Over the years, erotic novels have garnered a bad reputation for being horribly cheesy. Blame it on bad cover art, blame it on a few poorly-written books, blame it on Fabio — but most of us either avoid erotica because we're embarrassed to be caught with it or read it in secret, hoping never to be found out.

However, it's time to flip the script. Erotica is a legitimate form of literature, and it's frickin' hot as hell. What's not to love? Now that BDSM and other kinds of kink have gone mainstream, it's about damn time erotic novels stepped out of the shadows.

If you're curious about erotic novels (duh, who isn't?) and aren't really sure where to start, we've rounded up some of the best sex scenes ever written. Now get going.

1. Lick by Kylie Scott

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"'God, David.' I arched against him when he moved to my other breast. Two fingers worked inside me, a little uncomfortable but nothing I couldn’t handle. Not so long as he kept his mouth on me, lavishing my breasts with attention. His thumb rubbed around a sweet spot and my eyes rolled back into my head. So close. The strength of what was building was staggering. Mind-blowing. My body was going to be blown to dust, atoms, when this hit. If he stopped, I’d cry. Cry, and beg. And maybe kill... I came, groaning, every muscle drawn taut. It was almost too much. Almost."

More: An Erotica Author's 7 Best Sex Tips — Plus, Her Hot Picks to Read and Watch

2. Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

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"When she saw that he was dissolved with pleasure, she stopped, divining that perhaps if she deprived him now he might make a gesture towards fulfillment. At first he made no motion. His sex was quivering, and he was tormented with desire… Marianne grew desperate. She pushed his hand away, took his sex into her mouth again, and with her two hands she encircled his sexual parts, caressed him and absorbed him until he came. He leaned over with gratitude, tenderness, and murmured, 'You are the first woman, the first woman, the first woman…'"

3. Night After Night by Lauren Blakely

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"He drove his tongue inside her, setting off another shattering moan that was music to his ears. She was quite an instrument to play, so finely tuned, and if he touched her right, she made the most glorious sounds — raw, intense, absolutely delicious noises of pleasure as he plundered her with his tongue. She grabbed his hair, yanked and pulled him closer as he’d told her to do. He thrust one finger inside her, crooking it and hitting her in the spot that turned her moans into one long, high-pitched orgasm. She shuddered against him, her legs quaking, and when he finally slowed to look up at her, he saw her hair was a wild tumble, and her face was glowing."

Next Up: Exit to Eden by Anne Rice

Originally published April 2014. Updated June 2017.

4. Exit to Eden by Anne Rice

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"Then his hands came to life. He went as if to rub his wrists, then he reached for the blindfold, his fingers dancing right in front of it without touching it, and then he reached out for me. I jumped. He caught me by the arms, wrapping his fingers all the way around them and bringing me forward. And then he realized I was naked, and he felt my sides and my breasts, giving a little startled noise. And before I could stop him, he had pulled me to him, forcing me against his chest. His cock was thumping against my sex, and he kissed me in that shocking way and I realized he had lifted me off my feet."

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5. The Sexual Life of Catherine M by Catherine Millet

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"Ringo came and took his place on top of me, while the third boy, who was more reserved than the other two, rested on one elbow beside us and ran his hand over my upper body. Ringo’s body was very different from Andre’s, and I liked it better. He was taller, more wiry, and one of those men who isolate the action of the pelvis from the rest of the body, who thrust without smothering, supporting their torso with their arms. But Andre seemed more mature to me, his flesh was not so spare, he already had less hair and I liked going to sleep bundled up next to him with my buttocks against his belly, telling him we were a perfect fit."

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6. Sex Love Repeat by Alessandra Torre

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"'You are mine,' he grunts out, pumping into me, the length and level of his arousal brutal. 'Mine,' he swears, as he releases my mouth and turns me around, pushing me forward as he yanks my legs back, one hand hard on my back, the other gripping my ass. He doesn’t slow the movement, giving me full, hard thrusts, my breasts bouncing from the top of my dress, the mirror above the sink giving me a full view of my slutdom. Paul, in worn jeans, a white tee-shirt, light hair mussed, mouth open, intensity over his face. His reflection pulls at my hair, tilting my head back, and I find his eyes on mine in the mirror."

Next Up: The Naughty List Edited by Cori Vidae

7. The Naughty List Edited by Cori Vidae (Excerpt from "My Midnight Cowboy" by Pumpkin Spice)

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"I slowly moved up and down, timing my thrusts with the second hands on the clocks. As they began their final rotation of the year, I increased my speed. Ben wrapped his arm around my waist and dug himself further into me, which I didn't think was possible. My breath caught.

"'Five ... four ...' he said in my ear.

"The tram slowed and my heartbeat accelerated.

"'Three ... two ...' his voice taunted me.

"Every point in my body sparked with desire until I hit the golden spot. Then my back arched, my mouth opened and I lost all control of my senses. 'One,' I screamed and collapsed against him.

"'Happy New Year, Lucy.'"

8. The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

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"He spread her wide and she closed her eyes at the touch, lewd and lascivious and lovely, at once thankful for the darkness and quite desperate for the light. 'Did you touch yourself?'

"She shook her head, her hands searching for him. Finding his soft hair. 'No.' He stopped again and her fingers curled against him. 'It's true. I didn't. But ...'

