Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby.

Dirty Dancing Gif

When was the last time you read a book about sex? Or a book with a sexy scene? Not necessarily hardcore erotica, even a YA book that features coming-of-age sexual relations??

Laura at She Loves To Read is hosting a week long readathon called Sex Me Up (#sexmeupreadathon) with the aim of dispelling the myth that all books that contain sex are “wrong”, “dirty” or are always badly written for the desperadoes of the world. The readathon is happening 21st-25th July, and you can sign up to take part here. Laura will even email you a list of suggested titles, in case you aren’t sure what to go for (check out my readathon TBR here).

I’m going to put this out there – I love sex in fiction. I love stories that have relationships, intimacy, romance, and sex. That doesn’t mean that I always read erotica to get my fiction sex-fix. There are TONS of YA books out there that deal with age-appropriate sex storylines, and I think it’s about time the taboo surrounding sex in literature got lost.

We watch it in movies, we sing about it in songs, hell – music videos these days have more nekedness and gyrating than your average adult novel. So why are we embarrassed to read about it? I’ve included a link below to the title-song, just for fun.


About Rachel

Avid reader & #bookblogger. Lover of all things business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

37 Responses

  1. This is the first I’ve heard of this readathon, but I think I’m going to sign up. I soooooo agree with you. I don’t understand why people get so weird about sex in books. Like you said, it’s in movies, music videos, songs, and we certainly talk about it.


  2. anitadesignstudio

    In all honesty, I think reading a book that details a sex/raunchy scene is much more alluring and vivid than watching it on screen. The descriptive quality, which forces you to use your imagination and visualise in your mind’s eye what is, ahem, going down (pun intended) is very powerful indeed! I don’t think it’s about the sex scenes being seen as just ‘dirty’ or taboo – I think it’s more that people may think that the inclusion of sex scenes may undervalue or compromise the integrity of the writing. Which is a load of bullsh*t! Sex is a very normal and healthy part of a relationship – if a book is going to explore a relationship, for whatever reason, then sex has gotta be in there somewhere! What annoys me more is the (sometimes) obvious reluctance or half-hearted attempt on the author’s part to write a sex scene in all its sticky, sweaty and heavy-breathing glory!


      1. anitadesignstudio

        What I was getting at, was (the perception) is that the inclusion of sex scenes could undermine the integrity of the writing in general (of the entire book), because of the taboo/awkward/embarrassing status of sex scenes. Some people (and authors, I guess) may think that the inclusion of detailed sex scenes would ‘cheapen’ the overall writing/message.

        Are we really gonna enter into debate about the nitty gritty of sex scenes in books, on a public forum?!

        Yea, let’s do this.

        I’ve read a few YA books recently and I gotta say that I felt the overall descriptive quality of the writing (in one of the books), where the sex scenes were concerned, was somewhat anti-climatic (life imitating art, eh?!). I could almost feel the author’s embarrassment and reluctance to actually ‘go there’ and use the appropriate terminology. The natural process required to get from A to B in the ‘ol sack was also bluntly ignored i.e. foreplay. Did I just say ‘foreplay’?? Yes, yes I believe I did. From that perspective, it was most definitely NOT realistic.

        Chaffing anyone??!!

        I didn’t think it was glorified though. Just lacking in substance and too ‘pink and fluffy’.

        50 Shades of Grey may not be considered a shining example of literary genius but I have to admit that the sex scenes in that book were spot on. Even if you don’t agree with/approve of/like BDSM, the terminology (no matter how cringe-worthy) enticed, intrigued and roused. Roused, I said ROUSED. It may not be classified as YA but that doesn’t stop people of that age bracket reading it. The author had the b@lls to just go for it with her detailed writing of the many sexually explicit scenes (never mind the extremely taboo subject of BDSM) and I say bravo to that!


      2. anitadesignstudio

        Wait, I’m swiping all the worms off my lap, from the big, HUGE can that has been ripped open, quite like the way Christian Grey ripped open his 1,478th condom!!

