Thursday, June 4, 2015

What Was Your Formative Smut?

"Is it okay if the girls watch 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt'"? my friend texted pre-kid sleepover.

Considering my 13 year old had just seen the majority of the Louie episode where Louis CK ends up in a sex toy store, yeah, Kimmy was fine. (In my defense, I kept thinking the Louie ep was somehow gonna become more appropriate, like, any second. This, despite the fact that the characters were talking about vibrators and it was Louis CK, for fuck's sake. #MagicalThinking)

"I was reading Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins and Xaviera Hollander at their age," noted my friend. "The basement bookshelf was where my mom kept all the smutty books. The Story of O. Lady Chatterley's Lover. Portnoy's Complaint. I spent entire summers down there. She. Had. No. Idea."

You see, my pretties, back before the Internet, when you wanted sexual information, you had to cobble together what you could. It involved a combination of covert reading sessions in back aisles of book stores, excavations under the beds of pervy neighborhood dads (that is, all dads) and checking out the bookshelves of your parents' more free-thinking friends. My own sex ed was an unwieldy mash-up of:

--Sidney Sheldon novels
--Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask
--Where Did I Come From? in which 1977-era cartoon grown ups offer mildly helpful/icky information such as "The man pushes his penis up and down in the woman's vagina, so that both the tickly parts are being rubbed against each other. It's like scratching an itch but a lot nicer."
 --Fear of Flying
--Playboy, Penthouse and the rare Hustler
--The Sensuous Woman by "J"  (at the time her advice on giving proper head and the like was apparently so scandalous she couldn't even use her whole name.)
 --National Geographics (there is no such thing as a single issue of National Geographic--they travel only in packs) for boobic studies.

And yes, Xaviera Hollander, aka The Happy Hooker How strange to realize I'd gotten a ton of my sexual information from a hooker. A happy one, but still.

I studied these books like the Quran, looking for clues on how to behave once naked with another--and to figure out what the hell words like "necking" and "petting" meant. (Actually that's probably not what people are studying the Quran for.) My furtive peeks at these books, for better or worse, shaped my sexual worldview and informs my life even today. (Thank you, "J," you little hussy, for the "silken swirl.")

So yeah, was it the same for you? What was your formative smut? Where'd you find it? What did you learn?  Did any salient passages stick with you to guide your later sexual self? 

Here's the contest part

To enter, tell me what your formative smut was. That's it! From among your answers, I'll pick a winner, semi-randomly, depending on the vagaries of my mood. Deadline is Wednesday, May 27. [edit:  contest has ended. To see winner, click here.] You can comment below, use the comment form at right, or email me at jillhamilton001@gmail.com.

The winner gets a choice of:

-- a $50 gift certificates to Good Vibrations, fine purveyors of sex toys.

OR

--a Pearly Waterproof Rechargeable Silicone Vibrator ($100 value) also donated by Good Vibrations.

"So....wanna fuck?"

Sex Museums!
My story "9 Amazing Sex Museums That'll Blow Your Mind" is running on AlterNet, featuring the highly important information that at NYC's Museum of Sex, there's an G-spot exhibit that's a Hall of Mirrors Maze. If you find your way to the spot, you can move your hands around to play the theremin. Which is genius.

Donations!

"I had to donate! Otherwise I was just exploiting your blog for sex," Phebie wrote, sending money I plan to blow on household electricity. Thank you, Phebie!

"It's about time I paid a subscription fee for the wonderfulness that is you delivered straight to my inbox!" wrote Ada, who signed up via PayPal to make automatic monthly donations, thus forcing me to change the honorary title for Robert, formerly IBWMW Minister of Being the Blog's Only Patron.

To Phebie, Ada, Robert, all those who've donated before, plus anyone who shares posts (like Juanita, who bravely shares practically every post, even the ones with unseemly words like "VAGINA" in the title) and the tons of people who provide smart/funny/deep comments, you keep me out of the Pit of Despair and more like Pit of Despair Adjacent, which is a much nicer area.

Now go think of your formative smut and write me back.

xoxo
jill

(Photo source)

23 comments:

in bed with married women said...

the first entry is in via twitter! "Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Duran Duran, and my moms romance novels."

oh yeah

MattM said...

Before I was out of the 5th grade, I had read Judy Blume's "Wifey", repeatedly perused a number of Hustlers, and watched (and re-watched a few times) "Clockwork Orange". I turned out OK, but I don't recommend that course of study for anyone.

in bed with married women said...

