Thursday, May 21, 2009

Smut - Why I Don’t Like The Word

Hello Naughty Girls Next Door ~ thanks for inviting me to your blog. At the risk of inflaming other authors, I’ll gently explain why I don’t like the word smut.

I’m an erotic romance writer. I write titillating fiction designed to thrill and excite and make you sweat, and always with a happy ending. But don’t call what I write smut, because I won’t stand for it. And here’s why:

The dictionary’s description of “Smut” as a noun is
-A particle of dirt. (Okay)
-A smudge made by soot, smoke, or dirt. (Still acceptable.)
-Obscenity in speech or writing. (Whoa. Stop right there.)
-Pornography. (Now that’s just clueless)

And also describes “Obscene” as
Offensive to accepted standards of decency or modesty (Accepted standards? Bite me.)
Inciting lustful feelings; lewd (How are lustful feelings obscene?)
Repulsive or disgusting (Excuse me?)
So large in amount as to be objectionable or outrageous. (Hmmm....)

Okay folks, none of these describes erotic romance fiction. Sex is not dirty! Human genitalia is not repulsive or disgusting. (Though in my books, it might be so large as to be objectionable or outrageous :] )

Some writers, such as the wonderful Morgan Hawke who is much more established and experienced than I, proudly boast they write smut. I say, power to them. These writers stand up against common, narrow-minded preconceptions with greater courage than I. But when it comes to my own books, I strongly declare, romantic erotic fiction is not pornography. It is not dirty. It is not repulsive or disgusting. So don’t call it smut.

The reading of a book is a very private thing. You could say it’s as private as masturbation. You read a book by yourself, silently, in your own head. A reader’s experience with my books is singular and intimate. Calling romantic erotic fiction smut, is, in my opinion, as arrogant as someone else passing judgment on another person’s bedroom activity. Simply said; if you don’t like it, get outta my bedroom. But don’t criticize me for it.


My goal is to write heroines you want to be. My goal is to write heroes you want to be with. My goal is to write happy endings that make you tingle. And my goal is to write engaging sex scenes that make you hot. And hopefully, for my readers’ sakes, I succeed.

Crystal Kauffman recently celebrated the debut of her very first -not smutty- book with Loose-Id. The Combat is the first in a trilogy about gargoyles who protect humankind from vampires. If you haven’t read it, you still have a chance to win a free copy at the Get Hooked On A New Series contest, drawing held June 1. Or download a copy today and enter Crystal’s personal contest running through May 31st, to win a brand new Sony eBook reader.

8 comments:

Minx Malone said...

Very good points Crystal. Some feel that it's reclaiming the insult in an empowering way and I get that. However it still makes me wince when even well-intentioned friends cheekily introduce me as the girl who writes "dirty" books.

Sex is not dirty. People who HAVE sex are not dirty. You'd think we'd be past this in the year 2009 right?

Portia Da Costa said...

Yeah, I don't like the word 'smut' very much either. It seems such a small and unpleasant word for writing that we put so much hard work into, and strive so diligently to make excellent.

Marie Harte said...

Amen, sister. I'm not a "smut" fan either, simply for the fact that it has a lot of negative connotations. Erotic romance is romance that centers around the physical appreciation of people falling/in love. I'm all for others embracing it, but I personally don't want to legitimize it. I don't like it. My two cents.

Marie

Savanna Kougar said...

Great post, Crystal. I do understand what you're expressing. And I certainly would never use the word 'smut' as equal to dirty or pornography, except by the villian, of course.
I will say, to my ear, it's a funny sounding word... and, I do use it tongue-in-cheek, or in reaction to snooty tight-asses.
However, I rarely utter the word in my everyday language. And, I would never use it seriously to describe an erotic romance author.

Ashlyn Chase said...

Well said! I especially liked your last paragraph. Heroines we want to be and heroes we want to be with--I don't want to be smutty or with a smutty man. A woman can be classy and sexual...so can a man (although it's more of a balancing act for them since they still have to put up with derision from their buddies.)

Ash

Minx Malone said...

Girl I just realized you're giving away a Sony ebook reader!

*Minx is now trotting over to Crystal's website to enter the contest*

The funny thing is I already have the Kindle. I'm such a techno-slut :)

Francesca Hawley said...

GREAT post, Pamela. I don't write smut either. I write hot erotic romance. It kind of smacks of insulting your own work so others won't and I've been trying to get away from making fun of myself so others won't make fun of me for a very long time.

Erotic romance is hot, but not obscene. Erotic romance is graphic and explicit, but not dirty.

Thanks for making stating your case so eloquently!

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