post_50shadesBut…where could you find the extravagant stories that might bring such a scenario to life? Let me suggest a few exceptional erotic anthologies (and a few websites, too) that are sure to fascinate, tantalize, and relax you. They might just inspire you to connect with your partner in fresh, imaginative ways, too.

The Erotic Supernatural

If you’re a fan of True Blood, or the urban fantasy novels that the HBO hit series is based on, I know you’ll love the paranormal, gothic-like twist given to the erotica in Bitten: Dark Erotic Stories, edited by the mistress of sexy anthologies, Susie Bright.

Fifteen beguiling and suspenseful tales promise to stir your psyche as they tease your more delicate bits. Sex intertwines with the ghostly, the eerie, and the mystical. “The Devil’s Invisible Scissors,” penned by television’s Supernatural scriptwriter Sera Gamble, tells of a woman forced by Satan to seduce men as she snips away their souls. “The Unfamiliar,” written by another well-known sci-fi author under the pen name Allison Lawless, is about a mature witch’s naive niece who haplessly conjures up a lover who can change form – among other spectacular gifts.

Some tales are gritty, some are cruel, some are sweet – yet, as a cohesive volume of both literature and sexual fantasy, together they work well. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself reading them more than once.
The seven stories in Nancy Madore’s Enchanted Dreams: Erotic Tales of the Supernatural, rely entirely upon the author’s wild imagination and lush, fluid prose. In “The Enchanted Forrest” Madore spins a web of sensual suspense around a hiker who finds herself in a magical glen where all of nature is dedicated to her pleasure. “Disenchantment” is entirely different; here a woman searches for a man who is unique among men – and heaven help him if he disappoints her. Each story draws the reader further into a world of Madore’s creation; one so much like our own that we can’t wait to learn where she’ll place the inevitable, wrenching twist that proves it’s alien after all.

Part of what makes books like Bitten and Enchanted Dreams so compelling is the sheer enjoyment of the authors’ gifts for world-building and intricate plotting. These are hardly “gonzo” tales of hot sex and sex alone; each is more like a fairy tale, arousing our hunger to know what will happen next – right along with our lustier appetites.

BDSM Erotica

Another au courant theme in erotica – one that is perhaps second only to the supernatural in immediate popularity – is the kind of power-play found in dominance and submission, s/m, spanking, and bondage.
Once upon a time it was difficult to find BDSM oriented writings anywhere – today they are all the rage. I’m not sure whether this is because we are truly more open as a society, or because the marketplace is in no position to turn its back on kinky consumer demands – especially given that most people harbor at least a little fantasy that fits within the BDSM realm. Consequently, talented writers are making readers squirm – in a good way – with tales that range from soft, romantic spankings to absolute surrender and hard-core pain.
Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, announces its focus right on the cover with the image of a nude female’s backside and legs; she seems to be crawling forward on her knees, rear-end prominent and perched high in expectation. However tame or torrid your tastes, in Spanked you’ll likely find something to match them, and something else to stretch your horizons – and likely your boundaries, too.

Alison Tyler’s collection, Hurts So Good: Unrestrained Erotica, also telegraphs its intent with just a glimpse of the lovely, but edgier cover. Yes, it’s another rear view of a woman – but here she’s tightly laced in a black corset, gripping both ends of a wicked flogger against the back of her long, leather clad thighs. Like the stories in Spanked, Hurts So Good includes every combination of genders and roles: male/male, female/female, male dominant/female submissive and female dominant/male submissive. While a story or two might make you uncomfortable, the quality of the writing ensures that you’ll feel more like an observer to a thrill-ride – even if it’s on that you wouldn’t hop on yourself – than a miserable contestant stuck in a bad episode of Fear Factor.

Clearly, these are not books one reads cover to cover in a single sitting. A bite here, a nibble there…until the full collection is enjoyed…and then enjoyed again.

As an aside – both of these volumes are perfect resources if you’re inclined to open a discussion about your kinkiest desires with a partner. By selecting stories for his/her reading pleasure that reflect the nature and mood of your fantasies (and, no doubt, between these two volumes there will be more than one), you can convey your interests in an erotic and (hopefully) inviting fashion.

Eclectic Erotica

In addition to themed collections of erotica, many anthologies are eclectic, mixing sexual styles and literary genres. Some may be organized lightly around a “soft” theme – others not at all. For instance,Afternoon Delight: Erotica for Couples, edited by Alison Tyler, focuses on a sense of time and season, but beyond that, stories can go anywhere – and they certainly do. Also by Tyler, Frenzy: 60 Stories of Sudden Sex revolves around the idea of sex that happens unexpectedly, spontaneously. Tales are told in tight, quick bursts; short, steamy stories that mirror the tempo and energy of the encounters they describe, ideal for partners to read aloud.

Among collections that thrive on variety, one of my favorites – with a little something for everyone – is the spicy, edgy X: The Erotic Treasury. Edited by Susie Bright, X is at once tempting and taboo, while remaining a highly literate, quality storybook by some of the best writers in contemporary erotica. Bright, who for many years edited the annual juried “Best Erotica” series, has a keen eye for tales that stimulate the intellect along with the senses, and her gift for luring award-winning writers serves readers well here. Fetish sex in X runs the gamut from circus sex to lesbian shoe worship and s/m for healing lovers’ trauma. Some readers will find the book fun, hot and engrossing. Others will feel that it barely skirts the border of shocking, while some will argue that it crosses the line. As is true of any group of sexy stories, your response will depend upon your own sexual desires and limits. Still, because this is an unmistakable work of literature with real plot and character nuance – not mere prose-porn – every story is a worthy addition even if it isn’t your particular hot, wet, or fragrant cup of tea.

Erotica on the Internet

Yes, there really are steamy and well-written stories to be had online. They do tend to be shorter and “get down to it” faster than the anthologies, probably owing to the attention span limitations of internet reading.

Here are some of the best places to visit.

Violet Blue’s erotica pages: Links to some xxxx-cellent stories both within and outside her site.

Thomas Roche’s site: Roche is a prolific author of articles and essays, books and short stories in the horror-fantasy-crime and erotica genres. Modern, queer, punk, goth…you name it, he’s got it:

The Erotica Readers and Writers Association: Whether you’re an aspiring writer or simply an erotica fan there’s something here for you. Take your time – if you don’t rush, you’ll find original, good stuff: