Jun 22 2011 9:30am

Reading Erotica Does Not Make Me a Pervert...But It Does Make Me Happy

Naked by Megan HartI read erotica.

There, I said it. I’m not ashamed I read it. I do not hide it from my family. There is nothing lacking in my relationship(s) that compels me to read it. I just like it.

I like stories that promise—and deliver—highly sexually charged situations and play along with viable plots and resolution. I tend to gravitate more towards funny or realistic couple erotica. Stories whose characters mattress dance the entire book don’t do it for me. I won’t lie and say that I don’t want any sexual descriptions. I love to read about the bed play, the shower scenes, the car scenes, the....well, you get the point. I like lots of description, and the more descriptive the better. But I also need humor and an emotional connection with my literary friends.

I will admit that I don’t get into BSDM erotica too much. There are only a few out there that I feel don’t overstep the line between consensual and coercive. Plus, I am an alpha and about as non-submissive as you can get, so it’s hard for me to imagine wanting to be put into a position where you are basically bossed around all the time. I think this is why I work for myself. I have authority issues. :)

But this is not to say that I don’t feel they aren’t worth reading. The wonderful thing about erotica is there is a story out there for everyone. You just have to find your niche.

Megan Hart is one of my favorite erotica writers. She writes some of the most emotionally charged erotica I have ever read. She introduces us to flawed individuals and allows us to submerge ourselves into their lives in a way that I guarantee if you’re not crying at some point, then there is something wrong with you. She doesn’t offer any reassurances of a happy ending, either. That is the catalyst for me. In real life, relationships don’t stop with the words “The End.” They continue to evolve and change with each new situation. At the end of the story I am forced to use my imagination and wonder what happens to these two people that I have grown to love.

Two Megan Hart stories that break my heart each time I read them is Tempted and Naked:

Tempted by Megan HartTempted is the story of Jamie, Anne, and Alex. Jamie and Anne are a happily married couple, but Anne knows her husband has secrets—secrets that elude her and make her feel like a intrusion in her marriage. Secrets surrounding his best friend Alex. Alex is every fantasy you can imagine. Beautiful and elegant, he is pure sex. When Jamie allows Alex to spend the summer with him and Anne, Anne thought it would be nothing more than a fun experimental summer. A way for her to connect with Jamie on an intimate level that had been eluding her. But Anne never could have imagined those hot sultry summer nights would bring about changes, and the ending results could shatter them all.

“I looked at the cards in my hand, the queen of hearts nestled between the king of clubs and the king of spades. No wonder she was smiling.”

Naked is Alex’s story. It comes almost a year after Tempted. Olivia sees Alex, and while she is unbelievable attracted to him, she knows he is nothing but trouble. Olivia was devastated when she caught her fiance with another man, so when she learns of Alex’s past, she has no desire to open that door again. But when Alex needs a place to stay, Olivia offers to rent him her spare apartment and soon they cross from neighbors to lovers.

It’s both enlightening and heartbreaking as we watch these two emotionally scarred people find common ground and connect together. What I really enjoyed about Naked is that Olivia doesn’t take Alex’s crap. Yes, he’s beautiful. Yes, he’s sex on a stick. But Olivia wants and demands more from him. Alex’s beauty and sexual appeal isn’t enough for her, and when she pushes him to stripping away all his layers she finds herself also laid bare.

“It’s okay to struggle to find our place in this world and the person who will take us for who and what we are. Sometimes we dress ourselves in layers that only get peeled away in the end, to leave us as we should be.”

Cara McKenna was the first author to take me way out of my comfort zone with her book Willing Victim. Consensual rape role play is a huge role in this erotic and volatile story. I am NOT a proponent of rape. But this story uses humor and realism to show a consensual  lifestyle that I normally view as being humiliating and degrading to actually being acceptable in a safe and trusting environment.

Laurel is a waitress who has been coasting through life after receiving her engineering degree. After a life of being forced to be the adult to her mother, she, she be free to feel without any guilt. When she meets sexy hard core boxer Flynn, he introduces Laurel to things she’s never imagined—to the violent but exciting realm of the underground boxing circuit, to rough sex and even rougher role-playing, and to an attraction she craves even as it intimidates her. As Flynn invites her deeper into his world and his life, Laurel has to make a choice—let fear keep her holed up where it’s safe, or take a chance and fight for the man who makes her feel more alive than she’d dreamed possible.

“Listen, kiddo,” he said. “I’m a selfish prick, and I want to be the greatest fuck of your life and ruin you for every man who comes after me. “

Some of the funnest erotica I’ve read is written by Scarlett Parrish. A potty mouthed Scottish author whose stories are filled with wicked humor, outlandish characters, and some of the hottest sex scenes that make you squeeee and squirm without having you raise your brows ands saying, “What the....?”  

