A woman reading an erotic fiction novel

A Beginners Guide to Erotic Fiction

New year, new me?

Many people appreciate the idea of new beginnings at the close of the year. They make lists of their goals for the upcoming year and eagerly anticipate the future. It’s a new start, new chances, new beginnings. A real ‘new year, new me’ kind of vibe. 

Personally, I love to see people reflecting on their highlights of their year, whether it’s discovering great music, recalling significant events, or, of particular interest to me, sharing the books they’ve read throughout the year.

Spotify Wrapped and Goodreads 

If you don’t know (where have you been living all these years?) Spotify Wrapped is something Spotify, the music streaming service, does each year. They tally up which artists, genres, etc. of music you’ve been listening to throughout the year and invite you to share it with your friends. Other companies have taken this trend and made it their own, including Goodreads… 

Yes I want to know which books you’ve read, how many books (in the number of pages of course because the huge number makes it sounds so much more impressive), and which you personally found best and why. It’s how I get most of my book recommendations. I would not consider myself an avid book reader and I wouldn’t know how to find books that really interest me. But this is a great way of seeing what those real bookworm friends are reading, and therefore, what I should also probably be reading.

Thank you friends who post their spotify wrapped and goodread summaries. I really appreciate it. 

‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’ 

There is reason behind the rambling. My friend posted her top reads of 2023 and the name ‘Erotic stories for Punjabi Widows’ by Balli Kaur Jaswal was right at the top. Honestly, I was confused, but at the same time very intrigued. My friend explained the book is about a woman in London who starts a creative writing club for Punjabi widows and how these widows solely wanted to write erotic fiction. I was sold.

I read it and was surprised that yep, that is the best way of describing the book, and the title read hit the nail on the head. It also has plenty of drama, action, romance, pathos, and, of course, humour. Honestly, it has it all. It does also, unsurprisingly, have some short erotic stories. I understand why it was right at the top of the list for my friend, and I would also put it at the top of mine. I would recommend it to anyone. I have also now passed it onto another friend, I hope she enjoys it.

Is Smut a Thing of The Past?

This book really got me thinking about the lack of erotic fiction in my life. I liked the short stories. They were really well written, quite explicit, and as a consequence they got me feeling a little bit hot. I’m now intrigued in what other kind of smut there for me to uncover… So, I’ve done a little research into some of the subgenres of steamy smut for us both to explore. 

What Is Erotic Fiction?

First thing’s first: What even is erotic fiction? So, essentially it is literature where sex and/or romance is at the forefront. It can range from subtle sexual innuendo all the way to full blown explicit content. Also, it’s not necessarily just sex, but definitely a major theme. Due to being fiction it does also have a greater chance of exploring more taboo themes, but I’ll get into that later. The intention of erotic literature is to give a sense of a certain pleasure to its reader, and to open their personal sexual fantasies. 


Explicit content can vary in intensity, and individual preferences play a significant role in what you can find enjoyable. A good tip is to always read reviews or content warnings to ensure that the book aligns with your interests and comfort levels.

A Beginners Guide to Erotic Fiction


Romantica is probably the sub-genre that comes to mind when thinking of erotic literature. It’s a blend of romance and sex. Both aspects are involved when developing the relationships between the characters. It’s a bit calmer in comparison to other sub-genres and maybe a good stepping stone into erotic literature if you’re looking to start reading this genre.


A bit more power play is in BDSM than in Romantica. Well… A lot more. It’s all about bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism. It also tends to be a lot more explicit than romantica so definitely hold onto your hats because you’re in for a ride. This subgenre is not for the shy. (Shy in this sense meaning a bit more vanilla and not so kinky.)

LGBTQ+ Erotica

So, this can be any subgenre, but specifically involves queer relationships. Be them gay, lesbian, trans, bisexual, or anyone else in the alphabet soup. The intent of this sub-genre is to serve diverse sexual orientations. 

Historical Erotica 

So, as you could probably assume from the title, this is general erotica in whatever sense, but based in a specific time period. The most important aspect of this sub-genre is that it is based at an identifiable moment in history. 

Paranormal Erotica 

Paranormal erotica is all about the supernatural. It combines erotica with supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction. Imagine werewolves, vampires, elves, or anything along those lines. Like ‘Twilight’, but with added adult content. 

Erotic Fantasy

This is similar to paranormal erotica, but often more centred on imaginative worlds and magical elements than the sex.

Menage à Trois / Polyamory

I don’t think this needs much explaining, because it’s basically what it says on the tin. It’s erotica focussing on polyamorous relationships

Erotic Mystery / Erotic Thriller

This is erotica but mixed with elements of mystery or suspense. Again, it does what is says on the tin. 

Taboo Erotica

As mentioned earlier, due to the fact it is fiction, it does have some more freedom with which themes are explored. This includes things that are considered socially or morally taboo. Similar to BDSM, there is power play here, but in contrast to BDSM a lot of the sexual acts are non-consensual. So, it’s worthy here to stress how if you’re interested in reading this to read the content warning and reviews.

Erotic Science Fiction

Erotic science fiction merges science fiction elements with explicit sexual scenes. These scenes are often set in futuristic or otherworldly settings. Different from paranormal because it’s not about the supernatural, but more based on scientific, technological, or speculative concepts.

The new me this year is reading smut

I have been asked a few times what my new year aspirations are but have been too shy to state that it is actually to read more erotica, amongst other things of course, but I do feel like this is quite a big thing for me. 

I found with this book that it did seem to transform the way I view sex from something that might be quicker to something that needs more context and time put into it. Reading a novel does not compare to the actual act of sex, though of course it depends on how long your sex lasts, nor does it compare with your normal old porn.

I think it genuinely is quite eye-opening to consume more sexual or romantic things in different ways just to get different interpretations and perspectives on the same thing. It’s definitely now one of my main goals of 2024: expand my view of what sex is and how we can actually consume it. Step one: read more erotica. 

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