Stop Saying ‘Girly Bits’ ~ Outside the Margins with Megan Derr

Join Prism Book Alliance® as Megan Derr goes Outside the Margins today.


If you can say dick and cock, you can say vagina. If you can discuss rimjobs and blowjobs, you can say vagina. If you can have entire long discussions and write/read posts about BDSM, role playing, rape fantasies, you can say vagina. If you can read gang bangs, anthro, and a thousand other very adult subjects, you can learn to say vagina and stop acting like a child about them. They’re not ‘girly bits’ or ‘female bits’. You read books about people fucking, and often those books are extremely graphic and shy away from nothing. You can say and type the word vagina (and clitoris).

I recently published a book, Wriggle & Sparkle, and one of the characters, Lynn, in genderfluid. He’s also a kraken shifter, which gives him the ability to shift between his kraken form, a half-human half-kraken form, a cis-male form, and a cis-female form. So yes, there is human/tentacle porn, m/m porn, and m/f porn (his lover is a cis-male unicorn shifter).

And predictably, in a genre full predominantly of women, I get comments like this:

HOWEVER, the one thing that worked a bit less for me is the bits with the female. I really prefer male/male, so that threw me off a bit. Not enough to close it or say it was bad, or even knock half a star over it, but it is there, and not central to the book, and it felt like a little pulled thread on smooth fabric. Nothing to panic over, but it’s there and it annoys you a tiny bit.

(And that is a Netgalley review, which I consider professional reviews, so I don’t think it’s wrong of me to quote it.)

But it seriously bothers me that this reviewer, and several others, consider the presence of a vagina, of a woman enjoying herself, a pulled thread. As in, something damaging to the whole, a blemish on an otherwise perfect canvas – an annoyance. And yet that is what the majority of the MM thinks when it comes to vaginas, to women period, even though most of this genre is comprised of women.

I also dislike the idea that anyone considers it not central to the book. Lynn is genderfluid. If you denied him that aspect of himself, told him he could only be male or female, it would have a devastating, traumatic effect on him. It would be irresponsible of me to say a character is genderfluid and then never in any way address that aspect of them. It IS a central part of the book because it’s a central part of one of the main characters.

Frankly, I’m tired of the sexism. I’ve been tired of it for a very long time, as have a lot of other women. We’re not something to be ashamed of. We’re not pulled threads. This genre is predominantly men loving men, but it’s also about queer romance, and there’s also the fact that women exist. To not have women in books would be a bit strange. For years I stuck to men only because of the hate that women receive. I didn’t want the hate mail. I didn’t want to read that people ‘hoped the bitch died’ (which I definitely read more than once). And all these kinds of comments were left by women. Do you know how depressing that is? To write a woman I love dearly, who is one of my favorite characters period, only to have people tell me they were glad she died? Do you know how frustrating it is to right about a group of women, only to have a reviews skip an entire third of my book and say that the relationship between the man and woman was platonic when it was in fact romantic and passionate, but they wouldn’t read it because of a vagina? It’s disheartening. On more than one occasion this kind of poisonous behavior has nearly driven me to quit writing altogether.

I have friends who are legitimately triggered by the presence of people with vaginas fucking however that’s an entirely different matter and obviously one I don’t take issue with. But people like the reviewer who left the above comment?

Need to grow up. It shouldn’t be okay to say women are a pulled thread. It shouldn’t be okay to constantly use vaginas and women as insults. I cannot tell you how many gay men in my life have used the phrase ‘don’t be such a vagina’. I try not to hate people for saying something mean or stupid, because most people don’t mean to hurt others (and I’ve said my share of stupid shit), but I cannot stand that phrase and hate anyone who uses it, in any capacity, and every single time it’s been a gay man. Straight men seem to prefer some variation of ‘stop acting like a girl’ or ‘don’t be such a little bitch’.

Am I saying you should feel bad and immediately start reading more books with women having sex? No, of course not. I begrudge no one their preferences. I do begrudge people being assholes about it. Saying ‘M/F isn’t my thing, so that wasn’t my favorite part’ is fine. Saying the ‘female bits’ (because god forbid we speak of women’s body without sounding like children, even though we’re perfectly capable of being adult about men’s bodies) were damaging, were wrong, were gross, etc, is out of line, and speaks to the misogyny, visible or internalized or even both, of the reader.

So the next time you decide to get derisive about the presence of women, in any capacity, ask yourself if that’s really what you think of women (in many cases, of yourself) and if you’d be willing to behave as callously to our faces as you behave online.

~Megan Derr


Title: Wriggle & Sparkle
Author: Megan Derr
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: 08/11/2016
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Genre: Paranormal, Romance


Lynn is a kraken shifter in every way: detailed, tenacious, resilient, and hard-working. Also possessive, vain, arrogant, and demanding. It makes him an excellent agent for the Federal Bureau of Paranormal Security and Investigation—and impossible to work with, as the long list of partners who have transferred away from him will attest.

His newest partner is a unicorn, possibly the worst type of paranormal for work that often turns ugly and violent. Everyone knows unicorns are too delicate for such things. Then Anderson proves to be a unicorn like no other, the kind of partner Lynn has always wanted—the kind of partner he wishes was more. But if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s that the only thing harder to keep than a partner is a lover.


Wriggle & Sparkle on Goodreads
Less Than Three Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

About Megan Derr

Megan is a long time resident of LGBTQ fiction, and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she’s not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies. She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all over the internet.

Comment Contest
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
This post may contain affiliate links.
Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

16 thoughts on “Stop Saying ‘Girly Bits’ ~ Outside the Margins with Megan Derr

  1. I loved Lynn’s character because no matter what form, there was Lynn–cranky, crass, and awesome. Lynn’s sense of style was a big part of either form, and I loved how that translated to fluidly pairing elements of both wardrobes whenever it suited. While I don’t like reading traditional MF romance for the most part because all too often the female stereotype drives me up the wall because I can’t stand that ‘type’ of woman, I didn’t have that issue with Wriggle and Sparkle at all.

    I do, however, say girly bits. However, I also say dangly bits to refer to men. For me, it’s all about the context and timing, which would not be in an eBook review, especially an ARC received expressly for that purpose.

    • Yeah, I should have clarified that obviously there are times and places where the terms make sense to use, that was sloppy on my part 🙂

      Yeah, MF and MM alike have stereotypes that will drive you up the wall. I remember all the ones that drove me nuts in het romance.

  2. I’ve read straight and gay fiction but read straight for a lot longer. Both sex/intimate scenes wouldn’t bother me it’s making a woman a virgin and a man a whore yet changes his ways for her but that’s my own bug bear 😏 Anyway I’m gonna be happy to buy this book come payday and read it vaginas and penises abound cos I just don’t care it’s the intimate relationships and love that I want not spec body parts 🙈

  3. You can’t see me right now but I am SCREAMING with approval. 👏🏻 Your books (which were already on my list) just got moved right to the top.

  4. Well said! I see a lot of female readers who don’t want anything to do with m/f sex in their books, who make derisive comments about vaginas which boggles me. I see lots of readers raving over certain books which are full of misogyny or laughing hysterically over vagina jokes which I didn’t find the least bit funny. I see a lot of authors, both male & female describing their characters as acting like girls as if being a girl is a horrible thing & perpetuating the stereotype that only females are allowed to show their feelings otherwise it makes the person weak.

  5. I reviewed the book today–totally adored btw–and had to read this post because I was afraid I might have included something that would irritate the author. But, now I see that my mention of Anderson loving up Lynn’s “lady parts” was strictly descriptive, without being derogatory, so, yay! Also, sooooo much tentacle sex. Which was wow and whoa.

    I read all romance fiction straight, gay, les, poly, ace, so I’m totally cool with all the terms, I usually dumb down the review, however, because I don’t want to get banned from Amazon. Vagina/cock are no no’s there, for the record. Lady parts and manhood? Green light! Plus, it’s nice when the review is a little silly and playful. But, no I’m not cool with misogyny. One of my FEW once star reads was for a book where the male lead talked a whole lotta trash about the woman (“hole”) he used for no-strings recreational sex. I returned that DNF book for a refund.

    • Yeah, I should have thought to clarify I get where the terms can’t be used (like Amazon, who pitches a fit if you say ‘screw’ I swear to god).

      Haha, the tentacle sex was really weird to write the first couple of times. But now I’ve got that down, everything else seems so much easier :3

  6. …and another thing: Why does a woman who functions as a man’s “beard” have to be a clinging bitch? I just finished a story where one of the guys was playing straight, had been engaged for a few years, and the woman turned out to be gay too, and was just as reluctant to come out as the guy was. When the guy got the nerve up to come out, he actually called the girl (he considered her his best friend) and apologized for any strain or inconvenience he was going to cause her. I saw this as so – grown-up! And I would like to see more of it. You know, common courtesy.
    Good commentary, Ms. Derr 😀

    • Oh, I like that take on the whole “beard” arrangement, that’s so much better than the clinging bitch. Grown up, as you say, there def needs to be more of that!

  7. Good post! Because, yes!

    I started reading predominantly m/m because I was tired of how weak women were portrayed in erotic romance. I still prefer to read m/m and don’t always like it when I expect to read a m/m book and it suddenly turns out to be more m/f than m/m but that is a blurb thing as well.

    At the same time I also get annoyed how some people react when there is m/f in a story. Like you say: grow up. I rather have a story be believable (like Wriggle and even Shield) than wonder: mmm they say they are [fill in whatever] but there is never a woman to be seen.

    Hope I explained it right 🙂

  8. Brava Ms. Derr. I’m in love with your books and am working on buying and reading some of your older work while buying every new book you put out. I haven’t finished Wriggle and Sparkle yet, but I recently read the first (only?) m/f sex scene. I was really glad that you made it a part of the story because I was wondering if it would get any “screen time,” or only be referenced in an “off screen” sort of way.

    Naming and calling body parts by their correct names is really important to me and something I am currently addressing with my 7yr old niece. In one of my last interactions with her she was referring to boobs as “you know whats” while gesturing at her chest. She informed me that she thought she would get in trouble at school if she said boobs or breasts and I was at a bit of a loss on how to address this, aside from telling her that I wanted her to be aware of what the proper terms were. I hate that my 7yr old niece is being taught that a woman’s body is something to be ashamed of, so much so that we can’t even refer to the parts in an anatomical way. It is something we will be discussing more in the future and I am determined that by the end of the year she will be feeling confident enough to say at school boobs, breasts, vagina, and penis and will tell anyone who tries to get her in trouble that they need to talk to her parents and her aunt.

    Eh, I didn’t mean to make my comment more about my child rearing woes than about your lovely book. Like I said, I’m glad you wrote about Lynn being a woman. I read m/m more than m/f, but I like well done m/f and I feel confident saying that I’d like anything you wrote since you have now sold me on tentacle sex. 🙂 I’m looking forward to finishing the story!

Leave a Reply