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The Rise of Erotica and E-Reading

Are all you ladies being secretly naughty in plain sight?

I was reading in The Wall Street Journal about the link between the rise in sales of e-readers and the growing popularity of erotica. Apparently, the particular genre of erotica they’re referring to is called “romantica,” because it appeals to women and always has a happy ending (not that kind). Hmm...what are you ladies up to? I’m intrigued.

The article points out that the relative anonymity of downloading books digitally and reading them on a neatly wrapped electronic device is what makes e-readers the perfect platform for X-rated literature. One woman they interviewed claimed to have bought a Kindle just so she could read Fifty Shades of Grey, the erotica series that the entire country is buzzing about right now. As a man, I have to say it’s exciting to think that the woman sitting next to me on the train, who looks so sweet and demure, might actually be reading an erotic novel. It never even occurred to me before, but I like it!

This phenomenon makes me wonder, though: What are the guilty reading pleasures of men? I have to admit, I enjoy a sci-fi novel every now and then, but I wouldn’t be embarrassed to read, say, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in public. So I asked a few male friends of mine for their theories on what guys are reading covertly on their Kindles and Nooks. The top answer? Women’s magazines. Why? “Because we like to understand how women’s minds work.” I also asked Holly what she thought men were secretly reading. Her answer: Fifty Shades of Grey.

Tell me, ladies: Have you ever downloaded erotica to your e-reader? Would you? And what dirty little secrets do you think you’d find on men’s Kindles and Nooks?

-- Jack