This article explores how the life course boundary between children/adults is constructed and disciplined in terms of gendered sexuality and sexual pedagogy. Using the debate surrounding the publication of the novel Doing It by Melvin Burgess, I examine the cultural field of literature for young people (sometimes referred to as the ‘young adult’ or YA market), seeing this field as a variety of sites where sexual learning occurs and where the boundaries between adulthood and childhood are governed and contested. Looking at reviews by adults and young people, and the re-branding of the book under an adult imprint, I explore how hetero-gendered transitions between childhood, teenage and adult are constructed within discussions of what and where young people should learn about sexuality. I suggest that throughout the Doing It debate an essentialized ‘male mind’ is assembled through claims to social realism, morality, and shared identity that are founded in a particular classed, raced, and heterosexualized, ‘hegemonic masculinity’ (Connell 2005). I conclude with a discussion of the possibilities and limitations of using literature in a liberal sexuality education.