The next 15 erotic books on your reading list

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Stylist Team
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Hot on the heels of our must-see erotic films and books comes this collection of raunchy reads to freshen up your bookshelf. These books reflect the philosophy of Mucky Book Club – we love good books with mucky bits in them. Sometimes that means classic erotica, and sometimes great novels with steamy themes and fantasy settings.

What's your favourite erotic read? Let us know in the comments section below

Words: Betty Herbert, founder of Mucky Book Club and the author of erotic memoir The 52 Seductions (published by Headline)

  • Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

    Written in the 1940s, these short stories are delicate and dreamy – although sometimes dark.

  • Riders by Jilly Cooper

    For those who like posh boys and a roll in the hay. Rupert Campbell-Black has inspired many a female fantasy.

  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

    Simmering desire, unrequited love, and delicious food: this novel is as hot as the Mexican sun.

  • The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice

    Anne Rice does vampires better than Twilight, and submission better than 50 Shades of Grey. These sexy fairytales contain BDSM themes, but handled exquisitely.

  • My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday

    Friday spent years documenting women’s most private fantasies, and this book compiles hundreds of them. Some are fascinating, some shocking – and many are very hot indeed.

  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

    Some of the language is a little flowery, but the vision of the rugged gardener still holds our attention today.

  • The Sexual Life of Catherine M by Catherine Millet

    French journalist Catherine Millet had a second life in the seedy sex clubs of Paris. This memoir details a life of exploration – and submission.

  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

    Waters is the queen of sexy Victoriana, and this thriller is given depth by the sexual awakening of its two female protagonists. We have a bit of a soft spot for Gentleman, too.

  • The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

    This seductive tale of food and unrequited love is set in Rome, and will appeal to romantics everywhere.

  • The Story of O by Pauline Réage

    Probably the most famous erotic novel, The Story of O describes a young woman’s surrender to a shady cartel of sexual libertines.

  • Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter

    It’s the very atmosphere of this book that makes it so sexy: the grubby, bawdy, smoky world of the circus, narrated by the inimitable Fevvers.

  • Sexus by Henry Miller

    Miller dips beneath the surface of respectable 1920s America in this steamy, gritty fictionalised account of his own life.

  • Fanny Hill by John Cleland

    This tale of the fall and rise of a ‘woman of pleasure’ was published to great scandal in 1749, and proves beyond all doubt that sex wasn’t invented in the sixties.

  • Ripening Seed by Colette

    A classic tale of sexual awakening by two teenagers on the cusp of adulthood. More about the atmosphere and sense of yearning than the nitty-gritty.

  • Lace by Shirley Conran

    On our mothers’ (highest) shelves when were teenagers, and now on ours. We love the goldfish scene. Doesn’t everyone?