I’ve covered recommended non-fiction books on sexuality but there’s another genre that can also help your sex life, Erotica. Erotica, literature intended to arouse sexual desire, has been around for a long time. Humans have enjoyed reading and writing about sex in a variety of ways with a myriad of themes. It’s a way to explore fantasies by using the theater of the mind. Evidence of erotica dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. Today, erotica has been gaining momentum in mainstream acceptance and popularity. There is so much out there, though, that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, or if chaff is your thing to find the one that appeals to you. Here are some recommendations of authors and genres, from the dawn of erotica to modern times, to help guide you in your quest for some delicious erotica
From the time humans began communicating with written text they seem to be writing about explicit sexual adventures. Early examples only exist in fragments but you can start with a 15th century erotic tale like The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. This book contains 100 tales of seven women and three men hiding in a villa outside Florence during the Black Death. The 16th century brought us The Heptameron by Margueritte De Navarre is a collection of erotic takes inspired by The Decameron. The 18th Century had a number of erotic novels; Fanny Hill – A Memoir of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland, Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert and Justine or The Misadventures of Virtue by Marquis De Sade. The 19th century gave us The Autobiography of a Flea by Anonymous, a story told from the viewpoint of a flea, The Romance of Lust by Anonymous which is four volumes about a young man’s sexual adventures, and Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoc who’s name was used to coin the phrase masochism.
20th Century Erotica
The 20th century managed to release the grip of the conservative and buttoned up Victorian era enabling readers to find more erotica than ever before. Early novels like D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover published in the late 20’s, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller from the mid ‘30’s, Story of O by Pauline Reage, from the mid 50s’, Emmanuelle by Emmanuelle Arasan, in the late ‘60’s, Fear of Flying by Erica Jong in the early ‘70’s, Delta of Venus by Anais Nin and 9 ½ weeks by Elizabeth McNeil from the late 70’s pushed boundaries. The 80’s became saturated with content leaving no specific titles coming to the forefront. Perhaps Endless Love by Scott Spencer and the memorable BDSM trilogy The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Roquelaure (Anne Rice) in the early 80’s.
Contemporary Erotica Novels
The 80’s were inundated with Harlequin romance novels and the popularity of the “bodice rippers” that would continue for some time. Eventually explicit stories weren't just the realm of the backroom dime store quality novels with their titillating covers or the popular Penthouse letters. Once we get into the 90’s there is a shift in perception about erotica. People begin to recognize erotica is more than just Penthouse Forum or fiction labeled “romance” with an artist rendering starring Fabio. With the popularity of Fifty Shade of Grey, there has been a growing acceptance of erotica in the mainstream. Thankfully there are plenty of books, both kinky and non-kinky, that are much better written than the gateway Fifty Shades. Try Nicholas Bakers’ Vox or House of Holes, Portia De Costa’s In To Deep or Alessandra Torre’s Sex Love Repeat. Try sexy BDSM novels like or Laura Antoniou’s The Killer Wore Leather, a kinky murder mystery. Many authors have books in a steamy series like Alison Tyler’s alphabet series (A is for Amour, etc.) will keep you busy from A-Z or Sylvain Reynard’s series starting with Gabriel’s Inferno, or a BDSM series like Carrie’s Story and it’s sequel Safe Word by Molly Weatherfield or Silvia Day’s Crossfire series starting with Bared To You. Authors that were formerly (or even currently) sex workers have successfully tried their hand at erotica. There’s the autobiographical The Sexual Life of Catherine M by Catherine Millet or the erotic novels of former porn star Jenna Jamison including Sugar.
Contemporary Erotica Anthologies
Anthologies are great if you want short bites of hot erotica, and it’s a great way to discover new authors. Anthologies are great to share with a partner since the chapters are short enough to read together as a little foreplay. Anthologies can come in a “best of erotica” style grouping or have a specific theme. You can find excellent anthology books through companies like Cleis Press. I highly recommend anthologies edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Mitzi Szereto, Tristan Taormino, and Violet Blue, all excellent writers themselves. Joan Price has put together some amazing erotica that also reminds us we never stop being sexy even as we get older in Ageless Erotica. Trailblazers in sexuality and activism like Carol Queen and Susie Bright have not only written great books but also edited some amazing anthologies. Try Bitten by Susie Bright or Five Minute Erotica by Carol Queen.
A Treasure Trove of Erotica Writing
There really is too much out there for this to be a comprehensive list of good erotica. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Checking out reviews and recommendation can help you sift through the huge selection of titles out there, but you might find what’s good for you was not good for everyone else. Anthologies are great because you can get bites of an author’s work then move up to a full size novel by your favorite contributor. Some of the best writers out there only work in short story form too. Another way to experiment with sexy stories is online erotica on sites like Literotica, which offers erotic stories in an open source format. Anyone can submit to Literotica but the stories are processed and approved by an editor to maintain the quality of its postings. Lush Stories works the same way, a large selection of vetted stories. A Google search will produce a number of free erotica portals but also check individual author pages as they may post stories for free. You can get your erotica in small fast food quickie bites like online short stories, a buffet of selections in a collective works like an anthology or sit down to a hearty meal of a hot erotic novel. The largest sex organ on your body is your brain. Hope these books titillate and inspire you.
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