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7 Essays To Read: Sex Scenes That Are Actually Sexy, Confident Black Men, And Debt

This week, Hayley Krischer makes the case for the muted sex scene and explains why subtlety is sexy. Read that and other essays from ELLE, The Toast, Pitchfork, and more.

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1. "The Sex in Romance Novels Isn’t Sexy, But Here’s What Is" — BuzzFeed Ideas

Ben King / BuzzFeed

Unusual for most romance novels, the sex in Girl on the Train is dark, gritty, and it's barely there. For Hayley Krischer, the subtlety of the book's sex scenes makes them some of the best she's ever read. "A successful sex scene, for me, has very little to do with penetration or the girth of a lover’s cock," she writes in a piece for BuzzFeed Ideas. "I want the sex to touch on the character’s relationship. I want the sex scene to act as subtext. I want complexity. I like less amplification." Read it here.

2. "The Good Girl’s Guide to Staying Alive" — Hazlitt

In true crime, women are often portrayed as the victims. What's more puzzling is that studies show women to be the primary consumers of true crime books. For Hazlitt, Casey Johnston looked into why female readers are so drawn to stories about their own destruction. "Women may gravitate toward true crime because it as part of the self-blaming cycle society imposes, and consume true crime as a way to prepare for or cope with the challenges that come with living in a society that hates women," she ruminates. Read Johnston's piece at Hazlitt.

3. "Dare To Be Different" — The Toast

Matthew Salesses / Via

Depending on who you are, "being different" is either an inevitable obligation or a choice. No one explains this better than Korean adoptee and author Matthew Salesses. "I have trouble saying, I am, without remembering all of the times I have been told, You are not," he writes in a piece for The Toast. "To someone who has always had to qualify himself, it can be frustrating to see identification with difference ignore the burden of qualification." Read his essay here.

4. "Op-Ed: On Kanye West and Black Humility" — Pitchfork

Kanye West said a lot during his 11-minute acceptance speech at this year's VMAs. But the way some people reacted to his speech actually says a whole lot more about how society perceives confident black men. For Pitchfork, Martin Douglas writes, "Confident black men are constantly held under by society, frequently told to not say much and accept what society gives us. This is a tactic to hold us 'in place,' to make sure we don’t 'overstep our boundaries.'" Read Douglas' op-ed at Pitchfork.


5. "How It Feels When White People Shame Your Culture’s Food — Then Make It Trendy" — The Washington Post

Ruth Tam / Via

Growing up, Ruth Tam's home would smell like whatever her family was cooking that day. She wasn't aware of the smell until a high school friend said that her house reeked of "Chinese grossness." Fast forward a few years, and the foods Tam once felt ashamed of have suddenly become "trendy." For The Washington Post, Tam explains why the recent interest in "ethnic food" stings for immigrant kids like her. Read it at The Washington Post.

6. "The Trouble With 'Trying'" — ELLE

There's something problematic about the way society describes women attempting to conceive. It's a euphemism for an intimate act between two people, and it invokes "the unforgiving binary of success and failure." For ELLE, Chloe Schama argues we need a better word for getting pregnant — that or we ought to inquire less about other women's personal lives. Read her essay at ELLE.

7. "This Is How Debt Teaches You About Money" — BuzzFeed Ideas

David Tolu Graham for BuzzFeed / Via

For as long as she could remember, money has always been a source of contention in Gena-mour Barrett's household. When Barett was six, her father died, leaving behind Barrett and her mother — along with a massive £180,000 debt. For BuzzFeed Ideas, Barett explains what debt taught her about money. Read it at BuzzFeed Ideas.

Want to read more?

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Susan Cheng is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

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