Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Praise of Smut



I was at my corner library staring forlornly at the budget cut-ravaged New Non-Fiction section. "I can't find anything," I complained randomly to a mother I recognized from school. She glanced over The National Inquirer that she was reading. (Yes, The National Inquirer--at the friggin' library. She didn't even go hide at a back table somewhere.) "The good stuff's over there," she said, gesturing to a wall. It was the romance section. I hesitated. Shouldn't I make sure there wasn't a new book on urban farming or something? Ah, fuck it, I was long overdue for some smut.


I found a small section of Harlequin Blaze books. If you are not familiar with the Blaze line, described as "red hot reads," it is basically porn for women. Now, Blaze books are as silly as any other romance novel--true love is pledged, the touch of a hand causes sparks to leap through the body and such--but Blaze books don't fade to black on a promising kiss. They take you right into the bedroom with the characters, and describe the goings-on with the keen attention to detail of an eager sports commentator. I scooped up the entire Blaze section, including this, Hold on to the Nights. (Please know that if it had dawned on me that it shared its name with a Richard Marx song, it would have most certainly remained, punished and pariah-like, on the shelves.)

Here's a short passage for you:
"Omigod," she gasped, dragging her mouth to stare up at him with something like amazement. Her lips were parted and swollen from his kisses, her eyes-heavy-lidded and dazed with arousal. "I'm going to come." Graeme's body responded to her words, his cock so heavy and aching that it took all his restraint not to push her legs apart and sink into her slick heat.
Yes, it's poorly written crap ("slick heat"? really?), but, god help me, that stuff worked, at least for me. After spending a couple hours reading of body parts swollen with desire, jutting erections and "delicious torment," well, let's just say it benefited things at home. And I would argue that reading the smut benefits more than just the marital bed, I think it's good for your whole damn life. After reading my little smut, I felt more aware of the fact that I was a sexual being living among other sexual beings. The whole seemed brighter somehow and full of promise. I felt more attuned to the sexuality inherent in everyone, and this knowledge gave every encounter a little extra frisson of electricity. Of course, I wasn't going to do the coffee guy or the crossing guard or whoever, but I could, we could, and that awareness was exciting. 

So, yes, it is the cheesy Harlequin porn that does it for me. I am not proud of it. I'd be happier to admit I read esoteric erotica in Swedish or something, but I don't. I read my stinkin' girl porn. Other people I know swear by the vampire stuff. (Actual back cover blurb which sounded hot to my friend, but funny/creepyish to me: "He was her perfect man--except he was dead!") And others love Highlander romances, with their frequent mentions of lifted kilts and "cockstands," which I think is Scottish for "jutting erection."

There are a bazillion subsets of romance/erotic fiction. When I returned to the library, I discovered a whole section of Inspirational Romance, which means lots of talk about God, perhaps a chaste kiss or two. These books, according to romance writer guidelines, are about two people and their relationship to God. (And no, I will not be so crass as to make a threesome joke.) I checked out one of these Inspirational Romances to understand this genre because its appeal is beyond unfathomable to me. (And, let me tell you, that was THE most embarrassing book I have ever checked out. It took every one of my meager social filtering skills not to explain to the librarian way I needed a Christian romance.)

Here's a sample passage from that book, The Family Next Door:
"I would love to marry you. And be a mother to Jenny."
"Amen to that. We'll have the life the Lord laid out for us, together, making a family, making memories to sustain us all our lives." 
"I've been praying you might see me in just such a light."
"Oh you have, have you?" He kissed her lightly. "Jenny will be thrilled."
What? This is the big climatic end part? "Amen to that"? "Kissed her lightly"?!  Okay, but did he have a jutting erection? Was slick heat involved? Bah! So while some Christian chick is flushing and breathing heavily over the chaste kiss, my wiener (as my friend charmingly likes to call it) is curling up into a ball and scuttling to hide under the table at the excessive Lord mentions. My point? People like their own damn smut and all the other stuff is just tame tripe or gross porn.

Thus we come to your questions for the day:
Do you read any smutty trash?
What?
Does it improve your sex life?
Or am I just rationalizing my smut habit?
What, besides "cockstand," is the best romance novel word?

14 comments:

Asha said...

Best romance novel word: Love Muscle (actually two words)
I haven't read a romance novel (or at least skipped the good stuff) since I was in high school and it was the closest thing to porn I could get my adolescent hands on.
Actually, I think I heard the term "love muscle" on the movie She-Devil where Meryl Streep played the fictional romance writer, Mary Fischer.
http://www.ashafullife.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord,

I feel like this post was written just for me!

In total agreement that the consumption of said cheezy smut can really spice up life at home. Spending time reading/thinking about sex definitely piques my interest.

Also love the cross-genre romance offerings, like hunky Highlanders who also happen to be vampires, or sexy werewolves masquerading as Viking warriors. * Sigh* So. Damn. Hot.

