Arguably, the 722 cantos and 247, 766 lines of poetry in theSerat Centhini, composed in Surakarta by several authors in late 1814-early 1815 at the height of the British occupation of Java (1811-1816), are the greatest expression of literary art ever written in Java. In this paper I discuss how the depiction of sex in the poem is related to the development of “minor characters” who transform a work that has been called either an “encyclopedia” of Javanese culture or a “santri lelana” (wandering pious Muslim) tale into a vivid, almost novelistic representation of everyday life in early nineteenth-century Java. The 1814/15 Centhini Kadipatencontains hundreds of new characters compared to earlier versions of the poem. An interest in the “everyday” and in the places, legends, and history of the actual island of Java found in the poem is consistent with other expressions of realism and ethnographic curiosity in late eighteenth- early nineteenth- century Java, which include the illustrations from IOL 89 (Serat Damar Wulan,late eighteenth century), Surakarta recensions of the Serat Jatiswarafrom the 1790s and 1820s, and Ronggawarsita’s explorations of everyday occupations and life-worlds in his Serat Jayengbaya(1830). Although representations of sex feature in Javanese poetry since its inception, an examination of several sex scenes in the Centhini Kadipatenillustrates how real persons from early 19thcentury Java were brought to life as minor literary characters who shape the narrative and themes of Java’s greatest early modern, “novelistic” poem.