Pivotal to the transition into adulthood is sexual maturation, an inescapable rite of passage which this article investigates across a range of contemporary American media. Beginning in the 1980s through the turn of the twenty-first century, the works in this archive tend to represent the increasingly politicized, stigmatized adolescent body as a conflict zone, a liminal precinct in which sex, illness and death often intersect to traumatic and Gothic effect. They consist of culturally influential ‘indie’ narratives that bridge the gap or, at times, blur the line between the mainstream and cult subculture. Starting from Victor Turner’s seminal work on the adolescent’s passage into adulthood, I place the concept of liminality side by side with the cultural imagination of the frontier. The sex and death dichotomy that characterizes adolescent sexuality shares with the fundamental trope of the frontier a wide array of Gothic connotations. Pre-existing scholarship on Gothic teen studies has yet to extrapolate on the portrayals of sickly teen bodies that run rampant in Gothic works. To append this missing link, I discuss Freudian drives, Susan Sontag’s illness metaphors, and Priscilla Wald’s readings of contagion narratives to lay the groundwork for the connection between sex, illness and cultural anxieties that these late-century narratives communicate. Indeed, I understand contemporary Gothic along the lines of Catherine Spooner, who quipped in her 2006 monograph that ‘[l]ike a malevolent virus, Gothic narratives have […] spread across disciplinary boundaries to infect all kinds of media…' (2006: 8). I consider sick teen bodies across a variety of works under two main headings: first, those that rely heavily on anaesthetized imagery to evoke the Gothic. Beginning with 2015‘s genre-bending It Follows (Mitchell), I work backwards to trace its clear-cut intertext - The Virgin Suicides (Coppola, 1993), a teen dream-turned-nightmare likewise set in suburban Detroit. The second heading explores decidedly more violent works, among them the graphic novel Black Hole and the horror film Ginger Snaps (Fawcett, 2000), which juxtapose adolescence and supernatural monstrosities that act as carriers of disease. The female is often at the centre of the narratives at hand, and though these works explore the world of minors, rarely, problematically are ‘minority’ bodies represented. Common to these works are stigmatized figures who fight for individual expression yet often fail to emerge from the adolescent stage as autonomous adults, due either to their unwillingness to conform to mainstream culture or the failure of this culture to integrate them.