Plus One is a scorching hot funny story about a young woman and an older man. Lydia needs a job, but her pink hair and tats often get her shown the exit quickly. When she applies for a Librarian position at a local university she meets Dr. Spencer Flynn when he runs in demanding a transcriptionist.  Lydia’s a can-do girl and is soon helping Dr. Flynn do more then transcribe his papers. (wink-wink). But Lydia soon gets to feeling that the good Dr. is ashamed of her and when her attempts to hold his attraction backfires publicly, Lydia wonders if 1+1doesn’t really equal 0. Plus One is an erotic version of Bridget Jone’s Diary. Hilarious with just enough angst and turmoil to keep the story engaging.

“This is the last second,” he whispered, “that I will ever not have been inside you.”

Coming Undone by Lauren DaneThe contemporary erotica award goes to Lauren Dane. If you have not read her Brown Sibling series, which are highly erotic and ever changing, you are missing out. Add on top of this all a suspenseful plot line, and you know what keeps me coming back for more.

My favorite in this series is Coming Undone. Brody Brown spent his life raising his brother and sister, and now his life is his own. He has his tattoo shop, his motorcycle and his family. He needs nothing more. When sexy ex ballerina Elise moves in next door, Brody sees a desirable woman that the term “friends with benes” was invented for. Elise moves to Seattle with her daughter after a traumatic marriage and has no desire for a relationship. What she and Brody find is a wild physical passion that soon demands they give more when Elise’s past raises it ugly head.

I love the laughter, passion, and emotional entanglements that occur in here. Watching these two discover the passion that lies within them is titillating and enhanced by the intriguing sub stories that flavor the storyline.

“Like I need to play on the Wii when you’re there willing to f*** me. Video games are what men invented to fill the sex void. Any man who chooses video games over sex deserves to live in his mother’s basement with his mint-condition, in box Star Wars figurines and his real doll.”

Those are my reasons for reading erotica.  So please, tell me, why do you read erotica? What are your ’must haves’ and ’don’t go there’ requirements?


Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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1. SusiSunshine
Great post Tori and I completely agree. I adore Lauren's and Megan's work for the samre reasons you mentioned. I love the emotional challenge they offer their readers and each in their own way touch my heart with their work. My auto buy authors.

As you said, I too like my erotica smutty but I tend to get bored with the kind that only shows one sex scene after the next. I need to get to know the characters on a deeper level and a bit of humor is always good in eyes. I will so check out Scarlett Parrish.

Who would I recommend? I adored Three Over Par by Cathryn Brunet. Very emotional and sexy. Another fave of mine is the Shanhasson Triology by Joely Sue Burkhart. Very emotional fantasy romance that plays with our ideas of good and bad.
Carmen Pinzon
2. bungluna
I'm not particularly fond of erotica, but have read two of the authors you mention. Megan Hart I had to stop reading because her stories dug in too deep into me feelings. She packs a powerful punch! Lauren Dane, otoh, is one of my favorites. I love Brody in particular. All the realities, emotions and vagaries Ms. Dane brings to her stories, as well as the smoking-hot sex, keep me coming back for more.
3. MeganMulry
Thanks for the post Tori. Agree about the need to have the humor and emotion to make erotica great. I love Pam Rosenthal's Edge of Impropriety for that reason, graphic, not gratuitous, the sex propels the characters and story forward. If you're not into BDSM, you probably wouldn't/didn't like Carrie's Story and Safe Word, but I thought they were great for the same reason. All that constant bondage and pony play actually reflected the characters' deeper feelings, needs, etc. Not to mention all those fabulous can-they-even-do-that moments. That's another reason I love to read erotica, because it lets you acknowledge that certain behaviors you might have dismissed as prurient or "wrong" actually turn you on. Thanks again.
4. torifl
SusiSunshine-Thank you. Megan Hart KILLS me and I curse with every book but she really hits home with me. Lauren Dane's characters makes me happy. :) I will def look into your picks.

bungluna-Yes. Ms. Hart requires obscene amts of choclates and kleenex when I read her. lol

MeganMulry-I do understand the BDSM need it's just hard for me to understand why THEY need it. LOL I have read some that were fab. Second Chance by Lauren Dane is one . I seem to have the most problems where the Dom forces Sub for own good and the Sub fights it. And I'm not big on humiliation.
But yes your right, it does let you see certain behaviors in a new light.
5. Sarah H.
Don't forget about Maya Banks and Lora Leigh - both great!
6. Taragel
Looks like I am going to have to try me some Megan Hart...

