I remember the night I first stumbled upon Fanfiction.
Like falling down the rabbit hole into a wonderland you never knew existed. Good, bad, and downright weird. It was magical and the tonic I needed during a tulmutous time in my life. I had just spent the last year of college clawing my way to graduation while battling severe depression only to be spat out with no skills, no job, and my childhood home sold overnight. It was a difficult transition but one where I finally had time to read and indulge in books that weren’t on a syllabus. A sliver of silver lining if there ever was one. I spent my days in search of work and my nights aimlessly wandering corners of the internet because the first iPhone had only just come out, and now you know how old I am.
I have always been someone who has lived in my head. Since a young age, I have disassociated to worlds where I was far happier and stronger, and prettier and all around the main character. It was my way of coping, as one does. But with more time on my hands to read and after wasting hours of my life on Dracula and Tess of D’Ubervilles, I was in need of much more than the male gaze.
I had desires that were practically banging down the door as I lived out a very non Sex and the City post-grad life. Desires that I told myself were preposterous and possibly even wrong. But discovering Twilight Fanfic (and no I am not interested in opinions on this) was an awakening I desperately needed. One where I not only came to terms with my desires but realized that not every fantasy has to become a reality. They can simply just be that, a fantasy. Nothing more, nothing less.
From the world of fanfic, I discovered the delicious world of smut.
My kindle became my little treasure chest of ebooks that spoke to an array of preferences. Some were sweet and demure, others were a pinch of heat and a whole lot of talk, and well then there was the downright dark. And I truly do mean dark. But again, not every fantasy needs to see the light of day.
There is a whole lot of feelings one has when they start to read these types of books. Much of it boils down to shame. I spent years never allowing anyone to touch my Kindle. How could I possibly explain all those stories?
People love to look down on romance books and even more so on the smutty, erotic ones. How could I possibly read such filth? And poorly written filth at that? And it’s true some of the books I have bought over the years were in desperate need of an editor and proofreader but the story itself hit me right in the feels and that was truly all that mattered. If the dialogue was good, then you had me at “get on your knees.” I wasn’t reading these books necessarily for their prose. I was reading to FEEL and feel a certain way at that!
I believe reading should be well-rounded.
It is important to read different genres and to read outside your comfort zone. As a writer, I believe this is doubly important.
It’s important to know that reading doesn’t always have to be some mind-numbing escape but that it can be when you choose to make it so.
But smut, smut has a special place in my heart. I know that if I am in the throes of a breakdown or having a difficult week it’s the one genre that will soothe me. The writers of these books should be lauded for knowing what many of us want and delivering often ten-fold. Not every book is for everyone but even the corniest ones can hit the spot. I don’t always need fantastical, some times I just need a bit of fantasy mixed with the hopes of reality.
I have such a hard time with people who look down upon this niche. Because in truth they most likely know nothing of it or have been indoctrinated to think a certain way which isn’t helpful for anyone, including themselves. But fantasy is good and discovering what you like and through the joy and safety of the written word is even better.
So what I am saying is smutty reads can be good for the soul and there is no shame in that. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Reading is a spectrum and snooty literature critics could probably use a little smut in their life.
Smut is literature.
Smutty reads can do wonders for your dispostion.
So in case you are curious or looking for recs, I have put together, in no particular order, a scratch of what is in my library. It’s not nearly close to even half of what I own, but perhaps there is enough, especially if you haven’t explored this genre before.
And for more book recs check HERE.
And if you would like to support my own little book you can read part of the 1st chapter HERE.