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Topic: YA books with sex

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Subject: YA books with sex
Date Posted: 6/11/2009 12:59 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2009
Posts: 53
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so i got a book at a book sale today in the childrens section for my little brother he is a tween and it sounded intresting. My issue it has sex in it and not just sex but rape and other acts. I feel like I read YA so I dont have to be bombarded with that stuff. I understand if the book deals with rape etc but just to have it in there because the writter can botters me. How does everyone else feel about the issue. do you wish that there was less sex in YA books do you think that sex belongs in this genre?

Last Edited on: 6/11/09 1:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/11/2009 7:07 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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Well, YA books are frequently books that are marketed to teenagers.  Teenagers think about (and have) sex, so why shouldn't their literature talk about and feature sex? 

That said, there are young YAs and older ones - I probably wouldn't hand a tween a book with sex, but I might a high schooler.

Date Posted: 6/11/2009 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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Sex belongs in YA. Not graphic, hardcore descriptions, but sex definitely has a place in YA. I'm also biased as I'm studying to be a YA librarian and believe that everyone should be able to find a book that speaks to them and mirrors their circumstances. Teens in real life aren't chaste and innocent all the time, so why should the books they read be?

ETA: I also have to say that the majority of the YA I read doesn't really have much sex. I'd say 3 out of the last 10 I've read have had sex (beyond the fade to black... scenes) and I read A LOT of YA.

Last Edited on: 6/11/09 1:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1

Date Posted: 6/11/2009 10:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
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Do you really think teenagers don't think about sex?

Date Posted: 6/26/2009 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2009
Posts: 137
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I know they think about it....... but that doesn't mean adults writing books should encourage the thoughts by providing "food for their thoughts." 

Discussion about sex is one thing, but what "rating" are we talking here... ???  Personally, the thought that my 15 year old daughter may have in her hands a book that more or less promotes sex between teenagers is not something that I want to see happen....

She's bombarded by it enough on tv, videos, music, etc. without adding to it the books that she reads!


Date Posted: 6/26/2009 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
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We will have to agree to disagree. :)

Date Posted: 7/28/2009 11:00 AM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
Posts: 453
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There is a huge difference between a teen that is thirteen and a teen that is seventeen. I prefer that my teen that is thirteen have no sex in their book or at least sex in a context of my belief system. For the seventeen year old I prefer that the sex in the book be appropriate to the plot and not just soft core porn in the guise of a novel. Dolly

Date Posted: 7/28/2009 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2007
Posts: 46
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I've learned (by sad experience) to be careful when giving or recommending a book.  Since I like to read YA books, it's usually not a hardship to review a book before using it as a gift.  I certainly prefer books that do not conflict with the values I'm trying to teach my children and grandchildren.

Date Posted: 7/29/2009 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 7,331
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As a mother, (even though he is only 16 months old)  I have established that there is a difference in YOUNG ADULT (which to me says adult but not for very long..... so 18ish) and TEEN but more especially TWEENS...  because a lot of TWEENS are above Juvenille Fiction like Beverly Cleary and Captain Underpants and such like that... but they are NOT ready for Twilight, etc...  so I think there needs to be a better division for the types of books...  because I've read some GREAT YA lately that I would be just fine with my 16 or 17 year old reading, but not my 13 year old....  most of the "sex" in YA just kind of incinuates that it happened, but not descriptively....  but even that I don't want my 13 year old reading....  so again, I think there needs to be a better division of the genres...

Subject: Let's Give them Guns Instead
Date Posted: 8/8/2009 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Yes,  sex should be in YA because teens are thinking about it and they have issues concerning sexuality and sexual behavior. I read a lot of YA. I should since I run a library and mentor young girls. I have yet to read a YA book that promotes having sex. I've read books that explore the consequences of having sex or examines the confusion: sex can feel good and there can be a lot of guilt about feeling good physically and feeling emotionally/morally conflicted. But no neon signs telling kids this is what they should be doing.

A lot of children and teens have been sexually active or abused. Having work they can read often helps a reader begin to address issues on their terms. First privately and often later approaching an adult.

In light of the Twilight Saga which oozes sexual desire (but that's okay because they don't actually act on it until they're married) why should sex not be included. What's more surprising to me is how objectionable sex is but violence isn't. We allow our children to read, watch and act out violent acts as entertainment and don't think twice about it.

The genre doesn't need santizing. Parents who are concerned need to better screen and censor their own children's reading. I'm a parent who  openly has discussions about sex with her daughters. That by no means, mean I advocate and condone sexual activity among teens. What it means is I believe in informing my girls, arming them with information and that includes explaining to them why I think teens shouldn't have sex.

We learn a lot often by examining other people's lives and reading affords our children the safety of learning about realities they don't have to engage in.

I wish we were as passionate about  violence as entertainment as we seem to be about sex.

Date Posted: 8/14/2009 3:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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A lot of YA deal with the negative aspects of sex.  Thinking that kids aren't exposed to sexual abuse and violence is foolish.  There is often more relationship violence with teens than with adults as they do not yet have a method of dealing with the emotions.  I'm a firm believer that kids should read very widely but they should also have talks about what you dream of for them.  If you get them Twilight, also talk about the need for equality in a relationship and standing up for themselves.  Face it, Bella was a doormat. 

Saying that, a book for a 12 year old is very different than a 16 year old.  And handing a 16 year old a squeakly clean book might turn them off reading.  I know I was reading things like Anne Rice at 16.  And I did not run off to have sex or join a S & M cult.  I know I made it very clear that I did not want books about relationships at 12.  I was reading SF and fantasy as that had adventure.

Frankly, a good children's librarian is worth their weight in gold.  Even if you have to travel to the next town, it is worth it.  You need to get the right book for the right kid.  And it will open doors.

One of our local bookstores now divides the YA into two groups.  The younger and the older.  So they have the begining readers, the chapter books, the middle stuff, the tween/YA and the older YA.  Makes it hard to find an author.  But great for browsing.  They also moved the older YA over near the adult books rather than in the kid section.

Oh Typos!

Last Edited on: 8/14/09 3:26 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/15/2009 12:56 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Yay, Emily!

I'm right there with you. In the library I run, I separate the younger and older YA. I have a lot of books that deal with sex because I deal with a population that has to deal with sex whether they are ready or not. My girls need to know they are not alone, that if they've been hurt there is help, if they are confused, they can get through it and that they are not bad if they are sexually aroused even though they know having sex is not the right decision.

I talk to a lot of librarians and I read a lot of blogs written or populated by adults who work with our kids. Any parent who isn't doing that is helping their child find the right book.