Literary Smut: An appreciation and some recommendations

Inspired by some recent racy reads, I made a video about smutty literary fiction (as opposed to smutty smut). I’ve blogged about sexy times in books a few times here on Reading in Bed, but talking about it with my voice (and my face!) is another prospect, and a little cringey. I’m glad I did it though, because I got some great recommendations for further highbrow smuttery in the comments. I’d like to share them with all of you, and of course, ask you for even more – I’ll update the post.

There’s not much Franzen in this video, this was just the best default thumbnail option and I’m too lazy to make my own

The books I mentioned are:

  • Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce (trigger warning for everything)
  • Smut by Alan Bennett (wonderful!)
  • The Bride Stripped Bare by Anonymous (an oldie but a goodie)
  • After Claude by Iris Owens (more trigger warnings!)
  • Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas (this one wasn’t great, nor is it literary fiction. In case you don’t make it that far in the vid)

The books other recommended to me are:

  • Stranger by the Lake (a movie, but including it, why not!)
  • Love Life by Zeruya Shalev
  • Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett
  • “Housewife” by Jenny Diski (in the collection The Vanishing Princess)
  • Delta of Venus by Anaรฏs Nin
  • House of Holes by Nicholson Baker
  • Suicide Blonde by Darcey Steinke
  • The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch
  • The Pisces by Melissa Broder
  • Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes
  • Maidenhead by Tamara Faith Berger
  • The Change Room by Karen Connelly

Send me some recs, and let me know what you think of explicit sex in lit fic.

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13 comments

  1. Elle

    Love Me Back is amazing! I read Darcey Steinke’s Suicide Blonde recently and there is a LOT of sex in that; same with Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir The Chronology of Water.

  2. Agnese

    Have you read The Pisces by Melissa Broder? There quite a lot of sex in that. Also, Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes

      • Agnese

        Yes, itโ€™s pretty intense, and thatโ€™s before you get to all the merman sex…๐Ÿงœโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜†

  3. annelogan17

    Hmmm ok how about Maidenhead by Tamara Faith Berger? This is an uncomfortable book though, because it deals with young girls, race, consent, poverty etc. So, disturbing in some ways, but also a book that everyone in canlit likes to reference every once in awhile. I haven’t read her latest Little Cat, but I can only assume there is sex involved in that one too ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Bellezza

    A silly comment, perhaps, but I ADORE your lipstick! It looks absolutely fabulous on you, and I love seeing a fellow red-lipstick-wearer such as myself. On whom Iโ€™m afraid it doesnโ€™t look quite as good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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