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Looking for a good dirty read? Here ya go

Partly because I’ve been having/recovering from an emotional breakdown, and partly because I have a day job these days so I haven’t been obsessively reading either marketing books or sex/gender/relationship/kink books, I’ve been reading for pleasure a lot more lately. Goodreads says I read 86 books this year, and I’m not sure I recorded all of them.

I’ve found some particularly good erotica lately, too. I’ve been using the Kindle “read a sample” feature a lot — sometimes I just follow the recommended books on Amazon and get a sample of dozens, then read a whole bunch of them in a batch. The ones that I actually want to continue reading after the sample, I’ll buy. Honestly, it’s quite rare that I buy anything, particularly the erotic titles, but occasionally I find something!

So, looking for a good dirty read? Here ya go.

How Not to Fall, by Emily Foster

The first thing you need to know is that Emily Foster is the pen name of Emily Nagoski, PhD, who wrote the amazing book Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, which I would include in a different post about “books that have changed the way I think about sex and should be essential reading for anyone who studies sex or wants to be a sex educator or has genitals or ever thinks about sex.” She’s a brilliant researcher and educator, and a big nerd about sex (she’s lots of fun to follow on Twitter). She’s also a really good writer. So when a nerdy sex educator/theorist writes erotica? I’m in.

The characters are a professor (the dominant, of course) and graduate student (the sub). Annie isn’t experienced, but of course Charles is, so they go slowly and cautiously. Lots of negotiation, lots of witty fantastic writing, lots of science (science!!), lots of rock climbing (as metaphor and literally). I couldn’t put it down.

See also: The next book in the series, How Not to Let Go.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

How to Bang a Billionaire, by Alexis Hall

This is in the bildom genre, meaning “billionaire dominant” — a genre Fifty Shades of Grey certainly popularized, but has existed long before that book. I think what’s hot about it is that the dominant has even more power by having lots of money, control, and business prowess, therefore seeming all the more dom-ly. I have plenty of critiques of that — I’d much rather have dominants who have their inner sense of power all worked out, who don’t lean on capitalism or other forms of hierarchies (like teacher/student, boss/employee) to have the dominance that is sought — but I also have to admit: I like reading ’em.

And I especially like reading them when it’s written by one of my favorite erotica authors!

So this follows a random encounter with a gorgeous and famous billionaire and a writer (both cis guys). The writer becomes a bit of a kept boy, being put up in the billionaire’s fancy London apartment while he works and travels the world. The dominant is a bit self-loathing, and had a bad experience with an ex, so has trouble being very dominant and breaking out the kink toys, but the submissive really wants him to, so they navigate how to play with that and stay emotionally safe.

See also: The next book in the series, How to Blow it With a Billionaire, and For Real, which has a 19-year-old dominant and a 30-something year old sub, and plays deliberately with the hierarchy of age often also used to create power distance in erotica.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

The Prince’s Boy, by Cecilia Tan

Cecilia Tan is well-known in the erotica world, and has written dozens of books — so you’ve probably read something of hers before. This is a fantasy m/m novel which was originally written as a serial, and she explains a bit of that in the beginning, but because of how it was originally published, when the stories are all back-to-back they become one sex scene after another, rather than a novel with a flow and an arc. Still, it works.

The prince went to an orphanage and chose a whipping boy when he was young, because “nothing can strike the royal flesh,” and the whipping boy and prince become close. Quite close. And then intimately close, exploring sex and their bodies for the first times. But! Oh no! Then the prince is kidnapped, and there’s an evil magician putting spells on people and taking over the kingdom, and it ends up that the only thing that the prince can eat is cum, so he gets so hungry and has to suck someone off at least a few times a day. (Maybe it doesn’t make sense here, but it does in the book. Plus it’s really hot.)

Fantasy isn’t usually my genre, but the sex was so fun and it’s so well written that it was completely a page-turner.

See also: The Prince’s Boy Volume 2, and the Struck by Lightning series, which is in the bildom genre and is so well written (and kind of a parody of the genre) that it’s fantastic.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Cub, by Jeff Mann

The 17-year-old in this gorgeous novel is in West Virginia, and likes it that way. He isn’t one of those young queers who wants to run away to the big city — he loves his country roots. He just doesn’t quite fit in, and he doesn’t know how to get the queer culture and play that he wants. But along comes a guy who helps him explore, and even introduces him to a whole new image of gay men and culture than he’s ever explored, one with hairy chests and big bellies … and finds out that maybe, he’ll grow up from being a cub into a bear.

Love the body positivity in this one. The way the appreciation and fetish and sexiness of bears are talked about made me love my own body more, and made me see more what others see in my belly and hair and body. That was really moving.

Not a lot of BDSM, but fantastic romance and real feelings and characters … loved it.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Untouched, by Annabeth Leong

The protagonist in this one is practically a nymphomaniac — she loves sex, loves everything about sex, reads about it all the time, thinks about it, talks about it — but she can’t stand to be touched. Of course, the first place any new lover goes is to figure out how to “help her” out of her “disability,” and while part of the book explores that, it also hits home that this is just the way she is, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s exciting to work out new ways to have sex and play with kink with these particular limitations.

