With one notable exception, we've never actually written about porn on Pornokitsch. Or erotica. Or any other sort of sexually-charged literature. And, all joking aside, this is a huge and diverse genre, and, to an outsider, more than a little intimidating. What's it about? What's good? What are the classics? Where do we start?
Fortunately, we've got Tiffani Angus, here to explain where smut begins...
I read erotica. I write erotica. But as a young reader, I didn’t jump right in and start with Anais Nin. I built up to it, reading things that didn’t seem like smut. Gateway smut, if you will, where the sex scenes weren’t the most important parts of the book … but those few pages were always the most handled.
The summer I turned thirteen, my best friend and I spent hours lounging around on the couch, scanning through her mom’s stacks of Harlequin paperbacks to find the dirty goods. This was the early ’80s, when the Harlequin status quo of virginal heroine gave way to new imprints that allowed the girl to have ‘done it’ already. Sadly, my friend’s mom didn’t read those, so we were left with vague (and much too short) sex scenes. Still, it was a start, albeit a disappointing one.
No Fifty Shades of Grey back then, being read openly on the bus. Your smut was either out there, in the form of Playboy, or it was buried beneath glossy dust jackets of ‘women’s lit’. But life finds a way, and the smut got found.
Here are five novels that that taught me about smut, and will probably continue to teach others as well...
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews: Children hidden away in the attic of a mansion, two generations of incest, and filicide. The spawn of several sequels (the final one finished by a ghostwriter after Andrews’ death), Flowers was popular among my young teenage friends and me because the narrator is a teenage girl like us... only trapped in an attic with her handsome, sensitive, strong older brother. Hey, he wasn’t our brother, so we could understand the attraction. With each page the adult characters’ actions became more reprehensible — and unrealistic — but we couldn’t look away. We knew the incest was taboo, but that’s part of what made it so hot since the scenes weren’t terribly explicit.