Possibly to the surprise of suburban Fifty Shades of Grey fanatics everywhere, the whole sexy book phenomenon is not a new one. Erotic literature is so old that it predates the printing press. As long as people have had sexual organs, they have been finding ways to make them feel good. Before videos and photos, written smut used to be the only real pornographic medium.
In the 60s, 70s, 80s, and much of the 90s, it used to be that porn was for men and romance novels were for women. It is often quoted “science” that men are more visual creatures while romantic words speak directly to the hearts of ladies. To be fair, until recently, porn past the 70s wasn’t really anything necessarily stimulating either. So you had a choice: long acrylic nails and bleach-blonde hair with waxed-smooth vaginas or paperback covers that look like they had been inspired by cheesy hotel theme rooms.
While not much may have changed in the mainstream porn world, erotic literature has evolved to a point of mastery. Not just for dainty gentlewomen whose delicate sensibilities scare them away from porn, there are some pretty well-written books that will make certain undergarments damp or certain body parts stiffen.
Not to be confused with those cheesy romance novels almost every girl I went to high school with rubbed one out to, contemporary erotica mostly gets to the good stuff. Instead of building ridiculous emotion-fraught story arcs, erotic literature just sets the stage as much as is necessary to get the scene going – similar to the pizza boy or plumber storyline in terrible porn, but smarter because it uses words. It gives you both the relaxing and brain-stimulating practice of reading with the psychological and physical benefits of orgasm. Plus, watching porn in the bath is near impossible, whereas slipping a book in between your towels is much easier.
Even in this day and age of instantaneous porn with seemingly endless variety, erotic literature is still an important tool in exploring sexuality. If you’re thinking of dipping your toe into the waters of erotic literature and picking up some sexy reading, it too is widely available online for free. Like porn, there truly is something for every taste, fetish, kink, and turn-on – including even the most taboo.
So if you like your BDSM with proper boundaries and consent, take a look around the web and skip the Grey. Just like porn, I think it’s important to fairly pay the people who produce the things that get us off. Yes, I am asking you to put a price on an orgasm.
Here are just a few titles worth checking out:
Best Women’s Erotica 2012 and Just Watch Me: Erotica for Women by Violet Blue
Frenzy: 60 Stories of Sudden Sex by Alison Tyler
Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch Femme Erotica by Tristan Taormino
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