Motorcycle Monday

MC Romance: All the Single (Old) Ladies

This is the segment I’ve mulled over the most since I started reading MC smut. After reading a few of these books, I definitely had certain impressions of the heroines, but breaking down the data after reading a lot of these books and tracking them was…informative. I also got a better read on why I liked the ones I liked after I charted all of this out. 

So let’s get down to business: MC smut heroines.

In biker romance, there tend to be clear cultural delineations that are evident primarily where the women are concerned. In the first place, there’s club culture and civilian culture, and because the heroes in these books are members of the club, civilian culture as it exists is mostly something that needs to be trained out of the old-lady-in-training heroine of the book. 

So let’s break it down. There are essentially three types of women represented in these books. The first breakdown is old ladies (of which group the heroine is always a member) and club women (they have a lot of other unflattering names, but they’re the women who aren’t old ladies who provide sex to the club – always because they want to, of course). The next breakdown is among the heroines, who are either part of the MC lifestyle or they’re civilians. 

Heroines who are civilians fall for the hero almost against their will, because they know that the “MC lifestyle” is totally wack, and they need to be trained in the ways of the MC. These are the more common heroines. (Note: When I was tracking heroine origin, I included children/sisters of MC members who met their dads/brothers as adults in the citizens category, since they effectively were citizens, even though their relatives were MC members.) The other heroines are the women who were already in the club life and therefore do not require the training. Conflicts for these heroines tend to be more like forbidden relationship romances because the external culture conflict doesn’t exist (unless it’s rival MC romance like Devil’s Game by Joanna Wylde). 

Before we get into the civilian heroine business, a brief discussion of the heroines steeped in the MC lifestyle: These heroines tend to be badass bitches. Maybe they were brought up in a club (most common) or maybe they were already someone else’s old lady and now they’re widowed. Either way, they understand the rules and the role of women in the club. That is to say, they understand that they do not press about club business or insert themselves where they’re not supposed to go (mostly), but they were probably also raised with some kind of education in fighting and shooting (please see Ravage Me by Michele Ryan), so they’re much more capable of dealing with adverse situations that cause the civilian heroines to do stupid things, like make unbelievble deals with cartels (I got so angry when this happened in Reaper’s Stand by Joanna Wylde, I texted Holly and Ingrid to rant). 

Heroines raised in the club also wouldn’t object to being called property because they’ve been raised with the understanding that being a man’s property is meaningful-not-in-a-bad-way. (Property is a whole thing…I’ll probably get to it next week when we talk about the relationships.)

But, as you can see above, the majority of heroines are not originating from the club. I also considered the kind of job (or lack thereof) the heroine had, and what kind of financial vulnerability that might create for her. There is a variety, for sure, but while there are some doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs among our heroines, more than 50% of the heroines are either unemployed, employed by the MC, or they have low-wage, hourly type jobs, the majority of which are waitressing or bartending. This means that most heroines are dependent on the club or the hero for their living, or if they’re not, they’re vulnerable to living paycheck-to-paycheck.

I didn’t end up breaking down my charts by vulnerability levels AND origins (or by vulnerability level AND origins AND age), but when I saw my suspicions confirmed that most of the heroines were in a life with some level of financial vulnerability, some things started pulling together for me. When I did start looking at the age of the heroines in the mix, things started pulling together more: 

It’s really no surprise that most of these heroines are in their 20s, since that’s a popular age in general for heroines, but the majority being in their early 20s plus the financial vulnerability is…a thing. Dukes rushing in to the rescue of their young ladies is not all that different from biker dudes rushing to the rescue of their biker babes, but one might not be quite able to rub off the patina of predatory on some of these relationships when the heroines are so young and so undeniably vulnerable, especially when we plug in the bad boy hero element and the desire so many women have to be the one to tame the bad boy. (I will say that there aren’t a lot of age gap romances in this bunch, the notable exceptions being books in the Undeniable series by Madeline Sheehan which, as I believe I have mentioned, is seriously effed up.)

It shouldn’t come as a shock that the older heroines tend to be the ones who have more established careers. They own their own homes. They have advanced degrees. These are the heroines who are doctors and lawyers. It shouldn’t come as a shock because older women typically do have more established careers, having been part of the job market, gaining professional experience, longer than women in their 20s. But given that the majority of the heroines in these books are young and also the majority of these heroines are vulnerable, there’s definitely a “HE SAVED ME!” narrative going on a lot. Which, I suppose, is what one expects of scary, bossy biker dudes.

