Wednesday 18 November 2015

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Sex in Teen Lit Month II Discussion: Sex in LGBTQ YA

As regular readers will know, I am a huge supporter of diverse YA, LGBTQ YA in particular. It was my plan to highlight LGBTQ YA novels that involve sex scenes that don't fade to black and aren't glossed over (I can probably think of a few like this, but they're not what I'm after here). After all, queer teens deserve to see all aspects of their lives represented in the books they read. I only knew of two, so I asked around on Twitter, and only a few others were recommended to me (click the images to be taken to their Goodreads pages):

Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth Far From Us by Tess Sharpe

This is Not a Love Story by Suki Fleet The Glass House by Suki Fleet

Thank you to Nina Rossing and Charlie Morris for the recommendations. I really hate to think that there are just five. There must be more, and it's just the people who follow me haven't read them. But there are people who follow me and vice versa who have read a lot of LGBTQ YA, far more than I have - I get most of my recommendations from them. So that makes me think, even if there are more YA novels with detailed queer sex scenes, there aren't nearly enough. Sure, we're doing better in regards to the fact that the number of LGBTQ YA novels published has risen, but they're still in the minority, and if only a handful of those have detailed sex scenes? That's really not on, and needs to be fixed. Queer teens deserve better. I'm not saying all queer teens are going to want to read detailed sex scenes; teenagers are teenagers, some may want to read sex scenes and some may not. I'm just saying that those queer teens who do want to read detailed sex scenes should be able to find them in some of their LGBTQ YA. So, authors of LGBTQ YA, please give your LGBTQ teen readers who want to read those scenes the chance to find your books.

Also, while we're on the subject of sex and LGBTQ YA, I think there also needs to be a conversation between a group of friends, some who are queer and some who aren't, who discuss exactly what constitutes as "sex". As I pointed out in my review of Cut Both Ways, Will sees certain sexual acts with his girlfriend as foreplay, but those same acts with his male best friend as "sex". It seems the parameters of what counts as sex or foreplay - or even the point at which you can consider yourself no longer a virgin - are different depending on your sexuality, and I think it's something that needs to be discussed, for the sake of all teenagers, not just queer teens. There's enough pressure when you're a teenager when it comes to sex as it is, without having a mental to-do list of sexual acts for them to feel they have to get through to have "done it". I think an easy, casual conversation between friends about this topic would be so helpful. Or even have a book with a bisexual character who debates this topic to themselves. I just think it's really important; sex is supposedly the last taboo in YA, but what is "sex"?

Please share your thoughts with me on all I've covered here! Do you know of any other LGBTQ YA novels that have detailed sex scenes? What do you think of YA novels discussing what "sex" is? Let me know!


  1. I don't think I've ever read a LGBTQ YA book with detailed sex scenes in it. Cut Both Ways is one that I've been interested in reading, but I haven't picked it up yet. I guess, since sex in YA in general has been less detailed, it's even more uncommon for those minorities to be represented this way. Definitely something to think about!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. It's really not acceptable, if you think about it. Even if there aren't a huge amount of heterosexual sex scenes in YA, they're still there. For there to be such a tiny amount in LGBTQ YA just isn't on. It's not fair.