If you're into supernatural love, try Laurell K Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon or Kresley Cole ~ damn that woman can write a sex scene!

Leah said...

That's one fabulous post Jill. I thoroughly enjoyed every word, and so wittily written. Yours is a style I admire and aspire to - if only I could achieve it easily. I love to write but can't do it for a living.

So to smut - bring it on girl. I love it! And erotica, but for some reason not porn though there is a fine line there with perception.

I shall follow you avidly from now on xxxx

LambChop said...

cock!stand!
cock! stand!!
cock! stand!!!

Kage said...

hey, i get a thrill from the girly romance novels, too!

of course, i'll only read the harlequins whilst keeping them hidden between the pages of an offensive pornographic magazine.

i have a reputation to consider, after all...;)

Enid Wilson said...

LOL, I was laughing so hard when I read the post. First, I discovered Blaze for some years. But there were never any cock in there. So I started writing smut myself. I must go back to check them out again. You give me hope.

As for the Christian romance, I just heard that Harlequinn is expanding the line, in fact, doubling the print. If you go to their site, the submission criteria are very...interesting. They want hero and heroine to appear very early in the novel, in fact, the first page if possible.

And the Christian characters should not drink, gambling and lie. They are big no no. Interesting.

My Darcy Mutates

Cold As Heaven said...

It's apparently a mystery that the Cristians are able to breed at all >:)))

Smut can be fun, both to read and write. Some like the porn in text, some in pictures. No problem, enjoy it the way you prefer.

Cold As Heaven

Lizzie said...

AMAZING. I literally JUST went out with someone who is a model for the cover of the Harlequin Blaze books. That's his honest to God job. Dumb as a rock, but who cares?!

jill hamilton said...

Asha--Love muscle (!) There, I just wanted to say it.
Anonymous--Thanks for the recommendations. If I get brave enough for supernatural love (my fear: sudden appearance of surprise tentacles or something), I will give those authors a try.
Leah--Your comment came at a great time. I was returning bottles for cash and feeling crappy about life when it came it and it cheered me instantly. (Or maybe it was getting $5 in bottle money--either way, thanks!)
Lambchop--I accused my friend yesterday of being one "Lambchop" b/c after she and I had had a merry discussion of the word "cockstand," she sent me several texts throughout the course of the next days reading only "Cockstand!" I like that not one, but two, people send me important "Cockstand!" messages.
Kage--Right on, girl. And even better that you used the word "whilst."
Enid--I can't wait to read the Harlequin guidelines! The Blaze line is so strict in its content, I was wondering if it were indeed all spelled out somewhere. "Hetero couple must fuck 7 times, girl must come first, no anal, etc..."
Cold as Heaven--Wasn't dissin' the Christians, just the Christian porn. This reminds me I must return my Christian porn to the library. Wouldn't want the kids to find it.
And Lizzie--You MUST tell us more about your Harlequin date! And which book he's on so we can spy on him! And, if things progress, his "jutting erection."

Nakedjaebird said...

I love smut. I mean LOVE! And I'm (almost) over the embarrassment of borrowing it from the library...I recently read "Wicked deeds on a Winter's night." And, well, it's that cheesy paranormal stuff but, ah. I dig it. Cockstand heehee. I also liked "throbbing member" simple, yet gives you a very specific image. :)

Cold As Heaven said...

Sorry about that. Dissing the Christians (and the Muslims) is just a bad habit I have >:)

Cold As Heaven

Accursed_Girl said...

I just discovered your blog and it really made me laugh. I've been reading smut for a few years, and a couple of my friends seem to be finally moving into the world of giggling-at-the-girl-porn with me.

A couple of book recs for you, Abby Lee's 'Girl With a One Track Mind' - a blog first, and really quite funny, also, if you are keen on a dash of vampire in your smut Karen Chance is pretty good.

Ed said...

Just a quick note to say that I enjoyed your post. OK, we (I'm a fortysomething husband and father) are sometimes guilty of judging women just a LITTLE bit for getting off on smut that seems to have such a high cheese to filth ratio, but overall we think it's cute, and we're just glad to see you engaging in something that you enjoy and that makes you think about sexy things. I think it's fun.

Anyway, great post and I look forward to reading more.

PS: I'm not rich and I haven't been drinking, but that tag up there actually made me laugh out loud. Hopefully one or both of those conditions will be rectified soon.

PPS: cockstand

A Redhead Named Sam said...

Just found your blog & loved this post! I am quite adept and prone to reading, what I affectionately call, Vampire Porn primarily from Laurell K. Hamilton. I adore her Anita Blake series. Rawr.

I don't think there is a damned thing wrong with reading it at all!

And while my sex life doesn't need a hand...this certainly doesn't hurt it one bit. ;)

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