MattM, i hate LOL but I did. god i did.

in bed with married women said...

Entry 2 via Twitter: "My formative smut was Fanny Hill, Sex Tips for Girls ( a school prize!) & my grandmother's bodice rippers. I also read Portrait of the Marquis de Sade when I was 12 but that was disappointing, not smutty enough."


Note: Sex Tips for Girls by Cynthia Heimel is genius and should have been on my list too!

Sky Roy said...

My cousin stole a porn magazine (I cannot recall which one) from his dad and we hid it in the woods nearby. We both lived pretty close but we only snuck out to look at it occasionally. I couldn't quite grasp at the time what exactly was going on when I looked at those naked pictures but it sure was exciting!

However, the times between our viewings were often very long and eventually we went back to find that the bag we kept the smut in had leaked and all the pages were sopping wet and falling to bits. It just wasn't possible to fix it, so we abandoned our treasure to the tender mercies of nature.

orangecape@gmail.com

dre said...

my formative smut came in two distinct parts:
1. my mom forced me to watch the NOVA special 'the miracle of life' (with a strangely infrared becoming-erect-penis image at the beginning and a birth scene at the end, hair and fluids and all of course- FOR SCIENCE) when i was NINE. and again when i got my period the first day (that i tried to hide from her so she'd leave me alone with my cramps and mood).
2. my best friend used to read 7 or so books at a time, middle or end first sometimes (oddly, she's the stable married one now), so one day when i was 8 or 9 she took me down to her mom's romance novel section of their giant basement library and started handing me books, pages open to the sex scenes. i think i read through 10 that afternoon. we may have discussed one or two, but mostly i remember going, oh, that wouldn't happen, or, AH that's how that works, or do guys actually want that? or whatEVer, no woman would say that and enjoy it... haha... i was cynical even then. add a sprinkle of a few middle-school playboy pictures and articles at the every/pervy-dad's house (since i didn't have one) to both educate me and also convince me i'd never look attractive to anyone, and some cinemax movies glimpsed when my mom wasn't home... and ta-da! knowledge. patchy though it was. i did ok i think.

cegluna said...

Jill,
Nearly forty years have passed and I still have my copy of "Where Did I Come From?" ! But I never considered it smut as it was much too dry/clinical.
I've always been a voracious reader and since my mother thought this was great and educational, she pretty much left me to it. My very first smut had to have been courtesy of Judy Blume's "Forever". Does anyone remember Ralph the penis? It baffled me that someone would name their appendage and even more so that anyone would choose "Ralph" which (sorry for all you Ralph's out there) was just not sexy at all to me.

Fitzlurker said...

Well hell. I read a massage book when I was about 6 that pretty much showed everything about the human anatomy. I read my Stepfathers Playboys starting at about 8. I read the Mammoth Hunters at 10 or so. I found actual smut books with titles like "The Horny Farmers Daughter" when I was abut 12. Started masturbating about then too. Then I found that, when you are a fairly articulate 13 year old who reads a LOT you can get away with pretty much anything at the local library. I read SO. MUCH. EROTICA. When I finally lost my virginity at 17, my partner (a much more experienced young lady than myself) became the beneficiary of years of suppressed lust and knowledge of the female body. I'd known her for a couple of years and can truly say that her first orgasm that wasn't self generated was from me. :)

James said...

Violette Leduc's La batarde comes to mind. I came back to the book in adulthood and appreciated it in a different way. A way that wasn't about feverishly whizzing through it looking for the naughty bits. Not that there's anything wrong with that. :)

Cagey-C said...

I got my start with Where Do I Come From, too. I think my parents found the matter-of-fact tone to be a non-threatening way for them to start "the conversation." And for people who were actually having sex with each other, I'm sure it was not hot at all. But it didn't stop me from gaining street cred in third grade by tracing all of the nekkid pictures and sharing them with my classmates.

In fifth grade I got snoopy and found my folks' copy of The Joy of Sex. Line drawings have never been more enticing. Perhaps coincidentally, that was also the year I discovered that rubbing my pelvis on my mattress just right eventuated in a tingly thrum that started in my loins and spread through the rest of my body.

Anonymous said...

Finding dads' copies of Playboy led to many mutual masturbation sessions with various friends (were all little girls as horny as we were??) Later, I spent a lot of time with Delta of Venus by Anais Nin.

