Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys , Edited by David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin, Jr.
Although society views sex workers as fringe, something “other” and extremely far away, prostitution is a billion dollar industry, and pervades every country and every social class. Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys is a collection of vignettes, poems, rants, confessions, and journalism written by former or current sex workers. The book runs the full gamut of the industry, from the $10 prostitute to the elite escort, from sexual freedom to sexual shame. This book is an intriguing panorama of the world’s oldest profession in all its iterations — be it phone sex, stripping, or “massage” parlors. The tone ranges from laugh-out-loud to dark and depressing. A fascinating read.
Juliette by Marquis De Sade
Besides participating in orgies, Juliette — a former convent student — murders anyone, even friends and family, in the pursuit of libertine enjoyment. This book declares that morality is meaningless, and features the memorable character of Saint Fond, who is an incestuous, patricidal serial killer and torturer of women. If Juliette isn’t enough for you, there’s a companion novel about her virtuous sister, Justine, who suffers sexual torture because of her pious beliefs. These two books are the reason the Marquis moldered in jail for thirteen years and died there. Napoleon was so angry about the novels that he never even gave the Marquis a trial.
Women in Lust , Edited By Rachel Kramer Bussel
Women in Lust is a kind of celebration of female sexuality. The twenty short pieces of erotica revolve around the theme of (you guessed it) lust, and the boundaries it allows people to cross. Being an anthology, it offers a little bit of everything (including romance), but the book definitely leans toward the submissive hetero female, à la Anastasia Steele from Fifty Shades of Grey. Just so you know what you’re getting into.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice
Published under the pseudonym of A.N. Roquelaure, Anne Rice begins her Sleeping Beauty Trilogy right where you’d expect — with a sleeping princess and a rescuing prince. Except instead of a kiss, he wakes her with something more, uh, NSFW. It’s an erotic BDSM fantasy novel and, believe it or not, the trilogy outsold Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. Cool trivia: Roquelaure is a cloak that European men wore in the eighteenth century. Also, some of the original versions of Sleeping Beauty included her rape (and timed her wake post-birth), so this version isn’t an unholy desecration. It’s just the opposite of Disney, and a little more subversively fun.
Fanny Hill by John Cleland
The first ever English-language erotica novel, Fanny Hill is also one of the most banned books in history. Published in 1748, the novel features gay sex, underage orgies, and cross-dressing, which, needless to say, were relatively taboo at the time. John Cleland wrote it while in debtor’s prison, and the novel existed solely underground, mostly in pirate editions (the old-timey version of illegal downloads). The book was persecuted on-and-off until the 1970s in both Britain and the US. Fanny Hill is the story of a fifteen-year-old girl who is corrupted after her parents die. However, Fanny grows to love her own sins. Of course.
American Taboo by Madison Ava Jones
Not for the frigid or the conservative, American Taboo delves into the truly off-limits, including rape play, incest, and fetish houses. If you haven’t read this sort of thing before, but you’re curious, this collection of short erotica is the perfect place to start. After all, if you’re not into something, you can just flip ahead to the next story. Now that the e-reader is here, you should take advantage and explore sans judgment. No one has to know but you.
Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch
The word “masochism” comes from the author’s last name, so that should give you an idea of the subject matter. The novella was originally a tiny slice of an epic six-part series entitled Legacy of Cain. However, Sacher-Masoch only finished the first two volumes, and now Venus in Furs is read as a stand-alone piece. The novella is based on Sacher-Masoch’s own life as the submissive of Baroness Fanny Pistor. He even signed a contract to be her slave for six months, and the book recounts their experiences in Italy during that time. Afterward, Sacher-Masoch tried to reenact his slavery with his wife, who was not into the dominant role. They later divorced.
Slightly Married by Mary Balogh
After all this crazy BDSM stuff, the romance of Slightly Married will seem refreshing. It’s the first novel in Mary Balogh’s Bedwyn Saga, which occurs during the Regency Era of England — also known as the Jane Austen years to a select, rabid fan base. Fans of costume dramas and marriage plots will love this book, concerning a business-like marriage proposal that turns out to be something more. Luckily, after Slightly Married, there are five more Bedwyn books, and at least one Darcy-esque hero later in the series.
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
The first book in an addictive, sex-laden YA series, Vampire Academy begins with the return of best friends, Rose and Lissa to a dangerous school where the undead thrive. Rose, a half human, half vampire, narrates as the two friends become enmeshed in forbidden romance, and vampires threaten to turn Lissa — a mortal — into one of them. Team Edward, this is for you, and, yes, there are sexy vampires.
Blood Law by Karin Tabke
This Bella and Jacob-style erotica, replete with werewolf packs and a mortal woman caught in the middle, will delight Twilight fans. There are even narrative roots in the Native American practice of “blood law,” which requires the clan of the victim to punish homicide. Blood Law is the first in a trilogy, so you can get a full werewolf fix post-Breaking Dawn. There are even abs on the cover.