        Ok, ok I’m getting my ‘genres’ mixed up. But you’re missing something of particular relevance too: at what age are young girls having sex? How many sexual partners does the average 18 yr old have these days? You might be shocked at the answer. New Adult/Young Adult; it’s irrelevant. Realistic portrayals of sexual encounters need to be in there. And if that means including the sometimes awkward and disappointing encounters (I’m not thinking about my own personal experiences here, no sir-ee…), then so be it.

        I’m also concerned that there’s this attitude that a book that includes sex is coined ‘Erotica’. What a croc! Sex is part of every day life! Good, bad or indifferent! A few paragraphs here and there, detailing a sexual encounter, does not Erotica make!

        Sorry, would you like a refill? Some crisps n dips, maybe?!

        50 Shades didn’t just get multiple generations talking about sex. It encouraged multiple generations to consider the subject of fetishes. To not feel awkward or ashamed of their sexual preferences and to possibly embark on a little exploration of their own. And that doesn’t necessarily mean inflicting pain on someone else (in a consensual arrangement). Dominance/submissiveness/role-play etc. doesn’t automatically equate to inflicting ‘pain’. That book achieved a lot and on many different levels.

        The first book was awesome. The way it ended infuriated me and yes, I hated Christian Grey towards the end. BUT!! I was still intrigued and titillated by his overpowering masculinity and dominance.


      3. anitadesignstudio

        Does ‘realistic’ content automatically equate to ‘explicit’? It doesn’t have to be explicit to be ‘real’. And does having a certain number of sexual partners by the age of 18 make you promiscuous? Including sexual content in YA books doesn’t need to be explicit for the sake of being explicit – I agree that it needs to be age appropriate but including a realistic sexual encounter (especially the negatives) doesn’t mean the book is encouraging promiscuity (especially if it’s focusing on one relationship). You could argue that it’s actually being responsible. We all need the ‘pink and fluffy’ in addition to a more realistic portrayal of sex. It’s getting the right balance.


      4. anitadesignstudio

        SOME realistic content can be explicit! Yes, I agree. SOME! I’m using the term ‘realistic’ in exactly the same way as you. Yes, I agree that sex is most certainly not always hearts and butterflies – and it doesn’t need to be explicit in order to accurately portray this in a book. But in NA books they could also push the boundaries a little and instead of jumping straight from ‘his lips brushed against hers’ to ‘and then he thrust his hips and gyrated until he was spent’, does not do it for me!! Haha For me, the book/author loses credibility but that’s because I place a certain amount of importance on realism. You might find that some readers don’t give two hoots.

        Yea, I think the promiscuity issue can be parked. And for no other reason than it’s a separate discussion altogether.


  3. I’m so excited for the Dirty Dancing gif!! My favorite movie of all time! Embarrassing confession – I used to skip to the sex scenes in my mother’s Lavyrle Spencer romance books… Gotta learn somehow! 🙂 Totally agree that there’s nothing wrong with sex in books. George RR Martin said once that it’s dumb not include it in fiction because that’s what people do in real life.


  4. onlybooksandhorses

    This isn’t something I’ve really thought about before! Interesting topic though. I think my thing with sex in YA novels is the combination with insta-love – I really think sex is for strong relationships rather than for strengthening relationships, so when the characters go all out within their first couple of weeks of romance, it could give the wrong idea? I do agree that it’s candid to write about sex, but I don’t think it’s something we should over-trivialise because it’s something that can be seriously emotionally damaging.
    It’s cool that you guys are promoting an unashamed truthfulness among readers – I totally agree that no-one should be ashamed of what they read 🙂


      1. onlybooksandhorses

        Agreed 🙂 I’m actually on holiday that week so won’t be doing much (if any) reading. I’ll definitely check out the recommendations though, and will be interested to see what comes of it! 🙂


  5. Thank you for posting about this. This is exactly the kind of thing I am interested in taking part in. Mostly because I would be reading books about sex anyway, so why not join a readathon all about it? Also, it’s good to help people get a bit more comfortable reading about sex because it is a natural thing that people shouldn’t be ashamed for reading about.


Leave a comment, and start a conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s