Bedtime Stories

There is no shortage of pornographic material available to the average adult. Anyone with a computer has access to a plethora of naughty and not so nice images. Whether we’ve wanted to or not, most of us — whether through an error in a Google Search or the “witty” antics of a friend — have seen the skin on a few men, or women, or (God forbid) animals contorted into positions that would make the Pilobolus Dance Troupe jealous. However, not everyone wants to look. The good news is: you don’t have to watch strangers’ sexual exploits for a stimulating time; you can read about them. Welcome to the world of erotic novels, a girl’s right-hand man (or woman) in the bedroom.For a long time, the realm of erotically stimulating media has been relegated to men. For women, especially those conscientiously shunning the unequal and often demeaning portrayal of women in pornographic films, there weren’t a lot of politically correct or even satisfying options in the world of erotica. Thankfully, all of that is changing. New adult entertainment companies run by women and for women are emerging, and women are no longer confined to the dirty cineplexes of triple-X fame or the behind-the-glass of peep shows anymore. However, many women still feel uncomfortable with sex on film.

Perhaps this is because watching movies makes us something of a voyeur. The act can seem salacious, and it certainly has its own stigma attached to it. The erotic novel offers women a more personal experience. After all, what’s more private than curling up with a good book? Instead of watching a set cast of characters please each other on screen, we can cast ourselves as the role of hero or heroine, or, at the very least, use our creative powers to tailor the image of existing characters to our liking. Think of it as foreplay. While common pornography leaves little to the imagination, the good erotic novel is like a really giving lover; it lets us control the tempo, stopping and starting whenever we feel ready to move on. We also don’t have to worry about having a hand free for the remote.

Written erotica seems to be especially effective for women. In one study done at the University of Hamburg, Germany, 120 men and 120 women each read stories about a couple having sex. The study found that after the reading, the women’s sex drive increased significantly more than the men’s.

But don’t worry, we’re not being selfish.

A study from Psychology Today found that “women who read romance novels make love with their partners 74 percent more often than women who don’t.”

The moral of the story seems to be, whether we’re with somebody or alone, we should go ahead and read ourselves into a good time. Disease-free, quiet, and willing to give us most of the room in bed, erotic novels may be the best partner we’ve ever had.

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