Why Erotic Fiction Could be Good for You

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Why Erotic Fiction Could be Good for You

No need to hide what you’ve got. Take that book out of its discreet wrapping and let it all hang out – because enjoying the written word in all its steamy, salacious glory has benefits that last well beyond the bedroom.

Know what’s cringeworthy and outdated? Calling erotic fiction cringeworthy and outdated.


Because the popularity of the genre has well and truly outlasted (and outpaced) its long and unfairly held reputation as little more than smut on a page.


In fact, its popularity has risen exponentially in the past two years, with eBay Australia reporting an increase of 174 per cent in sales of the genre in 2021 alone. Surely life in isolation motivated many of us to add these escapist titles to our carts, but there is a lot more to erotica beyond a simple page-turning turn-on.


1: It’s empowering

According to Pantera Press editorial director Kate Cuthbert, writers of erotic fiction are often writing their work for the same reasons their readers are consuming it.


“The emotional aspect, the safe space, the natural curiosity, the desire to represent pleasure in all its forms [all play a part],” she says.


Cuthbert also believes that for females in particular, erotic romance is a good place to find strong depictions of women experiencing pleasure, and being in control of their own bodies and choices. “This could be a catalyst for understanding what can be true in a relationship and having the confidence to seek it out,” she says.


Dr Jodi McAlister, a senior lecturer of writing, literature and culture at Deakin University, adds that the escapism component is what many women find so appealing. “It’s all about fantasy and pleasure,” she says. “Some of the things people like reading and writing about might work for them as fantasies, but isn’t something they’d be interested in trying in real life.”



2: It’s inspiring

Erotic fiction can provide readers a safe space to explore and ready themselves for the kinds of experiences, proclivities and preferences they may not yet be ready to seek out in the real world, says Carol Battle, co-founder of The Good Bits, a podcast series that shares sexy stories from bestselling novels.


“Writings can describe sensation and complex mechanics, to guide and inform readers,” Battle tells us.


“Testing waters in fiction instead of real-life experiences can build confidence. If reading about power play or multiple partners isn’t interesting on the page, it’s a good indicator.”



3: It can help partners reconnect

For people in monogamous long-term relationships, great sex writing can add a spark and boost to their sex life, says Battle. “While some couples enjoy short stories together, reading alone also has simple relationship benefits and inspiration. Understanding how much a character enjoys being looked at or touched in a particular way can build a new empathetic connection to your partner’s intimate experience.”


Sexologist and relationship therapist Dr Stephanie Azri adds that many of her patients say romance novels have been vital to the improvement of their bedroom skills. “By turning them on and drowning them in cocktails of hormones, they’re just more engaged sexually,” Azri explains.


Battle says it can also help male partners who may need a bit of creative motivation. “For guys who may be uncomfortable with sexy talk or female pleasure, reading about it from the woman’s perspective might provide some inspiration.”



4: It’s a dopamine boost

“These stories can make brains and bodies hum and zing,” says Battle.


“Authors weave intimate tales of intimate couplings, detailing sensations, feelings and thought processes. When respectful and positive, they can leave you feeling good. The research shows reading erotic stories particularly assists women in cognitive switching, to get their head and body in the mood, whether for themselves or for someone else. The scientists have discovered that the complex brain chemicals released when reading erotica can assist with sexual arousal and achieving orgasm.”


Here are the erotic novels we have available at the Art of Loving.



Written by: Shona Hendley on Body+Soul