Primary takeaway: Young and financially vulnerable citizen heroines are being absorbed into club life. Hmm.

So, I also mentioned that there’s a difference between heroines and, erm, club tail. My primary takeaway in this area is related to sex, monogamy, and cheating, which is something we can discuss when we discuss relationships and sex. My secondary takeaway, however, is that these books, much more than any other romances I’ve read, tend to involve throwdowns between women who SELF-CATEGORIZE by class – club women obviously being a lower class than old ladies. 

Even though all of the sex is (supposed to be) consensual, and there really shouldn’t be anything wrong with consenting adults responsibly having sex when they want to, many of these heroines end up throwing down with club women to stake their claim on the hero. 

Now, some of this is about demonstrating that, whatever else has happened in the past, the heroine is also a scary, badass biker babe, worthy of being on the back of her scary, badass biker dude’s bike. But also these interactions tell us something about trust between the protagonists (which is a relationship issue), and they create conflicts between women when the issue is not the relationship between the women but the relationships the women in question both (or all) have with the man in question. And yet the women are the ones having catfights over a man, who is theoretically already dedicated to his woman, so it’s really just catty. And it really delineates that there are certain kinds of women who are okay (the women who are good enough to be old ladies) and who are not okay (the women who spread their legs for any guy in the club) (which is a sex issue). 

Primary takeaway: While old ladies might form a sisterhood, overall, relationships among women associated with the club are problematic.

And, finally, this one is also absolutely not universal, but the majority of heroines in MC smut fall into stereotypical gender roles of cooking and cleaning. The club women tend to be responsible for cooking and cleaning in the clubhouse, and when heroines become old ladies, they cook and/or clean. Certain authors play with this a little bit, especially if the relationship is allowed to play out beyond simply the protagonists addressing the big problem or threat, but overall there is a definite theme of Action Man and Provider, Woman in the Home and Mother, and all of the traditional roles assigned by those labels. 

As I said when we began, this was the segment I mulled over the most, and it’s probably the one I find the most interesting to evaluate on a big scale. What do these characterizations say about this type of romance? What is appealing about these women? What resonates with readers? What is problematic about these characterizations and does it matter? What is the author trying to say about the strength of these women? It’s easy to write off a single heroine in a single book, but when we look at MC smut overall, the characterization of the heroines is telling, and it is extremely divergent from what we see in modern contemporary romance, which features significantly different characterizations of heroines and those heroines’ relationships with the women around them. I have many thoughts about enjoying romance with problematic content, but that’s probably a ramble for a different post. 

For this, now you have an idea of what kinds of heroines you’ll be likely to find if you pick up some MC smut. Next week we can put the men and the women together and talk about these MC smut relationships!


Previous posts in this series:

Motorcycle Monday

MC Romance: Badass, Scary Biker Dude

My number one takeaway for biker heroes is that they rock some saucy hair. Especially facial hair. Hair like this:

Maybe other smut heroes should branch out in the hair department.

I’ll tell you what – the hero described with mutton chops straight up made my jaw drop. I feel like interesting hair or facial hair is a bold move on the part of an author (though, to be honest, I would be fine with no more heroes who have hair “short on the sides and longer on top” considering that’s apparently what all contemporary heroes have), even if it totally resonates in context. Because, let’s be honest, even if that guy with mutton chops above doesn’t look half bad, what I think of when I think of mutton chops is more like this:

Which, no, is not working for me

Biker heroes are also covered in tattoos, which are always described as totally awesome and sexy (obvi), and they are more likely than most to have piercings (I keep track of peen piercings in my Goodreads reading tags (doesn’t everyone?), and 4 of 5 are MC heroes). Especially if they’re young-ish with the piercings. Also they wear jewelry, which, let’s admit, most heroes don’t (unless they’re aristocrats with super cool signet rings, because are you even an aristocratic hero if you don’t have a signet ring?). 

I don’t think I could have found a more perfect picture to epitomize biker jewelry

All right, okay, we can get serious now. 

