My First Smut

My First Smut: Finding Sex-Positivity Through Reading

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, physician and author Frank Spinelli talks about stealing books from his older sisters. (We might be able to relate.)


First romance novel you read:

Bloodline by Sidney Sheldon

How old were you?

I was a teenager.

How’d you get your hands on the book?

I have older sisters who read a lot. They shared books. One day I stole the book off their shelf.

What was the reading experience like?

I couldn’t believe what the author was able to write in a novel, knowing that television was so mild in comparison. I had never read a description of a man’s penis or what achieving orgasm was like for a man and a woman through intercourse. And on top of that, it was a murder mystery. Adding sex made it all the more darkly sexual and dangerous.

What made the experience special?

I had to read the book in private because I didn’t want my mother or sisters to see me. Why I don’t know? My mother never said anything to them, but I knew on some level reading this book was naughty. I guess you could call it Catholic guilt.

What role does smut play in your life?

My entire career as a physician, I have always been sex positive. I don’t shy away from asking patients about their sex lives. Growing up I had been taught to be ashamed of my sexuality, and as an adult I refuse to live with that shame.


Frank Spinelli, MD is an American born physician living in New York.

He has contributed articles for the Advocate and The Huffington Post. Writing credits include: The Advocate Guide to Gay Men’s Health and Wellness (Alyson Books), Pee-Shy: A Memoir (Kensington Books), which has been optioned to be developed into a limited series and contributing author – Our Naked Lives (Bordighera Press) and Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men (Routledge).

He has made appearances on Sirius Radio’s Morning Jolt with Larry Flick and co-hosted Speak Out: Real Talk about AIDS.

Documentary credits include, 30 Years from Here (Emmy-nominated), Positive Youth and I’m a Porn Star.

Television credits include ABC News, NBC Nightly News, MTV, a national commercial and Sesame Street. In 2015, he hosted a season of Dueling Doctors.

Frank Spinelli is an advocate for child sexual abuse survivors and has given frequent interviews about his experience as a victim of sexual abuse while in the Boy Scouts.

Perfect Flaw (forthcoming Feb 2022) is his first novel.

Connect with Frank: Website | Twitter | Instagram


Thanks Frank! We’re excited to read Perfect Flaw when it comes out!


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: Sex on a Horse

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 Melonie Johnson talks about reading her first Johanna Lindsey (clinch covers 4-eva!).


First romance novel you read:

Savage Thunder by Johanna Lindsey

How old were you?

Preteen (6th or 7th grade)

How’d you get your hands on the book?

I was babysitting for a trio of boys who are probably to blame for early gray hair. After the heathens were in bed I noticed a paperback sitting on top of the t.v. The cover certainly caught my attention (keep in mind I was really into the show The Young Riders at the time).

What was the reading experience like?

First, I admit if it hadn’t been for the racy cover of the Lindsey book, I might not have picked it up. My preteen self would have passed right over it and flipped on the t.v instead, hoping to catch an episode of The Young Riders. Oh, what a world I’d have missed. So, despite all the flack spicy clinch covers get, they work. And between those covers I discovered a stubborn redheaded heroine, a surly hero, and sex on a horse – (decades later, I’m still not sure how well that would really work.)

What made the experience special?

After that first book, I cleaned my library out of Lindsey titles, which, if you read romance, you know – is a LOT of books. Ignoring the dirty looks from the librarians who must not have approved of a junior high girl reading massive amounts of “smut,” I moved on to the the other big names of that era like Catherine Coulter and Jude Deveraux, then in high school I fell in love with EVERYTHING from Laura Kinsale. That first book turned me into a lifelong romance reader.

What role does smut play in your life?

Well, I write it for a living now, so that’s a significant role…haha.

To be serious for a moment, writing romance is serious business. At first, when people found out I was a published author and asked me what I wrote, I’d be a bit coy, but now I proudly own the fact that I write I romance. I write it, I read it, I love it. Beyond a career, romance has given me a community of fellow authors and readers, people who have become colleagues and dear friends. And of course I’m still reading it too, though more audiobooks now since it allows me to multitask and gives my eyes a break from screens. Reading smut is a pleasure I don’t feel guilty about – it’s an indulgent escape – a respite that I consider self-care.


USA Today bestselling author Melonie Johnson―aka #thewritinglush―enjoys sipping cocktails that start with the letter m. Declared a “writer to watch” by Kirkus and a “fizzy, engrossing new voice” by Entertainment Weekly, her smart funny contemporary romances include Too Good to Be Real and her award-winning Sometimes in Love debut series: Getting Hot with the Scot, Smitten by the Brit, and Once Upon a Bad Boy. A former high school English and Theatre teacher, she spends her days in her Star Wars office, dreaming up meet cutes. She lives in Chicagoland with her husband, their two redhead daughters, and one very large dog.

Visit her at meloniejohnson.com and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube at @thewritinglush.


Thanks Melonie! Ingrid really enjoyed Too Good to be Real (here’s her review!), and we look forward to reading and talking about more of your books 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: It Was My Entrance to a Whole Secret World

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 and erotica author Jason Z. Christie talks about the influence Jackie Collins has had on his writing.


