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A girl’s guide to erotica

Erotica has been referred to as “the thinking woman’s porn” — and over half of British women admit to dabbling now and then. If it’s still undiscovered territory for you, here’s our beginner’s guide.

A new survey of the sexual behaviour of Brits has produced some interesting results. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: we’re having less sex than we were back in 2008. And it seems when we are actually getting some action in the bedroom, a lot of us are less than satisfied. According to The Observer‘s survey, only 34 percent of the U.K. population rate their sex life as above average (down from 44 percent in 2008) and 63 percent say they are “satisfied” with their sex life (down from 76 percent in 2008).

What’s caused this downturn? The recession? Our obsession with social media? Or perhaps we’re too busy watching — and reading about — sex to actually get round to doing it.

Apparently, over half of us (56 percent) enjoy online porn occasionally and 15 percent admit to doing so on a regular basis. Unsurprisingly, men are more likely to watch porn on the internet (76 percent of males questioned), compared to just 36 percent of women. However, it’s a different story when it comes to enjoying erotica. The Fifty Shades of Grey effect has swept the country and 53 percent of women read erotica at least occasionally, compared to 32 percent of men.

Loved Fifty Shades of Grey? Give these erotic books a try

It shouldn’t come as any great surprise that men are more likely to pop on some porn while women prefer to go to bed with a steamy read.

Want to know what all the fuss is about? Here’s our girl’s guide to erotica.

Sexy texts

There’s something for everyone on the erotic fiction shelf. For a complete beginner, it’s a good idea to dip in and out of a few books until you work out what really gets your pulse racing. The classics of the genre are a good place to start, such as Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus, Pauline Réage’s The Story of O and Anne Rice’s The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. An anthology of erotic work is a good investment, as it will cover a wide range of sexy situations and satisfy most tastes — whatever you’re into. It’s worth spending some time online reading reviews of new erotic books. The annual Best Women’s Erotica will give you the year’s hottest bedtime reading.

Virtual stimulation

You can find fabulous racy reads online, like and

For more sexy stories online catering for a wide range of tastes including lesbian, group and fetish, check out and also has a diverse selection and you can even submit your own steamy tales if you fancy yourself as the next E.L. James…

Do you like sending flirty text messages? >> 

Onscreen erotica

Erotic films can be way more exciting than hardcore porn. Here are three to get you started…

Basic Instinct

The Sharon Stone/Michael Douglas mega-hit is so much more than the famous leg-crossing scene. There are sexual liaisons going on all over the place: Stone’s character Catherine’s relationship with her lesbian lover, her sex scenes with Nick (Douglas) and his sex scenes with his counsellor. Basically, everyone is having sex with everyone.


Long before Anastasia Steele became embroiled in a submissive relationship in the bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey, secretary Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) was bending over her desk for a spanking from her boss. This is a perfect, gentle introduction to BDSM if the idea of a submissive relationship turns you on and, even if it doesn’t, there’s loads of eroticism and sexual tension in the film.


One of the most controversial mainstream erotic films, Crash tells the story of people who are turned on by car crashes. Yes, you read that right. They watch videos of car crashes, look at photographs of accidents and even re-enact famous car crashes. It sounds crazy but the steamy sex scenes are actually incredibly erotic — whether you get your kicks from motorway pile-ups or not.

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