My First Smut

Let’s be honest, there’s nothing but smut here

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short essays 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, we tell Erin’s story.

I honestly don’t even know what my first smut was. I started reading what I suppose were YA romance novels in middle school. All I remember is that they had white covers, they were probably about 250 pages or less, and I think every one of them featured one woman who had to choose between two men love interests. I specifically recall one story about about a woman who worked in a shirtwaist factory, and she had to choose between … I think?… a working man and a wealthy guy. Love vs stability?

The Internet is a magical thing–I just looked this up, and I think the books were Sunfire romances. I’ll have to give those a spin on the blog later if I can scrounge some up.

Romance novels feature hugely in my life, as I think back, and I realize I have never been particularly secretive about my love for the genre. Ingrid and I used to walk to K-Mart (remember K-Mart?) to pick up copies of Signet and Zebra Regency Romances when we didn’t simply bring home 20 from the library. It was easy to branch out from there. There was To Tame a Duke, which I probably held on to for 20 years (yeah, you read that right. yikes.) before finally donating it to some deserving soul.

I don’t really know who started the Smut Exchange in high school, but there’s no doubt that having friends who were willing to giggle about all of the smut we delighted in helped to normalize the genre and our love for it. In fact, we collectively probably started calling the books smut because my step-sister made an offhand comment about me reading a smutty book during a family dinner, and I gleefully told all our friends. Even the boys at school were accustomed to our talking about romance novels. My (now) husband sidled up to me one day after school and asked what I was reading. “A romance novel,” I said, and proceeded to scandalize him by describing, in detail, the story. He recovered and provided me with some of his mother’s old romance novels, including Whispered Promises, which I still possess because it’s delightful.

Even in college I engaged in smut exchanges with my various friends. In particular, I traded Westerns with Lisa and Georgette Heyer with Liisa. I didn’t stick with the Westerns, but I do own every Heyer Regency written. While I was traveling outside the US for more than a year and rather starved for smut, I found a Heyer in a hostel and was eternally grateful. I carried it through at least 10 countries just for a little something to tide me over. What a charmed life I lead.


Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us a note and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.

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