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Erotica books really do have secret sexual powers

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Her short story "Don't Ball the Boss" (inspired by her shameless crush on Benedict Cumberbatch) was nominated for the Pus...

It's simple: Read erotica and improve your sex life

Some women wouldn't touch an erotica book with a 10-foot dildo, and I have no idea why. Granted, I write erotica. I even had someone at my church stumble upon my threesome novella, Wolf Among Sheep. She walked up to me Sunday and said, 'Well, I wasn't expecting that." I bask not only in writing the genre but reading it, from books to oodles of fan fiction. Oodles.

I'm not the most understanding when women tell me, "Oh, I would never read erotica," like it's some STD they desperately do not want to catch. For me, erotica is a primer for sex. Not only does it teach you some cool moves, but it can also get you in the mood. I'm not alone in this assessment. I asked experts.

Kerrin Bradfield is a Sexuality and Media Specialist at Gold Coast Sexology, a private practice that brings sex education and counseling to people of all ages. According to her, "Apart from acting as a form of informal sex education, reading erotica can stimulate the imagination for fantasies, providing new ideas to help keep an intimate relationship exciting."

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Bradfield counsels a lot of women who have trouble asking for what they want in the bedroom, so she sees erotica as a sort of gateway. She said, "Communicating fantasies to a lover can be difficult, so women can ease the tension by saying, 'I've just read a chapter in this book where the character (insert fantasy here). It sounded really hot.' Statements such as this can reduce the fear of judgment or rejection."

Think about how Fifty Shades of Grey busted the door in on BDSM culture. Suddenly, everyone wanted to buy handcuffs and blindfolds. People became way more vocal about their longing to be tied up, because an erotica book made it OK. An erotica book opened the dialogue… and probably opened a lot of legs.

Cardyn Brooks is an erotica author with Private Moments Publishing. She said, "If, as many legitimate medical studies have shown over the years, orgasms begin in the brain, erotica can prime the mind to be more receptive to giving and receiving sexual pleasure."

This might be why women lean more toward erotica than porn. Women want to read about sex, tantalize their imaginations, as opposed to watching two strangers hump on cheap sheets. For me, instead of watching some over-tan dude bang a moaning blond with implants, I can read erotica and picture whomever I choose (uh, Benedict Cumberbatch).

More: How sex toys helped me navigate my sexuality after coming out

Astroglide's Resident Sexologist, Dr. Jess, finds this is often the case. She said, "Erotic fiction, unlike erotic film, leaves more to the imagination and lets women fill in the blanks with regard to some of the contextual and visual details like setting, sounds, bodies, body language and physical acts. Even with vivid descriptions, women are able to customize these details to suit their fancy, and they find that it helps get them in the mood for sex — with themselves or with their partners."

And let's not forget our partners! If erotica can do all this great stuff for your libido, they are going to be super grateful. Instead of the terrified look my husband gets whenever I go to the bookstore, he now looks at least a little interested in what I might bring home, even if I do spend enough money to buy a pair of Louboutin pumps. Stop being scared of erotica. Read it, because it's good for you and your sex life. Think of it as taking a literary vitamin. Does a body good.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

It's simple: Read erotica and improve your sex life
Image: Getty Images
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