Anonymous said...

My buddy Rick and I and the "swimsuit issue" of LOOK magazine. We then spent the entire summer comparing the swimsuits of the girls at our city pool to those models. Then came the book "Valley of the Dolls" from my Older sister's bedroom.
Finally saw my first naked woman: Ursula Andress in Playboy. (thanks Kevin!)
My then-current infatuation with butts immediately switched over to breasts where it remains lo these 50 years later.
Caveat: I still appreciate a nice set of buns though. Thanks Jill LOVE your column!

The Bun said...

My parents had (and probably still have somewhere) Everything You Ever Wanted To Know... as well, and I remember sneaking it around age 9-10 in the early '90s. I remember mostly feeling like I was learning more detail on things I'd already heard of briefly, and encountering a few things that even then I thought, that doesn't sound right. (Like the assessment of double-ended dildos for lesbians amounting to "why they don't just cut it in half and go their separate ways I don't know" - I remember thinking, I think you've missed the point there, author guy.) They also had the sequel to Sensuous Woman, The Sensuous Couple, which, basically the same story - sneaked it, spent a lot of time going "huh, is that a thing? OK". I know my parents weren't keen on me reading these things for fear I'd get bad information or take them as gospel. I suppose I turned out OK though so in hindsight it probably didn't matter. My parents aren't free love naked hippies talking about sex openly to their small kids types, but I always say, one of the few subjects I don't have any hangups on is sex, thanks to them being willing to talk when needed. (I tell people that's why I'm so crazy otherwise - all the normal sex-hangup-crazy got spread across everything else!) My mom's first question when she found out I was having sex (since she knew I was dating a great guy so she didn't have to worry about consent issues or me being treated poorly) was "I don't need details, but are you enjoying it?" One of the reasons my mom is awesome.

Midge said...

When I was 12 or 13, I was at my best friend's house and we found a book under her parent's bathroom sink, called "Truck Stop Slut" It was there that I first read about DP.

in bed with married women said...

here are some more from about the 'net:

Mackenzie: "Weird novel "You" found in COLLEGE LIBRARY(?!?) fiction section freshman year in London. All orgies & anal."

from "C"--"My formative smut was Flash Gordon at she 7 (lots of D/s themes, gender norming, and leather/latex), gay literotica I found online when I was 10 (go dial up internet!), the novel Maia by Richard Adams at fourteen (not smut, but the first overt introduction I had to sex workers and ritualistic sexuality)."

from "J" (not THE J. probably): "I'm a big fan of your blog and Lady Cheeky - my favorite smut!

Books were my main source of smut, especially my mom's books, like Story of O and even Sacajawea. I also learned a lot from a stupid, rudimentary video game, Leisure Suit Larry. It's silly thinking of it now! Also, movies, but less so."

from I: Hi, being a guy it may be a little strange to have had a formative smut, or a set of them, but for sure they help me create my actual conceptions. During my late chilhood/early teen years I found "Inside" by Linda Lovelace, a book by Emmanuelle Arsan named (in Spanish) "La HipĆ³tesis de Eros" (I don't know what the English title could be), and of course Xaviera Hollander on Penthouse. Of course there was laso the "Joy of Sex" by Alex Comfort, and not books, but the charming presence of Annie Sprinkle. Gosh, I think I learn a lot from them."

From another J:
"I remember reading all of those classics at some point: Harold Robbins, Xaviera Hollander's Happy Hooker, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Fear of Flying and The Sensuous Woman, etc, but if we're talking 'formative', then along with the True Story magazines and 'men's magazines' I'm sure I saw growing up, I clearly remember the shock of seeing my first Playgirl on a visit at my older sister's. I had no idea guys had hair there too! I'm thinking I was 12? maybe?"

and friend of IBWMW Keppie got inspired to write a lovely, but long ass piece on discovering Dr. Ruth and romance novel references to "man meat" and such that i will run sometime next week.

sweetwomandirtymind said...

I was VERY sheltered, unfortunately, with devout Catholic parents and growing up in a small conservative town. A friend bought me a copy of Judy Blume's "Forever," which I devoured but was disappointed by the lack of detail.

Finally in college I met a young woman from a liberal family who had her own collection of Penthouse Letters. Reading them turned me on but freaked me out as well. I didn't realize they were fantasy material. I thought a boyfriend would want me to DO all those things.

Anonymous said...