First romance novel you read:

Chances by Jackie Collins

How old were you?

11?

How’d you get your hands on the book?

It was my aunt’s. She also had a lot of super trashy paranormal paperbacks that I can’t even discuss the contents of here.

What was the reading experience like?

I had previously only read Scholastic stuff, Newberry/Caldecott award-winning kid books, and things like I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. It was eye-opening, for sure. This thing beat comic books all to hell!

I read all the time anyway, but this was my entrance into a whole secret world, and one I’ve never returned from. Life-changing, to be melodramatic about it.

What made the experience special?

Well, I was an adolescent male. More or less. This was…an awakening. Other than Playboy, I had no experience with anything like this. It gave the written word an entirely new set of powers over my mind. Jackie Collins put adult film material in my head before the advent of VCRs, and I love her for it.

It’s only recently that I’ve realized how much of an influence she has had over my own work. She wrote smutty parts, but they were encased in grand stories that would have stood on their own regardless. It was only after I had written several myself that I began to understand that it was largely her influence at work. I definitely didn’t get it from Judy Blume.

What role does smut play in your life?

I recently wrote a two chapter (long chapters!) mass adult film tryout that occurs in the Palladium in L.A., if that’s any indication. Even my attempt at toning things down and writing a Young Adult novel still managed to have the, erm, P-word in it.

At the same time, I tend to write characters that are very much in love, in most cases. That allows for richer stories, and gives the characters the freedom to explore some pretty wild fantasies, while remaining grounded in each other. I’m a romantic with a raging libido.

It’s such a part of my life, in fact, that I’ve even channeled my novel writing abilities into my first book of pure erotica. Even then, they’re self-contained little tales that manage to convey some aspects of a good relationship, while remaining utterly filthy.

It’s my lifestyle, for that matter, and extends off of the page and into the real world.


Author Jason Z. Christie tries to temper his smut writings with deep romance, and has learned that it’s far harder to shock soccer moms than he had ever imagined.

Check out Jason’s books here | Connect with Jason on Instagram


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: Reading Smut Inspires Writing Smut

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 KB Alan talks about entering the eye-opening world of erotic romance—and the joys of e-books.


First romance novel you read:

I don’t actually remember the first romance book I read, but I DO remember the first erotic romance I read: Lora Leigh’s Harmony’s Way.

How old were you?

In my late twenties.

How’d you get your hands on the book?

I picked it out of the paperback carousel at my local library.

What was the reading experience like?

I was reading A LOT of books at the time, and going through all the paperbacks my library had available, so I grabbed this up with no idea what it was. My world was seriously rocked at the erotic romance and explicit sex (let say I was in a personal smut drought at the time). I looked the author up online and found that she had several books only available as digital downloads through an erotic romance publisher. My addiction to ebooks was born!

What made the experience special?

That erotic romance digital first publisher ended up being MY publisher several years later. After reading *a lot* of erotic romances, I decided to try writing one. I submitted to that same publisher, and Perfect Formation was published in 2009, when I was 34.

Bio

KB Alan lives the single life in Southern California. She acknowledges that she should probably turn off the computer and leave the house once in a while in order to find her own happily ever after, but for now she’s content to delude herself with the theory that Mr. Right is bound to come knocking on her door through no real effort of her own. Please refrain from pointing out the many flaws in this system. Other comments, however, are happily received.

Connect with KB!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Thanks KB! We’re looking forward to reading your latest erotic romance, Perfect Temptation! 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.

My First Smut

My First Smut: Smut in the Pandemic

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 Jane Morris talks about finally giving romance a chance in the early days of the pandemic…and loving it.


First romance novel you read:

Credence by Penelope Douglas

How old were you?

Late thirties

How’d you get your hands on the book?

I saw it recommend on Instagram and the pandemic had just started, so I grabbed the ebook.

What was the reading experience like?

I was never willing to try romance because I judged it wrongly, like many people do. This book completely transported me. The descriptions of everything made the world so real, and I was able to escape into this immersive atmosphere of nature and passion and longing.

What made the experience special?

The fact that I felt like I was in on a secret while reading made it memorable. It was like doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, reading while my kids played or slept. The fact that the sex scenes were so visceral and including every detail made me feel like I was a voyeur in their world, a world I would totally judge in real life while secretly wanting to live in it.

What role does smut play in your life?

It’s a fabulous escape from everyday life. Instead of drinking hard liquor on Friday nights like my husband, or smoking a joint like I did in my teens to escape, I enjoy the process of finding the perfect story that grabs me by the throat and won’t let go. Reading those books inspired me to write my own, and include every dirty detail just the way I would want to read it.

Bio

Jane Morris is the author of the bestselling Teacher Misery series. Her new contemporary romance novel based on a historical love triangle, Memento Mori, released earlier this week!

Connect with Jane at teachermisery.com or on Twitter and Instagram @teachermisery.


Thanks Jane! We’re always excited to hear from people who are new(ish) to romance and embracing the genre whole-heartedly! Looking forward to reading Memento Mori—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.