Best Erotica for Women: Greatest Hits of the ‘Sexy Stories that Are Better Than 50 Shades of Grey’ Lists

If 50 Shades of Grey has done anything (besides light up thousands of Kindles and iPads), it has opened up a discussion about the fact that — gasp — women enjoy badly written sexy stories as much as men enjoy badly written porn. And that discussion has included many female-oriented publications giving us lists of “erotica that’s better than 50 Shades.” Here, the best of the “better than” lists:

The Vine goes mostly classic: John Cleland’s Fanny Hill, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus, Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain.” One of our faves, Cleis Press’ annual Best Women’s Erotica, also gets a mention.

BiblioBitch likes: Curvy Girls: Erotica for Women, Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, and Pauline Reage’s The Story of O.

The Guardian is into: Shirley Conran’s Lace, Judith Krantz’s Scruples, Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden (a feminist classic!), and Sappho (a lesbian classic!).

The Huffington Post focuses on “groundbreaking erotic reads”: James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime, Josephine Hart’s Damage, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, and Grace Metalious’ Peyton Place.

Make It Better prefers the instructional: The Kama Sutra, along with Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and Judy Blume’s Wifey (yes!). They also mention Rachel Kramer Bussel, our personal favorite.


  1. Jenny says:

    I love Fear of Flying. It is excellent. :-)

  2. Victoria says:

    Story of O, is really great! #pageturner

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