If I were going to universally describe MC heroes with three words, they would be: domineering, macho, and individualistic. In other words, these books are definitely not for readers who dislike paternalistic heroes who unquestionably demonstrate red flag traits like controlling behavior and jealousy. If you can’t get behind the idea of an alpha hero, just don’t even wander over here, because these guys range from basic macho alpha-ish to straight up dark bully (depending on what author you’re dealing with). Cinnamon rolls who are emotionally engaged need not apply.

Here’s how this whole situation tends to go down:

  1. Pussy is pussy, and I can get pussy easily because I’m a badass patched biker dude and there are biker groupies wandering mostly naked around the clubhouse just looking for some wild biker banging
  2. I see a woman who isn’t just club tail, and she’s also kind of sassy, and maybe a little bit sweet, and I like sassy and sweet, so she’s mine now
  3. I’m going to get a little caveman on that woman and tell her she’s mine and have her “protected” constantly by one of my club brothers, while I run around banging my chest, declaring that nobody can tell me what to do
  4. Except that I really like this woman, and I want her to be my woman, so I guess I’ll stop being quite such a caveman and acknowledge that I have no interest in other women, and yes, she needs to be respected, I was just trying to make it clear that nobody owns me
  5. Okay, fine, she’s my woman and I’m her man. But I’m still the boss

So, obviously, different stories have different relationship experiences, but if I were going to boil down this experience overall, that would be it. As I was reading, it occurred to me that one reason these books might be as popular as they are is that they combine the bad boy hero with the classic wish fulfillment aspect of the alpha hero who sees one woman as special when he hasn’t done that before. 

This is especially demonstrated because the vast majority of heroes are not only bossy and independent to a fault, they are also super slutty (or there are orgiastic parties at the clubhouse where public sex is NBD at the very least, which implies slutty), but the heroine manages to break through and have enough everything to get the monogamy. (I’ll say this: I find most man-slag heroes tiresome, and the only reason I can think why that’s not automatically the case with bikers is that it seems to be built into the generic culture of MC romance, so it gets a mental pass from me that men in suits do not.)

I think my favorite conversation that illuminates this idea is from Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley. To recap the plot: Tabby is the Prez’s daughter, Shy is a patched member of the club. Shy is called Shy because he is such a womanizer (he has two threesome scenes in this book pre-Tabby), so when the relationship is exposed, everyone loses their minds. Tabby gets so pissed, she lays into her step-mom (please see Motorcycle Man) because, having grown up in the MC life, she knows perfectly well that her dad was also pretty slutty before he married Tyra:

“You know, I’m not pissed because you worry about me and you’d act on that even if you do it judgmentally. I know you’re in the middle. You love me but you’re Dad’s old lady and your loyalty is with him, you have to take his back in what he’s feeling and stand at his side when he does what he feels he has to do. That said, you should know the reason I’m pissed is because you and Dad and even the guys, you didn’t even give him a chance.” Her face paled, I knew my aim was true but I still drove that home. “You didn’t give him a chance.” 

I saw her face soften when that sunk in then I went in for the kill. 

“You know you’re Dad’s one-and-only, Tyra, and if you don’t know this, seeing as he had kids before he met you, I’m sorry to tell you but even though you’re his one-and-only now, you weren’t his one-and-only.” 

Her head jerked, she flinched, and I finally saw it. 

Understanding. 

“You feel me,” I said softly. “I get I’m not Shy’s one-and-only but I still… fucking… am.”

Isn’t that exactly what the dream of a hero like this is? Being the one person with the special sauce who can lasso the wind? Captivating the uncaptivatable? Cracking the uncrackable nut? So that’s a bigtime aspect of the biker hero. 

The other aspect that I enjoy about this hero is that, even if it’s not about insta-love, there’s typically a pretty instant recognition on the hero’s part that he knows he’s found something and he wants to claim it. 

While a nice, emotionally angsty romance might scratch an itch, there is also something satisfying about the paternalistic hero + one-sided courtship. Decision made, get on board please, this is happening, please stop arguing. I find it quite enjoyable, usually. 

So basically MC smut is like a super combo of hero tropes, I guess is what I’m saying. 

(I feel I should take this moment to say that the second chance MC romances can be super angsty, because it’s like a combo of all of the above plus I-don’t-even-like-you-why-can’t-I-stay-away on top of that. But mostly if we’re dealing with a new romance, the primary drama is about the citizen heroine figuring out the club or the external threat.)

Now, I already mentioned that there is some super toxic stuff going on with these heroes. And that’s, like, a lot.

