My First Smut

My First Smut: From Reluctance to Passion

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, romance author D.J. Russo talks about using books to explore her sexuality.


First romance novel you read:

A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah Maclean

How old were you?

28 (I started late)

How’d you get your hands on the book?

A Book Riot subscription box back when they sold them. The theme of the box was books people usually don’t pick up. So it had YA, fantasy, and romance inside the box. I was surprised because I knew that romance was the highest-selling genre in the industry, but the stigma was there. I mean, I was reluctant to read it because growing up, my mother didn’t let me read romance. In fact, she told me that romance novels were somehow ‘beneath’ me! Yikes!

What was the reading experience like?

Surprising. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the book, and then I wanted more. But I quickly moved out of the historical romance subgenre and moved onto fantasy and sci-fi romances. Not that there’s anything wrong with historicals, they just aren’t really my cup of tea. I enjoy them in moderation, but it was exciting to find other subgenres.

What made the experience special?

That one book set me up for a whole career in writing romances. I took a class in romance writing, where I learned about genre conventions, reader expectations, and story beats. I really enjoyed myself. I’m 38 now, so I’ve been reading and writing romance for a decade now and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

What role does smut play in your life?

I’m asexual. I didn’t realize that until much later in my life, too. But I realized that I love smut/erotica and erotic romance. It’s just the right amount of sex for me. It’s difficult to explain my sexuality, so I won’t. But I feel most comfortable exploring my sexuality within books, I’ll just put it that way.


Connect with D.J.


Thanks for sharing D.J.! We look forward to reading D.J.’s book, Abduction Seduction (sounds perfect for fans of aliens and/or polyamory!)—watch this space for a review coming soon.

Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.

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