The Romance Novel That Led to My Sexual Awakening

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Alright dear readers. Listen up. Gather ’round for story time. I’d like to tell you all about the time that I had my sexual awakening via romance novel. There will be laughter, there will be joy, there will be confusion. It should be fun.

Let’s set the stage for you. I’m between the ages of 10-12. Can’t remember exactly because I have a notoriously terrible memory when it comes to dates and ages. During this age period I am an AVID reader. I mean voracious. I read anything I can get my hands on.

Growing up we spent every single summer in Finland. My mother is Finnish and all her family was there so we’d go back for about two months every summer and spend time on my grandmothers farm. All the aunts would descend upon the farm with their children in tow and the house was bursting at the seams with family.

There was a tiny TV that got about four Finnish tv stations and was more or less reserved for my grandmother to watch Finnish soap operas on. Us kids made our own entertainment. We played cops and robbers, built forts in the woods, rode bikes, went swimming, and had an all around amazing summer. There was always a cousin to play with and you were never truly lonely.

I, however, also had the added joy of unfettered reading time. I would come to Finland with books in tow, but this was before the time of kindles. So I would quickly make my way through my book stash. I’d go to the local library and scour the sad half shelf that had english language books. Which is why I read things outside my usual Genres, things such as the Matarese Countdown by Robert Ludlum. Which I shockingly loved. 

Anyway, I digress. Back to the juicy stuff. So here I am, between 10-12 dying for a book. Nothing left to read and the library wasn’t cutting it. So I went to bother my cousin who was much older than me. Begging her to let me read one of her books (she was also American and thus had English language books).

She hands me Till We Meet Again by Judith Krantz. Woo boy. Let me tell you. Not only is this a great book, but it is a sexy book. This book was epic. It was sweeping. It spanned decades and multiple generations. It was set against a historical back drop and took place in different countries. It had badass female characters who had autonomy over their lives. And… did I mention that it was sexy?


I remember the first sex scene. The well off main character at the start runs away from home and has an elicit love affair, which was scandalous for the time. It was set right at the beginning of WWI. This love affair is described in detail and I started to have the tingles in places that hadn’t tingled before. I was confused and slightly embarrassed. I thanked the heavens that I was reading alone in the sauna cabin. Until that moment, I had no idea that a book could give you a physical reaction. Could actually put butterflies into your stomach.

I continued to devour this book. Now keep in mind this book is going on 600 pages. For a young reader it was a lot of material to get through. It was also a freaking minefield to read a sexy book that is 600 pages long in a setting crammed with people. I’d be chugging along reading all the interesting historical parts, like how the youngest daughter got her pilots license and flew planes in WWII, then BAM! Very detailed sexy time. I’d have to either stop reading or run away to a more quiet spot so nobody would know. Heaven forbid they actually know that I’m reading about… shifty eyes S-E-X.

In hindsight I am so thankful that my sexual awakening happened with this book. The details are slightly fuzzy but the three main characters in this book all had sexual autonomy. Even for the time period. They were in charge of their lives and they decided what sexual encounters they wanted to have. For a young impressionable girl that was a great first introduction into sexual relationships. Women were allowed pleasure, and in fact, demanded pleasure.

Anyway. Thanks Judith Krantz. Since then I’ve read some books that have made be blush from head to toe. But I’ll never forget my first.


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