This article was written by Laura Varnishe who teaches couples how to integrate squirting as part of a healthy sex life over at The School Of Squirt. When Laura isn’t writing about sex, she’s reading about it. Yes, the word obsessed springs to mind. The few times that sex isn’t on her mind each day will be during a yoga session or preparing/munching on some healthy food.
Erotic fiction isn’t often categorized as world changing literature. But the fact is there have been several times when erotica made an impact that reached well beyond the literary world. These five books changed the landscape of erotic fiction at the time they were published and they went on to have a much larger impact on the world around us.
- 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade
120 Days of Sodom is one of the single most graphic, violent and over the top books ever published in the history of literature. I realize that’s a pretty big claim to make considering some of the titles we see these days but when it comes to pure shock value, no one beats de Sade. The plot in 120 Days is about as plausible and well-crafted as the plotline from a 1980s porno, but no one reads it for the story line. 120 Days contains everything from incest and flagellation to rape and murder. The book was originally written in 1785 but not published until 1904, when the original manuscript was discovered. Since then, it’s been challenged, censored and banned at one point or another everywhere it’s been published. Today, it remains one of the cornerstones of extreme erotic fiction and is the basis for many S&M works. At the same time, it’s been held up as the prime example of Free Speech. The fact that a book that glamorizes and sexualizes everything from pedophilia and disembowelment can be published and freely accessed is proof that the freedom of expression remains alive.
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita was published in the mid-1950s but didn’t cause much of a stir when it was first published. It wasn’t until Graham Greene claimed it was one of the best books of 1955 that people started discussing the book openly. After Greene’s comments were published in the London Sunday Times, John Gordon, the editor of the competing Sunday Express, weighed in. He published a column calling Lolita “the filthiest book I have ever read” and “sheer unrestrained pornography.” This proved to be the best marketing Nabokov could have asked for and sales took off. The book was banned in the United Kingdom for several years due to its scandalous plot involving the sexual affections of an older man for a young girl. Of course, Lolita went on to not only be a best-selling book, but also to inspire movies, television shows and our own language. Today, even those who have never heard of the book know what someone means when they call a girl a ‘Lolita’ or ‘Loli’.
- Looking for Mr. Goodbar by Judith Rossner
Technically speaking, Looking for Mr. Goodbar isn’t erotica. There’s plenty of sex in Rossner’s 1975 classic, but it’s not the main focus of the book. Still, there’s plenty of sex in this book and it was also a massive best-seller when it was published in 1975. It spawned a movie adaptation almost immediately and became an iconic part of the 1970s and early 80s. Theresa Dunn, the book’s main character, seeks out casual sex from various men in New York City. Her story resonated with many single, independent women at the time and the book has become both a rallying cry and a cautionary tale for young women ever since. Its commercial success also proved that a book with explicit sex scenes and sexual acts considered perverse at the time, like female ejaculation, could also be a mainstream hit in print and on the screen.
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence
Modern audiences who ready Lady Chatterley’s Lover are often surprised at how tame the book is. The title appears on almost every list of groundbreaking erotic fiction but, to modern audiences, it’s really quite tame. So what earns it a place on this list? Simple – Lady Chatterley’s Lover was the literary F-bomb of its time and it helped to create a society where erotic fiction became more readily available. First published in 1928, it created shockwaves throughout Italy and the rest of Europe. The book describes the physical and sexual relationship between an upper class woman and (gasp!) a working class man. The book also featured language which, at the time, was actually banned from being printed in some countries. The book was so scandalous, in fact, that it wasn’t able to even be printed in the United Kingdom until the 1960s.
- The Gor Chronicles by John Norman
The Gor Chronicles includes a wide selection of books set in the Gorean Universe. The series was originally written by John Norman though now there’s a wealth of Gorean fan fiction. In the world of Gor, women are property and the entire universe revolves around BDSM. This science-fiction series has become so popular in the BDSM community that some Masters and slaves use contracts and wording from the Gor series as the basis for their own relationship contracts. Today, Gor principles are used for an entire subculture in the BDSM world where people role play Gor in their real lives.