Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

sex scenes July 24, 2012

Filed under: OUTLANDERishness,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:16 am
Tags: , , ,

I have been writing a brand of YA that leaves sex scenes safely out of the picture, and firmly entrenched in the reader’s imagination.  But eventually the time will come (reasonably soon in the process of writing Grace Beguiling, I think!) when I will have to write a real scene involving sex, and I can only hope that I will do it as well as Outlander author Diana Gabaldon does.  I will be following her advice from this article, because Diana Gabaldon is a master of honest, well-crafted, realistic, brilliantly steamy sex scenes!

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8 Responses to “sex scenes”

  1. Diana Galbalden is one of the few women who actually make me want to read sex scenes.

  2. Keri Peardon Says:

    I’ve been wondering what to do in my second book. My protagonist is 16 years old at the start of my trilogy, and she “does the deed” in the second book. I’ve never claimed that my book was YA, and I wrote it specifically for adults (Kalyn is actually the only teenager in it; everyone else is an adult). I never worried about fully revealing the sex scene because I thought the entire series was too dark and violent for teenagers anyways.

    Then I read “The Hunger Games” and realized that the line between adult and YA fiction is blurring. Now I’m not sure if I should “tastefully cut away” prior to the sex scene, to make it YA palatable, or go with my original idea and full steam(y) ahead.

    • Shawn Bird Says:

      It depends on your publisher. Some are very ‘no sex scenes’ while others are okay with it. It’s not a firm rule that there can’t ever be sex in YA (after all, Judy Blume’s Forever came out in 1975), but you want to make sure you don’t close any doors if you don’t have a publisher lined up yet. If you self-publish, do whatever you like! All ages are reading YA these days. I notice on Goodreads.com that many of those who are interested in my books are above the projected age.

      • Keri Peardon Says:

        Thanks for the Blume recommendation; I’ve ordered it to see what she does. I’m self-publishing, so that’s a good thing and bad thing–good that I can do whatever I want, bad because I don’t have anyone to suggest which way I should go to capture the widest market.

        Of course, I may be worrying over the details when the bigger picture is the problem: Kalyn is in a relationship with an older man. My female readers don’t seem to have a problem with that part, but it really bothered my husband.

      • Shawn Bird Says:

        Ah! Yes, you’re crossing taboos there for sure. The child protection social worker I live with would be very alarmed about that scenario as well. There are legalities involved, so I’d be sure to address those, just in case you anyone wants to use your book as ‘inspiration.’

      • Keri Peardon Says:

        Well, given the man is 790 years old, it’s always going to be a May-December sort of romance, no matter how old she gets.

        And, actually, Anselm does hem and haw over her age for a while. In their culture, she is a legal adult, in the culture he grew up in (medieval England), 16 was the age of majority for girls, and even he has to admit she’s more mature than his brother. But he’s also aware that modern American standards are different.

        It’s actually been interesting exploring coming of age, because at what point is someone REALLY an adult? What attributes are necessary for a teen to be considered an adult? And why are our cultural expectations what they are? Why do they change over time? Are we sure they’ve changed for the better?


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