Sexual content – how much is too much?


I do feel like that description fits pretty well.

1 Like

You could turn things down yet another click - teen readers will still understand what’s going on, they tend to have pretty vivid imaginations in my experience ----

Ricky moved again and Olivia’s knuckles brushed against his groin/lap/fly/crotch. His mind was heavy with lust, so when she inquisitively stroked a finger over the area, it twitched/every nerve tingled. Instead of removing her hand like he thought she would, she repeated the motion, teasing him.

He felt her chest rise and fall rapidly as she played with his waistband, traced the line of hair below his navel, and then caressed him with gentle fingers.


If your teen fic is marked as mature, I don’t think there’s as much grey area, because it’s a given that there will be mature themes/content in your work. I have my teen fic marked as mature due to sexual content, and I do use a lot of graphic descriptions, and while I don’t normally write this way, I felt in this particularly story it is necessary. My main character is a highly sexualized 17-year-old boy with very skewed perceptions about women, sex, and the way that he thinks and acts has a lot to do with his perceptions. The way that he treats women and how he tries to initiate sex are big factors that have to do with his character development over the span of the story, and I use the scenes of his sexual encounters to illustrate his thoughts and actions.
One person who I know in real life who joined Wattpad because I posted on Facebook that I was publishing my work here, REALLY wanted to read my story, even though I didn’t think it was appropriate for him to read it, I finally sent him the link, and then he complained that there was too much sexual content in it. (He is my former co-worker, in his late 40s and has three teenage kids, so definitely NOT my target audience. I also don’t think he looked around Wattpad at all, because I find a lot of the stories on here – in the romance category at least – that are marked as “mature” to be relatively descriptive with sexual scenes.)
He was also concerned that it was “illegal” in some way – however, my story takes place here in Canada, where we live, and the age of consent is 16, with some exceptions for people in positions of authority, such as a coach or teacher and someone under the age of 18.


I just don’t feel like my story is there yet. But then again, peoples’ idea of when something is mature and when it’s not is varied.
I know that it will probably need to be marked up as mature at a later point because the story is going to get darker toward the end. I mean, it’s called ‘Olivia & Ricky’s Odyssey to Rock Bottom’ for a reason. :smile:

– So while you have your story marked as mature, is it still categorized as Teen Fiction too?
Because it sounds like we’re both writing characters that are in that in-between-area.


You’re right. It might be helpful if that genre was added, or if there were more rating levels than just “mature.”

If your story doesn’t meet Wattpad standards for mature, I personally feel like a content warning is good enough—that way readers can choose for themselves what they’re comfortable with. Having the content warning in the book description may also help readers find it if they’re looking for edgier stories.

1 Like

Agree. Because I do have some serious topics in my story, so it would be nice if you could elevate your stories to something above Teen Fiction.

I have a warning at the very beginning. Perhaps I should consider copying that into the blurb too.

But since Wattpad does not offer New Adult, it still leaves us with the issue of how much we can allow ourself to describe.

(btw you can read my example in post 23… :shushing_face: :innocent: :grin:)

1 Like

Found it. Yeah, I’d consider that mature since you refer to his genitals by name, “show” the shape/outline of it, and then mention a specific anatomical part of it. My general rule is that if you can easily point out that the characters don’t have barbie doll genitals, it’s probably mature/explicit. Then again, I haven’t posted anything like that to Wattpad, so I haven’t had to make that decision myself.

I personally don’t have a problem reading that sort of content, but other people may disagree.


Haha! I like that categorization. :grin::+1: And if that is the rule we’re going with, then my descriptions are definitely mature. Let’s just be real about that.

I seriously thought that if you were talking mature sexual content, it was way more described. Like how they were shaved. How big/small etc. To the point where it was smutty/pornographic.
Just because the word penis is mention does not mean it’s mature in my book, but we’re all different. :slightly_smiling_face: Hence this search for where the line goes.

1 Like

It depends. What someone thinks is too much another will be fine with. So it’s just best to do what YOU are comfortable with. I really don’t write sex scenes. I’m a firm believer in “less is more.” Plus, I totally suck at them. I’m more of a fade to black person anyway.


