You’ve Always Been Curious, It’s Time To Dive In: Where To Start With Erotica
By Thien-Kim Lam
I consider myself a polyamorous reader. Meaning I read several books in tandem. At any given time, I’m listening to one audiobook while holding fervent trysts with a couple of books. These books range from China Rich Girlfriend to a history of black southern food to a laugh-out-loud, fake-girlfriend romance.
Though I frolic from genre to genre, my all-time favorite is erotic romances. I gravitate to the contemporaries, but happily dive into sexy historicals and paranormals. Bring on the heat, baby!
The Romance Writers of America defines this subgenre as novels with “strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline.”
In other words, erotic romances are love stories where sex plays a crucial role in the couple’s journey together.
You’ll find that some readers consider a romance with explicit sex as erotic. Who can blame them when authors write smoking-hot couplings? I am here for it.
Why do I enjoy erotic romances? I was raised in a family that didn’t discuss sex in any manner — except that I was not to become pregnant. Not that anyone explained the mechanics of getting knocked up. Sexual acts and pleasure were not something girls or women should be concerned with.
I’m not the only woman who was shamed for learning and desiring sexual pleasure.
The romances I read as a teen showed me heroines who were independent and deserved love on their terms. Later I discovered super sexy, highly erotic romances. Those novels taught me that arousal and pleasure were every woman’s right. There was nothing dirty or wrong about seeking pleasure on my own terms.
In fact, desire and pleasure are natural.
Those sex-filled, emotionally charged romances I devoured gave me the confidence to explore sex. Gave me the courage to position a lover’s hand a particular way. Shyly tell my partner new positions to try in bed. Most importantly, they showed me that I am in charge of my pleasure.
Whether you’re flying solo or have lover on speed dial, erotic romances allow you indulge in new experiences and fantasies. Read them as part of your mental foreplay or use a hot scene as inspiration for your next play session.
Because of all the conflicting messages about women and sexuality in our society, each person’s comfort level is different. Which book you choose to read first is up to you, but I’ve created a list in which you start off with a "slow burn" and end with "I can't breathe," like this:
- SLOW BURN: Plenty of sparks and sexual tension, but the couple doesn't hop into bed until much later in the book. Almost kissing, searing hot touches, and sexy banter play a big role.
- INTENSE: A couple’s chemistry flies off the page, and we don’t have to wait too long for them to do the horizontal polka. Though the sex may be “vanilla,” it’ll give you the feels in your heart and below your belly.
- RED HOT: More creative sex that are emotionally charged. Their raw intimacy mixed with power play between the lovers make these moments burn.
- HELP ME, I CAN'T BREATHE: Any romance with sex scenes that make you grab your battery-operated buddy or your lover for some IRL action falls into this category. You have needs and you need it RIGHT. NOW.
Note: There is no universal guide to heat levels in romances. A book that makes your panties wet might not do anything for another reader.
Makenna’s day just went from bad to worse when she’s trapped in a pitch-black elevator with a stranger. A stranger with a dragon tattoo on his hand. With his tats and piercings, Cayden looks like a tough guy, but he’s terrified of the dark and small spaces. Their attraction grows in the darkness as they open themselves up to each other.
Every year, Livvy and Nicholas share a night of hot and heavy sex. It’s the only time they see other as they ignore the tragedy from their past and pretend they are not enemies. Until Livvy stands him up yet reappears in their hometown. She wants nothing to do with him, even though her body remembers how good it feels when they are together.
Ricki and her sister are very wealthy now that they’ve inherited a vast estate. With its legacy comes the management of an elite BDSM club where the rich come to lay. Ricki wants nothing to do with it--until she meets bad boy rockstar Axel. He knows exactly what he wants, and he’s prepared to convince Ricki to submit to him.
A friend recently recommended this book me as a help me, I cannot breathe romance. I one-clicked this book, so fast, my credit card got dizzy!
Heart broken by her gay lover, Desiree moves back to Miami to drown her sorrows. She vows to focus her mom, who is recovering from cancer. Dez didn’t expect to fall in love again. Only this time it’s with her twin brother’s best friend, a woman her brother is madly in love with.
How’s that for some fun homework? Which book will you read first?