Vaginal Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Vaginal Fantasy General > Romance is NOT porn for women

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Canoeu | 13 comments There is a great postvover on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books discussing romance, erotica, arousal, etc. I thought many of you would be interested in it, though beware that it is a really long blog post.

There was another post on here where people started defining what constituted super-smutty, and I think that ties in really well with this blog post. Everyone has a different definition of super-smutty as well as porn. So, are romance books porn to you? Do you use an ereader because you are ashamed of reading romance or smut?

I agree with the author on this one that romances in general cannot be equated to porn. It's too broad of a brushstroke to make that statement. Make that statement a bit more specific and I may agree with you.

I have an ereader and yes, I am glad I have it as it does free me up to read what I want to read without a super-cheesy cover or absfornoreason to expose me. Since I wouldn't pick up one of those books and go read it in the middle of my jury duty then I guess there is an element of shame in it. On the other hand if you gave the book some generic cover then I would probably have no issue reading it unless it had this title, Cum For Bigfoot. Though I do admit it to people who I don't think will judge me for it. What about you?


Coral (coralm) | 58 comments I read that post earlier and found it thought provoking. While I don't use an eBook reader because I'm ashamed of what I read, I will admit it is easier to read whatever I want when I'm at the doctor's office.

What I find interesting though is when you're reading an eBook people are a lot more likely to ask you what you're reading than if they can see the cover. I sometimes find that question awkward, especially when it's coming from a stranger. "I'm reading this fantastic gay mystery" or "I'm finding this werewolf smut quite fascinating" just seems like a weird conversation to have with someone I don't know. Are they going to find that strange? Do I care? I'm not even sure. Usually I just give a generic answer like "a mystery" and put my nose back in whatever I'm reading and that seems to let them know I don't want to continue down that conversational path.

In my mind there's a line between romance and erotic and another between erotic and porn, but it's very difficult to articulate where those lines are and what might put a book on one side or the other.


Lenore Kosinski (lenoreo) This said it all for me:

"So, no, many women (myself included) are not ashamed of reading explicit material. But yes, some prefer to keep that material and the purchase thereof private - for a variety of reasons, sanctimonious douchbagging asshats among them."


Jennifer (sadstrumpetjenny) | 10 comments All this media around so-called "Mommy Porn" has been interesting to follow, and I am surprised at how thoroughly my back gets up about it. There are a couple of different things at work. First, mommy porn? Could you be more condescending, WSJ and NYT? And as one of the smart bitches, and many others have pointed out - porn for mommies or women is called porn. Romance as a genre is not porn, though I certainly enjoy my fair share of serious hot erotica (Hi Charlotte Stein, I love you!).

I have a long commute, and have had one for years. The advent of the e-reader has been a godsend. I am definitely a bit put out that my secret has been uncovered (or that I am in fact exactly the sad little common suburban woman these stupid articles describe - a working mom who likes to read dirty dirty things on her iPad.) But eff em. And I have plenty of recommendations to offer in pretty much every genre. But I offer them here, on GR, not on the bus while I am trying to not talk to anyone.

I get what Lais is saying about being more upfront about reading romance - we shouldn't have to hide what we like, and despite the atrocious politics around women's reproductive rights, we are not in the dark ages. But please, those covers are embarrassing, and I am nearly 40 years old in a conservative town. I just don't need it - the looks, the conversation, the judgement. Also, my sexuality is not actually up for discussion, especially with that weird group of strangers that I see EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's awkward and none of their business. I was a riot grrl in the 90s, now I leave it up to the younger generation to fight it out. Typical older person comment, right?

Anyway, back to those covers. Take one of my favorite historical romance novelists, Anne Mallory. She is a wonderful writer - very smart, very much a thinking woman's romance writer. Yes, the books are about relationships, and there is sex in them, but oh my gawd are they a pleasure to read - I could eat the dialogue with a spoon. I will sing their praises to the heavens, but would not recommend the paper versions. Why?

Three Nights of Sin by Anne Mallory

I mean - come on! It's silly! And besides, NO ONE WORE THAT IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND!