It’s such a unique premise, and it was so interesting to see the negotiations, conversations, and depth of thought about this limitation.

See also: Annabeth Leong has written so many good books and stories, you could basically pick up any of hers.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Risk Aware, by Amelia C. Gormley

The protagonist of this m/m romance is a serious masochist, but also a serious hemophiliac. One hard whack could literally kill him. He and the top he falls for have to find new, interesting ways to torture him — and they do. But the protagonist also has to forgive himself and come to accept that he has plenty to give, even with his limitations.

Excellent examples of negotiation and working with physical limitations. Made me think a lot about creative scene-building, and ways to get to the feeling of a scene, rather than negotiating the content of the scene.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Nighthawk, by Artemis Oakgrove

Recommended by Xan West, I’m so glad I picked up this book. I think this is the only f/f book on this whole list, but that’s partly because the full-length lesbian (queer/afab/”lesbian”) erotica novels aren’t that common. Hey, if you have any to recommend, I’m all ears.

Nighthawk is edgy. Published in 1987, and it’s sometimes obvious, it includes lots of non-consent, (borderline?) kidnapping, strict butch/femme gender roles with tons of flaming masculinity, some violence … it’s edgy. I loved it, but particularly the non-consent and the cliche and turned-up gender roles bugged me sometimes.

Still, it’s not every day you come across a lesbian novel this dirty. Yum.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Haven, by Rebekah Weatherspoon

City girl goes on a camping trip with her brother, but a serial killer (!) finds them, kills her brother, and nearly kills her — luckily the sexy, dominant, very attractive man who lives a very solitary life in a cabin in the middle of nowhere is there to save her. And that’s how it begins.

This has another self-loathing dominant, where he has had a bad experience in the past and is now hesitant to play again, even pushes away the beautiful, willing, experienced submissive who is in front of him. Not sure why this is such a common theme in erotica — because it shows the sub really wants it? Assures the reader she isn’t being taken advantage of? — but it’s compelling.

Rebekah Weatherspoon has written many books, and she’s queer and black — she often brings race, size, and identity into her books in ways I love.

See also: The Fit trilogy, which manages to be fat-positive while still detailing a woman who wants to lose some weight, finds a gym, and falls for the trainer.
Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Dark Secret Love, Alison Tyler

Alison’s writing is widely published and she’s edited dozens of anthologies — but I believe this is her first novel, and it’s one of a 3-part series subtitled “A Story of Submission.” It’s semi-autobiographical — or at least, that’s what the author wants us to believe, since the character is named Alison and it’s all in first person. It explores Alison’s progression as a submissive through college and her early 20s, finding out what kind of things she likes and dislikes, and searching for the dominant of her dreams. Things become complicated when her dominant is both polyamorous and bisexual, though … she isn’t sure how she’ll navigate it. The series is close to being in the bildom genre, too.

Pick up anything by Alison, really. Her anthologies are highly curated and this series is particularly good.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Unrestrained, by Joey W Hill

Joey W. Hill is well known in romance circles … and I don’t know about you, but when I see something categorized as ‘romance’ I usually (in the past, anyway) tend to think that it’s not dirty enough for me, and that I want more sex. Calling it “romance” makes me think of “his throbbing member” and “her delicate pearl” and other euphemisms, or, even worse, chapters that end with the characters heading off to bed, but without any actual descriptions of the sexytimes.

The more romance I read, though, the more I have my stereotype busted open. But isn’t that the way it is?

So, I hadn’t picked up Hill’s work before, but it’s clear why she’s a big success — characters and writing are great, which will get a book really far in my … book. What made this one particularly interested was that the woman has a history of being a dominant, but it turns out that’s because her husband was submissive, and she so wanted to please him that she learned how to dominate. It’s almost as if he was the Master and she was the slave, except that the slave was the dominant and the Master was submissive, because that was the Master’s will. But her husband has now passed on, and she discovers she wants to bottom and submit, but it’s a new world of exploring for her.

I should read more of her work.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Writing Dirty, by Jack Stratton

Jack is my kind of erotica writer, filled with short skirts and age play and over the knee socks and bisexual explorations and dapper attire. This collection is the anthology version, the best-of-the-best of his ebooks and blog, and it’s a fantastic book to flip through and explore.

Jack has a million other books, though, if you want to start with something more specific, and lots of other stories published on his blog.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

QNY: Quickies in New York, by Guy New York

Guy New York writes fantastic dirty explorations of bisexuality, sensation, and pleasure indulgence … and this is the amazing anthology of ALL of it. There are over 1,000 stories and it’s listed at 814 pages.

You will find something in here that you love.

Tons of examples of his writing are on his blog, along with a lot of his beautiful dirty photographs. And if you’re in New York City, he throws some lovely parties sometimes, you should check it out.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queer women" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and use the pronouns they, them, theirs, themself. Follow all their personal writings and all the updates through patreon.com/mrsexsmith.

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