It was last year when I first tried to read 50 Shades of Grey. I didn’t get very far. And no, it wasn’t the content—I can appreciate good erotica as much as the next girl. But see how I used the word good there? As much as I wanted to like it, 50 Shades just wasn’t doing it for me.

Does that mean I won’t be watching the movie when it comes out this weekend? Um, certainly not. While the book feels a bit like published fanfiction (which, incidentally, it is), the movie looks like a crazy hot magical romp with shirtless Jamie Dornan:


I mean, I’m only human.

While I may not be drawn to the writing style of 50 Shades, I can’t deny that it’s brought erotica writing into the mainstream in a way that feels kind of liberating. It’s not often that people feel comfortable reading BDSM scenes on the subway, so kudos to Shades for making it happen. But if, like me, you want your erotica as well-written as possible, then don’t worr —there are some amazing books out there to meet your needs. Here are three erotica novels with a little more substance and a whole lot of sexiness:

Beauty’s Kingdom by Anne Rice

Originally published under Rice’s pseudonym, A.N. Roquelaure, The Sleeping Beauty Quartet is a series of BDSM novels set in a medieval world based on the popular fairytale. This folks, is the original Shades—but don’t look for a sweet, vaguely nonthreatening love story here. Think lots of partners, lots of experimentation. And I’m using that word lightly. Rice first published these novels in the 80s, but her newest installment, Beauty’s Kingdom is out this April.


Affliction by Laurell K Hamilton

One of the biggest criticisms of the Anita Blake series is that it devolved from a fairly straight-forward paranormal series into straight-up porn. But that’s not a problem for us, now is it? Blake is a vampire hunter who sleeps with a lot of vampires. Also, werewolves. And, in the latest book Affliction, zombies. It shouldn’t be sexy, but somehow Hamilton makes it work. This series has something for everyone: threesomes, orgies, voyeurism, BDSM, etc.


Edge of Midnight by Shannon McKenna

If you like your erotica a little more, uh, monogamous, try any book written by McKenna. Her heroes are tough alpha guys, her heroines are feisty and up for anything. The sex scenes are so intense and intimate I get a little embarrassed just thinking about them. My favorite story is Edge of Midnight, starring long lost loves Liv and Sean. He’s aggressive and hot; she’s angry and trying to protect her heart. Together, they pretty much burn up the pages. Don’t except any bondage here, just lots of graphic descriptions and a little dirty talk thrown in for good measure.


What are your favorite erotica novels? Let us know in the comments!