I personally think the internets helps the cause, to support romance writers and the genre. See, our fair Felicia has a part in that- she has a reputation as a very cool, very funny, very smart public figure - so what she has done here is kind of a big deal. At least in my little world.


Ashley (GamerChicka458) | 10 comments I personally think the internets helps the cause, to support romance writers and the genre. See, our fair Felicia has a part in that- she has a reputation as a very cool, very funny, very smart public figure - so what she has done here is kind of a big deal. At least in my little world."

I could not agree more! FD's idea for this group was a small stroke of genius and is most definitely a big deal in my little world as well.


Most definatley!!!! I seen her last VFH disscusion on FB and totally had to join this club as soon as I seen it! I love reading paranormal fantasies and romance but have no one to talk to about it ... so I welcome this forum with open arms! Thank you Felicia for being amazing!!!!!!


Michele (mogle) Wait, wait, wait: I now need a Kindle Fire cover with "smut" on it. THANKS.

FD should design us some pretty covers for our various devices as an act of solidarity. I'm sure a lot of us cannot do the VF logo in public/places of work, so something more subtle would be cool. I totally want a black case with "smut" in pretty, multicolored fonts all over it now. ^^


Erin (wellreadmoose) | 27 comments I use an ereader because it's convenient. At work, if I'm waiting for a meeting to start, it's MUCH more convenient (and professional) to open the kindle app on my phone and start reading if people are late, than it is to carry a hardcover around with me.

Am I ashamed of some of the stuff I read? Yep. I'm a professional. I should probably be reading deep, meaningful (boooooring) stuff, but instead, I'm carrying around the latest Janet Evanovich, Charlaine Harris or Jim Butcher. I get enough meaningful and intelligent crap at work. Give me some escapism.

That said, I'd probably be skeeved out if I saw some guy reading Letters To Penthouse on the bus, so why should erotica be viewed any differently? Shades of Grey is on my TBR list and I'll probably pick it up this weekend - for my eReader.

But now I'm going to side-eye the guy with an eReader on the bus. What IS he reading ;)


Kristina I'm not a romance reader and I do think the covers are funny. I do associate those covers with romance and not smut or pron and it could be because I have never read one before. What would be considered porn? I love Charlene Harris' novels and those are vampire books to me and nothing more. I read them in public with no issues. I could care less what anyone thinks about what I read, who are they...nobody to me. They don't know me and the ones that do would understand. I am my own person. I have always gone against the grain but I believe if people are not hurting others who cares what they do? When I see someone on a eReader I never wonder what they are reading, I'm looking at the devise and saying cool gadget. With all the hype surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey going on I have to read it...yes I bought it, and in paper! For one it was cheaper in paper and two I love paper more. Will I read it in public...probably. The cover doesn't give anything away but with all the hype around the book I'm sure people will know what it's about and again I could care less. I say read what you like where you like.


Coral (coralm) | 58 comments Lais wrote: "Maybe I should just black sharpie ‘SMUT’ on the cover."

Hahaha! What a great idea. Someone around here has to be creative enough to make us some stylish SMUT covers.


message 10: by Jennifer (last edited Mar 16, 2012 05:07PM) (new)

Jennifer (sadstrumpetjenny) | 10 comments Coral wrote: "Lais wrote: "Maybe I should just black sharpie ‘SMUT’ on the cover."

Hahaha! What a great idea. Someone around here has to be creative enough to make us some stylish SMUT covers."


Nice - like those tampon cases with TAMPONS written all over it with sassy 1950s pin up girls. I like it!

I do appreciate the history of those bodice rippers. In fact, I will soon be reading this, in the flesh, for the cover alone.

The Second Sunrise by Francesca Greer


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) (Gatadelafuente) | 32 comments I've dealt with 'the smirk' for about twenty six years now. I started reading romance when I was twelve. I've had my books called everything from sex books to trashy romance. That's why I get a knee jerk reaction when someone uses the term trashy romance. I think deep down there is a misogyny inherent in the hating on romance. I think that the male-driven media feels threatened that women have a industry that they drive and run with stories that appeal to all sorts of women.

