Two-Thirds of Teen Novels Reference Sex, Study Finds

Filed under: In The News, Teen Culture

gossip girl

Credit: Amazon

Wince when your teen wants to watch "Gossip Girl?" Shudder at the thought of your 15-year-old taking in movies like "American Pie"? Want to send the kids to the library or book store to find entertainment, instead? Turns out, teen novels are pretty raunchy, too. That copy of "Forever" you used to hide from your parents? It might even be considered tame today.

School Library Journal reports a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research finds two thirds of fiction for teens make sexual references that go anywhere from innuendo to full-out intercourse.

"Results show that adolescent novels are replete with sex-related information, especially in novels targeted to girls," researchers from Brigham Young University write, according to the site. "These sexual behaviors range from passionate kissing and romantic ideation to sexual intercourse."

Some librarians, however, say sexual references in books simply are a sign of the times, School Library Journal reports.

"Society's expectation, combined with publishing trends, are driving the types of books being published," Megan Fink, a librarian at Charlotte Country Day School in Charlotte, N.C., tells the site. "The publishing trends are pushing a lot of authors to write books for readers who liked 'Twilight' and 'The Hunger Games.' "

Lindsey Dunn, a young adult librarian in Wake County, N.C., tells School Library Journal books that show teens dealing with sex offer a chance for discussion between kids and their moms and dads.

"Sexual content has also increased in the movies and on television, so it is no surprise that the trends in teen literature have gone this way as well," she tells the site. "A decade or two ago, a show or book series, such as 'Gossip Girl,' would never have made it past the censures. Rather than hide our heads in the sand and hope that this trend will change, concerned parents and other adults need to be aware of this trend and have appropriate discussions with the teens in their lives."

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.