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It’s like taking an English class and a sex-ed refresher at the same time.

Why Every College Girl Should Own Smut

It’s Time to End Smut-Shaming

It’s like taking an English class and a sex-ed refresher at the same time.

By Olivia W. McCoy, University of Georgia


If you look up the word “smut” online you’re going to find some very PG answers from Webster and Wikipedia, and some more explicit responses from Urban Dictionary.

What I’m referring to in this piece are the Urban Dictionary definitions.

Pull out the Harlequin Romances from under your mattress! Boldly march into the nearest bookstore and stand proud in the “Romance” aisle as you flip through the titles to find your match!

Why Every College Girl Should Own SmutWhile these ostracized literary works have a bad reputation with the general public (for reasons I’m sure you already know about), let me tell you why I read them. In fact, let me tell you my requirements when buying smut and how my friends and I turned annotating them into a game.

Why do I openly admit to buying this so-called trash? Not only are they great for the lonely college girl, but they are quite possibly the most fascinating form of entertainment out there.

The cover art is usually eye-catching, and (how can I put this delicately?) inspiring. The character names and descriptions are so over-the-top and dramatic that they actually make me roll on the floor laughing.

And let’s not forget the euphemisms. Who can forget all the delicately hand-crafted, delightfully innovative and insightfully unorthodox ways in which they describe the male anatomy? Can you imagine it?

It’s someone’s job to sit at a desk and jot down new and creative words and phrases for the word “penis.” There’s nothing better than that, except the euphemisms for the female anatomy of course. If you don’t believe me, read for yourself!

But if we’re being honest, as hilarious as the sex scenes are, there’s actual content in there too. If you like gushy and dramatic and perfect guys, you’ll actually enjoy the somewhat serious plots too. I’m making fun, but really, they’re not all that bad. Now, the game.

1. Acquire the Materials

Find your nearest bookstore. Honestly, I prefer used bookstores because sometimes you’ll find a copy with notes in the margin.

Now you have to penetrate (pun intended) the “Romance” section. For the record I find the name of this aisle incredibly ironic considering the fact that there is nothing (let me repeat that, NOTHING) romantic about these books. Cheesy, hokey, disgustingly gushy maybe, but (once again for the guys in the back) not romantic, at least not in the traditional, sentimental and idyllic fashion.

Next, select a book at random from the rows and rows of liaisons and courtships, knights rescuing maidens from their sexy barbarian counterparts, werewolves and vampires battling for some chick’s heart, etc. etc. etc. Now casually open it.

Here is the most important part: If this randomly selected page does not include the beginning, middle or end of a sex scene, put it back. And trust me, the more explicit the better.

A single book must past this test THREE times before it gets approved. Once you find your match, stroll up to the counter, proudly set the copy face-up and smile. If the cashier gives you a weird look, throw him/her a wink and let them deal with their own close-mindedness themselves (you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!).

2. Mark That Shit Up

You know that craft box/cabinet/drawer you haven’t touched since you were kid? It’s time. Pry that thing open and pick out your colors, as many bright markers as you can find. Highlighters work as well but aren’t quite as fun and there aren’t nearly as many options.

Invite your more permissive friends over and let the games begin! Drinking is by no means necessary, but I’d just like to add that a little wine makes this particular pastime a LOT more interesting.

Every time you hit a sexual passage, dog-ear the page and then select different colors to signify different things. For example, pink might mean a particularly “saucy” (wink wink nudge nudge) passage while red might mean something gets interrupted by a badly placed pun or physical walk-in of someone uninvited and in that situation EXTREMELY unwanted.

Read your favorite parts out loud and when the night is over, count up who has the most pages dog-eared; they win! That person gets first choice of freshly glossed-up books to steal from someone else, then second place and so on until everyone gets a new book to go home with. I know it sounds incredibly nerdy, but hey, doesn’t mean it’s not fun right?

If you’re not as blunt and overt as some of us, don’t worry, we understand. Let me give you some tips on how to conceal your newly obtained “reference book”.

Option #1: The Classics

There are SO MANY secret spots in any modern bedroom for a small, easily concealable item such as this.

Under your mattress, bottom of your underwear drawer, ceiling tiles, air vents, beneath your laundry bag—they’re cliché for a reason. Any of these will do, but warning: If someone decides to go searching your room (and I can’t see why they would) they WILL find it.

Option #2: The Fake Cover

Take a book sleeve from one of your hardcovers, and clothe your smut stuff. A plus side to this is the never-ending opportunities for puns!

You’ll know how The Great Gatsby became great Emma’s tantalizing secret, and don’t even get me started on Moby-Dick.

The downside, however, is that if your younger brother/sister/roommate yada yada decides to raid your shelves for a book assignment or something, take to the hills because you’re screwed.

Option #3: Pawn It Off on Someone Else

We all have those cool friends who just couldn’t care less. Take advantage of that. Hide your collection at their place. This is, of course, assuming that you’re ok with them knowing about it. Still an option though.

Lastly, let’s discuss what to do if you are caught with it in your possession. MAYDAY MAYDAY YOUR COVER IS BLOWN! What are you supposed to tell Grandma as she looks at you confused and concerned?

You could blame a made-up friend, word vomit some nonsense excuse or (the more pitiful but still viable option) run. But honestly, if I were you, I’d just laugh it off and move on. No one really cares and I promise you, we all have our dirty little secrets, right?

Be unashamed and they’ll probably respect you for it. There’s nothing wrong with knowing yourself and there’s NOTHING wrong with enjoying some cheesy characters and laughable plots on your time off. And if you actually take the stuff seriously, all the better for you because it’s hard to do and I totally admire your dedication to the written word.

So let’s all join together and own our sexuality! I promise, any embarrassment or awkwardness that comes along with owning smut will be totally worth it once you read the first chapter. Just trust me on this.

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