All you need to know about erotic fiction

When you see erotic fiction, what comes to mind? Do you imagine 50 Shades of Grey? Or does the term conjure cringe book covers filled with women in corsets being held by topless men?

For a moment, forget any judgments you have of romance books and bodice rippers. These books get a bad rap in popular culture. Romantic and erotic fiction is back and better than ever, and if you haven’t already explored this sex-positive media, it’s time to dig in.

Whether you’re looking to get back into reading or want to try out new erotic media, smutty romance novels are here to help. Trust us, these books are perfect if you’re trying to get over a reading slump! We’ve created a complete guide to these books to help you increase your literature collection without spending hours researching.

Ready to get hot under the collar? Let’s dive in.

What is erotic fiction?

Erotic fiction or erotic romance is a literary genre that surrounds sexual and romantic relationships. Typically, these books focus on sex and love rather than adventures or mysteries, but you can find cross-genre titles. Not all erotic fiction focuses on romantic love, though. Some are purely steamy, allowing you to skip to the good part.

Most erotic novels include explicit sexual details, allowing you to picture the saucy scene in your mind. Some are more straightforward than others, so if you’re not ready to read a 30-page romp, you can start with a flirty novel. Similarly, if you’re not interested in drawn-out love stories and angst, you can opt for a book that’s pure smut.

Is erotic fiction popular?

It might seem like saucy fiction isn’t popular. Book shops rarely have erotic sections, and you won’t find sex scenes winning the Booker Prize.

But don’t let this silence fool you! Romantic and erotic fiction is currently going through a renaissance. These steamy novels are more popular than ever, thanks to adult book influencers and the accessibility of e-readers. It’s the age of sexy fiction!

Different themes and genres of erotic fiction

Romance and erotic fiction cover much steamy ground, meaning there’s something for all tastes. Here are some of the main genres you should look out for:

  • Contemporary romance – Romantic and erotic stories that take place in the modern world
  • Dark romance – Sexy stories that include darker themes. Sometimes, these come with content warnings to help you avoid potential triggers
  • Fantasy romance – Into elves and witches? Fantasy romance is for you. This sub-genre focuses on romance and sex within supernatural, fantastical, and sci-fi settings. Plus, it’s full of creative roleplay
  • Historical romance – If you want to explore the sex of the past, pick up a historical romance. Popular erotic subgenres here include mediaeval times, the Regency period, the American Civil War, the early 20th century, and the Viking Age
  • LGBTQ+ fiction – Erotic fiction isn’t just heterosexual. Sexy stories are available for all sexual orientations
  • Holiday-themed books – That’s right! You can find erotic holiday books. Perfect for warming up those cold Christmas nights

What are common erotic fiction tropes?

Alongside various erotic and romantic genres, this unique fiction area often includes the same tropes. Once you know which tropes get you turned on, you can select books based on their genre and plot.

Memorise these tropes for when you’re browsing at the bookstore:

  • Age gap romances
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Arranged/forced marriages
  • Alpha male romance
  • BDSM
  • Dirty talk
  • Fake dating/relationships
  • Forbidden romance
  • Forced proximity
  • Love triangle
  • Reverse harem
  • Slow burn

No matter your turn-ons, there’s a saucy read out there to spark your imagination. Remember, you might have to try a few genres to find an erotic story that really gets you going. Enjoy the journey!

Where to find erotic fiction

Finding a new book might seem simple. However, erotic fiction is rarely listed on the top shelf! But finding erotica is easier than you might expect.

If asking a sales assistant where they keep their smutty books makes you blush, research before you arrive. Many mainstream publications offer erotic novel recommendation lists to keep you in the dirty loop. This way, you can purchase a book online or in person without asking too many questions.

TikTok and Instagram are also great places to get smutty recommendations. These apps are home to adult fiction communities (e.g. BookTok) where you can listen to plot summaries, find reviews, and learn more about the genre.

An e-reading subscription could be a good option if you’re a voracious reader. Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s e-reading subscription service, where you pay a monthly fee and can access over a million books on your phone or Kindle. There are thousands of steamy books on this service, and they don’t hold back on the details.

Reddit is another fabulous resource for book suggestions. Browse threads on r/RomanceBooks to see what other readers are enjoying and to find hidden gems.

Looking for books for sex workers? Check out the top 10 books every sex worker should read here.

Popular erotic fiction books

Want some romance and erotic fiction suggestions ASAP? Here are some popular picks that have been trending this year.

Neon Gods by Katee Robert

This is a Hades and Persephone retelling in the modern era. Don’t worry if you’re not clued into ancient gods. This book is all about a dark relationship, revenge, and lots of hot sex. What more could you ask for?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Perhaps the most trending romance book of the last few years, A Court of Thorns and Roses, is a fantasy fan’s dream. But be warned, as well as steamy scenes, there are a few descriptions of violence in this title.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice

Anne Rice might be best known for Interview With The Vampire, but fans should also explore The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. This sexy novel retells the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty, but the prince wakes her up with much more than a chaste kiss.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Emily Henry’s book is a classic friends-to-lover tale filled with lots of spice and yearning. If you’re unsure which tropes you’re into or want to avoid darker stories, this is a great place to start.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Looking for a fake relationship story? Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis tells the tale of a PhD student who begins fake dating a young and hot professor. This story will keep you turning the pages.

The takeaway

Delving into the world of erotic fiction is a great way to inject more lust into your life. Whether you want to get hot and bothered with new material or simply want to flex your reading skills, consider this genre next time you browse the bookstore. You won’t regret it!

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