Sex in books is not a new thing; in fact it’s a VERY old thing. Yes, 50 Shades opened it up to a huge market, but realistically people have always been reading about sex in books for as long as books have existed. It might be a bit more openly discussed now, and hopefully a LOT more openly discussed after the #SexMeUpReadathon, but these books have always found an audience. When we look back on the first books we read that were seriously sexy, they weren’t from the last few years, they were from the last 100 years. That’s how long these books have been out there. So if you want some classic raunchiness, here are Hot Bed’s recommends!
Victoria – Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence
I came late to the party reading this one, but when I did, my mind was blown. In its own right, this book is a classic. It got banned – how badass is that?! They condemned D.H. Lawrence’s book as ‘radically pornographic, a vision of a relationship and a society without moral boundaries’, which, yeah I guess it is. But isn’t that what we love?!
The story is about Connie Reid, she is the female protagonist and marries Clifford Chatterly, the ‘scion’ of an aristocratic line. After their honeymoon, Clifford is sent to war and sadly returns paralyzed from the waist down, and chooses a future of writing. Then when gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors shows up Connie breaks down all of the boundaries of class, and finds comfort in Mellor.
As with most New Adult/Contemporary Romance novels, it’s never as easy as it should be. Mellor too, has an old wife who he must divorce, and Connie becomes pregnant with Mellor’s child, but Clifford refuses to divorce her. Will they be together again? We should hope so after all of that!
Emma – Jilly Cooper
So, I know this lady is more of a household favourite than a literary classic, but the first ‘naughty’ books I got my hands on were written by Jilly Cooper. My first one, totally not in the right order, was The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous. I was thirteen years old…
Lysander Hawkley is gallivanting around the county of Rutshire, comforting disgruntled wives with his devilish good looks. But underneath the charm is a kind hearted man who can’t bear to see stray animals, injured horses, or spurned women. His friend Ferdie suggests that he should make a living off making husbands jealous, as he does it so well. So off he goes, causing mayhem in Rutshire!
Then he comes across Kitty, a lovely but shy woman, drowning in the wake of her indomitable husband, the highly promiscuous conductor, Ranaldini. She must be rescued, even if it means enlisting the help of an even bigger charmer, Rupert Campbell-Black.
These books had everything we get from contemporary romance today, love triangles, drama, intrigue, scandal, and of course lots of steamy sex scenes! I still buy Jilly’s books now, and love them – she is the original queen of the bonk-buster!
Kate – Story of O by Pauline Reage
*NOTE: This is NOT for the faint hearted*
Story of O was published in 1954, it was charged with indecency, had a publicity ban on it and caused outrage across the world, but it was also a phenomenon and sold thousands (still does!). Set in France, it’s the story of female submission. I came across it on a university course on pornography, because at the time of it’s publication it was actually removed from sale as it was considered too pornographic – it’s certainly graphic!
The main character never has a name, just ‘O’ (which can mean what you like), it’s short and to the point. She eventually works her way towards having a Master, and their relationship develops from there. It’s told completely from the point of view of O, who at times can seem a little distant, but it’s worth reading – it’s certainly enlightening!
I wouldn’t know what to compare it to, but you can certainly see how it’s influenced modern writing, particularly in the contemporary romance/eroica genres. At best guess, I’d say if you’re a 50 Shades of Grey, Shoshanna Evers or Kyra Davis fan, this will be the book for you.