QJSex: Erotica

Despite the enormously popular Fifty Shades of Grey series sparking a new interest in erotic fiction, it can still be pretty difficult to find good erotica, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Part of this is stigmatization of “smut” — erotica is one of the few genres of writing that is considered fair game to critique if you've never read it. So while Chapters placing Fifty Shades of Grey on display in their storefronts was a big deal for the genre, it’s still not an easy task to find high-quality erotic fiction.

It may take a while to figure out what sort of erotica that you like, or if you even like erotica. Erotic fiction relies to a certain extent on your own imagination, and can take some adjustment if you’ve only ever viewed explicit videos or images, or if you are new to the world of sexually explicit material.

You might find it easiest to search by acts or fetishes that you enjoy, or by your sexual identity, but also consider searching by literature sub-genre. For every fiction genre that you can imagine, there’s an erotic fiction sub-genre; erotic thrillers, erotic science fiction, erotic mysteries, erotic fantasy, and erotic romance novels are some of the most prevalent.

There’s also a huge collection of fan-fiction out there (stories that use already defined fictional characters and worlds), the erotic sub-genre of which is usually referred to as “slash” (referring to Character/Character depicted in some form of sexual relationship e.g. Harry/Hermione, Frodo/Sam, Spock/Kirk).

If you’re new to erotica, online communities where authors share their stories are probably the best place to start - they’re free, and if you don’t like a story, you can just close the tab on your browser and move on to another story. Some of the largest and most highly recommended are Literotica, Lush Stories, the Kristen Archives and the sub-Reddits /r/erotica and /r/gonewildstories.

If you prefer the feeling of a book, you can definitely try your luck at bookstores, libraries and online stores. Amazon is likely your best bet for purchasing print erotica if you’re uncomfortable with others knowing about your purchases. When starting out, maybe avoid full-length books and stick to short stories. There are plenty of annual compilations out there, such as Best American Erotica (series editor Susie Bright) and Best Lesbian Erotica (series editor Tristan Taormino).

Some of the world’s most renowned authors have penned erotic fiction, and their works are fairly easy to find in bookstores. Since they aren’t marketed as erotica, you may feel more comfortable buying them. Often forgotten, they’re great examples of why the genre of 'erotica' shouldn't be written off and dismissed as easily as it often is. Some classics include Henry Miller’s The Story of O, Mark Twain's Diaries of Adam and Eve, or James Joyce’s Molly Bloom. If you’re not a fan of classic literature, you may completely change your opinion after reading these and other erotic classics!

If you have trouble finding erotica, you can always borrow from the Sexual Health Resource Centre’s lending library. We have a small but varied and always-growing selection of erotica that you can borrow for just a $10 deposit (per book).

This blog is being run in conjunction with the Sexual Health Resource Centre, located in the JDUC, room 223. Follow them on Twitter @shrckingston.

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