Talking Sex in YA with Miranda Kavi

RUA Tour Banner copy1 Talking Sex in YA with Miranda Kavi


I’m super excited and honored to be guest blogging on The Bookish Brunette today! YAY! Thanks for having little ol’ me.

I was given free rein to write about whatever I wanted, so I chose SEX!

Yep, I’m writing a blog post about sex, more specifically sex in fiction.

I don’t shy away from topics like sex. Sex is part of the human experience, thus it will show up in fiction (and non-fiction).

bananna e1348100461974 Talking Sex in YA with Miranda Kavi

This is a banana. Get your mind out of the gutter!

Personally, I love naughty, naughty books. I enjoy books with sex in them, but that’s just me. I know some folks don’t want to read explicit sex scenes and may be more comfortable with a “fade to the curtains” type of scenario. I enjoy that too.

Writing sex is difficult and a little fun. The “fade to the curtain” style is challenging. It’s hard to build smoldering tension needed before the “fade.” Mid-level heat is easiest for me: a little detail, but not too much. The act without the explicit play by play. Convey the love, the passion, and move on.

Explicit sex scenes are the most difficult for me to write, probably because I have an immature sense humor. Fart jokes are still funny for me and repetitive use of the word “penis” makes me giggle. There are only so many names for body parts and most of the nicknames are super cheesy, like “womanly core,” or a “throbbing member.” Call me crazy, but I don’t think being “stabbed to the hilt” with a “man sword” sounds pleasant or sexy. I have a TON of respect for writers who write explicit scenes well.

What gives me the most pause, however, is the topic of sex in Young Adult Fiction.

It’s tricky. As a writer of YA, I want to make the story tangible for all readers, especially teenagers. I want to respect them as individuals. I know that while a lot of teenagers are sexually active, many are not.

On the other hand, I don’t want to ignore the topic of sexuality. Teenagers deal with their sexuality every single day, especially in modern culture where conflicting images are presented about women and sexuality. Women are encouraged to be sexy, but quick to be slandered as sluts or whores if they are ‘too’ sexual. Combine that with the physical and physiological changes that come with being a teen, and WHOA!

I’ve read some YA books that have strong sexual elements and some that don’t. It really depends on the characters and the plot on whether sex makes sense. I don’t think there’s a black and white rule out there. Readers, of course, are always going to have the final say in whether it’s appropriate for them or their children.

I’m a parent to a little girl. Even though her teen years are far away, I already worry about how I’m going to help her navigate the minefield that teenage girls face. I always keep that in mind when I’m writing YA. Would I want her read this when she’s fifteen or sixteen?

There is no sex in my YA book, RUA. The characters make out, but that’s about as far as it goes. I address their visceral, biological reactions to each other, but no sex. It didn’t make sense for them (or the plot) because they weren’t ready yet for the ramifications of a sexual relationship.

What you think of sex in the YA genre?

Hmmm… Well, I remember when I was a teenager… and there are SOME books I’d hand straight over to my kids for ‘this’ reason or ‘that’- and some I wouldn’t. But I was reading incredibly “age-inappropriate” material at 16… So who knows! That is why I’m LOVING the “New-Adult” genre!! LOL

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RUA by Miranda Kavi

Expected Pub: 9/2/2012

A girl with an unknown destiny.

A boy from a hidden world.When Celeste starts at a new school in a small, Kansas town, she hears whispering voices, has vivid nightmares, and swarms of blackbirds follow her every move. She is oddly drawn to aloof Rylan, the other new student who has his own secrets.The exact moment she turns seventeen, she wakes to a bedroom full of strange creatures, purple light emanating from her hands, and Rylan breaking in through her bedroom window.

He knows what she is . . .

Intriguing and deeply romantic, RUA is page-turning YA novel with a supernatural twist.

goodreads Talking Sex in YA with Miranda Kavi



Miranda Kavi on:
Website  ♦  Twitter  ♦  Facebook  ♦  GoodReads 

  Talking Sex in YA with Miranda Kavi

Miranda Kavi is a YA and Urban Fantasy author. She has worked as an attorney, an executive recruiter, and an assistant in a biological anthropology lab. She loves scary movies, museums, and is hopelessly addicted to chocolate. She lives in the Houston area with her husband and daughter.


