As cringe-worthy as “Fifty Shades of Grey” was, there is lush, exciting, and well-written erotic writing out there.
For most, the term “erotica” is dismissed and negatively branded as pornography. Those who read it are thought to have bad literary taste and are labeled as lonely readers who live out their lives through an obscene character. Despite these opinions, there’s no way to argue that erotica, sex, and love are at the center of most of our lives, so why not dive into classic literary works that are rich with metaphor and description before denying the entire genre?
Even though “Fifty Shades” may be a bit juvenile, the result of the novel has increased the sales of erotic fiction by more than 30%. This is not to say that “Fifty Shades” is the first commercially successful erotic novel — every generation has had their paramount book about sex.
Here are three work prolific works by female writers from the 15th century to present time that discuss the most common similarity in humankind: sex.
This book was surprisingly written in 1558 and is a collection of 72 short stories, all by the voice of a women, and details their sexual conquests. “Heptameron’s” themes surround love, lust, sex, and infidelity. The work is classic and displays the common fetishes that are still prevalent with couples today.
The author, Marguerite de Navarre, was the princess of France and is known as “The First Modern Woman” which mirrors her involvement with erotic writing and interest in poems and plays. What is interesting about the book is that Marguerite is most notably known for her religious poem, “Mirror of the Sinful Soul” where she illustrates her relationship to Christ.
Henry and June
Anaïs Nin, widely known for her depictions of relationships, sex, and extra marital affairs, wrote “Henry and June” in 1986, which is based upon the writers diaries from the 1930s. Nin’s writing is vast and “Henry and June” is the first of five volumes based on her relationship with writer Henry Miller and his wife June.
This novel traverses the standard erotica. Nin’s involvement with philosophy and psychology details her sexual discovery, offering a feminist approach towards a woman’s identity and independence from societal norms.
The Sexual Life of Catherine M
In 2001, French writer, art critic, and curator Catherine Millet published her memoir, “The Sexual Life of Catherine M.” This novel has been deemed the “most explicit book about sex ever written by a woman,” which should give you all the more reason to purchase a copy.
Millet’s book details a very accurate response to living a life of pleasure. Orgies with rooms of 150 people, sexual encounters outdoors, and the topic of prostitution are all explored in the memoir. The best part? Millet has been in an open relationship with the same man since the 1970s, bringing hope to us polyamorous couples.
These three novels are partially biographical and are based on events that the authors have experienced — sex, lust, and intimacy — which gives even more life into the words and offers a glimpse of spontaneity and mischief into their personal sexual revolutions. While erotica goes well beyond these three works, the female authorship and different depictions of intercourse can offer a widespread understanding of the beauty behind erotic writing.