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It’s Okay To Be Sexy: How Reading Erotica Helps Us Explore Our Sexual Desires

Fifty Shades of Grey sold  52,674 copies in its first week alone and is often cited as the fastest-selling book of all time, yet historically, erotic fiction has been taboo: something to be whispered about and hidden in the bedside drawer; not something you comfortably read on your daily commute. Additionally, the rise of e-readers has upped the sales of erotic literature, particularly that aimed at women: it’s something we can now indulge in without anyone being any the wiser. So just what do women get from reading erotica, and how does it influence what goes on in the bedroom?

Permission to explore fantasy

Women who read erotica or romance novels have 74% more sex with their partners, according to a study by Harold Leitenberg. Reading erotic material allows women to have more realistic and intense fantasies, and the study showed that by allowing themselves to indulge in suggestive reading material, women became more adventurous in the bedroom. The subject of sexual fantasy has long been a cultural taboo, for women particularly, but literature gives the reader permission to explore sexual ideas in the privacy of their imagination. With the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, the taboo has been broken, and women are now much more likely to discuss sexual fantasies. Author Nikki Gemmell, best known for her book, The Bride Stripped Bare, notes that this shift is a revolution. “Yes, women like to read about erotic lives and to talk about it,” she says, but it’s only recently that popular culture has made this okay.

It’s okay to be kinky

Popular erotic fiction helps us to understand that our own sexual desires and fantasies aren’t wrong, and that other people might have similar feelings. Both by reading erotica and through talking about it, we realize we’re not alone and that sexual fantasy is a normal part of human life. Erotic fiction lets us escape into an imaginary world and allow our senses to explore our fantasies, which then translates into the bedroom, where sex play often becomes more adventurous and open as a result. By reading about the fantasies and sex lives of others, we’re more likely to feel that it’s okay to experiment with sex toys, dress up in sexy costumes and try out fantasy scenarios in the bedroom. Exploring our own fantasies allows our real-life sex lives, in turn, to become more erotic, and indeed, the sales of sex toys increased after the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Time to escape into sexy

Often we want to have more sex than we do. Sexy fiction with well-rounded characters and juicy plots gives us a realistic world we can escape into, allowing us to live vicariously through the characters we’re reading about when our normal lives are getting in the way of us exploring our own desires. In busy modern society, much of our time is taken up with money worries, work, and family life: when we do have sex, it’s perhaps not as adventurous as we might wish, but through reading about it, we get to plug the gap, as well as fueling our fantasy material to amp it up in the bedroom.
Sex is no longer the taboo subject it was in decades past, and neither is erotic fiction. Erotica empowers women to explore their sexual fantasies and experiment in the bedroom, where their imaginations can run wild and find a physical outlet for the desires they’ve explored between the pages.

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