• Susie Bright has been hard at work for years editing collections of erotica: her groundbreaking Herotica series, the first focused on erotica for women; the Best American Erotica series; her collections of novellas; and the recent compilation of her favorites from years of editing (X, a sumptuous slipcased hardcover); and more. She’s always been invested in people reading good erotica and her work is definitely worth seeking out. Her autobiography (Big Sex, Little Death) is now out in paperback as well, and her life has never been uninteresting, from being the lesbian sex consultant for the movie Bound to giving sex advice with her daughter. Worth checking out: Three the Hard Way, a collection of three erotic novellas she edited.
• If the BDSM content of Fifty piqued your interest, here are two story collections that might be up your alley: He’s on Top and She’s on Top, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. He’s on Top has the same male dominant/female submissive vibe, and She’s on Top is focused on the female domme and male submissive. Bussel is an old hand at editing erotica collections and has continued to put out collections every year or so under similar titles.
• Another offering edited by Bussel, Orgasmic is all from the female perspective on different types of orgasms. Sounds like it might be repetitive or dry, but is surprisingly inventive.
• The Leather Daddy and the Femme, by Carol Queen, is a delightfully unusual novella about a girl in boy-drag who picks up a leather guy and has lots of fun with him and his leather daddy friends. Queen is an old hand at playing with gender roles — check out her collection of gay men writing lesbian erotica and lesbians writing gay male erotica.
• While being an adventurous French woman is probably the beginning to any number of erotic stories, Anaïs Nin’s real life eclipses most fiction (even her own erotica, for which she was paid by the page). Delta of Venus is a collection of Nin’s erotica, which she agreed to have published only shortly before death in the 1970s. Nin is equally known for her diaries — including ones documenting her relationship with Henry and June Miller, most of which were collected into one volume, Henry and June, after her death. Definitely check out Henry and June for a massively complicated entanglement between three very different people that is so thoughtful and beautifully written it will take your breath away.
• While far from flawless, Aqua Erotica, a collection of stories on the theme of water and edited by Mary Anne Mohanraj, combines a brilliant concept with a brilliant form: the book is waterproof, making it ready for a bath-time fun. Poppy Z. Brite’s dark tale of abandoned snorklers is one of the highlights.
• Gynomite: Fearless Feminist Porn, edited by Liz Belile, offers a joyful collection of anarchic, zits-and-all stories from authors more likely to show up at poetry slams than other erotica collections.
• One of the great aspects of the rise of erotica is the availability of work for more people — Tristan Taormino is well-known for her work with lesbian erotica (Her Sometimes She Lets Me is a lesbian-centered collection that toys with butch/femme and gender roles within lesbian sex to great effect) and in Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, she guides an all-star collection of writers (some of whom are activists, filmmakers, and musicians who rarely work in erotica) through a realm that is all to often fetishized or misrepresented.
Whatever your kink, whatever your desires, there’s a wide range of erotica that will hit the spot without making you cry. So branch out and find something fun.