So, I was reading an article the other day (yes, I sometimes read things that aren’t yaoi manga or fan fiction) (OK, it was Marie Claire, but bear with me; there are larger truths afoot), and it turns out that – get ready for it – women are reading porn on their Kindles! (And Nooks and whatever. You’re always a Kindle to me.)

Said article immediately dove for feminist cred by talking about our foremamas reading Jane Eyre under a cover because women aren’t supposed to have active fantasy lives and so on, and then it surfaced with the obligatory statement that the important thing about the Fifty Shades of Grey-porn-for-female-lady-person-led renaissance is that this porn is safe because it’s by women, for women. Like knitted craft projects.

I’m not entirely cynical about this, mind you. Many of us realized immediately that, like the Internet, the Kindle was made for porn. On the bus, if we so desire. Well, porn and romance. There are multiple points of intersection, as it were, between the two, and Fifty Shades of Grey is obviously not the first by-women-for-women piece of romantic porn to grace the screens of our nation’s e-readers. As soon as the Kindle floodgates were opened, a new industry was born – adapting romantic fan fiction (sometimes literally, sometime figuratively) into novellas to sell for sometimes as little as 99 cents on Kindle. And apparently this anonymous experience has cranked up demand and normalized the genre to the point that those bitches on the view are chatting about it on morning television. To which the proper response is “Huzzah!”

I am a huge fan of porn. It eases the discomfort of modern life, taking its place with naptime as another of nature’s soft nurses. Or something. And with apologies to Shakespeare, of course. The thing about porn is that it has to be broken down into much smaller cross sections than most genre lit. I like mysteries, for instance, and there are certain kinds of mysteries I like better than others, but if Christopher Bookmyre or Ian Rankin aren’t available, I can also amuse myself with James Patterson or Dean Koontz or even something starring a cat. If I’m into, say, gay romantic shape-shifting dominance and submission cowboys (which I’m not, by the way – that was just an example. Shape-shifting isn’t my cup of wereleopard), I’m not going to be able to make due with, say, het water sports. And vice versa, surely.

Fortunately, the Kindle romantic porn industry ensures I’ll never have to face such a dilemma, because whatever your kink, they’ve got you covered. There are scores of novels that never would have gotten printed because their appeal isn’t broad enough; offering digital versions, though, is apparently cost effective. Fan fiction writers such as E.L. James (who initially wrote Fifty Shades of Gray as Twilight fan fiction) can shift from writing for free on sometimes-obscure websites, change the names of the characters, and sell short stories, novellas, and full-length books online. (This was happening before e-books, with websites like Loose Id selling PDFs, but that was still not exactly mainstream.) I unapologetically love fan fiction, and I am excited for E.L. James; turning fan fiction into legit publishing can only be a good thing.

You say America’s housewives don’t have access to the filthy perversion of their choice? Let them read e-books!

Now, I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, and I’m not going to – but not because it probably sucks. It just isn’t my kind of porn. I don’t care if it’s reasonably well-written or if the prose is so tedious as to suck out your very soul through one of those tiny little straws you use to stir your coffee. Because my mother, who is as likely to embrace porn as she is to come out as a MTF transsexual alien Siamese cat, bought Fifty Shades of Grey at Wal-Mart. She hasn’t had time to read it yet because she’s not done with that heart-warming series by Jan Karon about the small-town priest, so in the meantime, she lent it to my aunt, who did read it, despite being a church-going Southern Baptist and, as such, even less porn-adjacent than my mother. (My aunt’s critique was pretty damning, though: “It wasn’t that dirty.”)

But never mind that. This is a giant step forward for all mankind! Let us all download porn onto our Kindles and celebrate.

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