You Deserve Quality Lady Porn

While I am glad that women of every age and demographic are discovering a form of pornography that allows them to enjoy their sexuality a bit more, this madness over the “50 Shades” trilogy and it’s insipid upcoming film adaptation has got to stop. It’s simply not a well-written book and it entirely misrepresents the BDSM lifestyle. What we are looking at is basically “Beauty and the Beast” with more references to spanking and the main characters ‘inner goddess’. I bought the damn thing when it initially came out in print version last year when a giant publisher bought it due to its explosion in popularity in the e-book format. It has since been all over the web and in seemingly all other forms of non-digital media. Every woman I knew has an opinion about it. Being a dirty-book aficionado already, I was totally down with the idea of a new series to devour. So like every other lady I know, I bought my copy. Then I read the book. The whole book, just in case something changed at the end, or somehow I misunderstood the context, or there was some big reveal that changed the characters behavior into something less irritating and generally reprehensible. It never happened.

Now, I’m all for people reading whatever they want to read, even if it’s a subject I’m not into. Honestly, I’m such a bibliophile that just seeing another person reading, literally ANYTHING, makes me happy. Even Nicolas Sparks or Danielle Steele (but not Anne Coulter, when people read her books it’s like a little baby seal is being clubbed to death in my heart). People reading just makes me happy. But the idea of millions of American women swooning over the billionaire who confuses violence with intimacy is just irritating. People have been acting like this book is some sort of 500 page sexual revolution. It’s really not. For almost as long as humans have been drawing dirty pictures we have also been writing sex stories. The time lag between the two is probably only related to the fact that at some point, we stopped playing with ourselves long enough to create a written form of language. If this ridiculous novel has served any purpose, I hope that it is to enlighten previously unknowing lady-people to the existence of a type of pornography that they can actually respond to and enjoy. After all, most of us don’t find image-based porn all that stimulating. We just are not as visual as the men folk. We need a good story. So, as my good deed of the week , and to further the possibility of others donating their E.L. James to the local used bookstore, I am happy to present to you a starter list of deliciously naughty titles that will not only make you blush, but will also appeal to your sense of aesthetic intellectualism. After all, there is no reason your porn should make you feel more illiterate, and good writing is oh-so very sexy.

Bitten; Dark Erotic Stories, Edited By Susie Bright

Anything that Ms. Bright is attached to is likely to be a stimulating and eye opening experience. A feminist and sex guru (yes sarcastic men, this is possible), she encourages women to explore themselves to figure out what gets them off and how to facilitate real live orgasms. She has many lovely titles, this one I selected because of the similarity in theme to what the offensive “50 Shades” was aiming for. Also because it includes a story by Francesca Lia Block (Weetzie Bat!!!) who is just plain amazing.

Whip Smart; the True Story of a Secret Life, Melissa Febos

A memoir from a Sarah Lawrence alum, Febos tells her story of becoming a professional dominatrix as she attempts to pay for a college degree in New York City. It’s a detailed account of her customers, coworkers, and her self; how the job changed her, and what it taught her about the world. A realistic view of both the S&M lifestyle and what it is like to be a sex worker in the 20th century, “Whip Smart” is a sexy and empowering read. And no one in it is confused by a growing warm sensation at their core.

The Mammoth Book of International Erotica, Edited By Maxim Jakubowski

Nearly 600 pages of perversion from all around the world! Somewhere in this tome is at least one short story that will do it for you. Jakubowski has a few other anthologies he has edited, but this is my personal favorite because of the range of both subject matter and style. Some violent, some loving, some sad, some hardcore… This book has so much to offer that no one could read it and walk away feeling weird about what they want in bed. Someone else wants it too, and here is the proof. You might even learn something new. Seriously.
So my darlings, I’m leaving you with 9 glorious entries in to a dirty world filled with debaucheries and dalliances. Remember that sex is supposed to be fun and that there is a reason it feels so good to manipulate the pink parts between your legs. As long as everyone involved is into it and old enough/sober enough to provide legal consent, we should be celebrating the things that make us wet or hard. Life is difficult enough without making each other or ourselves feel bad about what makes us cum. Have fun, and keep reading!

