Can Reading Erotica Improve Your Sex Life? We Ask A Sex And Relationships Therapist
Need some spice in your life right now? Grab a book!
Seen the series “Sex/Life” on Netflix? The very title already evokes sensual imagery that you know what you’re in for even before you watch it. Admit it, there’s a movie or TV show you can’t quite forget partly because of that one steamy scene. Humans are sexual beings, after all, and it’s definitely normal to feel turned on when we’re presented with sultry characters and passionate scenes on screen. You know what’s even better, though? Reading about them.
Erotic literature, also known as “erotica,” are artistic works that treat sexual love “in a sensuous or voluptuous manner,” according to Britannica. Erotica usually takes a piece of literature’s sexual element as one of its major themes.
What most people might not know, however, is that this genre goes way, way back to 2037–2029 BC when the oldest love poem ever found, Istanbul 2461, was created. The Istanbul 2461 was an erotic monologue written by a female speaker, expressing her love for King Shu-Sin.
While some people still consider erotic literature as taboo, sex and relationships therapist Dr. Rica Cruz says that it can actually benefit our daily lives.
“Research has found that having a temporary escape from everyday life is an important reading motivation,” says Dr. Cruz, who is also the co-founder of Unprude, a sexual wellness shop. “People also consider this kind of literature as ‘hot,’ ‘exciting,’ and ‘good,’ thus it provides excitement for them. Reading erotica can provide an emotional connection as well as a physiological connection to the readers.”
Additionally, erotica can also improve a person’s sex life. “Studies have shown that reading erotica can actually make you be more aroused, and have sex with yourself or your partner within 24 hours after reading! It can help in your desire, arousal, lubrication, and lessen pain and increase pleasure,” Dr. Cruz adds.
Caroline, a 24-year-old teacher from Laguna, started reading erotica during her junior year of high school. Like most people, the peak of E.L. James’ famous Fifty Shades Trilogy made her interested in the genre.
“It was a journey. When I read Fifty Shades of Grey, I found it acceptable because I wasn’t really aware of consent and bodily autonomy, etc. But as I grew older and learned more things, my opinion changed and my taste changed.” Since then, Caroline avoided books where the lead characters do not respect consent.
She adds, “Since I was exposed to different stories about sex, I think that helped me distinguish what was okay and [what’s not okay]. It also helped me become more open when talking about sex, and that really helped me and my partner be informed.”
Jaine, a 22-year-old events associate, says that as someone who doesn’t have any sexual experience, reading erotica helped her understand what it means to be in a state of pleasure.
“It gave me [a] deeper understanding [about] pleasure,” she says. “Mas naging open-minded ako towards it and it made me realize na pleasure is normal, sex is normal, and is a part of our life.”
Erotica vs. Pornography
Oftentimes, erotic literature gets compared to pornography, as both of them elicit arousal or the act of “being turned on.” But 23-year-old art director Pat prefers reading erotica, as she connects better with the genre.
“I find that I connect better with erotica because of the control I have over it,” she says. “In written word, I get to decide (to a degree) what the characters look like and their body language, as opposed to the more visual form of pornography where everything is laid out in front of you.”
Adrian de Jesus, a 24-year-old freelance writer who started reading erotica eight years ago, agrees.
“Erotica has an irreverent and raw feel to it. Kind of like how art is supposed to be free and unrestricted, erotic literature is unbarred by conservative ideals,” he says. He also likes that erotica gives the reader more freedom for imagination.
“I think that erotica is a way for me to enjoy art that expresses more freedom than some. That, and it gives my imagination something to work on.”
Erotica can reduce stress and anxiety
If you’re looking for even more benefits that reading erotica can bring, you’re in for a treat, as it can also help you manage your stress and anxiety.
“Reading erotica can help reduce stress and anxiety especially during times when you are overwhelmed. It allows you to know about yourself and be more comfortable and less self-conscious with your body, your wants, and your desires,” says Dr. Cruz. “Consequently, it will help in improving your ability to express your needs to your partner. Also, sharing erotica with your partner can increase intimacy, trust, and respect for each other.”
According to Dr. Cruz, erotica can also help shift the negative emotions into feelings of arousal and positivity. “If reading erotica leads to orgasms, we can say that it can also help in giving people the benefits of having good orgasms,” she adds.
There is so much more to erotic literature than Christian Grey’s red room, so if you want some hot, steamy reads, here are 3 recos you can buy online.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Time travel and steamy romance? Count us in! Outlander is initially set after the Second World War, where nurse Claire Beauchamp gets reunited with her husband. However, she travels through time and finds herself in 18th-century Scotland, where she is considered an outlander, and is forced to marry a soldier named Jamie Fraser.
The book travels back and forth, and you will surely witness Claire become torn between her desire for both men, in completely different centuries.
You can purchase Outlander for Php 480 on Fully Booked.
Women by Chloe Caldwell
Women is a novel that explores sexual confusion, same-sex relationships, and discovering yourself. In this book, you will encounter friendships, heartbreak, and most importantly, the significant act of finding oneself.
You can purchase Women for Php 400.70 on Amazon.
Bared To You by Sylvia Day
If you like reading about rich CEOs with their fancy cars and expensive Rolex being head-over-heels in love with a woman who’s the complete opposite, you might want to give Bared To You a try. It’s about a billionaire and businessman Gideon Cross and his office romance with twenty-something Eva Tramell.
You can purchase a preloved copy of Bared To You for Php 280 on Shopee.