My First Smut

My First Smut: Catnip, meet Natalie

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, Natalie (smut-lover extraordinaire) talks about her journey from 1980s Harlequins to all the great historical romance being written now.


I am a 4th generation Romance Novel reader, so I come by it pretty honestly. Maybe because of this, it’s hard to identify my first official smut. I had always read romance in some age-appropriate capacity. I first saw Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the 6th grade. During Jr. High gym class, I would sneak into the locker rooms to read Lori Wick and Gilbert Morris (these are very clean, sweet Christian young adult romances). But for argument’s sake, I usually identify Harlequin Romance #2951 Strictly Business by Leigh Michaels, published in 1988 as my first adult Romance Novel. I was 15 when I read it. It’s a delicious plot about two friends who are running a fragrance company together. Friends to Lovers. Natalie, meet Catnip. Catnip, meet Natalie.

I found the book stashed deep in a book shelf at a relatives house while visiting one summer. I snuck the book back into my borrowed bedroom and read it at night after everyone went to sleep. Once I was a married grown-up and beyond being punish for reading smut, I confessed to this. And, to my delight, the book was given to me as a gift. I will treasure it always.

In college I read lots of Jill Mansell and Lauren Willig, who are on the softer end of the explicit spectrum, usually housed in the Fiction sections rather than Romance. Then, when my husband and I were dating, he took me on my favorite date: there is this special spot in Buffalo Grove, Il where The Cheesecake Factory shares a parking lot with Barnes & Nobel. I know, the man knew how to win me. He made me pick a book out in the Romance section because he thought it would be dirty and fun for “us.” Little did he know what he had started. I picked out Duchess in Love by Eloisa James and was blown away. I began to inhale every Historical Romances I could get my hands on. And the rest is history.

I have learned so much from Romance Novels. How to advocate for myself in a relationship. What a solid, equal relationship looks like. How to be comfortable in my own skin. And honestly, a lot about sex too. Growing up, there wasn’t really a stigma on sex, but it was considered so private, that I entered adulthood not really knowing more than the mechanics taught in sex-ed. Reading Romance Novels helps people learn that what our bodies are doing is normal and should be celebrated. I continue to learn about the genre though listening to all kinds of podcasts that discuss the art of writing romance, taking deep dives into the genre, and just gabbing about plots.

I love talking about Romance so come and find me on Instagram, Goodreads and even Etsy! I’m also hosting a Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long on Discord and would love for you to join me!


Thanks Natalie! We totally agree: cheesecake and smut make for the best date ever.

PS: Y’all, Natalie’s Etsy shop has a bunch of super-cute romance swag.

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.

My First Smut

My First Smut: “little meringues of the vast smorgasbord of literature”

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 Alexandra Alan talks about reading smut as a coming of age experience.


I began my smutty journey early. Officially at thirteen, unofficially much younger. Growing up, one of my aunts had an over-the-door wire bookshelf full of paperback romance novels, and as any curious pre-teen would do, I’d flip through them when no one was looking so I could read the naughty bits. I understood about half of what I read, and what I did understand was exciting.

And then, in seventh grade, the floodgates truly opened. (Maybe ‘floodgates’ isn’t the ideal metaphor, but I’m sticking with it.) One of my favorite teachers freely admitted that she was also a published romance novelist. She was not only a wonderful teacher, but also kind, hilarious, and armed with a razor-sharp wit honed by many hours of teaching middle school children.

My mother befriended her, bought some of her books, and then one day, handed me ‘Ever Yours’ (by Gabriella Anderson) with a statement of: “Uh, sure, this’ll probably be fine.”

It was so much more than fine. Yes, it had the naughty bits, but it also had love! Banter! Adventure! Thrills! I found myself getting heavily invested in the slow bloom of the relationship as it developed over the course of the novel, and really, that was almost as fun as the naughty bits.

After that, I was hooked. Every week, my mom and I would pop into the library and I’d emerge with a stack of Fabio-embellished romances that promised magic, mystery, and smut. Some were thrilling, some were titillating, and some used the phrase ‘marble-hard lingam’ and described a hero’s tongue as ‘leopard-like.’ During one single summer, I must have devoured over twenty of them. (If my mother worried about me, she never said anything.)

Up until several years ago, smut was simply a source of entertainment in my life. Romance novels were like the little meringues of the vast smorgasbord of literature: sweet, short, a nice moment that melted in your mouth and left you happier than when you’d started. I’d been writing fiction for quite some time, yet crafting explicit smut hadn’t even crossed my mind as an option.

