Women's addiction to smutty books

I think so. I have read my share of smutty bodice rippers and I have seen more than a few hardcore and softcore porn videos.

If the porn appealed than I would become physically aroused and later I would catch myself fantasizing about the scene I watched and liked. The exact same physical and mental reactions happened when reading smutty romance.

Now, here is where the two are very different. When watching a pornographic movie I didn’t have any expectation my DH would behave in that way. It’s a movie, after all! But when reading the novels I found myself getting frustrated and increasingly dissatisfied with my husband. The men in those novels are a very high standard for a mere mortal to live up to. Always saying the right thing. Touching the right way at the right time every time. Never being sick or tired or sore. Not having morning breath or acne and never breaking out in hives. Loving with a single-minded obsession no normal human feels. Yup, totally impossible. Yet spending hours reading that kind of story made it seem like everyone had that with their “soul mate” and there must be something wrong with my marriage because the DH fell asleep after working 14 hours despite the nightgown I wore to entice him.

UGH! Gave up those novels when I realized they were unfair to the DH. Gave up porn video when I decided to convert. Much happier for it!

So we have to define our terms. The Oxford English Dictionary defines pornography as follows:
The explicit description or exhibition of sexual subjects or activity in literature, painting, films, etc., in a manner intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic feelings; printed or visual material containing this.
Under this definition, the books would have to be judged on a case by case basis.

You don’t hear a lot about women spending hours and hours a day on romance novels and neglecting their families like you do the huge problem with porn and men.

Sure there is probably an exception but porn is far more prevalent and dangerous in my opinion.


Oh yes you do. I know if my mom got a smutty book she was in love with, she would stay up reading until morning, and then take a shower and go to the library to get the next one in the series. I saw a short film about the dirty book industry and you would be amazed at what a big business it is. I also know a woman who was so hooked on them, she ended up getting fired for reading them at work. (She worked at a daycare center.)

I don’t think smutty books are causing the huge problem among women as pornography is among men, albeit of course there are exceptions. If so, we’d see much more about it in the news, in asking for help for it, etc.

My opinion,

Hmmmmm. Interesting contributions here.

The similarities?

Creates false sense of reality
May interfere with normal functioning in role as spouse, parent, person, employee…
Creates visual image in brain which affects safe functioning in society
May also impair expectations and create distortions in interacting with others which can lead to unhappiness and dissatisfactions
A bottomless pit of resources for future consuming
A multimillion dollar industry
Described or displayed behavior is very unreal or inhuman
Both can be exploitive


Male dominated industry versus female dominated industry
More male consumers vs more female.
One is visual, requiring photography, film, video, drawing, art; the other uses more the written word or verbal description.
One has pervaded the internet; the other usually must be selected from a shelf.
One is more about the sex act; one is more about the romance leading up to sex.
One hires humans to act out or simulate the real thing and, I might add, has been an “industry” where many such “performers” are addicted, become sick, and lead miserable lives. The other hires writers, usually one woman to write a story, a fantasy, and this writer is paid and she goes on to write an historical novel.
Videos and computers do not burn well; an old.romance novel might make a good kindling for a fireplace.

Ok. I’m tired. Someone else add.

Thanks for your contribution. :smiley:

I know there was a book by a russian author and I think it might have been banned - lolita. I didn’t read the book but I saw the original on film with james mason. It might be considered tame by today’s standards.

Whether it’s “tamer” than present-day smut, Lolita, which some claim is the “best modern book”, can be part of that slippery slope. The lead character, Humbert, foolishly pursues his attraction to his stepdaughter. The end does not justify the pages of titillation in his pursuit. What was Nabokov trying to say?

The road to smut is paved with smutty intentions.

Well I know in its day it was considered
taboo. Don’t know if it is considered a classic or not.

I know. I have no problem with that. I had a problem with the fact that he responds to his thread with emphasis on how many women watch porn. It seemed to me like he was focusing more on the women part than the novel part.

As to the OP: smutty romance novels are only sinful insofar as they lead someone to lust [unless fantasized about one’s husband, I suppose?], in my opinion. They don’t have the abuse of women inherent in porn, and I’d imagine it’s at least possible to read them without lust, especially for asexuals. So no, I would not call them porn.

I am not a he, I am a she. I explored the issue from the female side because males so often get the attention in the pornography discussion. I wanted to explore women’s responsibility to the issue. I used romance novels because they are popular with women. And if you don’t think “50 Shades” is degrading to women, I invite you to read a plot summary. If you think I have no concern about pornography in general, I invite you to read a post I made earlier today.


Indeed, that’s the post that got me to thinking about female consumers of the material. I didn’t think about them even using video until I quickly looked up the BYU study. I was adding more information to the discussion.