"He blew softly on the exposed center of her. 'But?'

"She inhaled, the breath ragged and not enough, and though it was he who knelt, it was she who confessed.'But I wanted to.'

"He rewarded her honesty with his mouth, consuming her like fire, his tongue stroking in long, slow licks, curling in a slick promise at the hard center of her pleasure, and she lifted her hips to meet his remarkable mouth, not caring that the action could be called nothing but wanton. She did want. She needed."

9. Wolf Among Sheep by Sara Dobie Bauer

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"'Kiss me, Avery,' I whisper. He slips his lips against mine once before opening my mouth with his tongue. I moan and pull his body down tightly against me, skin to skin. No teasing this time, my journalist. I will feel you. All of you. He sucks on my lower lip. He runs his fingers through my hair. Then his hand is on my breast, thumb on my nipple.

"Noelle is at our side, watching, touching herself. Only once does she lean forward and suckle at his shoulder. His mouth leaves mine and finds hers. He earns a delicious purr before I pull on his hair to get him back to me.

"I am dripping, and I can feel Avery, hard against my stomach, bigger than my husband. I wonder if Timothy will like that or turn Avery into a submissive pet, punished for his obscene show of masculinity. Then, he’s pressed to my opening, but he freezes. I look into his curious eyes. 'Yes,' I sigh."

10. The Match of the Century by Cathy Maxwell

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"He kissed her ear, as he said, 'I don't want either of us to ever forget this night.'

"She answered by plastering her mouth on his and kissing him in a way she'd never thought possible, her hips moving against him, knowing there must be more. Ben settled himself between her legs. She cradled his hips with her thighs. And then he was at the portal. The sharp pain she had once endured was a distant memory, and nothing, absolutely nothing in this world, felt as good as the sensation of him slowly sliding into her.

"'Are you all right?' he asked. He sounded as if he was holding himself in check, as if it took all of his will to do so.

"Elin arched and stretched beneath him. Her movements sent him deeper, and she liked that. 'I've never been better,' she practically purred."

Next Up: The Surrender Gate by Christopher Rice

11. The Surrender Gate by Christopher Rice

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"Jonathan sinks to his knees in front of her, while reaching behind him to pull a condom from the pocket of his rumpled jeans. Once he's sheathed, he takes her ankles in both hands. His muscles ripple and tense as he finds the perfect aim against her wet, throbbing pussy. He locks eyes with her as he presses into her.

"The sudden, delicious sense that Jonathan is hers, for now, entirely and completely hers, fills her with as much force and speed as his hard cock. As his thrusts gain a steady tempo, she brings her hands to his pecs, his nipples, down his abs, clamping her legs around his waist, driving him further into her until their sweat-slick bodies are sliding together, and he's whispering in her ear, 'I never knew you were such a dirty girl, Emily Blaine.'"

12. Enchanted by Nancy Madore

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"When at last I entered his chamber, I was positively quivering with excitement. The Beast was sitting in a chair in a remote corner of the darkened room. Removing my robe, I positioned myself on the edge of the bed in just the way he liked best, as was my habit. Within seconds I was soaking wet and aching for him. That's the way it was for me with the Beast. It was enough just to wait there, trembling and poised on my hands and knees, anticipating what was to come, to bring about that kind of response in me.

"I had not even heard him move when suddenly I felt his crude hands caressing my soft skin. 'Turn around,' he said suddenly in a gruff whisper.

"I paused for a moment, stunned.

"'I want to see your face tonight,' he said simply."

13. Celebrity Sex Tape: In the Making by Farrah Abraham

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"My toes brushed his chest and I splayed my hands wider. He sucked on my clit, kneading my ass. He'd surprised me the first time he'd penetrated me in both places, introducing me to a new realm of sexual fantasy. It was easy to imagine this moment happening in a movie. Just thinking about what we were doing and where was so hot I almost came from the mental picture alone. Ilyan put me down and grabbed my hand, tugging me upright.

"'Huh?' I blinked at him, a little lust crazed. He dug in his pocket for his wallet and slapped it on the table before kicking off his pants and underwear. I flipped it open and took out the condom he'd placed there this morning — just in case. So far we'd needed all of his just-in-case condoms. I tore the packet open but he took the bit of latex from me before I could roll it on him and did it himself. He pulled me to the edge of the table and thrust into me. I gasped and gripped the edge as my body stretched to accommodate him. The feel of him was growing more familiar. He leaned over me, forcing me back almost to my elbows and thrust, sinking fully into me."

14. The Juliette Society by Sasha Grey

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"He starts to kiss me, softly, sweetly, tugging at my lips with his.

"He cups my breast, brushes the nipple with his thumb.

"I reach down and stroke myself where all the sweat gathers, where the smell of my sex is strongest. I stroke it and then lick my fingers and stroke it some more.

"He gently bites my top lip, sucks it. Tugs at my nipple, rolling it between his thumb and forefinger.

"I feel it harden.

"I feel him harden.

"I feel myself getting wet.

"I wet my finger, run it up the lips of my pussy and imagine it’s his tongue, wetting the wings of my labia, feeling them flutter and spread, circling my clit and flicking it. Blood rushes to my head, to my clit. I feel dizzy."