  • RUA *signed*
  • cute stuffed crow
  • gorgeous feather necklace

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 Talking Sex in YA with Miranda Kavi
Book loving, zombie freak, stiletto wearing, twitter whore, coffee addicted Brunette with a purse fetish. Collector of flamingo paraphernalia & zombie keepsakes… Frequenter of thrift stores... cRaFtY bitch... and I match my eye-shadow to my outfit - everyday.
 Talking Sex in YA with Miranda Kavi

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28 Responses to Talking Sex in YA with Miranda Kavi

  1. Natasha says:

    Sounds like a great read!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  2. “stabbed to the hilt” with a “man sword”
    ^^ I just DIED laughing.

    This post made my night. No Joke. I was totally lost after the Banana too. Why? Cuz I’m THAT girl that saw the word SEX & then a picture of a Banana.. I seriously had flashbacks to someone holding a banana in one hand, a condom in the other and saying “& this boys and girls, is how you put on a condom.”

    LOVE THIS (:

  3. Kristy F says:

    Just like Tabby_IMReviews said above, this post made my night! I have the same kind of sense of humour in a way! Thank you so much for the giveaway… The book looks fantastic!

  4. Christina K. says:

    That’s an awesome, awesome post – she’s totally right. Sex in YA depends on the story and characters.

    This book sounds so unique:)

    Thank you:)

  5. This was a great guest post! Even though I am childless, there are many books I read and I think to myself “This would be a great book for a teenage girl to read” because if some of the books that are out today were out when I was a teenager, they would have helped me tremendously! When it comes to sex in young adult, I can have it either way. Sometimes I love the tension ‘fade to curtains” brings, but sometimes if the characters are sharing such a powerful bond, and the tension is building, then I don’t mind them…sealing the deal(so to speak)

  6. Senator says:

    I get parents ALL THE TIME asking me if a certain book with sex is OK for their kid. I usually err of the side of caution, but find it absolutely rediculous that they think it’s OK for their 9 year old to read hunger games, but balk at their 16 year old reading Go Ask Alice.

    Personally, it’s up to the reader. I was reading Ann Rice, with my mothers consent, way before I hit puberty and I can honestly say all that sexual stuff went right over my head (I was obsessed with the vampirism and history I could glean from it). I don’t think YA is any different from regular fiction, it just happens to have teens in it. Saying that, I very much agree with the “depends on the story and characters”

    I’m super interested in seeing what others are saying!

  7. Great post!! I think the romance in this book is great. I read age inappropriate books when I was a teen too lol!! I really think about that stuff now that I have a daughter though. Also when letting my neighbor borrow boos. I always explain the book to his mom first and let her know if it’s got sexual content or bad language.

  8. Great post! Honestly, I always wonder what it’s like for the author to WRITE such sex scenes. I would be blushing the entire time!

    Thank you for sharing!

  9. The picture of the banana made me laugh. LOL I don’t mind sex in YA, since it is quite common that teens are having sex. BUT it should not be over done, or take away from the main plotline. At least that’s what I think. :)

  10. I have to say that for sex to work in YA, it should also include the consequences. Most kids don’t think that far ahead. Not all YA does this and yet some do… so it depends on the plot and the characters, IMO.

    However… what does a banana have to do with a gutter? *innocent look*

    • Miranda Kavi says:

      So TRUE! Consequence are often skimmed over in both YA and adult fiction. Sometimes I’m reading and I’m thinking “Wait, is she on the pill? Did they use a condom? When was the last time he had a full STD screen?”

  11. Jessica says:

    Awesome! I agree with a lot of what is said in the post and in the comments. Great post :)

  12. sinn says:

    This is a wonderful topic to bring up. I go back and forth on the subject of sex in a YA book. When I was in college, I took a course specifically dealing with YA literature. We discussed how YA literature is very important for teenagers, because it allows them to become voyeurs and work through things they wouldn’t normally be able to in their real life. (As my husband just put it, fiction does the same thing for adults.) Since children are going to be dealing with the pressures of sex — from internal and external influences — it is good for them to encounter it is some way in the things they read. Often children turn to their friends, TV, movies, and music (and to some extent, the books they read) for guidance. Unfortunately, they do not always turn to mom and dad. For that reason, I think YA books need to find a way to guide teens and help them discover the right choices.

