Ten Erotic Books Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey

These erotic books are hotter and much better written than the E.L. James S&M trilogy—save Fifty Shades of Grey for your mother.

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Erotic books by E.L. James: You, your friends, your mother and most strangers on the sidewalk or the subway know not only the name and reputation of the S&M trilogy which begins with Fifty Shades of Grey, but likely more than a few intimate details about the story. As happy as we are that people are reading, the truth is that this so-called mommy-porn tale is nothing more than a slightly naughty, poorly written melodrama. The following ten erotic books are alternatives we at TONY find riskier, sexier and simply better written than E.L. James’s feminist-baiting juvenilia.


 


Kafka Was the Rage by Anatole Broyard

In this slim volume, New York Times book critic Broyard details what it was to be an artist in Greenwich Village in the 1940s. Between opening a bookstore and attending the New School, Broyard discovers what sex can be with an artist named Sheri Martinelli, a protégée of Anaïs Nin: “She made love the way she talked—by breaking down the grammar and the rhythms of sex. Young men tend to make love monotonously, but Sheri took my monotony and developed variations on it, as if she were composing a fugue.” There’s also lots of rewarding talk about underpants.

  Buy Kafka Was the Rage on Amazon      Get Kafka Was the Rage on your Kindle

Vox by Nicholson Baker

This master of minutiae—he once wrote an entire novel set on an escalator—is also well known for his erotic tales. This is the book Monica Lewinsky famously gifted to Bill Clinton—and it’s no wonder she did. The entire book is a steamy conversation between two strangers, who talk about all of their sexual fantasies. In one memorable passage, Baker goes so far as to evoke the carnal noise pasta makes when you stir it with olive oil.

  Get Vox on your Kindle

Trouble by Kate Christensen

For an erotic novel that’s both entertaining and impressively crafted, pick up this book by award-winning novelist Kate Christensen, who paints vivid pictures of contemporary society. The two romantically unsuccessful friends in Trouble take a vacation to Mexico City—where they aim to escape their midlife crises and rediscover their youth. As with all of her titles, Christensen proves herself a poet of the senses by making her descriptions of food just as tantalizing as the sexy encounters.

  Buy Trouble on Amazon      Get Trouble on your Kindle

The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort, M.B., Ph.D.

Okay, so you don’t read this book as much as sneak a look at the scandalous pictures—especially when you’re 12 years old and staying at a friend’s house, and notice said friend’s parents’ copy on their bookshelf. If a picture is worth a thousand words, we’d say just one of this book's evocative illustrations—e.g., the oral encounter Comfort identifies as “mouth music”—is definitely worth more than several thousand words from the James’s pen.

  Buy The Joy of Sex on Amazon

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

What’s sexier than a red-haired cross-dresser who can walk on water? In Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion, Villanelle loses her heart to a noblewoman with whom she is in love. Part historical fiction (set during the Napoleonic Wars) and part magical realism, this fairy-tale-infused novel is rich with beautiful sentences. Winterson locates passion somewhere in the nexus of fear and sex—what’s more of a turn-on than that?

  Buy The Passion on Amazon      Get The Passion on your Kindle

How Should a Person Be by Sheila Heti

When a friend of mine made a cross-stitch inspired by this book (with the words “I’ll be giving blow jobs in Heaven”), I knew I had to read it. In this “Novel from Life,” Heti records conversations with artistic friends, in an attempt to get at the essence of who she really is. But there are plenty of wonderfully racy scenes in which she describes sex with a total creep (who happens to be good in bed): “I don’t know why all of you are reading books when you could be getting reamed by Israel, spat on, beaten up against the headboard—with every jab, your head battered into the headboard. Why are you all reading? I don’t understand this reading business when there is so much fucking to be done.”

  Buy How Should a Person Be on Amazon      Get How Should a Person Be on your Kindle

The Poetry of Pablo Neruda edited by Ilan Stavans

Poetry is romantic, yes, but many verses composed by this Chilean master and Nobel Prize winner are also undeniably sexy. Feel the yearning in just one representative poem, “Love,” as translated by Ilan Stavans: “Woman, I would have been your child, to drink / The milk of your breasts as from a well.” Put that alongside the line about Christian Grey’s “oh-so-happy trail” and tell us which makes you weaker in the knees.

  Buy The Poetry of Pablo Neruda on Amazon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

An ex–combat nurse named Claire reunites with her husband (a soldier) at the end of World War II, in the first sci-fi adventure-romance novel of the Outlander series. Soon after, she is transported back in time and falls in love with Jamie, a handsome Scottish warrior. There’s lots of sex on rudimentary mattresses—plus men wearing kilts! And good news: It was recently announced that Ronald D. Moore (of Battlestar Galactica) is adapting the series for television.

  Buy Outlander on Amazon      Get Outlander on your Kindle

Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell

Essayist Chloe Caldwell’s collection of biting and honest essays can stand up to Fifty Shades for one essay alone, in which Caldwell talks about masturbating. Everyone does it, but Caldwell writes about it with an unparalleled humor and intelligence: “A great way to have an explosive orgasm is to turn the sound down on the porn video, and put on a song that gets you off. Blast it while you watch your porn of choice. BAM!”

