Is It Perverted to Take Your Smut Outside?

Twitter user @amateurdentist had the social media site in stitches after sharing a snap of a fellow commuter enjoying some erotica quite publicly.

The humorous post read, “woman next to me on subway reading an erotic novel in 128 pt font,” and featured a picture of the daring act as evidence.

So what’s the protocol for  reading erotica in public? You know that moment when you’re casually reading a book in public and then suddenly a steamy scene pops up and you can’t help but shoot a few furtive glances to either side, and perhaps even slide down a bit in your seat? It feels wrong.

But is it really? Look at the success of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Business Insider reported that it became the fastest-selling paperback book ever. And ebook sales are even crazier – it has sold six times more Kindle ebooks than print books. So you just know people were trying to slyly read that page turner in public.

And why not? If you’ve got a long commute or a lengthy flight, what better way to get through it than with a bit of titillating reading material? Besides, as a self-professed bookworm, I find it hard to ever condemn anyone for reading. We should all be doing it more often.

READ MORE: A Guide to All of the Books You Never Knew You Needed to Read

I’m also hesitant to critique the kind of entertainment people enjoy because I think now more than ever we could all use a bit of escapism, in whatever form that may take. And if the only downside is people turning their noses up at you – who cares? You’ll be so lost in the literature you won’t notice them anyway.

And let’s be real, the only actual problem with reading erotica in public is if your enjoyment of it becomes too, well, public. As long as you’re not breaking any rules of public indecency, then I say read on. 

READ MORE: #WomenThatDid: Sappho

And commenters on @amateurdentist’s hilarious post generally tended to agree. They seemed to support the reader’s choice, with @jamescobalt posting, “She is a national hero.” Twitter user @Simon_OW also joked, “Sight-impaired got needs too.” And a survey on The Huffington Post leaned the same way, with an overwhelming 83 percent voting that it was totally okay to read steamy fiction in public.

So go ahead, break out that e-reader copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that you know you have. It doesn’t have to be your dirty little secret.