Under the Rooftops of Paris, or, Opus Pistorum, Henry Miller

Though best known for his “Tropic’s” titles, this novel may be the perfect example of Miller’s stylistic journey in search of the perfect sexual experience. Paid a dollar a page to write this book for a private collector/independent bookstore owner, the novel wasn’t published until 1983, after Miller’s death. Banned in the United States until 1961 for overtly sexual content, Miller’s work is a must-read for smut lovers everywhere. He had fabulous contemporaries (Lawrence Durrell, Anais Nin, Otto Rank, George Orwell, Jack Kerouac…), and if you look past the misogyny of his time period, Miller is a truly honest writer who strives to accurately describe his love of sex. And who can’t identify with loving sex?

The Sexual Life of Catherine M., Catherine Millet

A French art critic, this autobiography details the adventures of Millet as she cultivates her sexuality in some fairly unconventional ways. From gang-bangs and peep shows to home-made films, the author models the idea that human sexuality is to be enjoyed and not to be a source of shame (as some poorly articulated and cheaply printed books might have you believe). From deep romantic love with a monogamous partner to a no-holds-bared orgy at a chic Parisian swingers club, the range of human sexual experience is explored with the goal of feeling good and achieving the most sexual fulfillment possible. No judgments of self or others, and no attempts to turn people you supposedly like into people you think you would like better.

Delta of Venus, Anais Nin

Best known for her published diaries, Nin was a Gibson Girl, model, and dancer who ran in racy literary circles for most of her life. She had an ongoing affair with Henry Miller (and possibly his wife June) in the 20s and 30s, and Miller encouraged her to write and to publish her diaries. This book is one of the most beautiful and disturbing collections of erotica I have ever read. The language is simply magnificent, and the subjects include everything from necrophilia and bestiality to pedophilia and incest. But in the sexiest way possible, if that makes any sense. Nin made a career out of her counter-culture sexuality, and never forced herself into the Stepford-Wife mold that was femininity in the 1950s. The woman literally revels in the beauty of writing, and her shameless appreciation for pleasure makes her one of my favorite female idols.

One Hundred Strokes of the Brush Before Bed, Melissa Panarello, or Melissa P.

A novella told in diary entries, the book is based loosely on the sexual awakening of its Italian author. It tells the story of a young teenage girl who finds various forms of sexual interaction and expression as she searches for love. Upon publication the book incited major controversy in Italy, a county known for it’s Catholicism and traditional culture. This was compounded by the fact that the author was only 19 when the book was published in 2004, and the age of her character doing all the dirty deeds (very young, but I won’t give too much away). However the book has gone on to be published in over 40 countries around the world and translated into more than 30 languages. It’s also fun because Panarello was born in the middle 80’s, and is therefore a peer, and I always love it when women are successful in fields that are still strangely unexpected.

The Story of O, Pauline Reage, or Anne Desclos

No list of dirty books for 20-somethings could possibly be complete with out this 1954 S&M classic. If the idea of submissive female sexual behavior interests you, this is the book you should be reading. O actually wants to be flogged and branded and stuffed with various toys. She actually gets off on it and does not shame herself or her partner(s)/master(s) for their mutually consensual behavior. Downright raunchy and explicit, it is still considered to be controversial today and many find the treatment of the female characters to be reprehensible. Honestly, if you knew nothing about the author or the novels illustrious history, there is very little that would give it away as being over 60 years old. Except for the lack of cell phones and internet. Then again, last time I was in the ruins of a castle in the hills of France, I couldn’t get Wi-Fi, so who knows. Maybe it is still possible to see this one as contemporary.

Venus in Furs, Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch

First published in 1870, this novel is supposedly the semi-autobiographical story of a man who convinces his female lover to dominate him. A nice counterpoint to “O”, in this short novel the male character is the object of ownership and humiliation, which might be what Christian Grey was after all along. If only he had spent a little less time being a moody brat, and a little more time reading. Some say that this book led to the creation of the word masochism(from the authors last name) but I can’t verify that. ‘Venus in Fur’ is the first volume of a series, almost all of which are impossible to find because even though this is a seminal title in erotic literature, it’s the one of the only of his books to be translated into English. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – kevin dooley

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