I reject the notion that I should be afraid of my reading taste. No more than a science fiction or horror fan should hide what they read. I take my romance books wherever I go, and I do get the questions and the looks. I merely smile, say what I'm reading, and go back to my book. I've had some interesting discussions with people who were interested in reading some of the books, and I've made recommendations.

So, while I am not judging anyone, I really hope that romance fans will get past the fear of being outed as a romance reader. The books make us happy, we enjoy them, and they enrich our lives. That's a positive thing.


Coral (coralm) | 58 comments Lais wrote: "Black sharpie wouldn't be too sylish for the outside of my e-reader, and I already had a fave author sign the inside...hmmm. What I wouldn't give for a Bedazzler! SMUT spelled in shiny sequins could work!"

Haha! I may have to go get some sequins and a glue gun. What color bling for a red leather cover, I wonder? Maybe purple.


Lia (LiliaLando) | 4 comments Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote:"I reject the notion that I should be afraid of my reading taste"

Yeah!
I read my abs filled books in public and laugh (and sometimes wink)at the reaction from the people that stare...
I'm proud of reading romances and I show them out there to encourage more people to read it.


Artkdz | 8 comments OK, You guys have inspired me to create an ipad cover on my cafepress page that says "Smut" on it. lol


Coral (coralm) | 58 comments Artkdz wrote: "OK, You guys have inspired me to create an ipad cover on my cafepress page that says "Smut" on it. lol"

Link it when you're done! :)

I was thinking of doing the same thing but for the kindle sleeve. I haven't gotten around to it yet. I wonder if we're allowed to use the VFHO logo to make swag because those could be cute too!


Lenore Kosinski (lenoreo) So of course, out of curiosity I tried to find a Smut Kindle cover, and there is one:

http://www.cafepress.ca/+read_smut_ki...

Simple and clean, but not sure if I like the look of Cafe Presses sleeves...:( The creators have some other fun choices too:

http://www.cafepress.ca/blushcreations


message 18: by Kamil (last edited Mar 22, 2012 04:22AM) (new)

Kamil | 938 comments i don't like covers whith pictures ( in general, regardless of the genre) When i read a book i don't want any suggestion on how a character or place should look. I want my immagination to work on the writer's choice of words. And i would prefere a plain cover whith just some graphic work on the letters used in the title.
back to the main topic. The diffee between romance books ( even the most shameless0 and porn is the reason for intercourse. In porn they have intercourse just out of pure lust or boredom, while in the novels that some refere as vaginal fantasy there are deep feelings involved. (love, fear,etc.)And porn is unrefined, while what we(allow me the plural) read and enjoy is a delicate labor of art


message 19: by Felicia, Grand Duchess (new)

Felicia (feliciaday) | 558 comments Mod
I'm gonna put the smut request cover in the video monday, maybe that will spur an Etsy creator to come to our rescue!


Hope | 20 comments ok I started reading romance at a very young age I think about 9 or so the old harliquin ones (my mom thought it would help me with my reading and IT DID) but quickly moved up into other romances. All through school grades I would read in class and for the most part I would never care what the cover looked like but I was embarrassed. When the covers were too racy I would put a slip cover on it. All my friends would see me pull out my book and go ooh there Hope goes with her Pornos again and Id have to argue that its not porn its just romance or paranormal romance they never understood so I stopped. now I still love holding a good ol book in my hands but I have fallin in love with my kindle. I get many many free books online daily and id have it no other way.
ooh and as I was embarrassed when I was younger about what I was reading. It helped me in my comprehension of words and anymore I find my self astonished that alot of people do not know alot of vocabulary. Also I would not change the way authors or publishers put out romance covers I love them cheezy and all.


Carolyn-anne Templeton | 24 comments Meh. People get up in arms far too much over porn in general... Women typically preferring the text version of porn certainly isn't anything new. I will own up to that particular preference myself. And I certainly agree that not all romance is porn: Our current book choice proves this point. Honestly, I'm with Bonnie with this one: I wish romance novels would throw in a bit more porn on occassion. Or just leave it out altogether... The in-between stuff tends to be pure fluff.

