Speak now or forever hold your peace. (OK, not forever...) But right now there is a pretty cool convo going on at the YA Author's Cafe about Sex in YA books: YA Authors Cafe: Open Discussion: Let's Talk About Sex
To recap my own comments to that post:
-- we need a wide array of books about sex, including books without sex. I want books that support teen choices; and take those choices seriously. I want a wide range so when a kid asks, I have a number of books to offer, whatever it is they are asking for. And it's not my job to challenge their choice. It's my job to match the reader to the book.
-- while the YA Cafe is talking about what the reader is asking for, there are readers who read not to duplicate experience but just out of curiosity. There is nothing wrong with a teen who wants to read (or is not bothered by) sexual content; and there is nothing wrong with a teen who doesn't want that. Both should be respected.
-- in terms of Reader's Advisory, I 'd love more non-Christian publisher books that have the viewpoint of wait till marriage for sex.
-- in terms of Reader's Advisory, what I want to know is which of these is OK or not OK in terms of sexual content:
---- John and Mary hold hands. It's clear and explicit that there is no sex.
---- John and Mary disappear for a few hours. It's never said that they do have sex; it's never said that they don't. It's up to the reader to decide.
---- John and Mary have sex. And that's the entire description. So it happens; but it's not explicit.
---- John and Mary....page after page after page. Explicit.
So which of these is OK or not OK for the reader? Is it only the first two? Or is the third one OK? Is the last one OK if the two are married? These are the things I'd want to know in matching a reader to a book (and then I dream of a catalog that helps me match the reader and book.)