Smut & Activism

Persisting

Yesterday, the news of the passing of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rocked us. 

While the passing of a renowned and respected jurist might normally be an occasion for solemnity and reflection, the real fear that so many – women in particular – have been expressing in personal conversations or on social media is more telling about the state of our governance than about RBG’s work. She was a fierce soldier for the rights of many – especially of women – and her work on the Supreme Court reflects that. 

But our fear about the future is not about what RBG, an 87 year old woman who had been fighting for her life and health for years, might have done to protect us. Our fear stems from the knowledge that we – women in particular – do not always feel safe, and the safety we do have might be taken away from us now that one of our fiercest advocates in a position of power might be replaced by an individual who actively seeks to take away those safeties. 

In this case, we don’t feel we can sit back and accept our fates, so we have decided to act. Part of our dedication to smut is the way romance stories often center female desire and sexuality and sexual health in ways not often seen in other genres – so it’s not such a stretch for us to want to see similar levels of sexual freedom and safety protected out here in the real world. 

What you can do: It’s too early to say what will happen with RBG’s now vacant seat. We are currently swinging between cautious optimism that there won’t be time to push a new justice through and debilitating pessimism because Mitch McConnell is the worst, but, unfortunately, very good at his job. One small first step you can take is contacting your senators and urging them to wait to hold any votes on a new justice until after inauguration day. Holly might have emailed Senator Cornyn quoting Senator Cornyn about the importance of waiting for the will of the people to be made clear before appointing a Supreme Court justice in an election year. (Here’s a form you can use to send them an email, set up by the Southern Poverty Law Center. If you prefer to call your Senator, you can go here or call 1-701-484-0521 for a short script and to be automatically connected to your Senator’s office.) 

Volunteers are needed all over the place during elections and beyond. Please also be aware that governance begins in our smaller municipalities, which is where state resources are distributed, so it’s also important to know about the races in your state and local elections and to vote and volunteer down ballot. From the big elections to the smallest local elections, campaigns are looking for volunteers to whip votes for candidates. Voter registration drives need volunteers who can sign up new voters. Elections need election judges and other volunteers to ensure that things run smoothly and that voting rights are protected. Information about how to volunteer in these ways can get super specific, so here’s an article that discusses many ways you can volunteer. And if you’re in a blue district, you can always adopt a Senator. Holly, as a Texas resident, is partial to MJ Hegar, but if long shots are not your thing, you could throw some support behind Mark Kelly in Arizona

But more importantly, and we cannot stress this enough, we encourage you to vote. We’ve compiled some resources below to help you accomplish this if you have questions or need assistance knowing what to do in order to ensure your vote counts (which it ALWAYS does). 

Bottom line: 2020 sucks bigtime, but we’re not going to sit down and take it. 

Some voting stuff:

Elections are handled on a state-by-state basis, so it’s important to get the correct information and deadlines for your state. These are reliable resources that provide information for every state. We also encourage you to look at your state’s Board of Elections page, which is where you can find mail-in ballot tracking information if your state is allowing for mail-in voting. It is also likely the page where you can find information about volunteering to be an election judge if you are willing and able to do so. You do not have to be an attorney to volunteer or to help protect voting rights in other ways.

Voting requirements information by state: https://www.usvotefoundation.org/vote/eoddomestic.htm

Check your registration status (sometimes it gets deleted without voter knowledge): https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/ (vote.org also has tons of information about voting in general, so poke around if you have questions)

Vote by mail requirements and deadlines by state: https://represent.us/how-to-vote-2020/

User-friendly how to vote guide by Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/how-to-vote/?itid=lk_inline_manual_12

Voting Rights information and organizations consolidated by the American Bar Association (includes some information for how to volunteer for non-lawyers): https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/voting-rights/how-to-help-protect-our-elections-and-get-out-the-vote/

Article with additional information about voting in the 2020 election in general: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/what-matters-how-to-make-sure-your-2020-mail-in-vote-is-counted/ar-BB17ZNq2

Smut Reporting

Please don’t tell me about your pubes

Scene: Here I am, reading a romance novel. Things are getting hot and heavy. Off come the shifts. Off come the pants. And then, the hero remarks on the heroine’s pubic hair, mostly shaved except for the perfect landing strip. 

And I am not excited about the sex any more. 

To be clear, explicit sex is not a problem for me. And details about other body parts also don’t stop me in my tracks. But tell me about what her pubic hair (or lack thereof) looks like, and everything inside me just shrivels up. 

At first, I thought the crux is that describing the shave pattern of someone’s pubic region is a purely visual moment. I don’t get hung up when a woman’s sexual partner captures her goji berry nipples and sucks them into his or her mouth. But I also don’t get hung up when said partner just looks at her goji berry nipples as they harden at the end of her pert breasts. 

Upon further reflection, what’s going on here for me is the weight of what it means (or doesn’t?) to shave one’s pubic hair in a certain formation. Like, when the author tells us that the heroine fully shaves her mons or leaves the perfect landing strip, is the author trying to tell the reader something about that character? Because I don’t really know how to interpret that information. If she has a full bush, is it because she’s messy or because she’s a hippie or because she’s lazy or what? Is a woman more clean and moral and upright if she never has a hair out of place? Or am I reading too much into it, and a character’s pubic hair should just be taken as body descriptor outside of their personality, just like the goji berry nipples.

