My Three Favourite…Books About Sex

26th Mar 2012


It’s Erica Jong‘s birthday, and since her best-known book, Fear of Flying, was so controversial for its sexual content, we’re celebrating with a look at some other books about sex:

The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution by Faramerz Dabhoiwala

Despite being mis-placed among the Karma Sutra’s and Sex Tips for the Elderly in Waterstones, this is a history book exploring the history of sex in England.

I bought this book for an assignment and ended up being hooked reading from front page to back, sucked in by the approachable writing style and compelling subject matter.

In a world where everyone seems to be having sex all of the time, it is fascinating to learn the harsh and often deadly punishments inflicted upon those that had non-marital sex.

As the “first sexual revolution” occurred however, it seems like everyone was at it, and there’s a particularly interesting chapter about how rape was seen as the thing to do in higher society.

Juliette by Marquis de Sade

Some people love his work, some people detest it. Whatever your opinion, de Sade started something huge with his hardcore erotic novels, and Juliette still has cult status even after hundreds of years.

Feminists have argued long and hard over de Sade’s work, including my favourite writer Angela Carter with her piece The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History.

Totally controversial and unique at the time of publication, it explores her relationship with de Sade and caused as much outrage as de Sade did in his time.

The Story of O by Pauline Reage

With links from de Sade, The Story of O is erotica with a difference; described as well-written pornography without the obscenity, it takes women’s erotica to a whole new level.

Written during the hectic times of second wave feminism, it takes a brave woman to write about a submissive woman when anti-porn protests were at their most prevalent; the bold move paid off.

Another cult piece of literature, it’s a novel that has lasted the ages and will surely remain amongst erotic favourites for years to come.

Strongly disagree with these choices, or love them just as much? What are your favourite sexual books, for academia or pleasure?

Gina Kershaw

(Image via jean_koulev’s photostream)