• Sophie Russell

My mom wants to read my explicit book(s)

Whether you write them or are big fans of them, being knowledgeable of family members reading explicit material—particularly of your choosing—is uncomfortable. Or at least it is in the US; sound off in the comments if it’s not uncomfortable (culturally speaking) where you are. What’s even more uncomfortable is a family member realizing what you read. And enjoy. And seek out for entertainment. And create.

That’s some awkward shit right there.

When I first told my mom that I was writing gay romance, she said, “Let me know when you publish it so I can buy it.” I replied, “As long as you don’t read it.” And she said (I shit you not), “Then why would I buy it?” I about died.

As time passed, though, I realized that my mom—who is super into the whole Jesus-thing—would probably enjoy the overall content of my book, if not the explicit scenes. And I was right.

Last week, I debuted. (I’m not writing a debut post just yet, because I’m still processing it.) It was better than I expected, and my mom bought my book.

This week, she had time to read it, and she finished it today. She sent me a text that she finished it, and then she called me to talk about it.

I was pretty nervous, and parts of the conversation were undoubtedly awkward, but it was good overall. I allowed room in my life for my mom to support me in a way that means a lot to both of us. I made a concession by inviting her in, and she made a concession about skipping explicit content, lol.

Her—more or less—exact words were, “Four pages in a row of explicit content just isn’t for me.” I respect that, and my mom, by nature, isn’t a big romance reader. But shortly afterward, she said (again, I shit you not) “I don’t even know how you know what they do in the bedroom! I don’t even know how some people can do some things, but that’s just me.” I about died again—from hilarity and embarrassment.

What’s more is that I’m pretty sure she was talking about rimming, which is something I have never wanted to talk about with most people, let alone my mother, but we both survived it. And oddly, we’re closer for it.

I feel very fortunate that my mom is open minded. She may be a trained chaplain—yes, Ruthie is based on my mom—but she’s more concerned about how people treat one another rather than the dogma of everything. And I’m aware that not everyone is as fortunate.

If you have a family member who you feel safe sharing your interests with, take a chance and do it. But if you’re in a place where you can’t, find an online group to join where you can geek out with people who get it.

I guess the whole point of this blog post is that I invested time in worrying about how my mom would react, how it might change things, and how I would feel about the changes. Ultimately, though, that worry was a waste of time and energy. It led to some funny moments, but I worried needlessly, and that’s how a lot of my worries are.

I suppose another point of this is to remind you to surround yourself with people who appreciate the genuine you, even if they don’t understand. Appreciation goes a long way, and if you develop trust, it’s even better. Trust is difficult, but when you find it, embrace it, even if it leads to talking—in a roundabout way—about rimming with your mom.



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