Random Thoughts Lite: Reading the Sexy in Public


The wonderful thing about being a (mainly) YA book blogger is that there aren’t those scenes that would make you blush when reading them in public. While certain YA authors add a little more heat to their romance than others, getting “caught” reading those romantic moments would hardly cause a blush.

While my age, versus the age of the characters, might make feel a little awkward were I to be caught swooning, I would never be uncomfortable if someone were to read over my shoulder, or pick up my book or Kindle to see what brought a little color to my cheeks. Romance in YA can definitely be sexy, but not too sexy for public consumption. New Adult on the other hand….

I don’t consider myself a prude. I am rarely shocked by matters of a sexual nature in books or films. (Though with the discovery of certain reader proclivities on Amazon, I might be just a little bit surprised. Bigfoot… who knew?) But the idea that others are judging me solely based on what I read, or coming to conclusions about me, irks me. And of course others wondering what I might be thinking while reading certain passages creeps me out more than a little.

Which is why I don’t tend to dive into books like DREAMS OF A DARK WARRIOR or SIN UNDONE in public, whose titles alone imply things about their readers. While I would happily admit to reading such books, getting leering looks that say, “So that’s what you like?” makes me want to run home and take a scalding hot shower to scrub off the ick.

Being a Kindle reader helps with privacy… sometimes. Sometimes it’s more a false sense of privacy than a real one. Which makes things so much worse when you find someone leaning in close, eyeing the page, with a lusty look. (Gross.) Though it’s far worse when it’s a mom who’s covering her younger child’s eyes and giving you a death glare as she pulls him or her away. (Mortifying.)

Perhaps reading romance is best left for alone time. But that, too, implies something. Having a stack of books whose covers are filled with bare-chested, headless, men on one’s nightstand definitely raises eyebrows. And leaves visitors to one’s home with a very definite impression.

Most of the books I read are for review here on the blog. They aren’t for my “guilty pleasure” or for pleasure in any sense of that word. Therefore, I read them whenever and wherever I can, not thinking about the content and its appropriateness for public consumption. And as I tend to read the “love” scenes with a more critical eye and a more clinical look, I’m not swept away by the romance and left feeling all swoon-y and awkward in public. So it’s only much later that I realize that someone’s wide-eyed or judge-y or heat-filled stare had to do with whatever scene I’d just been reading and that my response to them should have been a little more understanding. Oops.

I think the worst part about reading the sexy in public is that instead of focusing on how well – or poorly – its been written, or how much or little I enjoy it, I’m paranoid that someone is reading over my shoulder, and if I see that they are, I’m wondering what they think of me, and I’m forming impressions of them based on how they react. Which takes me completely away from the story.


Do you find it awkward or uncomfortable to read about the Sexy Times in public? Do you find that people like to read over your shoulder and then pass judgment on what you’re reading when it involves sex?

If reading the “naughty bits” makes you blush regardless of where you’re reading it, does happening upon an unexpected scene in public turn you beet red?

Have you been book shamed, leered at, or invited to turn what you’ve been reading into a reality? And has their reaction made you angry or mortified or totally skeeved out?

What has your experience been when reading the sexy in public?

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