Cable TV watched at a friends house, Nancy Friday books and romance novels, and Dr Ruth on the radio.

Katrina said...

I had a relatively sheltered childhood, so I think it was not until I was capable of reading literature that I was able to really get a sense of erotica. Lady Chatterly's Lovers and The Awakening were the first two that come to mind right now.

in bed with married women said...

From "Prufrock":
I found your blog several years ago, and mentally bookmarked it, but you know how unreliable that method is. I found it again the other day through the article and review of Science, Sex and the ladies. Man, it is so good. Your blog, that is.

Anyway, you asked about moments of formative smut, and it compelled me to write about (at least) one of mine. It’s actually nice to remember it now, and though quaint and embarrassing it still excites me to think of it. Funny.

Anyway, I grew up in the 60s, when Playboy was a determiner for so many boys what was sexy and to be desired. Just before real puberty hit I started feeling what was to come, in small hints at what sexual arousal would mean to me in the future. Hints, in that I wasn’t acting on them physically in any way, but had a sense that I was meant to. I was a Catholic kid, on my way to the priesthood, I thought. Thanks to the nuns and their relentless dogma and pony show I had the icing that guilt was on my cake of sinful thoughts. It definitely added to my bad enjoyment of sin, and I relieved that guilt every Wednesday in the confessional with deft avoidance of telling details of said sinful thoughts.

The thing about Playboy, and James Bond, and other cultural references was that they were so mainstream as to be available in the form of movie previews at the matinee of suitable age-appropriate films, and that there were things like Playboy chocolates with head shots of Bunnies on the label. So it was kind of a tacit acceptance I guess that it wasn’t REAL sin, or at least the kind of sin that no one, not even Monsignor O’Brien could absolve. That kind of sin was for depraved and condemned reprobates. That kind of sin that was a staple of the people who could be found in the woods near my suburban Chicago house, that my Mom continually warned me about. My best friend, Bird, and I knew that there was far worse stuff out there for indulging in mortal sin, but we were so clueless we didn’t know where to start, other than “ladies’ parts” and “underwear.” No idea what went on with vaginas or all that, only that we were supposed to crave that knowledge, and having it would make us whole.

Then one day, in the woods, of course, we came upon a stash of dirty magazines. A pile of smut that had things in them that we had no idea that people would want to do, like sucking a dick, or spreading labia for a clearer view. They had been rained on, and the grass was all matted down as if two people had been laying there. Plus— and this was huge— there was ladies’ UNDERWEAR!! Big, white panties, and a garter belt, and some nylons, and…… a BRA!!

We gasped at that. We picked them up and examined them like they were shards of the original Ten Commandments. They had that kind of importance, and the feeling that God was watching made it nerve wracking, but we could not stop. Looking at the dirty mags, and the underwear, and back again at the dirty mags, and the bra…. it was like we were drunk. But we were like, eleven or so. We didn’t yet get the whole connection. We only knew that is was bad. And that made it good. So we put the bra around a tree trunk and stuffed it with leaves and laughed like eleven year-old boys.

But something later clicked in my mind-body and made me want to masturbate when I was home alone some time after that. I didn’t know what was going on, but I liked it, and it felt GREAT.

And doing that, with the thought of that scene with the underwear and dirty magazines gave me such a mighty orgasm that I knew I had discovered why sex was so great. That taboo being violated, of crossing the “decency” line and indulging in self-pleasure while enjoying the thought of naked ladies and their removing of their undergarments for me and allowing me to explore their secrets was the threshold for me of my quest for happiness.

I like to think that I grew into a good person, a good man. But the memory of that first feeling of sin—dirty, dirty sin—still lives as a spark in me. I am very grateful for that feeling.
See? The Church does has value.

The Bun said...

Katrina, that's funny to me, as I read "The Awakening" in a lit class as a senior in high school and had to bluntly ask my teacher where the consummation of the affair that she'd just been discussing actually took place in the book. I completely missed it, and even after her explanation (and to this day) I still don't get it - I had to just memorize her answer in case it became relevant for an essay later. And I was definitely not sheltered, at least from basic sex things. So I'm glad you got more out of it than I did!

....hmmm. Maybe there are two books with the same name, and we each read a different one? Oh well.

oh, and "Prufrock", that was lovely!

in bed with married women said...

this in from CT:
Yes, I read most of the books you mentioned, but there was a precursor to those that wasn't mentioned that stuck with me. Mary Mccarthy's The Group.

