Smart. Smut. Not necessarily two words that fit snugly together. Not two peas in a pod. Yet, it’s out there, my friends. There are college courses on it. We read it in high school with a flashlight under the covers in lieu of daddy’s Hustler. It is stimulating, it gets our minds working, and our libidos rising. But all with the grace of a teacup and the gesture of a pinky held high.
Personally, I feel rather disheartened about the lack of smart smut available these days. When we think of erotica now, it’s not what it used to be in the 1930s or even the 1790s. Erotic had a whole other meaning to it. It was the dazzle of a bit of flesh, the symbolism of a revealed ankle, or the way a lady thumbed her pearls.
Oh, thumbing pearls…
Recently I read a book by Deepti Kapoor, A Bad Character, that brought me back to those days of reading classic erotic literature. Even though it was set in Mumbai and in the 21st century, there was something about breaking the rules. Something Lolita-ish. Something about subversion that was titillating and steamy. It was sensuous and raw, like an oyster. I found myself wishing more books were like hers. Where are they?
Another author I’ve been reading lately is Tiffany Reisz, who has the oddest combination of plot and character, but to me, is still one of the best working erotic writers today. Her books sound like a bad joke: What happens when a teenager, a priest, and an underground sex club owner walk into a bar? Her books are the punchline. A dare to get you to read them. Even though this unlikely triad seems like it would make the back pages of Penthouse, her books are amazing, well-written, sexy, and fun.
But where is the rest? I know erotic writing has never filled the bestsellers list (and I don’t count 50 shades of anything as erotic writing), but we need it. To remind us of the touch of skin, the smell of a man, how love and lust can spur us to change our worldview, and to know there is more than just romance or just fantasy. That it can be well written and stimulating. That bodies and emotions are treasures, and feeling and touching are us just sketching the map.
That is what this blog intends to do. Search for it. Write about it. And hopefully discover more of it.