    That being said, when I was a teenager, I remember sneaking out to read all the sex in my mother’s romance novels! The YA genre really had not picked up, so I was stuck reading things I begged my mother into letting me read or books I could hide, I would have LOVED to pick up a book specifically written for a girl my age and find sex in the pages.

    However, even while I admit that, I still wonder whether it is a good thing. Part of me thinks that teenagers, — even though they deal with the peer pressure of sex on a daily basis — do not fully understand the gravity of it. Their brains are not fully developed enough to sort out the consequences. Therefore, I sometimes have a hard time with teenagers reading that in a book. Further, it kind of gives me a creepy feeling reading a YA book with sex and realizing an adult wrote it. Maybe it’s just me, but I get a “pervy” vibe off of it.

  13. candace says:

    I was raised in a very strict home but was reading adult books by middle school. Some had explicit sex. Now I’m an adult and a mother and I have found I’m kind of a prude. It kinda shocks me actually. But I prefer fade out if there’s sex in books. If I want sex I read erotica and that’s a whole other story. But its not all about what I want. Sometimes having sex in a book is important. Yeah, if its YA it shouldn’t be explicit. But sometimes there are messages or its just important to the plot. Teens sometimes have sex so avoiding it completely isn’t realistic either. Anyway, I guess I’m coming to terms with it being more present in YA books.

  14. Linda says:

    Love this, =) and i agree, sometimes i enjoy more graphic description and sometimes the “fade to black” is ok and more fitting to the couple. I´m glad i can read both and don´t have to chose, =)

    best wishes, Linda

  15. Victoria Zumbrum says:

    Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I love reading about sex scenes.

  16. Heather says:

    I absolutely agree with this post! It’s such a fine line to walk in YA. How do you stay true to what today’s teens are experiencing, while staying true to your characters, while being real about sex? This is a frequent topic of conversation with other YA writers I know– the whole “how far is too far” for YA; ESPECIALLY since 50% of YA readers are adults! Fabulous, fabulous post. Thanks, Ash, for letting Miranda take over for the day ;)

  17. [...] The Bookish Brunette had Miranda Kavi on her blog & she talked about Sex in YA. [...]

  18. Tracy says:

    The book sounds great and something my 15yo daughter would love.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  19. Cricket says:

    A banana, lol. This sounds like a great book and I agree sex is a natural thing.

  20. [...] blog tour is still going on! There is a tour-wide giveaway on all the participating sites, plus a giveaway on my guest post at the Bookish [...]

  21. Stéphanie says:

    I think these “New Adult” novels are very popular because, we all know it, sex sells. And when your audience is properly established and your book properly label, I don’t think there’s any problem in having raunchy-er scenes in YA or New Adult books. Great post!

  22. Excellent topic and you made some good points too, so kudos, Miranda!

    Like you, I write YA, but my books fall more to the NA side of the fence, as I don’t exactly “gloss over” what is going on in the lives of a lot of teens—i.e., many of my teen characters are having sex, and of course there’s the occasional party with drinking and drugs. But I’m the same way… For me writing a sex scene is tricky because from personal experience, I know how it goes and love all the details that make a moment so special and/or steamy, but I don’t want to be writing a damned “How To” manual for teens either. ;-)

    And like Sinn mentioned, I think having those fictional reality stories available to teens who might need a safe outlet for some of their personal angst, confusion, and hormones (because we all know teens can get just as hot under the collar as adults do) is important to keep in mind. It’s my hope that as readers and the parents of teen readers come to understand and accept that need, that rather than censuring a YA book for being too graphic or even broaching a taboo subject like teens and sex, they might instead use it as a tool for communication in helping their teens understand what will be facing them in a few short years—if it hasn’t already come up that is. And if it has, parents can use a well-written fictional book in conjunction with open communication to help their teen answer all those often times awkward questions, understand the potential ramifications of their actions, and aide them in making sound and safe decisions.

    Oh and by the way, Ashley, I freaking LOVE your face!!! xoxoxo

  23. Jessica says:

    As a young adult reading novels geared to my demographic I think sex in fiction is essential. You can’t skim over an issue like this in this day and age. Sex is so prominent in the media and books are a safe outlet for a teen to explore their sexuality.

  24. SCH says:

    The key is the build-up, almost more so than the heat. Nothing can glue me to a book more than the tension before the act, if it ever occurs.

  25. Tammy says:

    This is a great post. Thank you for the great giveaway

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