8 steamy page-turners for the erotica-curious
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Hot List1 of 9
For erotica virgins (and fans of Fifty Shades of Grey), Glo turned to sex columnist and erotica writer Lana Fox for her advice on which titillating page-turners to add to your nightstand. Here's her quick and dirty take on eight books, along with a helpful, at-a-glance steamy meter ranking. Can you take the heat?
Making History2 of 9
Those taken with the romance and sexual awakenings of Fifty Shades will appreciate Sarah Waters' Tipping the Velvet. Set in Victorian times, this is the story of Nan King, an oyster girl who leaves her seaside town and falls for male impersonator Kitty Butler, a music-hall star. The two young women fall into a hot, romantic affair, which ends with an unthinkable betrayal. No one writes sex and romance like Waters. She's a gem in the crown of erotic lit.
Dear Diary3 of 9
For readers who enjoy erotic conflict and secrecy, Anais Nin's diaries are hard to beat. Nin is well known for her collections of erotica, such as Delta of Venus and Little Birds, which are definitely worth a read. But in her journals, Nin confesses the secret affairs that she carried on for most of her life. I recommend starting with Henry and June: The Unexpurgated Diary (1931-1932) of Anais Nin, in which she begins her secret affairs with both Henry Miller and his wife, June. In my mind, Nin's journals are the most emotionally powerful diaries ever written—sexy, romantic and addictive.
Down the Rabbit Hole4 of 9
Short erotic stories are a great way to discover the authors you really enjoy, especially considering that erotic reads cater to a rich variety of tastes. In Alison's Wonderland (edited by Alison Tyler), Shanna Germain's "Fool's Gold" tells of a woman who discovers that BDSM doesn't have to be about whips, chains and being physically tied down—and it offers a beautiful, modern take on the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin. Germain shows us that submission is all about a mindset and can be achingly intimate. It's a BDSM tale unlike any I've read before.
Risky Business5 of 9
In the anthology Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, the stories give a true flavor of strength in submission. As is always the case with Kramer Bussel's anthologies, this sexually creative collection focuses powerfully on female pleasure. The women in these stories submit because they want to. But this doesn't mean that they won't take risks or allow their doms to push their sexy boundaries.
Happy Ending?6 of 9
Anne Rice's The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, the first in her trilogy, takes BDSM to greater extremes than Fifty Shades and draws from the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty in dark, forbidden ways. The story begins with the Prince rescuing Beauty and waking her with far more than a kiss before claiming her life as his own to do with as he pleases. The sex scenes are intense, as are the complicated feelings Beauty develops for her captor. And given what the Prince would do if Beauty betrayed him, the stakes have never been higher.
Naughty but Nice7 of 9
While many erotic authors are strongest at either writing sex or crafting good plots, Alison Tyler, like Fifty Shades' E. L. James, is great at both. Tyler also has a deep understanding of bondage, dominance and submission, including its transformative powers and emotional rewards, plus her tone is direct rather than sugar-coated. Cuffing Kate is a tiny book that really shows off Tyler's talents, as the lead character, Kate, explores her own desires.
Who's the Boss?8 of 9
For those who enjoyed the explicit sex in Fifty Shades, Justine Elyot's The Business of Pleasure takes the heat a step further with original, sex-driven plots and wildly imaginative sexual scenes. Elyot tells the tale of Charlotte, a young woman who takes a job at an agency that makes the fantasies of its clients come true. Working for two dominant bosses who consider her to be their own paid submissive, Charlotte must uncover just what it means to give herself up, in every way, to her bosses' sexual whims.
Take a Memo9 of 9
It is impossible to give a list of compelling sex stories without mentioning "Secretary." Mary Gaitskill's original story, which appears in her collection Bad Behavior, depicts the complex experiences of a woman who ends up getting spanked by her boss. As in Fifty Shades, both characters are transformed via an S&M relationship that turns their lives around. And it is the beautifully empowered Lee who ends up giving Grey, her dominant, the strength to accept his own sexual identity (Another dominant named Grey! Who knew?)
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