Thanks for this post, very interesting! Am wondering if there are any eroticas with more beta-ish heroes (not sub, not into BDSM either for same reasons as Tori)? Or moderately Alpha at any rate. Some of the quotes from the books turned me off a bit because I find overbearing Alphas very unsexy, although I'm sure it's not fair to judge based on these singular moments.
Megan Frampton
8. MFrampton
I am reading Lauren Dane right now--I don't usually read erotica either, but I think Lauren is a great writer.
9. tiago5
I love this! Tori you have got to read the Megan Hart/Lauren Dane duo books "No Reservations" and "Taking Care of Business". These books were so on point and sexy as all hell and very entertaining to boot. You will also Love Jasmine Haynes's book "Fair Game". I am currently reading this and I love it. I have read all kinds of erotica and its very interesting the many ways and pysches it take for people to get sexually off. You must read a mix of authors to rule out stuff you don't like and I will admit some BDSM is quite enlightening as well as disturbing ,but I could just be kinky like that. (slightly kidding!)These books are intriguing avenues to sexuality that I don't mind saying I wish I'd read about sooner. If you want to be emotionally whipped also try Robin Schone. She is SOMETHING. I highly reccommend Gabriel's Angel and the Lover. Hot Stuff and thought provoking as well.
10. torifl
Sarah H.- Yes. They are wonderful also.

Taragel-Perfectly said. We need beta doms.

WickedLilPixie- Bawaaahahahaha

MFrampton-She's fab isn't she?

tiago5-I've read Jasmine Hayes but her heroines turn me off for some reason. (I'm too picky aren't I? LOL ) I've heard Reservations is good. It's on my TBR.
11. T B Robinson
I love the article Tori, my kindle is loaded with Erotica and I am by no means a prevert. I have th Lauren Dane Chase series, and Cara McKenna The Red Hot series. I will be checking out the Megan Hart books. I am a die heart romance junkie, in order to add a little extra spice to my romance I read Erotica. The stories by Lauren had me laughing, crying and day oh no! the same as my favorite romance author books.
12. rdsangel127117
Great article Tori! Well ... I didn't think I'd like reading erotica at all, but after reading a Lora Leigh short story in an anthology called Hot for the Holidays, I was interested. I say "interested" because a few years before that, I'd read a review of Coming Undone by Lauren Dane, which was great. After reading the excerpt, I didn't feel it was for me. A moderator in a romance blog, suggested I read a book that was a step down from the erotic romance, which I enjoyed. Being adventurous, I kept telling myself that I could read erotica and be alright with it. It just so happened that the Lora Leigh story appeared and I enjoyed it. I was totally surprised. Like you I need that emotional investment in my characters and a great story to go with it. Sex scene after sex scene bores me to tears. The story has no depth like that. As for the BDSM, I'm not sure about that. I do have a story called Afterlife by Joey W. Hill in my TBR pile about BDSM. The threesome doesn't appeal to me at all. I just can't get into those even if the author is a great writer. Alex's story Naked sounds wonderful. I'd love to read that, but only if the character is with one person. The consensual rape is definitely a new idea for me. The idea of it being consensual creeps me out, but I find myself intrigued by the premise of this story. When that happens, I'll read the story, because my mind can't wrap itself around the reasons that anyone would consent to this. As for the humor in erotica? I can stand a little in any kind of romance, but if it becomes ridiculous, I'm outta there. I do have Megan Hart, Lauren Dane and Maya Banks on My Wish List and after reading these comments, I'll have new authors on there as well.
Carmen Pinzon
13. bungluna
Off topic, but I just wanted to know: didn't the hero of a Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel have consensual 'rape sex' with his ex-wife before he got together with the heroine? Did I dream this?
14. Emelie
bungluna - you didn't dream it! It was in the book "It had to be you" in Susan's "Chicago stars bonner brothers" series...
15. Elliott
I have to agreee with the comments about Lora Leigh I am seating her waiting for her next book. It is like an addiction. My husband loves that I read these books. You can get some great will check out the other authors mentioned here.
Carmen Pinzon
16. bungluna
@Emilie - Thanks. Sometimes my oldtimer's brain plays tricks on me.
17. Jacqueline Turner Banks
Ditto, Tori, And thanks for the recommendations. I not only read them, I write them too.
18. WildAboutBones
I too love erotica and read mostly paranormal erotica - LUV, LUV Lora Leigh's Breeds series. My mom accuses me of reading porn. No, Mom, erotica has a real plot and everything, really. {chuckling}
A relatively new but awesome writer in this paranormal and SF erotica genre is Ann Mayburn. Check her out at
With as hot and steamy as many of the paranormal romance and urban fantasy books get these days, the lines between just seriously hawt and erotica get very blurry.
19. Sarah Jaxs
If you like steamy and sexy erotica check out*Version*=1&*entries*=0

part one and two are available now and part three is on its way this week.
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