Yes, There Are Actual Sex Benefits to Reading Erotica—Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Plus, four erotic novels you need to read ASAP.

The topics of female masturbation and sexual pleasure remain taboo for many, which is precisely why we should keep discussing it. Men may talk about masturbating to porn more often, but Pornhub’s 2019 statistics show that their female visitors are increasing. But while there are more female-focused adult sites out there than ever before, the emotional depth, character development, and palpable sexual tension in erotic novels still are highly desired. 

“Some people prefer erotic novels as there is usually more context and story, and you can use your imagination more to make it work for you,” says Lucy Rowett, clinical sexologist and intimacy coach. Just like published novels in any other genre, erotic novels are a great storytelling medium. Erotic literature has existed since the 17th century, but thanks to the growth of electronic books in the last decade, the genre has advanced as readers found a more discreet way of indulging in their choice of reading material.  

People always debate whether porn is healthy or not, and erotica is often viewed through the same scrutinizing lens. Still, there’s nothing wrong with reading erotic novels, and you have lots more to gain from it than just pleasure. Here are the many benefits that it provides. 

Benefits of reading erotic stories:

They allow you to explore interests and sexuality in a safe space. 

The fictional world of erotica gives you the freedom to explore and enjoy your fantasies. You can choose novels that include the kinks you want to fantasize about and discover those that you might never have heard of. “You are feeding your erotic imagination so that you are opening your mind to new erotic possibilities,” Dr. Stephanie Buehler, licensed psychologist and sex therapist, explains. You can also experience new sexual desires through the eyes of the protagonist before trying it out with a partner. 

They can improve your relationship with your partner(s). 

“Reading erotic novels helps you to find out more of what you want and be able to communicate that to your partner,” Rowett says. She believes that erotica can strengthen relationships as readers learn how to articulate their desires better. Bringing up a steamy scene that you particularly liked and talking about it with your partner(s) can inspire some new moves in the bedroom. This comes in handy when you’re uncomfortable improvising with cliché scenarios like cop and robber, patient and doctor, and the like. Re-enacting whatever it is that turned you on can be extremely satisfying for all parties involved. 

They can increase your libido and desire for intimacy. 

Masturbating or having sex may be overwhelming when you’re blocked by stress or the pressure to perform. Reading sexually explicit material can take some weight off your shoulders as you get absorbed in the plot. “Your libido and desire for partner sex increases, which can be the missing ingredient if your sex life has ground to a halt,” Rowett says. Some medications also dampen the libido and orgasmic response as an unwanted side effect, but all hope is not lost. “Many people on antidepressants report an increase in libido and desire through reading erotica,” she says. 

They can reduce your stress and anxiety. 

According to a 1974 psychological study, the body’s physical response to stress and anxiety shares some similarities to that of sexual arousal. Readers can use this phenomenon of “misattribution of arousal” to their advantage by reading erotica, which interrupts negative emotions and reframes them to more positive ones. The aphrodisiac of being turned on also brings much-needed relief and peace of mind, especially when it leads to masturbation. “[I]f someone is aroused enough to have an orgasm, then there are all the benefits that go along with it,” Dr. Buehler says. 

They can help you reclaim and own your pleasure. 

Although sex is becoming less of a taboo topic nowadays, stigma still surrounds it. Erotic novels can help readers reclaim desire and shed the feeling of shame connected to sex. “You are affirming to yourself that your pleasure matters and you are a sexual and erotic being,” Rowett says. “Because reading erotica feeds your erotic imagination, your self-worth increases, and you affirm to yourself that you are worthy of having pleasure.” 

There’s so much more to erotica than Fifty Shades of Grey, so take the time to find one that hits the right spots. If you don’t know where to start, here are some recommendations.

Erotic fiction worth reading:

1. Sugar Daddies by Jade West 

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When life gave Katie a financial roadblock, she found herself looking for solutions on a sugar daddy website. She never could have guessed how much her life would change after meeting Carl and Rick. More than just a polyamorous erotic romance, Sugar Daddies is an emotional story about overcoming whatever life throws at you. 

2. Twisted Perfection by Abbi Glines 

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Della wasn’t one for one-night stands—until she came across a sexy, helpful stranger one fateful day. She never expected to see him again, but much to their surprise, he happens to be her new boss. Did they really have a connection, or were they just imagining it? Find out how two broken people deal with their past and face their present in Twisted Perfection. 

3. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton 

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There’s one thing Caroline didn’t know before she moved into her new San Francisco apartment: The walls are extremely thin. After facing many sleep-deprived and sexually frustrated nights thanks to her neighbor’s loud sexcapades, she finally confronts him. Thus begins a hilarious, fiery, and sweet connection between Caroline and her Wallbanger neighbor, Simon. 

4. Just a Bit Twisted by Alessandra Hazard 

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As a working student trying to provide for his younger sisters, Shawn starts falling behind in his classes. At the risk of losing his scholarship, he strikes a deal with Derek Rutledge. However, the agreement becomes so much more than what they expected. Those who seek an addictive romance will find that Just a Bit Twisted is exactly what they’re looking for. 

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