The whole novel was an eye opener for me. I read it soon after it was published and will never forget reading about Libby's little secret, the bath mat, and taking herself "Over the Top".

It was my introduction to masturbation and I was not that young at the time, not yet a "hippy" but about to become one.

I just recently found your blog and am having fun delving into past posts.

Sextant said...

My formative smut:

1955 Age 6: Got an erection looking at naked lady statues in my father's photography magazine. I didn't know why I got an erection but every time I saw the statues my pee pee got big and I thought it was a rather neat phenomenon. A not so neat phenomenon was my experiment with electricity at the same age. I removed the light bulb from a table lamp, stuck my finger in the socket and turned the lamp on. I don't recall of getting an erection from that.

1956 Age 7: A buddy and I do a naked dance for the girls in the woods (to the tune of All The Girls in France). The girls were to reciprocate the next day. The got us naked again but they kept stalling. They wouldn't show us the goods. Apparently we got a little loud in our protests. My mother's best friend who lived near the woods caught us in the buff. I got my bare ass beat first out in the front yard in front of all the kids, then dragged in the house and beat with a belt. No one else got shit. Story of my life.

1958 Age 9: There were persistent rumors about a game the big people play where the man sticks his dick into the ladies thing (what the ladies thing was, we had no idea). One rendition had him farting upon penetration. We heard about Kotex. Again we had no idea what it is. The girls knew but the smarty pants wouldn't tell us. Look for a big blue box with a white rose on it. I found such a box. I removed a Kotex and with trembling hands I said to myself "Holy shit, I am holding a Kotex." Still had no idea what they were for. We had a cache of moldy burlesque magazines in the woods. The women all had full cut dance panties on, sort of like the Rockets wore. Their had either pasties or tassels on their breasts and they had wide black bars across their eyes to protect the anonymity. They did not give me an erection. The naked statues were sexier.

1959 Age 10: I ordered All About The Human Body By Bernard Glemser from the Weekly Reader. The book came and my mother wouldn't let me have it. Finally she relented with warning not to read the last chapter. Of course that was the first chapter I read. It was all pretty confusing, chromosomes and corpus leutums and a bunch of other stuff I never heard of but the key sentence was something about the sperm from the father and the egg from the mother combine in a process called fertilization and boom 9 months later a baby is born. How the sperm got to the egg was a complete mystery but that is where the stories filled in the blanks. In fact the book confirmed the wild stories but in an obtuse circumstantial way. I felt something like Columbus discovering the world was round. For the rest of that summer I became something of a pre-pubescent Masters and Johnson explaining to wide eyed kids where babies come from. Now on the threshold of old age, I tend to believe the Kia commercial:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSzm4kBMUuI

Ooops too long, continued below

Sextant said...

Continued from above:

1963 Age 14: My then buddy now brother in law got a copy of Love Without Fear By Eustace Chesser. He read it to us around the campfire while camping out in the woods. It explained everything, well most everything. It cut no bones about discussing putting tab P in slot V in plain English. It was published in the US in 1947 and recommended to new husbands to consummate their union in the dark. The sight of the aroused husband can cause "fear and distaste."

"Instances could be quoted of brides who have fled screaming from the bedroom when, on their wedding night, the husband, eager to impress with his sexual endowment, has displayed himself." Page 166.

There is also a built in bias if not an anxiety that "the great essential is to realize that normal love is the path to happiness." thus avoiding "the supreme unwisdom [that] comes from this tasting of every sexual 'joy'" because "amateur perverts are utterly reprehensible. They bring upon themselves, and often upon others as well, miseries which are totally unnecessary."

Most of these perversions remained un-described.

Ahhhh, little did my friend realize that in 12 short years that I would be practicing these fine arts with his sister. She did not run from the bridal chamber screaming, not did it take several weeks to consummate our union. That had been 2 years prior when we really wed. Our marriage has lasted 40 years (well 38 by the law), it must have been my friends excellent ability to read aloud and his radio announcer like voice.

1971 Age 22: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask David Reuben. Well it is pretty frumpy now but back then it was a paragon of light in the dark ages.

From that first wild story I head about naked games, sex has fascinated me. Most of my reading after the books listed above were not how to manuals, but the whys of sex. I maintain an interest in human sexuality as hobby like some people have for astronomy or Lionel trains.

Very nice blog BTW. I like it.

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