I was 12 years old the first time I read a book with sexual content. The book was Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds.
The forbidden love scenes between Meggie and Father Ralph were all my pre-teen self could handle. But I read the book over a dozen times. And you can guess which pages were the most dog-eared.
A few years later, I found a copy of Nancy Friday's My Secret Garden in my mom's nightstand. I was in high school, nosey then as I am now, and was shocked by what I read.
I wasn't even close to being sexually active yet but that afternoon, I think I had my first orgasm. And over the next couple of years, I returned to that nightstand, always being careful to put the book back exactly where I had found it.
About 15 years ago, someone in my book club suggested that we read The Story of O by Pauline Reage. Yet another eye-opener. A story of submission, humiliation, whips, and love. I don't think I can count the number of times since then that I've been turned on by passages in that book.
And now, at the age of 44, I think I'm a grown-up because I've amassed a small collection of books that make you go hmm. A couple of months ago, I received a few books of erotic short stories in the mail. I've read some of the stories both with and without my husband. And I casually mentioned this to a few friends and all of a sudden, everyone wanted to borrow them.
My response? Get your own. I want to keep mine for my slow growing erotica library that I keep hidden on the top shelf of my closet. These women are all educated, liberal, and in committed relationships. Why aren't they buying their own copies?
I understand that some of my friends might be reticent to run out to our local bookstore in their best soccer mom outfits and purchase one or two erotica titles. My town isn't that big and you never know who you might see.
But that's what the Internet is for. You can take your time perusing titles in the privacy of your own home and then have the books delivered in anonymous brown paper wrapping. Or you can even download the books directly to your Kindle or iPad.
And it might just be weird to lend my books out. I'm close with my friends but even I have my boundaries. I made a joke to one friend that a few of the pages might be stuck together. I mean the stories are supposed to be titillating. That's why we read them.
At least I know what to get everyone for the holidays. I wonder if the store will give me a discount for buying in bulk?
Would you lend out your erotica books?
Image via Barnes & Noble