I can think of one exception to my anti-pubes rule. In Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden, Jordyn tells Mike that it’s been a while so things might be a little messy down there. This works for me precisely because there’s context, and the information actually reveals something about Jordyn and her history and personality – and Mike’s response, in turn, reveals something about him. See! Pubes can tell us a lot about a person, if we let them!

No poll this time, faithful readers. I don’t want to hear about your pubes either. Sorry, not sorry. 


This Hot Take by Holly is brought to you by an email Erin sent me and Ingrid about a book called “Daddy’s Worst Nightmare” where the heroine is so sheltered that she doesn’t know what a cock is, but also shaves all her pubic hair, because that detail just pushed me over the edge.

Review

Review: A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian (2019)

A Turner Series Novella

Heat Factor: Marshmallow toasting levels

Character Chemistry: Molly is just what Alice needs

Plot: Disgraced vicar’s daughter grows spine, learns art of blackmail

Overall: Good build up, abrupt resolution

Continue reading “Review: A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian (2019)”
Announcement

Erin wrote a smut!

Dear Faithful Readers of the Smut Report:

We have some exciting news! Erin (aka Daphne Green) wrote her very own romance novel, now available for purchase as an ebook through Kindle Unlimited. 

Holly and Ingrid have both read it – and you know that if it got past two very tough reviewers, it’s pretty delightful!

For all the updates on Erin’s writing, follow her author account on Instagram and/or Twitter.

Review

Review: Scoring off the Ice by Stacey Lynn (2020)

Ice Kings, Book #2

Heat Factor: These are some horny 20-somethings

Character Chemistry: Sure! It’s fun! But also they’re in their early 20s…

Plot: Young hockey player loses virginity to puck bunny, and his cute neighbor finds a baby left at his door 11 months later.

Overall: I think my favorite thing about this book is that the hero is Danish.

Continue reading “Review: Scoring off the Ice by Stacey Lynn (2020)”
Motorcycle Monday

MC Romance: Let’s Bone

If I were going to describe MC romance sex, it would be like this:

🍆🍆🍆🍆🍆🍆🍆

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Mmmmkay?

Short story: There’s a lot of sex, and it’s super duper detailed, hot and heavy. And also, in case you’re not caught up on all the other posts in this series, the heroes are also all dominant in the bedroom. 

Maybe with slightly less bed destruction….and sparkly vampires

How about a little like this:

Whew, boy…

Some of this?

I always imagined it with a bit more finesse, though…

This wouldn’t be amiss either:

Ermagherd 365 Dni…Insanity

DEFINITELY this:

You’re welcome.

Anyway…

Sex is sex, but there’s more interesting stuff going on with sex in MC smut than sexytimes so steamy I need to keep a fire extinguisher next to me while reading. Specifically, all the other stuff going on with the rest of the brothers and in and around the clubhouse.

If you cast your mind back to my discussion of setting, you’ll recall that one of the primary understandings we’re meant to have about these biker folk is that they’re wild and free. They’ve cultivated a space where they can be just that. 

One of the ways this manifests is they do what they want. This includes have sex when they want and where they want. That might include…public spaces in and around the clubhouse. (Please see, like, all of the Reaper’s books by Joanna Wylde or Tracker’s End by Chantal Fernando.) Most often it includes promiscuity and a, erm, healthy sexual appetite that’s understood but isn’t necessarily on page. (Please just see all the books.) 

All of this sex is usually with the club women I discussed last week, unless we’re talking about protagonists featured in that or prior books in the series. Club members who might have old ladies but who weren’t protagonists in prior books in the series are significantly less likely to be, erm, monogamous. 

So what we’ve got is: clubhouses are portrayed as sex palaces and bikers as promiscuous, which means that in nearly every story there’s a point at which the lack of fidelity and monogamy between the club members and their old ladies (or any women at all, because club women are skanks, of course) becomes an issue for the protagonist couple. Or, more specifically, it becomes an issue for the heroine. People all over the world have sex…all over the world. But the centralized in-your-faceness of sex in the clubhouse I guess brings the idea of non-monogamy home for the heroine. Or rather, centralizes the idea of cheating, because it’s always about cheating, never about the possibility that couples might choose to engage in non-monogamous relationships. (One notable exception to this is Arrow from the Wind Dragons books. He has a non-monogamous relationship in book 1, and it becomes a small issue in book 2, Arrow’s Hell.)

This fixation on cheating is borderline obsessive, and the lack of consideration that parties in this “live free or die” lifestyle might choose to have open relationships is, for me, a head scratcher. I feel that if I saw people having public sex – copious quantities of public sex with miscellaneous partners – I might think their notion of relationships might not match my WASPy upbringing. It makes sense to me that heroine protagonists would think about what they want in terms of a monogamous relationship, but it makes very little sense that they would get bent out of shape about seeing a non-monogamous relationship in the context in which it occurs. Except inasmuch as this obsession serves to reinforce norms and ideas about monogamy, who is interested in monogamy (hint: it’s women), and the idea that a woman needs the special something that makes womanizers magically monogamous. Or inasmuch as it can act as a catalyst for relationship drama. Which, let me just say, is typically predicated on a lack of communication and trust between partners. So that’s not great. 

In sum, there are quite a few value judgements occurring where sex is concerned in these books, which is interesting because you’d think that people who are all about doing their own thing would be less not more judgemental about who’s having sex with whom and where. But that’s not the case. It’s a rather incongruous take, when all is said and done. 

Next week I think we’ll take a break to do an author spotlight, and then we’re back for our last three pieces about MC smut culture. 


Previous posts in this series can be found here.