Last updated: September 7, 2021

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You may think that the popularity of erotic novels is a recent phenomenon, however, this is not the case. Erotic literature is known to be as old as literature itself. In fact, in ancient Greece, as early as 400 B.C., the playwriter Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata, a text considered to be one of the first erotic theatrical pieces in history.

In the world of books, erotic novels hold a prominent place in the lists of best-selling titles. Gone are the times when reading an erotic novel was almost a crime. Focused primarily on a female audience, erotic literature has adapted to the times by broadening its range of subgenres. For the complete shopping guide on erotic novels, pay close attention to the following article.

Key Facts

  • The erotic novel is no longer a banned genre and has now become one of the most popular sections of literature. From Lysistrata, by playwriter Aristophanes, written in 400 B.C., to 50 shadows of Grey, many erotic novels have become literary classics.
  • Similarly, with genres such as romantic novels, the target readers of erotic books are mostly female. There are however more and more titles being written for the LGTB community. This type of work has also served as an inspiration to the cinema on numerous occasions.
  • If you're new to this genre, we recommend following a few tips when acquiring your first erotic novel. Your own sexual preferences, your favorite genres or being guided by the recommendations of critics and other readers are key factors that you should take into account when purchasing your first erotic novel.

Our Selection of the Best Erotic Novels

Somewhere between romantic novels and pornography, erotic novels are slowly gaining more and more followers. The growing popularity of this genre has resulted in many books being written. Below we list what we consider to be the best erotic novels on the market today.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know about Erotic Novels

What exactly is erotic literature? Is it the same as romantic literature? You may have asked yourself these questions at some point. The differences are often so minute that many readers confuse the two genres and end up reading an erotic novel when they think they are reading a romantic book. In the following section, we will clarify exactly what an erotic novel is and some other common questions from readers.

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Erotic novels can become addictive.
(Source: Anna Bizoń: 36905297/

What is erotic literature?

As the genre name suggests, erotic literature is those stories in which the sexual exploits of the characters is more insinuated than explicit. As such, sexual encounters are often veiled and suggested rather than being crude and specific. The idea is to leave much up to the imagination of the reader as opposed to specifically describing every sexual move or action. Although this is relatively easy in theory, it is no longer so clear when we analyze the titles found in bookstores today.

In fact, many of the erotic novels published today contain graphic passages and flirt with the boundaries of pornography. The publishing industry has avoided this term because of its negative connotations and tends to favor books being classified as erotic.

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Many erotic novels combine with other literary genres.
(Source: Yulia Grogoryeva: 39081622/

The overarching theme of an erotic novel is the existence of a loving relationship between two people. The vast majority of books in the erotic novel genre develop this type of relationship between the protagonists. Erotic novels use the description of sexual encounters as a mere excuse to advance the plot.

Are there erotic novels that have become classics of literature?

Erotic literature is as old as the art of writing. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that many titles from the erotic genre have become classics. This is the case with the novel Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, published in France at the end of the 18th century. This is classic that, had two cinematographic adaptations based on its plot almost at the same time.

Can a commissioned novel become a classic? Anaïs Nin's Delta of Venus is one of them. This book was written in 1940 on behalf of an eccentric book collector, although this volume of erotic stories was not published until 1977. Anaïs Nin's stories span several genres, from thriller to comedy, although always with the erotic genre as the backbone.

The third classic is Henry Miller's novel Tropic of Cancer. First published in 1934, the novel narrates with great detail in first person the author's experiences through a mixture of reality and fiction. Miller's novel is famous for his stark descriptions of love encounters, which was originally banned in the United States.

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There are erotic novels that are among bestsellers in the literature market.
(Source: Kruk: 46573529/

Are there books that combine horror and eroticism?

If you're someone that is attracted to stories of lust and terror, you're in luck, as there are many titles that combine both genres. Vampire Slave: Part 1, by Velvet Black, is one of those novels that perfectly combines vampires and eroticism. In this novel, the tables are turned and it is the "undead" that are subdued by a lustful and ruthless vampire hunter.

Another erotic novel with a horror side is Pedro Cabiya's The Head. In this book, you will witness the strange relationship between Daniel and his disfigured wife. This is a gruesome story peppered with eroticism, horror and science fiction throughout the riveting story. In short, this is a different erotic novel, far from the common titles based around the love between two normal people.

A.C. RoseSex and love journalist
"The general consensus is that erotic romances are good for us — even if we temporarily get a little lost in them and lose sleep because we can’t put the book down without finding out what happens next".

How many erotic novels have been taken to the cinema?

The film industry has always found erotic literature to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for movie plots and blockbusters. The list of films based on erotic literature is almost endless. For example, The Dreamers (2003), directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and inspired by Gilbert Adair's novel is a beautiful erotic movie with Paris in May 1968 as a backdrop.

