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How to find the best erotic books of 2022

  • April 4, 2022

I recently shared an XO, MU newsletter about how to have more sex, with practical tips from my own business owner/working mother life. (If you missed it, you can catch the replay here.) I received a ton of positive feedback about this one, and at least a dozen of you wrote to me to say you already forwarded it to your partner. (Well done!)

One of the tips I mentioned is picking up some spicy books to get you in the mood when you want to have sex, but need help shifting your focus from work/laundry/kids to sexy adult time. After which I received even MORE feedback saying, “Spicy books… say more?” You specifically asked me to share my favorite sexy book titles, which I could do…. but I don’t think that’s actually what you want. I think what you want is help finding your own super-sizzle titles that speak to what you find sexy.

“Spicy” is in the eye of the beholder

No two people will find the same story, scenario, or plot equally spicy. I could share some of my favorites, but it’s far more valuable to explore what you like and what turns you on. (Bonus: That’s also one of the best ways to have better sex with your partner. The more you know your own body, likes, and dislikes, the better you can communicate that to your partner. Also, if these spicy books lead to more solo play, that’s another win/win.)

So today, let’s explore my top three resources for books and audio to get you in the mood. Oh, and we have just one ground rule: ZERO judgment. The world of (consensual* and adult) spicy books, stories, and podcasts is broad and diverse, and you should not ever feel bad about what turns you on. Straight sex, gay sex, Amish sex, BDSM sex, group sex, alien sex, dinosaur sex… there are stories for all of these categories, and I encourage you to explore what you’re into with curiosity and not judgment.

*What if you’re a woman who is into more forceful fantasies, like being ravished (AKA “bodice-rippers”)? Psychologists say this is normal and not at all shameful. Read this article  to understand exactly what these fantasies represent (and what they don’t), and why they are always a safe space for you.

Free reading This is a free online website with thousands of reader-submitted stories in dozens of categories. Some are “chapter” pieces, where the story develops in chapters like a book, and some are “one and done” short reads. It’s such a great place to start, because you can hone what you like without any commitment, and if one story isn’t catching your fancy, you can just skip on over to another one. There’s also a mobile-friendly site, and on the stories pages, the ads don’t interrupt the flow.

Pros: Free, with hundreds of thousands of stories and dozens of diverse categories. Allows you to explore and experiment effortlessly, letting the category headers guide you. Because most of the stories are pretty short, it lets you dive straight into the spicy parts without having to read 32 pages of descriptive text that no one cares about. You’ll find some real gems in here, and they’re easy to bookmark and come back to later. You can also rate stories you love, and see “reader favorites.”

Cons: Reader-submitted, so the writing quality varies. You may be distracted by misspellings or clunky writing, and not every story is a winner, obviously. That’s really the only con.

Audio Erotica

Dipsea: A subscription app and website featuring stories written, produced, and told by a professional team. The site is female-founded and caters to the idea that great sex is as much mental as it is physical, and the stories we find sexy should also feel empowering. These are short stories (they don’t just jump into the sex), and you’ll hear first-person dialogue, narration, and all of the sounds and noises that go along with sexy time.

Pros: You may just find listening turns you on more than reading. It’s super discreet; just pop in headphones and no one will know what you’re listening to. (The screen that displays on your phone as it plays is a simple illustration that gives no hint at what you’re really listening to.) And there’s an option to “skip to the good part” if you want to fast forward past the “he was tall, dark, and good-looking” and go straight to the moaning. You can also mark stories as favorites and set up a queue, just like you do for Spotify.

Cons: Does require a subscription ($5 a month) but you can try it free for 7 days to see how it works for you. Audio may not be your thing, either—I much prefer to read and let my imagination do the talking.


Kindle Erotica: If you own an e-reader, there’s a world of e-books just waiting for you at Amazon. You can search by topic, or browse by genre, including LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Victorian, and BDSM. (This is where you’ll find that Dinosaur Erotica I mentioned.) There are thousands of paid and free books, and downloading a sample first gives you a no-risk way of previewing the content. Plus, you can highlight and bookmark your favorite steamy parts to come back to later. Ain’t technology grand?

Pros: Cost-effective, as most books are under $5 and there are thousands of freebies. Downloading a sample lets you try before you buy, and the e-book format means you can store 100 of these easily. Plus, you’ll find everything you could possibly imagine here, fromAmish Seduction to Sentenced to the Tentacle Chair

Cons: You need an e-reader, obviously. Most of these books are self-published, so the writing quality varies dramatically. You may end up buying books that don’t really do it for you…. but at least they’re cheap.

Bonus: Curated Lists of Fiction

Mainstream Fiction: If you search for “best erotic books, 2022” you’ll find a ton of curated lists that can also get you started. These are books by established authors, some of whom are New York Times best-sellers and many of whom are represented by big publishers. Think Fifty Shades of Grey, which millions of people found incredibly hot. If you want more of a storyline and smooth writing (for the most part), you could also start here.

Most recommended:

  • Follow Me Darkly by Helen Hardt. Think Fifty Shades but less like it was written by a teenage boy. Assistant meets billionaire, you know what happens next.
  • The Club by A.L. Brooks. Women of all types meet at The Club for anonymous (and hot) no-strings-attached action. Reviewers call it “beautifully unique;” spicy with substance. 
  • Night Shift by Joanna Angel. Remember those “choose your own adventure” books from your childhood? It’s like that, but with butt plugs.
  • Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass. A fantasty erotica series: The age-old tale of girl meets evil beast, except beast is actually kinda hot. (With 44,000 nearly 5-star reviews…)
  • The Idea of You, by Robinne Lee. Middle-aged mom meets thoughtful (young) sex god… but this one appears to have a depth missing from other erotica. It was a reco from a co-worker and already in my cart.

Pros:  Hundreds of five-star reviews are a decent indicator, and many of these have a bit more substance than fan fiction. If you enjoy reading along with your spice, these books might just give you the most satisfaction.

Cons: Not everyone liked Fifty Shades—I couldn’t get through it, because of the writing. (More proof that there is no “one size fits all.”) These books can be more expensive, they may not do it for you (even if they’ve done it for millions of other people), and it’s not easy to skip to the “good part” if you just want to get into it. Also, one person’s “wow, that was hot” is another person’s “you call that spicy?” and you’re far more likely to run into these kinds of disparities in mainstream fiction than one of these other specialty areas.

So there we have it—my favorite ways to find the erotica that turns you on, so you can have more sex and better sex with whomever you like, yourself included.