Sexual content – how much is too much?

writing
question
discussion
#122

I don’t believe its to far and to be honest. I just want one warning at that is at the beginning of the book and also tagging as mature helps as well. I refuse to go chapter by chapter warnings. There is a reason I have an author’s note at the beginning.

Also why we have mature as a special tag.

#123

That’s exactly the kind of feeling I want it to evoke. Your anger is mirrored, dearie. It’s horrible and beyond messed up. I don’t have kids but heaven knows how much I love them. I was completely devastated when I heard what happened to her. I’ll definitely watch the film even though I’m dreading it. (^^). It could give valuable insight on how to handle the topic.

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#124

I had no idea about the legal age in Japan. That’s very interesting. I can see where you’re coming from. Now, it seems fun to write a book restricted by those laws. (^^)(^^)

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#125

If you haven’t read Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L C Rosen, read it now! I think it might help with this query. It’s sex-positive, and graphic without being pornographic. It’s definitely on the extreme end of what you can get away with, but published by Penguin. There’s a really interesting story behind it - you can read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/feb/02/why-are-we-so-coy-about-sex-education-for-gay-teens

#126

I would say that what matters most is the context. How are you portraying emotion in that scene? Is it just physical sensations and lust, or is there intimacy, emotional connection? This is just my opinion but personally if a sex acene is just physical description and doesn’t show us anything about the characters other than their sexual activity, or if it doesn’t directly move the plot forward and could be done with a fade to black scene, then it shouldn’t even be there. Unless you are writing erotica, because that’s where itbbelongs. Sexy times for the pure sake of titillating the reader basically belong in erotica. Could you tell the story without the physical description of the sex acene? If so, does it need to be there then?

For example, JEHallows has a trilogy of fanfiction where there are quite a few steamy scenes between the protagonists, but she fades to black after the foreplay, because the detailed scene isn’t necessary to move the plot forward. She conveys the passion between the characters without needing a graphic description. There are also sex scenes described like poems,that describe sighs, caresses, emotions but not any actual physical description of body parts. This style isn’t to everyone’s tastes and some readrrs want detailed sex, but I wouldn say, why not read erotica then? I mean, I stopped reading the Anita Blake vampire hunter book when the sex became too often and far too needless.

I don’t see a problem with fade to black, it’s not childish and silly if you do it well. It’s not boring.

Another point about context. It’s really really important to portray sex healthily, especially in a teen book. No romanticised abuse. I think it’s important to portray sex as positively healthy and loving in a teen book, to send the right message. Or to describe toxic, unhealthy sex in a clear way that doesn’t romanticise it or see it as positive.

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#127

any amount is fine as long as its tastefully written but don’t put it in every chapter

#128

I think this is sort of a given.

And I would say you should read how I’ve done it - because I’ve been complimented on how I’ve portrayed it (without fading to black), but since my book is part of the Paid Stories program, it wouldn’t be fair. :blush:

#129

Because it’s common decency. Some people are really uncomfortable about sex. Giving them a chance to skip is extremely polite and thoughtful.

#130

There are some stories that I’d simply encourage people who are really uncomfortable about sex to avoid.

Seriously, if someone is writing about the abuse that gave someone their PTSD and what happened, and how it makes them feel and why, and how it’s affected their life ever since… that’s important, worthwhile writing.

And, unfortunately, graphic sexual degradation is an important part of it that sort of has to be there to give the reader emotional context on how awful the situation was.

But I’d really encourage someone very uncomfortable about their own sexuality to just avoid picking it up. If they skip all those bits, They’re going to miss so much of it that a lot of the rest won’t make sense.

So, yeah, big ol’ trigger warning on the flyleaf, I suppose. You’d rather skip this whole book than just skip parts of it.

#131

I feel like sex scenes in books are totally okay, at long as it doesn’t get abusive or anything in that kind of genre. Like, I’ve read books where I’ve had to literally take a break from reading and skip the entire chapter because the sexual content was getting way out of hand. Especially with so many young readers on Wattpad, I feel like normalising and almost romanticising the idea of a ‘rough’ and borderline abusive sexual relationship between the main characters is so fucked up and if portraying one of the main characters as a kind of forceful person is needed for the plot of the book, give a warning so people have the opportunity to skip the part or brace themselves.

But, in saying that, most books typically give warnings ahead which is good.

#132

So long as it’s not porn heavy, then go nuts XD

#133

I think as long as it isn’t phonographic that it’s okay. Even if the make- outs are heavy at times. But that’s just me seeing as if someone is to base it off of tv\movies targeted at teens then where do you draw the line? There is a ton of sex, and partying and even some drug use in multiple tv and movies targeted at teens. However some of the YA books I’ve read can go either way. One author may only do a little bit of a sense like this an then skip seeing as you -the reader- knows what’s about to happen an then happened once you go on to read. While others can go on for about 3-5 pages in detail about what’s going on an the feelings their having during it. A book I’m just starting to read (not one on here) has done that in the first and the second one. So… I think it just really depends on what the author is comfortable writing and how much.