Picture this: cold winds blowing outside the window and you’re wrapped in a blanket next to a fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a sexy book. To get this good thing going we prepared a list of hot classics to warm up this cold end of the year.
Henry and June: From A Journal of Love. The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1931–1932)
“I really believe that if I were not a writer, not a creator, not an experimenter, I might have been a very faithful wife. I think highly of faithfulness. But my temperament belongs to the writer, not to the woman,” Anais Nin disclosed in her diary.
Luckily for the literal world, Nin gave in to her writer’s temperament and, instead of a faithful wife Anais who’d likely slip unnoticed into the course of history, we got one of the finest erotic writers and most interesting artistic biographies of the 20st century.
She documented her emotionally and erotically turbulent life in her diaries, but they took some sweet time to get published in their original, uncensored version, thus started seeing the light of day around a decade after her death, from 1986 to deep into 2000s.
The delay was not really surprising considering how direct and brutally honest Nin had been in describing her numerous love affairs (including her bigamist period of maintaining two marriages and the incredibly detailed description of her incestuos romance with her biological father Joaquín Nin). The most intriguing segment of her diary, however, is probably the “Henry and June” part, in which she describes the passionate sexual liaison she shared with Henry Miller and her personal erotic obsession with his wife June.
The book reads as a coming-of-age of a young women on her one-year-long journey of sexual liberation, strung between several lovers and living between two of the most interesting cities of the era – Paris and New York.
Erica Jong: Fear of Flying
Jong’s book made a massive cultural impact, probably shaping the way female sexuality is portrayed nowadays in literature, film and the media more than we’ll ever realize. It’s a story of a young female intellectual stuck in an unfulfilling marriage undertaking both literal and figurative journey of sexual emancipation.
Her writing is intellectual but highly readable, beautifully multilayered, psychoanalytical and sexy. As a man, I just love books that give me an insight into the mysterious realms of female sexual psychology, and “Fear of Flying” tops the list.
Giacomo Casanova: The Story of My Life
If you want to escape for a brief moment this epoch of political correctness, there’s hardly a better way than immersing yourself in an autobiography of the famous 18th century adventurer, swindler and adulterer Giacomo Casanova.
If he lived in the 21st century, a man like Casanova would, without a doubt, get canceled from public life and/or incarcerated for a long time, but in his time he gained access into the highest levels of European society and also into the bedrooms of numerous beautiful women.
Although, Casanova would undoubtedly be labeled and diagnosed all kinds of things in present day and by today’s standards, there’s one characterization that indisputably describes him – he was a sexual addict and his story reads both as a journal of an addict and a rare historical document. His resourcefulness in getting what he craves is fascinating and his descriptions of his sexual adventures are both funny and sexy. If you can get past the moral standards of our time and like historical reads, don’t skip this one.
Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Nefzawi: The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight
The Islamic world is not usually thought of as a place that produced great erotic literature, but in reality, during what is known as the Islamic Golden Age, the Muslim civilization was going through a real renaissance period of unmatched opennes.
Among the literature that flourished in that productive time is some well-known erotica, like the stories of the famous collection Arabian Nights, but also a real sexual self-help manual called The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight, written in the 15th century by a man often referred to just as Nefzawi.
If you’re a history and erotica buff, this is a book you just need on your shelf because it’s incredibly interesting, amusing and sexy. It’s filled with anecdotes and stories, poses, concrete advice and observations (some of which are delightfully funny nowadays).
Nicholson Baker: Vox
What makes really great erotica? For me, it was above all the ability to appeal to our fantasies and desires in a simple and relatable way. No one did it better than Nicholson Baker in his 1992 novel Vox, a book with a perfectly simple premise that you’ll just have to read in a single sitting.
The whole book consists of one telephone conversation between a girl and a guy meeting on an old-school phone-dating service (think of it as a mix between a sex-line and modern dating apps). It starts with the intention of a phone-sex masturbation session, but slowly turns into a real connection, with the couple, shielded by the anonymity of the setup, slowly revealing each other’s intimate worlds of their previous experiences, desires and fantasies.