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More than Mommy porn: “Why I read smut”

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

The lure of erotica

Intrigued by the smutty books you keep hearing about at the salon or on Facebook? Learn why moms just like you are opening up about reading dirty books like Fifty Shades of Grey, and how many have been reading quietly all along.

When Fifty Shades of Grey became a standout bestseller, it was quickly and almost universally described as “mommy porn.” Instead of letting the media analyze why women who happen to be moms enjoy reading erotica, we went straight to the source and asked four moms why they read smut.

“It's nice to live vicariously through a story.”

Erin King, 29-year-old mother of a toddler, says, “It's nice to live vicariously through a story, because you don't have to worry about all that crap you have to worry about when it's you in the new relationship — the second-guessing yourself, the nerves, the ‘was it as good for him as it was for me.’ Plus, after being with the same guy for years, it's sometimes nice to put yourself in the story and remember how nice it is when everything is new. And I read it for the turn-on, the same way people watch porn. It's easier to pretend it's you in the story when you're reading it as opposed to watching it. (Not that I don't also like 'normal' porn, but a lot of the time I just want to use my own imagination!)” King blogs at Polka Dots and Pearls.

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“It was really validating to know that there wasn't something wrong with me.”

Alice Horan, 34-year-old mother of two tween boys, is drawn to erotica for two main reasons. “So much of our lives as mothers is spent doing for others,” Horan says. “We give until we're gone. Daily stresses can dampen our creativity, our spontaneity, our passion. We're tired and tapped out. Life's a bit much. We make lists even during intercourse. So a piece of literature that can suck us in, make us feel, turn us back on is a treasure, I believe. Reading can be discreet and private, done in bed when we're finally alone. Me, me, me. Make me feel. My second reason for reading erotica is something I didn't know I was looking for, but so desperately needed. Self-acceptance. A feeling of not being alone. A reduction in shame and taboo. For a kinkster like me, it was really validating to know that there wasn't something wrong with me for wanting some pretty raunchy things in the bedroom (or laundry room, or basement, or backseat).”

“I read smut now to understand that I am not alone in my submissive role.”

Amanda Bone, 33-year-old mother of two daughters, began reading erotica at a young age. “I have been a reader of smut from about puberty until now. I used to read it as a young girl full of all these hormones and sexual energy and nowhere for it to go,” Bone says. “I was curious about sexual relationships and feelings but with no one to ask. I have always been a book nerd so it seemed right to turn to a book to get the answers. I read smut now to understand that I am not alone in my submissive role. I live a life of a 24-hour a day power exchange and in small town Ohio I feel lonely. I read so I know I am not alone.” Bone recommends The Story of O by Pauline Reage.

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“The escape I get from reading smut makes me a better wife and mom.”

Angie Lynch, 35-year-old mother of two, loves sharing erotica recommendations with her friends. “I read smut for one quick and dirty reason: escape. As much as I love my married life with children and the day-to-day responsibilities of caring for them, I need to escape the reality. Reading about romance and sex and un-reality is my easy way of stepping away from the responsibility. Luckily, my husband is more than willing to leave my nightstand light on while I read an extra chapter because he knows when the light finally goes off, I'm happily back to the reality of being with him. The escape I get from reading smut makes me a better wife and mom because I'm not physically leaving to escape responsibilities, but I'm taking a mental trip to (a very adult) Fantasyland.”

More spicy fun

Is Fifty Shades of Grey setting off the next baby boom?
The shy girl's guide to better sex
3 Fun ways to change up your sex life

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