SMUT a Four Letter Word?

Obviously it is, but is it a bad one?

When people hear that I’ve written a book they tend to be excited and generally ask what the book is about. The excitement lasts only briefly until I explain that the book is an Erotic Romance. It’s at this point that their eyes glaze over or they shift nervously frantically searching for a change in topic. Comments like “Oh you write smut” or You don’t seem like the kind of person who would write filth” are readily tossed around.

I found myself proclaiming “I do not write smut!” with a sense of indignation. Then it dawned on me when does it become smut? Where is the line between erotic romance or erotica and smut? Is it the amount of work that goes into piece? or the volume of sexual encounters? Maybe there is some type of equation to determine where the distinction occurs.

I once had someone tell me that they don’t read popcorn books meaning that they only read serious fiction and I’ve always viewed this comment as a type of book snobbery and I can’t help but wonder if smut has gotten a bad rap.

Is smut a four letter word? A work only worthy of being displayed covertly on the screens of e-readers and destined to be hidden with embarrassment under our beds?

I believe the distinction exists only in our minds and stems from our own views on sex. It’s difficult to say how or when these preconceived notions will change so for now at least the jury is still out on this four letter word.

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