9 erotic novels to ‘satisfy’ you this summer

Erotic novelist Justine Elyot breaks down the genre's common misconceptions...

‘The primary purpose of erotica is to arouse, but it can also inspire, entertain, move and provoke thought,’ explains erotic novelist Justine Elyot,

Let’s not beat around the bush, erotic novels are essentially pornography – but there are plenty of differences between erotica and visual porn – ‘In a novel the reader can use their own preferences to imagine the characters and their surroundings’ Elyot explains. ‘The work of picturing what’s going on is a big part of the turn-on, for me. So is the writing. Good writing is pleasurable in itself, and good writing about sex even more so.’

People are often put off by the fear that ‘it’s all Marquis de Sade harder than hardcore’ but according to Justine, it really isn’t, ‘There is so much more to choose from out there, from the uncompromisingly literary to the light and fluffy. The scope and range of erotic novels is so far-reaching now, especially with the popularity of self-publishing, that all tastes – from vanilla to tentacles – are catered for. There’s even a Brexit-inspired erotic book on the market, but I haven’t dared approach that one yet’.

Another common misconception of erotica is that it’s all badly-written trash, something that Justine hotly disputes, insisting ‘Go and look at Charlotte Stein, Kristina Lloyd or Janine Ashbless, then come back and tell me that again.’

‘The big problem with contemporary erotica’ Justine explained, ‘is that the market has been saturated over the last four years, so weeding out the good stuff can be exhausting.’ Well, don’t sweat it. We’ve done the hard work for you, asking the experts for their recommendations.

Here is a selection of erotic novels to satisfy you this summer…

BEGINNER’S READS
The training bra of erotica, for those who want to be eased in gently…

The Private Club

By J.S. Cooper and Helen Cooper (2014)
The three-book erotic romance novella series is a US best seller, following Meg – an out of work lawyer – who interviews for a job as a bartender at a private club, only to get locked into a mysterious sexual contract.

Fast and Loose
By Justine Elyot (2015)
The tale follows Ella and Tom, two co-workers who bond through experimentation in the bedroom ‘penetrating the local BDSM scene’.

INTERMEDIATE READS
The erotica middle ground – more than a steamy romance but not quite your limit…

Tropic of Cancer

By Henry Miller (1934)
The autobiographical novel, now hailed as an American classic, candidly depicts Miller’s own sexual experiences in bohemian Paris.

An element of control
By Verity Sweet (2014)
The story follows Tyler and Sarah, an unlikely couple who struggle with power, using sexual manipulation to assert dominance over each other.

CLASSIC READS
The timeless classics that every erotica reader should dive into at some point…


Story of O

By Pauline Réage (1954)
The story follows O, a Parisian fashion photographer, trained to be submissive to the members of an elite men’s club, later becoming their willing sex slave.

Lolita

By Vladimir Nabokov (1959)
This is Nabokov’s most famous novel, the controversial story of an ageing man’s sexual obsession with the young Dolores Haze.

HARDCORE READS
Picks for the more fearless readers, some of the content is pretty disturbing so enter with caution…

Wetlands

By Charlotte Roche (2008)
This partly autobiographical book is an erotic best seller, focusing on the sexual fantasies of 18 year old Helen, confined to her hospital bed.
Disclaimer: it has been described as the ‘Two girls, one cup’ of novels.

Baise-Moi

By Virginie Despentes (2003)
This French novel has been described as a ‘porny Thelma and Louise’ but it’s actually quite a dark read, following two abused women on a twisted sexual rampage.
Disclaimer: this is a controversial book, its film adaptation was banned in France because of its ‘harmful, explicit and sexually violent content’.

Story of the Eye

By Georges Bataille (1934)
The novella follows an unnamed male protagonist and his sexual partner Simone as they satisfy each other’s strange sexual perversions.
Disclaimer: this is not a book for everyone – featuring some disturbing content.

Reading now

Popular