For those who understand the appeal of learning things from books. You probably won’t find them arousing, but they do engorge the mind.
- The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radigeut
– a highly sexed teen beats a path through provincial pubic hair.
- The White Hotel by D.H. Thomas
– First wave psychoanalysis, prophecy and the erotics of death. I should point out that this book will sear your brain like a grill pan.
- Against Nature (À Rebours) by Joris-Karl Huysmans
– the corrupting novel mentioned obliquely by Wilde in Dorian Gray. Zola hated it; only a good thing.
- The Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille
– the Surrealists ended up being too staid for Bataille. Watersports, peeled eggs, saucepans. Do the math.
- Ice by Anna Kavan
– not conventionally erotic but hauntingly sadistic and compelling. Woman and man in pursuit of each other, a world encroached by ice, a prisoner escaping her jailer.The ice is encroaching global winter but also the white powder Kavan couldn’t do without.
- The Fermata, Vox, and House of Holes by Nicholson Baker.
– I haven’t read HoH yet but The Fermata manages to be both comedic and titillating, a tricky combo. Filth as satire.
- A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter
– an affair so tightly written and flawless, you’re intruding. Heartless, pellucid voyeurism.
- Casanova’s autobiography
– go for the abridged version. Terrifying cures for the pox.
- Benevenuto Cellini’s autobiography
– surfing the alpha juice of the Damien Hirst of his era.
- Fanny Hill by John Cleland
– quintessentially English in preoccupations.
- The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp
– Crisp only had sex to be polite, but he makes the blackout sound like a romp.
- James Joyce’s letters to Nora Barnacle
– Joyce has coprophagic fantasies. Just saying. Also, his side of the correspondence is all that survives so another instance of bloody writers hogging the spotlight.
- Junkie and Naked Lunch by William S Burroughs
– the junk is ‘sposed to make you uninterested in sinking your spunk but Old Bill was a man of appetites, despite vampiric appearance.
- Most things by JG Ballard
– somehow I get a film by Michael Mann running in my head when I read Ballard. As sheened and distant as a Hajime Sorayama prOnbot.
Books that are not recommended
- The Thousand and One Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade. Very, very repetitive.
- American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis – do not go here looking for squirmy fun. Satire that looks into the black heart of man, yes.
Essential primers for a woman in search of cautionary tales of faux-empowerment
- Sex and the Single Girl by Helen Gurley Brown
- The Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander
- I’m With the Band by Pamela Des Barres
And if you’re looking for some fine Australian literary erotica? Linda Jaivan has a ball taking the po-face out of poking in pretty much all her fiction. Chris Flynn over at Overland also has a few fine suggestions.