Really, no matter how the author tries to put a certain shine on it, there is a lack of equality between the hero and heroine in these books. This is also where we tend to see a lot of the toxic masculinity come out to play.

First, as I mentioned last week, if the heroine didn’t somehow originate from the MC (either daughter or widow or the like), then the heroine must acquiesce to becoming part of the MC lifestyle. Being a patched member of the club is so important to the hero that the club is everything, and those books that involve a dispute – Own the Wind, above, being one example or Crossroads by Chantal Fernando being another – demonstrate how big a deal it is for a brother to leave the club. They get the patches tattooed on their backs, for crying out loud! 

Yeah, Sons of Anarchy is fiction, but so is MC Smut, so we’re going with it

Another good example that illustrates this lack of equality is found in Ravage Me by Ryan Michele. In that book, the heroine grew up in the club and refuses to date brothers because she knows that if the relationship goes south, he won’t be the one to lose all his family – even though he patched in and didn’t grow up in the club – she’ll be the one who can’t come back, because after she becomes an old lady, she can’t go back to being her father’s daughter. 

So we begin with a lack of equality just right off the bat in terms of who is going to have to adjust or give things up for whom. But I also mentioned last week – and above – that protection factors in, as does jealousy and controlling behavior. 

There’s usually some kind of external, suspenseful plot that makes the protection issue seem less problematic, but let’s all be honest here – having a member of the club follow the old ladies around all the time is super duper controlling behavior. Some authors tend to lean toward having brothers protect women only when there’s a situation happening, which has less ick factor than, say, the biker on duty getting in men’s faces when other men talk to old ladies out at the bar one evening just for fun, which is what happens in Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde. But it’s always the men protecting the women and keeping the other non-MC riff-raff away. Men wanting to talk to women are always men wanting to get into women’s pants. Please cool your possessive jets, gentlemen.

Don’t even get me started on “Why do you need to work? I’ll give you money if you need it.” (Legit, Reaper’s Property, which includes exactly that conversation by Horse, is a ride, but it’s not by any stretch the only biker book with a financially vulnerable heroine.)

In addition, not to pile on or anything, but biker dudes are bossy. Heroines need to get on board, and they have to listen and follow orders without necessarily being privy to what is universally referred to as “club business”. Or sometimes it’s not really club business, it’s just the hero being all kinds of macho, which is…not cute. Sometimes the heroines are good at listening, and sometimes they are not, but we can get into all that when we talk about the women of MC smut next week. And we can talk more about some of these dynamics when we talk about relationships in two weeks.

Bottom line: scary, bossy, badass biker dudes are like:

I have been waiting for months to use this gif

Need more MC Smut analysis in your life? Here are Erin’s previous posts in the series:

Motorcycle Monday

MC Romance: Oh, Brother!

If there’s one thing that’s universal about MC Smut, it’s that The Brotherhood is the most important aspect of the club. What that means for romance is that the hero has a readily available cortege of badass bikers to get fierce when the action goes down. How they all know how to handle themselves like commandos, I have no idea…but a lot of them do have military backgrounds, so maybe that’s it.

Perhaps the best way to think about The Brotherhood is in terms of the old familial double standard: I can say whatever I want about my sister (etc.), but if anybody else says shit, I will fight to the death to defend her. In the books, this translates as: it doesn’t matter what kind of disagreements or infighting is going on in the club, every single brother will drop everything to defend…the club’s property. As it were.

For examples of this, I’d refer you to Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley or Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde, as both of those books involve direct conversations between the hero and heroine about how The Brotherhood is involved in the protagonists’ lives. (Primarily because both heroines are citizens, which we’ll discuss further when we get to the post about the women of MC smut.)

In Motorcycle Man, Tyra is kidnapped, and after she’s retrieved by the entire club roaring down the highway, Tack lays it out for her that everyone who belongs to Chaos is *safe*, because if they’re not, the club will rain down retribution the likes of which will make baddies think twice. In this instance, “rivers of blood” is the promise Tack makes. And it doesn’t matter that, at this point in the story, Tyra only belongs to Tack and barely knows the rest of the members of the club. She’s Tack’s woman, so every man in the club has Tack’s back to protect and avenge her.