Everything changed with a plane ride. While gliding over a mountain range, the plane hit a patch of turbulence that had the cabin jerking and roiling as if we’d been thrown into a blender. I watched the ground lurch thousands of feet below me and my one persistent, memorable thought was that if we crashed, I would die without having written anything truly smutty. Three years later, I have several contracts with a romance/erotica publisher. (So thanks, Southwest.)


Connect with Alexandra:

Twitter | Instagram


Thanks for sharing, Alexandra! Watch this space for our review of her book Going the Distance in early March.

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.

My First Smut

My First Smut: Sleepover Party Edition

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 JB Lexington, author of Forever Eve and After Eve talks about reading smut as a coming of age experience.


First romance novel you read

Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins

How old were you (or what life stage were you in)?

11 years old 😯

How’d you get your hands on the book?

I was at a sleepover birthday party by and all the girls took turns reading from the book out loud. We had the lights off except for the flash light we were using. There was a lot of giggling going on that night.

What was the reading experience like?

It was exciting but also a little embarrassing. But that was the first time I felt my girly bits tingle.

What made the experience special?

Haha. I don’t think it was special, as it was more of a coming of age moment.

What role does smut play in your life?

Smut is important. With all the negativity and bullshit going on, smut is a good escape whether you just read about it, or you bring it into your bedroom. The sex scenes I write about, I’ve either done or want to do. 😉

My real intro into smut, aside from my 11 year old sleepover experience, was when I was 22, I read the Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice. I was so intrigued (code for turned on) and impressed with the quality of writing. She made the most uncomfortable scenes bearable to read. I highly recommend.

Connect with JB Lexington on her website.


Thanks for sharing, JB! Ingrid really enjoyed Forever Eve and After Eve , and we look forward to reading more from her in the future.

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.

My First Smut

My First Smut: Sometimes, it’s all about the heat

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, erotica author Tiny Sparks talks flashlights under the covers.


First romance novel you read:

As romances go, I read loads, but at age 18, I wanted them darker and turned to Paranormal Romance. The most books I read by one author was Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charlaine Harris. In my own language I’d already read ‘real’ smut.

How old were you?

The ‘real’ smut, as in erotica short stories…probably 15

How’d you get your hands on the book?

Those first books, I snuck out of my parents’ bedroom side table.

What was the reading experience like?

Under the covers with a flashlight. Orgasms did follow. When I got older and had my own place, reading in bath was a favourite of mine, but I would read these books anywhere and lose sleep, as they were just addictive.

What made the experience special?

The heat of the books came halfway but built from the start. The story kept you up at all hours along with the steaminess.

What role does smut play in your life?

I read it, I write it and I live it.

Bio:

I’m a readers and an author of erotic romance and BDSM erotica, based on real experiences, poured into a fantasy for everyone to enjoy. As much as I enjoy reading Paranormal romance, I haven’t got the impulse to write it myself. Erotica, on the other hand, I love writing it. If it doesn’t make me hot, it won’t make it in my books.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


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.

My First Smut

My First Smut: Hooked by my…Mother-in-law

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, Kathryn Amurra talks about sneaking (or blatantly just reading) books from her mother-in-law’s bookshelf.


I was not introduced to the wonderful world of smut until I was 22 years old. I was dating my husband, and I went to visit him at his parents’ house. Their home was like a library–shelves and bookcases in almost every room and on almost every wall. Some of the books were my future father-in-law’s–I skipped those.

The ones that caught my eye and filled the majority of the shelves were the ones my mother-in-law had read. Needless to say, she had a penchant for smut. She had smut from every decade starting probably from the 70s, written by a number of authors and covering every genre. It was smut paradise.

I picked one up and read the back. I think it was a historical, and it sounded interesting. The cover was relatively tame–no exposed thighs or shirtless men. I didn’t think it would be too explicit, so I didn’t feel too guilty giving it a try. I think I read it in one sitting. Then I got another. It was glorious. It was like reading the favorite parts of all the other books I had ever read and skipping over the other stuff. Not having the courage to buy my own smut, I welcomed the visits to my in-laws’ house, and we did indeed visit them often. They were–and continue to be–my smut holidays, and they’re wonderful!


Kathryn Amurra has been making up stories for as long as she can remember and writing since grade school. She is an intellectual property attorney by day and a writer of Romance novels by night. Some of her best writing takes place between the hours of 10PM and midnight (or later), when she has “logged off” from my day job and her hubby, three girls, and boxer are asleep. Her second novel, Admonition, is scheduled for release in June 2021.

Connect with Kathryn:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Thanks for sharing, Kathryn! Ingrid really enjoyed Soothsayer (Kathryn’s debut), and we look forward to reading more from her in the future.

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.