What I don't like about romance novel covers is that they give the false impression that every romance novel is the same, which is patently not the case. I can't tell how many books I've recommended to friends with the disclaimer "Ignore the cover... It's a great book." A cheesy cover implies that what's inside will be of the romance "standard."

Heck, because my family shares an Amazon account, I can't even hide my covers on the Kindle. I'm not ashamed of them knowing that I read smut... I am ashamed of them thinking I read poorly written smut. That, my friends, is unacceptable.


Kamil | 938 comments Carolyn-anne wrote: "Meh. People get up in arms far too much over porn in general... Women typically preferring the text version of porn certainly isn't anything new. I will own up to that particular preference myself...."

by your post i assume i'm a woman since i prefere the text version



Lindsay (roguefire) | 85 comments I was never ashamed of what I read, and I take public transportation daily. Actually, a lot of the most bizarre and off-the-wall books have started amazing conversations with people that might normally have talked to me (or anyone) on the train or bus.

My wife has a weird thing that she hates reading things that everyone else is reading because she feels like a 'sheep' - only reading what's popular. Such as The Help, she wanted to read it before it came as, as did every other person in Chicago on the train! Myself, I could care less and read what I want to when I want to - though when buying books based off of movie, I will not buy the movie tie-in cover....personal preference!

I think before the days of eReaders, I was picked on constantly for what I read and got over it before I had a Kindle. I didn't let it bother me anymore. SciFi books have weird covers and whether it be for "boys only" or not, I didn't care. I loved the fantasy of it. As people do romances.

But then I'm a person that believes that any reading people do is a good thing, no matter what the genre. If it's good writing, your vocabulary and grammar will improve!

Though I do love my eReader, it's not so I can ride what I'm reading at all. it's that I read waaaay to fast so I tend to buy 800+ page books. And those with my lunch etc on the train/bus became too, too heavy for me! I love my Kindle now, though I have to say, I miss real paper books at times...


Joyce (DeirdreAstraia) | 4 comments I am definitely not ashamed of what I read, I use my eReader purely because it is easier. I live in a pretty small apartment with my husband and 3y old son, and apart from space issues, my son doesn't really have a lot of respect for books yet. He loves reading, but he also loves tearing pages out of books (most of his books are somewhat falling apart) or drawing in them, and we just don't have anywhere to put books that is out of his reach.

My eReader I always keep either on my desk, my nightstand, or in my purse, so it is always safe from little hands :P


Raquel (UberGeekyGirl) | 19 comments I don't have a kindle yet (maybe I'll get one for my birthday in July, someone tell my husband)so all my books are paper. I take the books to work and school. I have a little embarassement until I start talking about the Vaginal Fantasy book club!

Thanks for helping me through my shame Vaginal Fantasy!


Keith (Teleport-City) | 56 comments I was seen reading The Da Vinci Code in public. After that, reading even the smuttiest of porn in public seems minor.


Sarah | 72 comments Carolyne-Anne, you hit the nail on the head for me. I don't mind being seen reading smut - especially if someone asks me questions that may or may not lead to them broadening their horizons or me possibly making a new friend. However, I do tend to lean towards books with A Game of Thrones length, and I just don't like lugging those tomes back and forth to work each day.

I don't think anyone should ever feel guilty about what they prefer to read, but I'm hesitant to say that we shouldn't be "ashamed" about it at all, as everyone has a different comfort level with both visual and written smut. I used to work in a store that sold pornographic magazines (mostly aimed at men) alongside more generic merchandise; some men had no problem throwing them down beside a pack of gum, and others would buy the Wall Street Journal simply to hide the magazine as they walked by other customers.

Personally, if someone gives me shit for reading a book, then they're not someone I should be listening to anyway.... but if I can get a better price on the e-book, that's the one I'll go for.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Cum For Bigfoot (other topics)
Three Nights of Sin (other topics)
The Second Sunrise (other topics)
The Da Vinci Code (other topics)
A Game of Thrones (other topics)