Reaper’s Property goes in a slightly different direction, because Marie becomes Horse’s woman when her brother steals from the club, and Horse manages to negotiate that Marie become collateral instead of the club outright murdering her brother. (Because Horse wants Marie, not because he’s altruistic.) So the explanation about The Brotherhood comes more in the form of Horse trying to explain club culture to Marie when she’s horrified by the property patch, the relevant aspect of that conversation here being: no one will dare to mess with the club’s property, or – again – vengeance will be swift and brutal. It doesn’t matter that everybody in the club doesn’t agree with the approach the club has taken in dealing with Marie’s brother – they voted, the decision was made, and Marie was absorbed into the fold.

So, to sum up, The Brotherhood acts as an extended family, with the brothers in the club standing in for the hero when he’s not available to protect (or care for, but most specifically protect) the heroine. Buuuuuuut not for the other club women, necessarily (about whom more anon). When the brothers of the club talk amongst themselves about women, that’s usually the time that a whole lot of misogyny comes out. Which brings us to…

That’s one aspect of The Brotherhood. The other aspect is the male friendships/relationships that exist on page. In theory, this is really cool, because it’s not always easy to find romance with good male friendships. The connections between these men of the club can be really important and meaningful, and it’s nice to see men having friendships and support systems in books! Especially macho men who would rather be eaten by fire ants than admit that they have feelings. 

In practice, I find that The Brotherhood is an odd juxtaposition of a family in which everybody understands and supports everybody else and a loose association of individuals without deep emotional connections. We’ll probably get into this a little bit more when we talk about the men of MC smut, but toxic masculinity is basically an absolute must in these books. There is absolutely no room here for men who enjoy pink or tea or who talk about their feelings with anything other than revulsion. Ergo, I have a hard time believing that we’re achieving that really deep male friendship connection if men are running around telling their *best* friends that expressing feelings means that a man is “growing a vagina.”

Like I said, the toxic masculinity is REAL. 

So, to wind this down, I’d summarize all this by saying that The Brotherhood is essential to MC smut as both a cultural foundation generally and as a social foundation for the hero. There is nothing for the hero more sacrosanct than The Brotherhood. So, its existence is self-reinforcing, and it’s for the heroine to conform to the culture, not for the hero to break out of. Not that the hero wants to break out, but we’ll talk about heroes next week. 


Previous Posts in this series:

Motorcycle Monday

MC Romance: Setting the Stage and Setting the Mood

If I go to the trouble of remembering my grade school English lessons, I recall that setting does many things for a story. Sometimes setting acts as its own character, but most often it sets a scene and a tone that evokes certain thoughts or feelings in the reader. It is no surprise, then, that most MC smut is set in a world where it’s not so difficult to envision cowboys riding wild and free, because riding and living free is a central aspect of most (literary) MC culture. 

Most of the books I’ve evaluated were set in the United States, but those that weren’t were set in Western Australia, which has a very similar vibe to large swaths of the US west of the Mississippi river (an east-west divide, for those not so familiar with US geography). There are several different ways to geographically divide the US, but I decided to go with a simplistic version because MC setting didn’t really need to get refined to the point of distinguishing between the Pacific Northwest and Southwest as distinct from the rest of the West. We’re not talking microbrews vs. Kokopellis here. 

For reference, this is the US geographical division I’m looking at:

Image credit: WorldAtlas

With this in mind, the breakdown of these books by setting goes like this:

Notes on this distribution: 

  1. The book with multiple settings was set for about ⅔ in New York and ⅓ in Montana, but the club where the protagonists belonged was in Montana, so I didn’t choose to pick one or the other for this chart. 
  2. I did read a few series in full or nearly in full, and of course most of those had the same setting. Had I opted to read more of the Lost Kings MC series by Autumn Jones Lake, for example, the number of books set in the American Northeast would have been greater. HOWEVER, I did read about thirteen (13) different authors and over forty books (not accounting for books I DNFed), and the books that I DNFed and still have in my TBR queue would reinforce the distribution above, so I feel comfortable arguing that these books are primarily set in a space where we can readily envision wide expanses of land and sky, long and clear highways, and a general culture welcoming fierce independence. 

