WARNING: This is a discussion on reading preferences when it comes to reading sensual or steamy romance books and/or erotica. If you feel uncomfortable by the genre, then feel free to not read.
I’m going to admit that I feel so embarrassed even starting this discussion, but it’s been on my mind and I can’t ignore it for any longer! If anyone could just jump in and hold my hand while telling me I’m just silly, then that would be great.
OK, so, if you see on the right, there is a beautiful man. This is a book I own. I haven’t put it up on Goodreads to say that it’s a “to-read,” nor do I keep it on my bookshelves in my library at home. You could say that I feel embarrassed. Truth be told, I do enjoy reading titles like this once in a while (I tend to lean towards more a steamy romance). It’s something I would never admit (until now …), but I feel like I should be admitting it because why should I feel embarrassed by something that I’m reading, or by something I plan to read in the future?
There was a review book that I had a while back and I still haven’t finished it because it started to get a little gratuitous in its sex scenes. While it’s not necessarily a book I would review on my blog, I felt embarrassed (<– there’s that word again!) to even review it on Goodreads. I think that might be part of why I don’t want to finish it just yet — because then I’ll feel like I should definitely write out my thoughts about the book, which would include the fact that yes, it does include steamy sex scenes.
Is it wrong to feel like I should hide such reads? With the popularity of eReaders these days, it’s so easy for anyone to download any kind of book and hide its cover from prying eyes that I know I’m not alone in my thinking. My books in question are kept in my bedroom, in a drawer, where no one could find them (unless of course you’re a snoop). But they’re still books. Shouldn’t I display them proudly?
It seems like there’s a fine line between anything labeled “romance” and anything labeled “smut/erotica.” Take the Outlander books, by Diana Gabaldon, for instance. There are some very descriptive sex scenes in that novel that could make anyone blush. In fact, there’s a whole chapter in the first book that is devoted to the sexy times. But, it’s labeled as “historical romance.” And it has time travel. Clearly, nothing to feel embarrassed about. But a cover like the one above? I would feel embarrassed taking that on an airplane, or reading it at the in-law’s.
I found it interesting when I went to the Kobo website to peruse some cheap titles and saw that when I searched under “romance” there was a ton of steamy-looking titles with sexy covers and sultry plots. Again, there’s that fine line. I mean, what is romance nowadays? Is chick-lit the tame version and romance the harder version? Just look at the whole Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. Those books are selling like hot cakes! I looked on Goodreads and close to 1,700 readers label it as “romance” while under 700 label it as “erotica.” I saw the box-set at Costco the other day and wondered if there’s anyone who bought the books online, or for their ereader, because they were just too embarrassed to buy themselves copies. OR, do people find it’s more acceptable to buy copies of these books because everyone is reading them?
Then, of course, there was the Doin’ it Dirty Readathon, hosted by the amazing Amanda and Kelly. I admit that I wanted to participate, but I felt slightly embarrassed (!) and my husband was home that weekend and I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks, so participation was out. It looked like the participants had a lot of fun doing the readathon, but I do wonder if there were any other readers who wanted to participate but were too embarrassed.
Maybe it’s because a lot of what I review on my blog is YA or contemporary fiction or chick lit, none of which contain a lot of smut within their pages, but I feel like part of me has to come out of my shell and just read what I want and admit that I’m reading it — even if I’m just reviewing it on Goodreads and not on the blog. Don’t be shy! I’m a grown woman, for crying out loud!
Am I alone in this? Do you feel embarrassed by your reads? Do you openly read these kinds of books, or hide them on your ereader?
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