great friendships with both men and women, isn’t ashamed of her sexuality, uses contraception intelligently and gives the heave to guys who demonstrate bad behaviour. These are themes that hold true for all of Pierce’s many books, so I’d also recommend pretty much everything she’s written – and they’re fabulous reads for adults, too, especially Provost’s Dog.

      – Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom trilogy, which is thoroughly wonderful, has two amazing heroines, and is just generally superb.

      – Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, which is incredibly sex-positive, features all kinds of girls and all kinds of relationships, and is also hilariously satirical (the premise: a planeload of teenage beauty queens crashes on a desert island, while simultaneously an evil corporation is trying to take over the world).

      – Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch and Zarah the Windseeker, which both star capable, interesting, competent young WOC doing amazing things.

      – Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy, which manages to be a rousing defense of female power and youthful sexuality at the same time as being an incredible story about parallel worlds, sacrifice, danger and bravery.

      – Everything by Laini Taylor, but especially Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Her work is just breathtaking.

      – Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which… I don’t really have words for how beautiful and incredible this book is; it’s also got a very strong message of body positivity and female courage.

      Hope that helps, and happy reading! 🙂

      • Jennifer says:

        Oh, thank you! We’ve been hitting the library a lot, and this will give us (me, too!) some great reads. It is always overwhelming for me to choose a new author, and my daughter seems to have some of the same trouble. Too many choices, too many micro-reviews on the covers (“Amazing!”, etc.) and not enough recommendations from friends. We look forward to a whole new galaxy of books to read!

      • scrivener212 says:

        ::blush:: Thank you!

      • Hannah says:

        Anything Tamora Pierce. She has written so many amazing books that are just full of well rounded full female heros doing amazing things and quite often having wonderful sex. It brings up a lot of interesting issues about sex too and is very blunt about how people will try to use female sexuality to tear down a woman who’s strong. I read all her books at 12 years old and I’ve reread them at least once a year until now (I’m 25) and they still resonate with me.

  9. jrgordonjet1 says:

    Reblogged this on Living the Dream and commented:
    Foz Meadows makes some great points about the ties between the Young Adult fiction genre and sexual confidence in young women. I really enjoyed reading this blog article because I remember being a young, impressionable teen girl. I remember classmates making fun of me for daring to read a romance novel in front of them, while boys could show off their porn mags without protest. I want to see a world where young girls can be safe and confident to explore their sexuality, instead of shamed and terrified.

  10. Angela says:

    I think that this romañtic, sect aspect of YA is why so many grown women read them too. I also really love how strong the female protagonists can be. But, not in a macho way. They strong just being and discovering who they are.

  11. inkpaperpen says:

    Reblogged this on InkPaperPen and commented:
    I didn’t necessarily agree with everything this said, but it does have some very good points.

  12. Nancy Werlin says:

    LOVE THIS. Thank you!

  13. Shari Green says:

    Awesome quote! *bumps DOSAB to top of TBR pile*

    Thanks for this really thoughtful & thought-provoking post.

  14. arta says:

    I absolutely agree that positive role models, etc, are important to anyone discovering an interest in sex. However, personally, I have always preferred books without any sex because I like being able to identify with the characters. Teenage me especially would have been made uncomfortable; I mean, teenage me barely understood why all these fictional girls wanted boyfriends so bad when there were loads more interesting things to fuss about! Someday I’m going to write a book about a teenage girl who has a lot of great friends, is good at math, and who can list thousands of things she would rather do than have to touch another person’s body. I guess what I’m saying is, we all need role models.

  15. Molly says:

    YES. Completely agree. I’m a YA librarian compiling a list of sex-positive YA novels (and problematic ones) and came across this. Awesome post.

  16. Dyionisiac says:

    I Have to second the person who recommended Tamora Pierce, and not just the Provost’s Dog series. Her Lioness series was one of my first introductions to sexuality in 6th grade, and the strong, self willed and intelligent main character who made complicated and nuanced sexual and personal decisions was very much a positive and important influence on me.

  17. Lux says:

    I’d like to recommend “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (a recent YA novel I’ve read and recommended to everyone) and “A Ring of Endless Light” by Madeleine L’Engle (the book I held sacred as a teenager). TFIOS portrays a beautiful (if idealized) relationship between two teenagers and sex is a natural next step for them. AROEL (and many of L’Engle’s other books) taught me that sex could be beautiful but it was also complicated.

  18. I wrote my YA book Losing It specifically to address the issue of the lack of female-initiated sex and sexuality in the books I was reading. The response from girls has been terrific: adults seem to be a bit more squeamish about it. BTW, totally agree with Lux on The Fault in Our Stars.

  19. Amy Spalding says:

    This is an amazing post!!!

  20. Anushka S. says:

    Well, now I have to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I really like that quote.
    Thank you for writing such an amazing post. It was a great experience reading it. I kept nodding throughout it. 😀

  21. […] Why YA Sex Scenes Matter, 27 June 2012: A look at why the prevalence of positive sex and romance in novels aimed at teenage […]

  22. jabberwocky888 says:

    I love this post! I work as a bookseller, and recommend a number of books mentioned here to YA girls – Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom Trilogy and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. I would add Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth, where the female protagonist is strong but not afraid to explore her desires, and Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver series, which mixes tender love scenes with an exciting werewolf story.

