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how to choose erotica

If this is your first foray into the world of juicy, naughty words or if you're looking for new avenues of reading pleasure, here are some tips for choosing erotica.

Orientation and Gender Expression

A first question to consider is whether you like to read about sex between women, between men or between women and men. Unless a title is overtly gay- or lesbian-themed, it is considered a 'general' title. This might mean that it contains exclusively heterosexual content (such as Barbach's The Erotic Edge), mostly heterosexual content (such as Best Women's Erotica 2009), a small but good selection of queer content (such as Best American Erotica), and so on.

Getting more specific, you may also want to look for titles that feature characters with bisexual identities (Best Bisexual Women's Erotica), or who engage in multiple-partner sex (Three-way, or Swing Stories).

Gender expression refers to how characters express their masculinities and femininities. Do you like men who are soft and compliant (Girls on Top), who explore their feminine side, who cross-dress (Cross Dressing)? Or, are the men in your fantasies hardcore bad-asses (I Love Bad Boys)? Are your favourite characters housewives (MILF Anthology), career women in their '30s (Open for Business), punk sex workers with attitude, melancholy poets? Do you enjoy lesbian erotica that features extreme butch-femme sexuality (With a Rough Tongue) - or none at all? Do you want erotica that features transgendered characters or whose gender identity is either ambiguous, or switches (Leather Daddy & the Femme)?

Sex Acts

While most erotica will feature a range of activities, are there some things you especially want to see? Does a good oral sex scene thrill you no end (Tasting Her)? Is it anal play that is your mainstay (Luscious)? Is it bondage and domination that excites you (Best Bondage Erotica/Best Gay Bondage Erotica/Best Lesbian Erotica)? Do you like to read about rough or raunchy scenes (But I Know What You Want), or do you prefer something with a softer touch (Sweetlife)?

Language, Writing Style, Genre

The first thing to consider here is whether you want the nitty-gritty of every sex act, or whether you'd be happy knowing what's going on, just having the details left to your imagination. If you do want to read explicit writing, the next question is how you'd like the sex described; it's not a question of more or less, just whether you want graphic detail, or a metaphor, such as a description of the character's emotional state.

What kind of story do you like to read? Sexy stories can be standard storytelling, or they can be written in sci-fi (Sex in the System), futuristic, horror (Dying for It), mystery (Garden of the Perverse), crime (The Back Passage), gothic (Bitten), romance or travel genres (Do Not Disturb, Mile High Club). Do you prefer a story that follows a well-trod, familiar path or one that takes you through a literary labyrinth? Is Pulitzer-quality writing important?

A genre specific to erotica is women's erotica. These stories feature empowered women characters and their desires as central to the stories, and are fairly explicit, while being sometimes less and sometimes more graphic.

What style of writing do you prefer? Something ornate and baroque, or do you prefer a Hemingway-esque simplicity? How about the tone - an earnest one, or an ironic tone (such as Baker's The Fermata)?

We hope the descriptions on this site are helpful - but, if you want more information or pointers, our assistance is just a phone call or e-mail away!


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