  Buy Legs Get Led Astray on Amazon      Get Legs Get Led Astray on your Kindle

Inferno (a poet's novel) by Eileen Myles

For fans of Patti Smith and raw, poetic writing, this iconic New York writer fills her Dante-influenced “poet’s novel” with her distinctive personality. It so happens that her personality is an incredibly sexual one: “There’s a moment in a woman’s life when she discovers she can have sex with as many people as she wants. Suddenly everyone is a potential partner. That’s when men get in the act which is why lesbianism isn’t really a thing it’s just this unbridled lust. It’s like god. If writers are the only people, I mean the last ones who have lives, lesbians are the only people who have sex.”

  Get Inferno (a poet's novel) on your Kindle


Users say

13 comments
Lena P
Lena P

You guys need to add 'Food Porn: an erotic memoir' to your list! It's written by a Sydneysider and juxtaposes food and sex in a totally naughty way. It's hot!

Mary Leckie
Mary Leckie

I read 50 Shades of Gray and it was ok I guess. But yesterday I happened to come across a "free" short story compilation on Amazon called Just the Juicy Parts by H.M. Christi and it is so much better! You have got to check it out! This author is going to go some where, you can bet on that! She's amazing with words!

Michelle
Michelle

Hi Yvonne See Erotic Helen by Dale Quentin on Amazon.....what a hot read, let me know your thoughts? Mic

Paula
Paula

Hello I've just finished reading " Erotic Helen" written by Dale Quentin, what prompted me to contact you was this book by-passes 50 Shades of Grey this book leaves it standing, believe you me, personally reckon it will be the next bestseller, it's in most bookstores, but you can have a brief look on Amazon. Merry Christmas from Paula x

Paula
Paula

Having recently read "Erotic Helen" by Dale Quentin found it extremely sexually exhilarating, could have been longer, but what a story?

Yvonne
Yvonne

Hello everyone, I am a big fan of erotica books and I have come across one on Amazon.com by a new unknown author that I found to be very steamy and exciting. If you like reading books by new upcoming authors and well-seasoned authors, take a look at Society of Secret Pleasures by Yevette. It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat squirming.

Dave Allan
Dave Allan

See "Erotic Helen" on Amazon.....By Dale Quentin......Wow

Reezie Aven
Reezie Aven

Hello fellow readers :) im an avid fan of steamy adult romance books (i love the usual genres like fantasy,horror, and chiclit but oh,well, u cant fight the urge to read eroticas from time to time xD ) I recently joined the newsletter in http://emmaroseromance.com and im loving the books they send me for free!!! get urs now :)

D. Weston
D. Weston

Sometimes it amazes how media and marketing collide. Here it is I'm a real retired military policeman (U.S. Air Force - security police) with an erotic novel book called (Abducted...101) on Amazon Kindle, and I can't get many readers because it is just one of hundreds of thousands of books hidden in the haystack of Kindle...yet the minute the 'media' spreads the story J.K. is the author she gets a 500,000% increase in sales. Marketing is the real engine that drives sales, not claiming to be a Vet--otherwise, perhaps I'd have a few more readers. Just saying... Oh' well, it is still fun writing stories.

Kytherea Tahari
Kytherea Tahari

How about Laura Antoniou's Marketplace series... MUCH better and hotter than 50 Shades... although I did love the books... And OUTLANDER... well listen to me.. this is an AWESOME book and even better if you listen to the audiobook narrated by Davina Porter who brings all the characters to life. WARNING.. there are five books after this one and they are like smoking crack.... Don't say I didn't warn you!

dragonfly
dragonfly

I've read four of these, and um, no, these are not erotica. They may be good books, but the author is missing the point.

CesiaJ
CesiaJ

hmm... i was looking for Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty Trilogy but it's obviously not here. Great novels, as some of them I've already read, but oops, wrong list (or rather wrong list title).

Thomas S. Roche
Thomas S. Roche

This is an offensive and sex-negative list. I hope other professional erotic writers find it as insulting as I do. I and other writers like me have spent the last twenty years reinventing the erotica genre. Now Fifty Shades of Grey stumbles along into its ill-deserved limelight, and you trot out ten books that have nothing to do with erotica in...what? An attempt to make yourselves feel classier than the "mommies" consuming Fifty Shades of Grey? These may be great books (in the case of Broyard's memoir and Neruda's poetry, I know they are), and they may be highly significant in the history of sex writing (Vox, The Joy of Sex) but their treatment here shows that you haven't the foggiest idea what constitutes the genre of erotica. Fifty Shades of Grey is romantic, erotic entertainment intended to produce arousal. These are works of literature that concern themselves with sex -- or in the case of the inexplicably included of Comfort's book, a sex guide. These books CANNOT credibly be compared to Fifty Shades of Grey -- except by someone who hasn't the slightest knowledge of the genre. What's more, I submit that if you are trying to claim you use these books for the same thing most readers use Fifty Shades for, then, well, you're either lying or truly, truly weird. Next time, please do a little research before you place your ignorance on display. There are many books of erotica that ARE more erotic than Fifty Shades of Grey. But if you're the kind of juvenile who believes that "you don't so much read" the Joy of Sex as sneak peeks at the illustrations when you're twelve, then how would you know? Five minutes on Google or Amazon would tell a savvy buyer more about how to find quality erotica than this offensive, sex-negative, and brutally uninformed article.