  23. Thanks for this very interesting post and all the great followup comments and recommendations. You raise some great points about sex-positive imagery/messaging and female confidence. As a YA writer and mother of a tween daughter, this is a topic I’ve been giving a lot more thought the past couple of years.

  24. […] Dave Farland a.k.a. Dave Wolverton discusses the appeal of romance in his latest Daily Kick in the Pants writing tip. I like what Farland/Wolverton has to say about romance, why it asks important questions and why it appeals to so many readers. However, he loses me in the last third when he attempts to differentiate between romance and pornography. Not that there’s anything wrong with attempting to differentiate between romance, erotica and porn, since a lot of people seem to be confused about those points, at least judging by occasional discussions in places like Kindleboards. But unfortunately, Dave Farland is a bit confused on those distinctions as well, since he seems to view any explicit depiction of sex as pornography and therefore “bad”, because it might lead to objectifying others, porn addiction, divorce, destruction of families and STDs, therefore authors shouldn’t treat sex with impunity. I actually agree with part of his point – writers shouldn’t objectify characters and reduce them to sex objects and as for STD prevention, that’s why I’m fervently in favour of including condoms in sex scenes in contemporary set novels. But fictional sex scenes do not lead to divorce, family breakdown, porn addiction and a host of other social problems. Furthermore, sex is a normal part of human life and human relationships and therefore should be included in fiction, when and where appropriate. Besides, fiction can be very good in pointing out the differences between objectifying sex and intimate sex and even provide positive models of what a good and healthy sexual relationship looks like. Foz Meadows explains more in this great post. […]

  25. I had early exposure to a wide range of sexual material (the Alana books for one) and the internet, and I gotta say, most of the porn intended for men didn’t interest me much (also the average porn star has natural 34B boobs, just felt I should say, most easily accessible smut is unairbrushed) but most of what I gravitated towards was fanfiction, content generated for women by women (also hair fetish porn, but hey I’m a weirdo).

    I’m a fetishist, and I always felt really guilty and ashamed for being one (human head hair is my jam, long pretty silky hair on a man is a big deal to me) and honestly I’d like to see more diverse sexualities in YA, more diverse lovemaps.

    • scrivener212 says:

      It’s tricky, at least as far as fetish is concerned. Any YA writer, even if s/he is working with different sexuality (and there are more such writers out there–L and G mostly, not as much B as I would like to see, a handful of T, no Q that I know of), wants to reach a wide audience to sell enough books to make the publisher happy so s/he can keep writing books that speak for her/his audience. It’s sales that is the biggest problem with any book dealing in this material–without the sales, the book doesn’t stay in print, and the writer isn’t invited to do more such books. Writers are trying to write more diverse sexualities, but they can’t be shoehorned into the story, just part of it.

      They do have to concern themselves with “watchdog” outfits, though if the book is well done, publishers and editors have shown themselves heroic in defending such books. The teens I know who are curious or fetishistic tend to head straight for adult (which is why Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books have such a profound attraction for teens).

      Self publishing might be the only way to go for niche markets.

  26. mclicious says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m working on a paper on the place of Forever… in the canon of YA lit, and this is some great food for thought, as well as just some really good points on sex positivity and safe, sexy funtimes 😉

    I’m reading The Summer Prince right now, which comes out early next month, and it has the most interesting world of sexuality I have ever seen, and I love it more and more for not at all making a big deal about it. Essentially everyone is bisexual, except that it’s clear that that word wouldn’t even exist there, because you just have sex with people because you’re attracted to them and because you feel that it’s something you want to do for whatever your personal reasons are. LOVE IT.

    • fozmeadows says:

      My copy of The Summer Prince just arrived yesterday! Can’t wait to read it 🙂

    • scrivener212 says:

      The Summer Prince is absolutely smashing. I read it as an advanced reader’s copy, and I recommend it to anyone interested in art in science fiction, dystopian science fiction that actually deals in the world post-collapse, LGBTQ sexuality in sf, feminist sf, and just plain stunning writing.

      (Tamora Pierce under a sn)

      • fozmeadows says:

        Agreed 1000%. I reviewed it for A Dribble of Ink recently, and said – truthfully – that it was one of the best books I’ve ever read.

  27. Jodi says:

    Can you give a list of recommended ya books with positive sex scenes?

  28. […] There’s a fantastic quote by a fellow WordPresser, fozmeadows, discussing adolescent sex in YA: […]

  29. verdantsamuel says:

    Reblogged this on Verdant Handshake.

  30. Amir Adel says:

    With each article I read, I respect you even more and more. Now I’m a fan 🙂

  31. […] upon this amazing piece of article today. It talked about one of those subtle details that bothered me about most YA books I’ve […]

  32. […] specific blog post I recommended to some friends was Why YA Sex Scenes Matter. The article starts off very strongly (and has some trigger warnings at the top), but please read […]

  33. […] discussion and conversation this topic creates. And on a different note, this week’s post on sex scenes in YA fiction and why they matter is also really interesting, particularly for those of us thinking of writing in that […]

  34. scrivener212 says:

    fozmeadows, it’s a great post that can keep running for so long!

    Tammy Pierce

  35. this was a great post =D

    was lead here by a similar one and had to comment XD

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