Hi Everyone. This week has been something else, and the news today was just the icing on the cake.
Yes, I’m talking about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. (But also the court saying, “j/k, Miranda rights don’t actually have to be read” and also “hahaha states, you thought you could prevent some people from carrying concealed weapons” and also and also and also…)
We, like many of you, are sad and scared and feeling powerless. So with that in mind, here are a few things you can do to help pregnant people continue to get the care they need:
Share resources with those who need information. www.ineedana.com provides information about where to get an abortion; Repro Legal Helpline provides legal support for those navigating the complex laws surrounding reproductive choice.
Want more ways to help, or want to learn more? More great resources about supporting abortion access can be found here, here, and here.
And here’s the other thing. When you’re feeling sad and scared and powerless, it’s ok to retreat for a little bit. Sometimes, a romance novel can help, and that’s where we come in. We’re going to keep reading and reviewing and recommending and just plain talking about romance novels because they bring us joy in uncertain times. And when our tanks are full, we will continue to do what we can to make the world a little bit better, one day at a time.
My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?
This week, author Jessica Kay talks the thrills and disappointment of Fifty Shades of Grey.
My first foray into smut was 50 Shades of Grey. I read it in my late 20s, and I was excited to see what all of the hype was about. I kept reading, and waiting, and turning the pages hoping the smutty scenes would grow in their fervor, but the smut never impressed me. I have read way more depraved (in a good way) books since then which really fueled my fire. Smut has been a huge part of my life. I’ve always had this sexual part of me that seemed a little bit wrong or too much might be the better way to describe it. I have explored it in many different ways and have recently funneled that passion into my romance novels. Now I get to think about, write, and read smut all of the time. It’s a dream come true!
In honor of our Old School reading this month, we decided to look at our reading archives and see what turned up. Unfortunately, we read these books so long ago, we don’t remember much. Luckily, this week we found some books that at least two of us read, so you’ll have just a little more information. Maybe we can interest you in these books based on what we do remember?
Erin: …Oh. My. God. Holly and I read this book twenty years ago and still remember all the highlights. Skye gets married and then ends up in a harem and then somehow gets back to England but then Niall is married and I have no idea how they manage to finally get married but I think Niall’s sex addict wife dies of the pox?
Holly: …there is so much sex in this book. The bit that stands out to me is Neil’s wife (who looks like Skye) (also, this is probably the only book in which I remember the MCs’ names, including books that I read last week) is a nymphomaniac who can’t get enough luvin’ from her husband so she starts working in a brothel and has a book of sex positions. Men come in, pick a position, and she’ll do them. She and another whore have a sex-off one night. She dies of syphilis. It’s very convenient because now Neil is free to finally marry Skye as husband #4.
Also the scene where Skye’s amnesia goes away is very striking. Husband number #3 and Neil get in a fight at court and when Neil falls down she remembers *everything.* So much drama!!!!
Also also, Skye’s nails are always buffed to a beautiful pink.
Erin: …they have an interlude at a masquerade party and are parted for years. When they’re reunited, she remembers him, but he doesn’t recognize her, though they do fall in love and marry. When she says that the wedding night sex is better than before, he gets all ragey that she’s 1) not a virgin and 2) apparently had sex with his twin brother (she didn’t). Also the climactic moment is YIIIIIIKES because even though he said he was over the whole her sleeping with his brother thing (she didn’t and he wasn’t), when he gets home from a trip he finds out she’s pregnant, assumes it can’t possibly be his, and sends her off to the country where she nearly dies. It’s a lot.
Holly: …I REMEMBER THIS ONE. Just that he gets all ragey, and then finally recognizes her when she appears at a ball in her masquerade outfit from the very beginning and he realizes it was her the whole time because of course he’s really been looking for his mystery whore for years.
Holly: …I was horrified at how *old* the heroine was (she’s 30). She hires a sex worker for a 30th birthday present to herself. (It seems, from the blurb, that there’s some mistaken identity stuff that happens, but I don’t remember that part.) She was curvy and had red hair so I pictured my high school principal and was horrified and did not enjoy the reading experience. Might like it better if I read it now that I’m not 16 anymore.
Erin: …I read this one, too! All I remember about this one was that she hired herself a delicious man treat because she was so old and things did not at all go the way either of them planned.
Ingrid: …he’s real hot at nighttime and during the day he’s disgusting and pompous.
Erin: …the hero returns to town and gets himself out of a pickle by pretending to be fat, stuffing his clothes with pillows, and has to keep up the charade whenever he goes out. The heroine thinks he’s ridiculous and disdains him, but he’s secretly a dashing spy attacking the British. Also something happens at a bucolic lighthouse-y spot at the dramatic climax.
Holly: …the reading experience stuck out to me more than the actual book. I distinctly remember the chair I was sitting in when I read it (the blue armchair that used to be by the fireplace). My sister got it from her sister-in-law, who was a McNaught superfan. And my reaction was: what even is this utter rapey garbage? The titular Whitney is a doormat and the hero is terrible and leaves her in his country house and then thinks she’s cheating on him but she loves him anyways.
Erin: …OMG he’s so sexy on the stairs! OMG, she’s so daring standing on the horse! OMG, her dad is terrible. Something about chess. OMG, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MAN?! OMG, HOW IS SHE GOING TO FORGIVE HIM? I guess the baby scene at the end was kinda sweet?
Holly: Of course she stands up on her horse. That’s like, bodice ripper heroine behavior rule #23.