Another suggestive erotic film based on a book is Crash (1996), by David Cronenberg. Based on the work of the same name by J. G. Ballard (The Empire of the Sun, The Submerged World), the feature film tells the story of a group of people who are only able to become sexually aroused if they suffer car accidents.

Perhaps one of the most famous erotic films is Adrian Lyne's 9½ Weeks from 1986. Based on the novel of the same title, the film narrates the uncontrolled relationship between Elizabeth (Kim Basinger) and John (Mickey Rourke). The book, written under a pseudonym by Austrian author Ingeborg Day, caused huge controversy when it was published in the United States in 1978.

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Erotic novels will let your imagination run wild.
(Source: Dean Drobot: 48372716/

What erotic novels are similar to 50 Shades of Grey?

It is completely normal for a novel that has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide to inspire many other authors. 50 Shades of Grey, by British author E. L. James, is one of the most successful erotic novels to ever be written. Thanks to this bestselling novel, a multitude of titles with very similar themes have been written by authors trying to cash in on the current popularity of this story.

Handsome millionaires and practiced lovers are the main characters of literary novels such as My Man, by Jodie Ellen Malpas. The series, composed of three novels, Seduction, Obsession and Confession, is a trilogy that takes advantage of the path opened by E. L. James but adds its own original elements and surprising twists.

E.L. JamesAuthor of Fifty Shades of Grey
"Sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with me. Perhaps I've spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high".

Sylvain Reynard's Gabriel's Inferno is a novel in which the main character, a mature literature professor, has a thirst to have sex with his students. However, the situation is turned completely upside down when Julia joins his classes. The other two titles in this trilogy are Gabriel's Ecstasy and Gabriel's Redemption.

What erotic titles deal with fetishism?

While there many erotic novels that focus almost exclusively on the sexual acts between two people, there are other titles that explore the fascinating world of fetishism. Sadism, exhibitionism or the excessive attraction for the feet are some of the sexual fetishes that writers of erotic novels use in their works.

The 120 Days of Sodom, by the Marquis of Sade, is perhaps one of the books with the most sexual fetishes, almost six hundred fetishes are put into practice by four wealthy libertines from King Louis XIV's France. This is a crude and severe book that should be approached with caution.

Another classic of erotic literature that deals with fetiches is Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs. This is a novel that focuses on "masochism" throughout the plot. In this novel, the main character forces his lover to treat him like a slave and he even encourages her to be unfaithful to him. Curiously, this novel is one of the most adapted erotic novels for cinema.

Shopping Criteria

If you often read romantic novels, it will not be difficult for you to make the switch to an erotic narrative, as both genres a very similar and share many themes, characters, and stories. However, if you are a reader that is approaching this genre for the very first time, you may need some guidance when choosing your first erotic novel. Below we have listed what we consider to be the five most important shopping criteria to consider when buying an erotic novel.

Literary Genres You Enjoy

Simply choosing an erotic novel because it comes under the genre is usually not the best way to find a novel in this category. Almost all erotic novels intertwine other genres throughout their stories. Genres such as fantasy, terror, adventure or historical can often be found as sub-genres within an erotic novel. If you are new to the erotic novel genre, think of the other genres that you like and choose an erotic novel that uses this as a sub-genre. You will be far more likely to enjoy the novel if you do so.

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There are erotic novels designed for the LGTB community.
(Source: Andrey Cherkasov: 87741750/

There are erotic novels that are designed for different types of readers depending on their gender and sexual preferences, such as gay or lesbian-themed novels. Depending on your own sexual orientation, you may be drawn towards a novel that is one of these types.

Sagas or Single Titles

The huge success of the trilogy 50 Shades of Grey has led many erotic novelists to lengthen their stories into several books. Many readers love this and become completely hooked to the saga, purchasing novel after novel. However, if you prefer single titles that conclude within the one novel, don't worry, there are many options on the market to choose from.


The best-selling book list is usually a good indication of quality. This is certainly the case when it comes to erotic novels, a genre increasingly common in the lists of best-selling titles. Take a close look at the bestseller rankings of online bookshops and the classifications of websites specialized in literature. These are a fantastic guide for choosing your next erotic novel.

Word of Mouth

If you are an active reader and are in contact with other people who share your literary interests, you should always listen out for their recommendations. Trust the judgement of others that have read an erotic novel and be guided by their suggestions. Reader comments on literary websites or online stores such as Amazon are also ideal ways to discover that hidden jewel that you would otherwise never have read.


Throughout this article, we have tried to bring you a little closer to the world of erotic literature, a type of fiction with more and more followers of readers of both sexes. From classics of the genre to recent sagas such as 50 Shades of Grey, we have recommended some of the best-selling titles currently on the market. We are very confident that all of them will satisfy your cravings for love, pleasure and lust.

In the second section of the article, we have answered some of the main questions about erotic novels, such as the narrative style and which titles have been turned into films. Finally, we have given you some shopping criteria to succeed if this is your first time purchasing an erotic novel.

(Source of featured image: Roman Motizov: 53680609/