Yes, my story is still considered “teen” fiction, my main character is 17, and is in high school, so I would still say it’s relevant to teens, but someone I know in real life read my story and was shocked at what my character was doing (he is a middle-aged man with teenage children, so I think I scared him a bit lol) and said his life was not like that when he was a teenager, but he didn’t grow up around hockey players, I did. So, while I do feel like there is “mature” content (my character thinks about sex constantly – he rates girls he meets on whether or not he would want to have sex with them) I don’t think my character exists in a vacuum, simply because I know teenage boys act this way, from my own life experience. I marked it mature so that if someone who is, say, 13 searches, they won’t find my story in the main search results :slight_smile:


I’ve got a book I’m uploading and I’m in two minds whether I should cut the sex scene. It’s set in 1648 in the Ottoman Empire, sex between two eunuchs, and I don’t pull the punches. I’ve got it listed as adult/mature, and it’s not the sort of thing I usually write but it fits with the character involved. It’s a bit Game of Thrones in grittiness. I’m not sure.


yeah… I tried to write something like this… I wanted to portray the life of a 17 year old kid with a much older sugar daddy. I was told to move his age because he was a minor and the scenes were graphic. Also to lessen the graphic scenes. It wasn’t even teen fiction.


Hmm, that is weird then.
I understand that the site has rules and guidelines that we need to adhere to, but being censured in your creativity is problematic to me.

I’ve just been re-re-re-re-editing my chapter with my characters having sex to polish it off, and I actually think the chapters leading up to it can be considered a little more alluring than the actual act itself.

1 Like

well, actually, it wasn’t here in wattpad :smiley:

which made me think, is there a certain censorship going on in wattpad? Or is it only for teen fiction?


Yeah, they do have some guidelines you need to be aware of, but they are bendable, so to speak, because you can write about whatever, it’s just the fashion of how you do it you need to be aware of.

Here’s a link to their: Content Guidelines.

1 Like

Honestly, I just think of movie ratings when describing sex scenes! Most of my books are regular Teen Fiction/Young Adult that I would say are more similar to books like Twilight rather than 50 Shades. So when describing sex scenes in those books, I think about a PG-13 rating. Whatever would be allowed in a PG-13 movie is typically what I would describe. In those movies the director typically cuts right as the characters are about to start actually having sex, which is typically what I do too when writing a sex scene. If I want something more risque, then I can adapt an R rating and do whatever an R-rated movie, like 50 Shades, would show/describe. I hope that made sense!

1 Like

For me I just go for it. My biggest issue with teen sexual content in books is that none, and i mean none of them expressed on any degree what any of the teens I knew talked about. In just daily conversation we were drastically more curious and expressive than what is found in teen fiction. This is partly why so many teens do read more mature books. Not erotica, just mature books because they don’t fluff away things they’ve already experienced or are curious to experience.

Honestly if I wrote even a fraction of what we talked about in highschool all of it would not make it pass an agents safe for target audience criterea. It would all need to be dumbed down. I can honestly say that this always frustrated me about movies and books the assumption that as a teen I wasn’t on the level to read watch what i was already experiencing in a non erotica and just plot oriented way. That being said the teens in my books have sex and talk about it way more in the detail that they have it then the sex scenes themselves. Is it safe for teens. That’s up for debate but its real.


This is what I’m trying to aim for.
I don’t have a need to write really hot sex scenes that will get the reader all hot and bothered. I just want them to read something the they could see themselves in. Something that is safe and doesn’t talk down to them, treating them like little kids when they are not.

There is nothing wrong with learning about sex and sexuality. And books are probably one of the safest way to do that.


Exactly. Truth be told I probably would’ve made a lot better choices in life if the books designed for me tackled more of the topics associated with what i was going through sexual and otherwise at the time. Just life in general. It’s like we become adults forget what it was like to be a teen and then dumb down all the information and undermind their intelligence, also forgetting how that felt. Then those teens become adults and it continues. It’s a sad cycle. It doesn’t have to be porn but the fade to black kind of writing in teen books maybe does more harm than good. Now they have to go looking in all the wrong places to fill in the gaps.

Yes books are probably and arguably the safest place to do that :slight_smile: I wholeheartedly agree