My Dirty Bits

Ayla in The Valley of HorsesWriter India Knight has edited a book called Dirty Bits For Girls. The book is an anthology of those well-thumbed naughty bits cherished by an older generation of women, back when information about sex was a lot harder to find.

India’s article on her book appears in the Times Online. Seems that 80s power novels and bodice-ripping romances were highly prized for stirring the erotic imagination.

It’s one of those questions that gets everyone thinking – and one that we’ve all got an answer to. What were your “dirty bits”?

Here’s mine:


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Where Did I Come From?
Sure, it’s an innocent sex education picture book, but that picture where the man and the woman get “really close” was SO RUDE!!! OK, so I was five, but I knew dirty rudey-nudey smut when I saw it.

The Seniors Series
Teen romance novels were big in Year 8, but when we’d all had enough of Sweet Dreams romances, we moved on to the Seniors Series. These were fabulous because the girls in these books did it. Obviously not in any detail, but the very fact that they got it on was pretty damned impressive and well worth reading sixteen times.

Forever by Judy Blume
“I’m trying Kath, but it’s very tight in there!” This novel of first sex was extremely hot property at school. There was a huge waiting list to borrow it from the school library and personal copies were passed around and thoroughly pored over. At least it was a bit more realistic than the Seniors books… and there’s even a female orgasm.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole
Not really dirty as much as fascinating… this book seemed to offer a window into the strange minds of the teenage boys around me. My friends and I loved the fact that Adrian kept a wall chart of penis measurements and were quite certain that they all did it.

The ABZ of Love
This old-fashioned instruction manual had a black cover and sat unnoticed on my parent’s top bookshelf until I happened upon it one evening when they were out. The trickiest part of reading this book was the fact that all the glue in the spine had dried up and it liked to fall apart and lose pages – which is the last thing you need when you’re furtively looking up the word “cunnilingus”.

The Song of Solomon
Yep, I knew exactly where to find the word “breasts” in the Bible.

The Earth’s Children novels
I’ve written about the erotic adventures of Ayla before. Fact is, those florid sex scenes were the dirtiest thing I’d ever read which made them absolutely thrilling and created all sorts of inaccurate visions of how sex should be.

There were also a couple of nondescript 80s airport novels whose titles I can’t remember. These linger in my memory because the sex scenes involved taking “poppers” and in my limited experience a Popper was a tetra pak of orange juice with a straw. I remember wondering how it was that fruit juice could induce mind blowing orgasms. I’m still wondering that, actually.

I find myself looking at my bookshelf and pondering those books that I always felt had a mysterious erotic charge, even if there’s no actual sex in them. These books include:

* The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin
* Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park
* The Cybil War by Betsy Byers

There’s something about the interactions between the male and female characters that is… hot.

There’s also The Changeover by Margaret Mahy, a novel featuring a teenage girl and her growing relationship with an older boy, one who unabashedly says he wants to sleep with her and fondles her breast before he kisses her. There’s a lot of sexual longing in that book on top of a very unusual romance. I re-read it only recently and admire it very much.