One could also read Woody Allen’s bio for a similar thrill, though his daughter was adopted… And the man is still heralded in Hollywood circles…

I’ll just add more issue here. I know that women are abused in the porn industry (see my link). So are the male performers. I think there is a sizeable male-only porn industry. I know that men get addicted to pornography. This was just a different part of the issue. Again, see my prayer link.


It’s not that I doubt your commitment against the porn industry; it’s that I consider your tone sexist (and yes, women can say sexist things). I don’t blame men for the porn industry. I blame people who watch porn. Just because men predominately watch porn does not mean I let women who watch porn off the hook.

And I know the plot of 50 Shades of Grey, and I am well-versed in BDSM in general. One of my good friends is (was?) extremely prominent in the BDSM community, and I have had multiple lunch conversations with her on the topic. I also know the uniquely sexist nature of 50 Shades of Grey, and how it contributes to rape culture. However, it is not exploitative of women in the same way as porn. Porn literally has immediate victims, namely the actresses. Even when truly volunteering, it harms the soul of the actresses who star in it. 50 Shades of Grey, no matter how offensive it is of material, is still about a fictional girl who has never and will never exist in this world. E.L. James did not take a literal woman and force her to do what was in her book. That is the difference.

So no, it is not porn, and yes, it is harmful. But not all smutty books are harmful; it is very dependent on how it is portrayed. On the flip side, all porn is harmful.

I would agree with you that all video is harmful – because real women and men are being exploited. They are turned into a commodity for another person’s sexual gratification.

I’m really not sure about the books. Can they become addictive? Do they lead a woman to have a twisted idea of what a husband should be? This is where we have to rely on the anecdotal information other participants offered.

Umm let me try to put some personal anecdotes in here for addiction. I absolutely love [romantic] fanfiction. And yes, it can get pretty…dominating in my life at times. But I wouldn’t call it addictive. It comes and goes in phases, depending on where I’m at in life, but it’s always temporary. Is porn addiction the same way? It was my understanding that porn addiction stays until treated.

The reason I think this is is because it’s hard to be addicted to your imagination. As a creative writer on the side, I do find that I lose my ability to use my imagination after burning myself out on story ideas. But, unlike most drugs, you can’t increase your imagination to accomodate for the tolerance effect. As such, you never enter into the harmful cycle of more tolerance -> more consumption -> more tolerance -> etc. With porn, you can always view more or view dirtier, etc. With drugs, you can always take higher dosages. But with imagination, you just have to rest up and let your mind recover when tolerance starts to build.

Anyways, my :twocents:

Well, you seem to have a handle on it. :thumbsup:

So when do people think pornography becomes pornographic? If I were to write a script for an adult film that is never filmed is the script pornographic? How about if I make a graphic novel or animated film (aka manga/anime) that has graphic sex scenes, is it pornography? How about a song that includes gratuitous descriptions of sex acts, is it pornographic? What about a statue of a man or woman masturbating*?* Or perhaps a female artist’s self portrait with a sex toy?

I ask this because many are focusing on the issue of exploitation of women in the movies (disregarding same sex abuse in homosexual porn I guess :shrug:). While abuse in filming is certainly an issue that is not the only (or even main) issue with pornography. I tend to think of it as a second offense congruent with the first. Pornography is a sin because it:

“… remove(s) real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners …” and “… offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. … It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world.”
(CCC 2354).

Now one might say “but in romance novels there really aren’t any partners, they’re imaginary.” It still separates the conjugal act from true marital intimacy for the purpose of entertainment. Heck most would consider adult magazines like hustler or playgirl to be pornography. It does not mater if it’s real people, imaginary characters, or depictions of one’s self in lewd acts; pornography is about turning sexuality into entertainment.

To those that say romance novels don’t cause as much harm… one of the worst times I was hurt in my marriage was when my wife said she was tired and was just going to read a chapter from a “historical novel” (about a WWII nurse that travels back in time to 18th century Scotland). After 10 minutes of reading she put down the book, rolled over and said something along the lines of “guess I’m not as tired as I thought; want to fool around?” The next morning I read the chapter and it certainly painted all sorts of pictures in my head. I asked her if the couple pages in question had anything to do with her renewed vigor the night before and she said the chapter might have warmed her up to possibilities. I half jokingly asked if my manliness wasn’t enough and she said “sometimes you need a little fantasy to get in the mood.” Sword right through my heart. How many women would be okay with their husbands looking at nude women to get in the mood?

One last thought about the comment that women don’t spend hours reading romance novels. Is it any less a sin if someone masturbates for 2 minutes or 20?

The damage is not just the time or the the exploitation, but that it dissociates intimacy reserved for spouses into a fantasy world. It doesn’t matter if it’s video, sculpture, the written or spoken word. Dressing it up as romance instead of porn doesn’t change that fact.

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I wonder how his wife’s mental health is.
Are they still married?

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