I have a love-hate relationship with Fifty Shades of Grey. Mostly I hated it. I hated the bad writing and the unrealistic characters. It’s forever ruined the term inner goddess for me. I tried to read it and couldn’t get past the first few chapters.
However, I also love E.L. James books because they’ve changed how we discuss erotica. It’s no longer taboo for women to talk about their sexual desires. We don’t have to relegate it to book-club night or in-home parties (where I used to sell sex toys). No more hushed whispers about best sexual positions or Ben Wa balls.
I’m an advocate of empowering women to embrace and explore their sexuality. Through these romances, we can live out our fantasies or find inspiration to reenact scenes in our own bedroom. More sex equals happier women.
As someone who accidentally discovered the erotica shelves in the back of her Waldenbooks as a young teen, let’s just say I have a lot of experience in finding new books. I’ve put together a list of my favorite sexy reads, from classics to post-Fifty Shades. No matter your sexual experience, these are bound to get you hot and bothered.
1. Liberating Lacey
by Anne Calhoun
In Liberating Lacey, Lacey is a rich, successful businesswoman, but sex with her ex-husband was never exciting. Enter policeman Hunter, who’s much younger but knows exactly how to make Lacey moan. The sex is mind-blowing, as Lacey tries new positions and fantasies with Hunter.
2. Letting Go
by Maya Banks
Letting Go is perfect for BDSM newbies. Widowed Josslyn is ready to move on from her grief and explore her desire to become a submissive. Little does she know, her husband’s best friend is a dominant — and has been in love with her for years. He’s more than happy to introduce her to new pleasures.
3, 4 and 5. The Sleeping Beauty Chronicles
by Anne Rice
Written by Anne Rice, author of the über-popular Vampire Chronicles, under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaure, this trilogy is not your typical fractured fairy tale. Instead of being awoken with a chaste kiss on the lips, Beauty’s Prince stakes his claim on her in a much more adult manner, and Beauty is thrust into a new life of BDSM she didn’t even know she wanted.
6. Play with Me
by Alisha Rai
Tatiana hasn’t seen Wyatt since she dumped him years ago, but in Play with Me she must beg him for a favor. Their reunion reignites the flames and passions from long ago. Can she resist the only man who understands her darkest desires?
7. The Story of O
by Pauline Reage
Anonymously published in 1954, The Story of O — an erotica classic — is a must read. The short but intense story about a woman’s BDSM training at an elite secret club was so groundbreaking French authorities brought obscenity charges against the publisher.
8. The Submissive
by Tara Sue Me
Looking for more excitement in her life, librarian Abby applies for a new job: as a submissive for CEO Nathaniel. She isn’t as experienced as Nathaniel’s previous submissives, but he’s willing to take on the challenge in The Submissive.
9. The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales edited
by Rachel Kramer Bussel
When you’re in the mood for a quickie, reach for The Big Book of Submission, a submissive-themed anthology. The collection covers power plays from bondage to spanking to being put on display. Who’s ready for a spanking?
10. X: The Erotic Treasury
edited by Susie Bright
Susie Bright is a pioneer in erotica. X: The Erotic Treasury is gorgeously bound and features short stories full of sexual tension — and orgasms, of course. You’ll feel sexy holding and reading it.
11. Rock Me Two Times
by Dawn Ryder
In Rock Me Two Times, lead guitarist Syon is literally too big for his britches (ahem), so he hires Kate to design and custom-make the leather pants for his rock band. He’s determined to convince her that pleasure is good for business.
These reads should keep your mind — and hands — busy for a few days. Now, what’s your favorite steamy read?
Thien-Kim Lam is the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs one sexy read with bedroom toys and sensual products. Batteries are always included. Check her 5 Steamy Book & Sex Toy Pairings for Your Pleasure Chest.