The setting in MC smut is even more important when we evaluate where outlaw MCs actually originated. I found a list of outlaw MCs on the interwebs when I was trying to understand what the reality vs. fiction that I’m dealing with actually is, so I’m not going to act like I’m some expert in outlaw MCs, but it is interesting to note that in real life, if this list was even remotely on target, most outlaw MCs originated not in some Wild West scrubland, but in urban centers:

I didn’t drill down this far in the chart, but the locations become more interesting when we consider that about 25% of the American West settings in MC smut were set in California (so I didn’t bother to separate it out up there), while 80% of real outlaw MCs sourced from the American West originated there. And in cities like LA and San Francisco, not in the more rural northern or western parts of California. Likewise, the Midwest has a much greater representation in real outlaw MC location, but even there, we’re talking about places like Chicago, Detroit, and cities in Ohio, not South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska, which have more of a Great Plains western vibe. (Nobody in the Great Plains is going to think that they’re living in the same sort of place as Ohio, even if they’re both technically in the Midwest.) Similarly, Eastern Australia (or really just New South Wales) has much greater representation than Western Australia. 

In MC smut, we absolutely do not get a sense that MC culture is urban, or even that it resonates with the culture of the American south, because the primary sense of setting in these books evokes feelings of isolation, independence, wildness, and freedom. The promise of the American West in a nutshell, I would say.

Even in series or books in which the setting is actually in a city, as with all of the Chaos MC books by Kristen Ashley, or the Wind Dragons MC books by Chantal Fernando, we’re still looking at a city set in the broader space of an oasis of city surrounded by empty land. You don’t have to drive very far out of Denver before there is legit nothing around you. So even with a city like Portland or Denver coming into play in the book, we are aware of a bigger setting informing our understanding of where the MC is. 

We also have to acknowledge the world building that goes into most of these series. The primary physical setting in most MC books is the MC’s clubhouse, whatever that looks like. Typically that looks like some kind of isolated compound or large building that is either physically removed from other buildings, like in a wilderness space, or is surrounded by gates and fences. The clubhouse tends to reinforce the feeling that the MC is an island within a bigger world, but that bigger world isn’t necessarily populated. Even if the author only describes the clubhouse itself and does not describe any fencing or surrounding buildings, the feeling that the clubhouse is an island is impossible to miss. 

So as we’re moving into this discussion of MC smut, keep in mind that the setting provides a pretty solid baseline for where these characters exist and what the mood of the story is supposed to be.

Next time, we’ll talk about that essential component of MC smut culture: The Brotherhood


Previous Posts in this series:

Motorcycle Monday

Erin Explores the World of Motorcycle Club Romance, Or, “What am I even reading right now?”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: branching out in the world of Romancelandia has been eye-opening in many, many ways. I’ve read books I never thought I’d ever read. I’ve seen opinions, hot takes, and rants I probably could have lived without. I’ve seen some lovely things, too, of course! 

Ergo, much of the time when something new comes across my “desk”, my interest is piqued. Case in point: Dragon shifters.

Which is to say that I had several influences that piqued my interest and guided me over time to biker smut: A little bit of exploration of alpha-holes when I was working on a project last year. The book Under Locke when I was listening to Mariana Zapata’s backlist, which was absolutely one of those “He is so bad, and I should feel like this is so not okay, but I really don’t hate it” situations. And one or ten Twitter hot takes that I struggle with, because I frankly agree with the sentiments or the underlying arguments, but also I am not looking for any kind of perfect reading materials, aside from the perfect thrill. 

I was curious. What is this MC smut all about? What about it makes people talk about it like it’s a trope? Why is it a dirty secret pleasure? Why is it bad news? WHAT IS GOING ON?

So I read one and I was like, “Okay, so that was a thing that I just read.”

And then I read another one and I was like, “This is pretty messed up, and I am scandalized and also delighted by the fact that I am scandalized.”

And then I just started binging books because, once I started, I had to know why some of these books and authors were so popular. (Pro tip: Kristen Ashley comes up quite a bit. Don’t start with Wild Like the Wind like I did.)

So, instead of writing a bunch of reviews, I decided to prepare this series of pieces that discusses biker smut and explores my experience of reading it. Over the course of the next weeks, we’ll look at the settings, characterizations, romance, sex, and politics of MC romance. 

This smut is not for everyone, in no small part due to some of its extremely problematic content. But since we’re about matching readers to books, a conversation about what exactly this content includes might be useful to someone somewhere. Or just useful in that I’ve done all the reading for you, and you can enjoy the rubbernecking. In which case, you’re very welcome.

Next up, we’re starting off easy with a discussion of setting. But fear not, gentle readers. There will be charts.