A smutty book guide for first-time erotica readers to seasoned spice fans

By Kelcie McKenney
Photos by Travis Young

I love a good book that makes me curl up under a blanket, spend the afternoon in, and… reach for my vibrator. We’re talking smut, babes, so buckle up. Bodice rippers, erotica, chick lit, spicy books, naughty fanfiction—whatever you’re reading, erotic literature has a long history of giving women a safe space to explore their sexuality and get off.

The thing about fiction is it allows us to escape into fantasy, and fantasy is a great place to explore our sexuality. In mainstream media—movies, male-written books, porn—women are more often than not depicted with a lack of agency over their bodies and own sexuality.

“In the media, representations of sexuality are still mostly white, cisgendered, and heterosexual,” said Chelsea Reynolds, an assistant professor at California State University Fullerton studying sex in media told Mashable in 2018. “For many, fanfiction represents an important site of resistance, sexual exploration, and identity transformation.” (Humble brag, Reynolds was a mentor to my student magazine in college and she seriously rocks. Hi Chelsea!!)

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Badass Literary Babes: Know My Name; The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

By Emily Park

A year ago, I rediscovered my love for books. Since then, I have devoured over 20,000 pages of memoirs, fantasies, contemporary fictions and romances, and historical fictions.

Last month, I decided I would turn my reading obsession into something tangible. So, I started sharing some of the Badass Babes I’ve met between the pages. 

In the first installment of Badass Literary Babes, I started with the very first two characters I met when I started reading again. I thought I would continue along this timeline, but my hunger has only grown in the last month. 

I finish an average of two books a week, and I have a to-be-read list of over 320 books. If I continue going down the line in order of the books I have read, I don’t think I will ever catch up, and I’m scared I’ll forget just how badass these babes are. So, I’m going to switch it up and share Badass Babes from an older favorite and a recent favorite read.

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Book Review: Feminism is for Everybody

By Max Sheffield-Baird

Max has started a book club! Every month they’re reviewing one book that educates on intersectionality. Next month, Max is reading Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. Feel free to join in!

I chose Feminism is for Everybody to start off this feminist book series because it’s a short read. Author Bell Hooks states the purpose of her book is to make feminism accessible and to dispel the notions that feminism is inherently anti-men—which the patriarchy has drummed into popular consciousness for decades now. 

I’m not sure how well she succeeded. 

The tone feels academic and dry. I would consider it a good primer for those looking to do a serious study on gender, race, class, and other aspects to kyriarchy (Psst, kyriarchy encompasses all social systems of oppression we face). But it doesn’t feel like it’s meant for the masses. People who are just looking to get a quick FAQ on intersectional feminism might want to look elsewhere.

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