Move over 50 Shades of Grey, these 11 erotic novels will change what you think about sex

From exploring the dynamics of BDSM to practically unheard-of sexual intimacy, the novels in the below list explore the dark end of the sexual spectrum.

Sex is not just about penetration. It has as many facets to it as does platonic intimacy. EL James’ 50 Shades of Grey introduced us to the world of kinky sex, but barely. It was only at the end of the novel that the protagonist, Anastasia, first experienced what it felt like to be spanked. In the below-listed novels, such a scene would not only be considered too amateur but if included, would feature in the first few pages. These novels do not revolve around mushy sweetheart romances, rather they pretty much explore the opposite end of the sexual spectrum: a dark, lesser-known, blindfolded, whips-and-tongs aspects of sex.

From exploring the dominant and submissive aspects of BDSM to exploring the psychology behind sexually charged behaviours, these 11 novels will change what you perceive about sex:

1. Dirty by Megan Hart

From having had sex with 78 men to show up at a sex toy party, the novel’s protagonist, Elle, wants to stay away from the pain and emotional scarring of relationships. With the novel, Hart shatters the stigma around gender expectations and having sex with multiple people. Her erotic life is in order until she meets Dan who destroys the barriers she had erected for herself.

2. The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

The novel follows the story of a married man, Zach, who is an editor at a major publishing house, and Nora, an erotica writer whose books outsell those of Zach’s and a submissive sadist who enjoys being the slave when indulging in BDSM, with both men and women, and writes about the same in her novels. Her life turns upside down when Zach asks her to remove BDSM from sex in her novels.

3. Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill

This book is a collection of short stories which revolve around the theme of sex, love and intimacy. While in ‘A Romantic Weekend’ and ‘Secretary’, Gaitskill navigates through the topics of power, control as well as avoiding voyeuristic clichés, in ‘Connection’ and ‘Other Factors’ the author dives deeper into the lives of its characters and examine their psychologies beyond their sexually deviant behaviours.

Also Read: Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses to P Maîtresse’s 22’s Diary: 10 books that are banned in India

4. A Sport and A Pastime by James Salter

Set in the provincial France in 1960s, the novel follows the intense erotic romance between Dean, a Yale dropout and Anne-Marie, a French waitress. The novel is written from a male perspective and details graphic sexual fantasies, explicit details and near-pornographic details of intimacy.

5. The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis

Martin Amis’ debut novel is a cynical and funny take on youth and childish notions of love and romance. THe protagonist is twenty-year-old Charles Hughes who has an opinion on everything ranging from sex, literature, ageing, farts, art etc and is obsessed with seducing and sleeping with a paper-thin girl named Rachel.

6. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The novel traces the lives of two couples during the Soviet occupation of Prague, during the late 1960’s. The capricious lovers who indulge in sex, adultery and intimacy with the author describing graphic details of impending orgasms.

7. House of Holes by Nicholson Baker

Written with surreal sexual vocabulary, the novel is a satire on our oversexed culture portrayed with the novel’s large cast of hypersexual cartoon characters. With unimaginable kinks, bestiality, virtual sex and sex with inanimate objects, the novel sells itself as a ‘carnal experience’.

Also Read: If you don’t believe in online romances, read these 5 novels!

8. Story of the Eye by George Bataille

Bataille took the act of sex and stipped it of reality in a novel filled with acts of necrophilia, sex-fuelled abuse and brutality, vintage sex scenes, water sports (if you know what I mean) and blood-spattered sexual orgies while continuously referring to the central metaphor of an eye consistent with other soft, jelly-like, warm and meat-hued objects.

9. The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Written in a lyrical prose, the semi-autobiographical novel is not so much about sex than it is about desire, sexual tension and lust. Set in the 1930s in Indochina, this is a tale about two people trying to break their bonds, but unable to do so.

10. The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden

The novel about Ivan and Camilla who are neighbours in an apartment complex near the university where they work and indulge in an affair fuelled with BDSM romance, with Ivan being a dom and Camilla being sub.

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11. Written On The Body by Jeanette Winterson

Without mentioning the name of the narrator or the gender, Winterson’s novel transgresses gender and is a meditation on sensual life and the meaning of love, with the narrator’s love interest being a complex, married woman.

Other interesting erotica that ought to be checked out are Philip Roth’s Sabbath’s Theater, What Belongs To You by Garth Greenwell and Lust by Susan Minot.

Also Read: InUth Pick: 10 Indian young writers who made unconventional reads sexy in 2016

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