More Books With the Mystical Properties of 50 Shades of Grey
October 9, 2014 1:31 PM   Subscribe

A few months back my wife read all the books in the 50 Shades of Grey series and, while she did, let's just say the getting was good. What other books could I buy her to stimulate a similar response?

Normally my wife has very little interest in sex. I always initiate, usually get told no, but once every 2 weeks or so she relents and we have sexy fun times.

However a few months back she pretty much devoured the 50 Shades of Grey series within the space of about a month, and while she was reading them she was a completely different woman. She initiated sex with me almost every night, getting me to do things to her that she would normally never want me to do. It was, to say the least, awesome.

After she finished the books, things petered out again and we're back to our usual routine. *sigh*

I've decided I'm willing to spend any amount of money to buy her more books that are likely to make her the horny little minx she was while reading 50 Shades.

So; recommendations, please? Thanks in advance!
posted by Effigy2000 to Media & Arts (35 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Judy Blume's "Wifey".

Most romance novels, e.g. Danielle Steel.
posted by Melismata at 1:35 PM on October 9, 2014

Someone from Mefi recommended Untie My Heart to me a while ago when I was looking for romance novel suggestions, and I actually liked it a lot. It has, shall we say, similar themes.

I didn't personally really like the Kushiel books, which are basically like "what if we took a Medieval fantasy setting and made all of the great houses super into BDSM," but they are very popular.

(I also recommend talking to your wife about this, rather than trying to Jedi mind trick her.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:39 PM on October 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series (couldn't get into the Anita Blake ones, myself, though they're another option)
posted by corvine at 1:41 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dear Author has a page for if you liked 50 Shades of Grey, and they have many other recommendations as well.

I tend to prefer the book reviews from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Someone has suggested that Tiffany Reisz is also good in erotica; I haven't read it.
posted by jeather at 1:43 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've heard that Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series is quite good.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 1:45 PM on October 9, 2014 [7 favorites]

There's always the old-school classic Delta of Venus. The language may be a little "fancy", but it's got enough unusual sexuality in there to probably appeal. (Anais Nin is a gateway drug to erotica for many.)

Seconding Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series if she was waaaaaaay into the S/M aspect of 50 Shades.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:46 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've heard that Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series is quite good.

I have to say, I started reading it and thought it was the most laughably terrible crap I had ever seen.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:48 PM on October 9, 2014 [5 favorites]

You don't say what her reading preferences are otherwise, but if she didn't mind the terrible writing/repetitiveness/general cheesiness of 50 Shades (no judgment! I'm a copy editor and was able to turn that part of my brain off enough to enjoy the hell out of the first two books), she might also enjoy the Lucky Harbor series of romance novels. (Steamy sex scenes, but not BDSM; stories tend towards "plucky heroine redeems local bad boy while opening a B&B/bakery/yoga studio/whatever.") This falls under "most romance novels," I guess, but I enjoy them a lot and can personally vouch for them.

If on the other hand she enjoyed 50 Shades despite herself and generally tends to more highbrow stuff, she might enjoy Carrie's Story and the sequel, Safe Word. The main character is a Berkeley grad who's sort of generally self-aware and ironic and entertaining about her role as a submissive; it's kinkier than 50 Shades and a lot better-written. (Full disclosure: I worked for the publisher as an intern a while back. They have a lot of erotica anthologies on every imaginable topic, which I would also recommend, but might not work if the story is what's getting your wife hooked.)

I have not heard good things about the Sleeping Beauty series, personally. I haven't read it but it might be a little too extreme for your purposes.
posted by sunset in snow country at 1:50 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

To clarify - I don't think anyone is claiming that Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty is quality literature. But then again, I also don't think anyone is making the claim that Fifty Shades Of Gray is either; I think people are recommending it based on the "kink" factor.

Although, I did read the first book and the sex is a good deal more, er, "compulsory" than I think it might be in 50 Shades, and that could be a potential buzzkill depending on your wife's taste.

Hmm. You've got me thinkin' - I think it all comes down to whether this is more of an "unbridled female sensuality" situation or a "dom/sub stuff is intriguing" situation. You can maybe present both with those caveats.

I actually have a couple movie recs that would fit either taste, too, even - Sirens would work more so for the "uninhibited female sensuality" side (and got a fan following amongst my friend circle when all the guys in our group compared notes and discovered that when each of the couples in our group went to see it, we women all jumped our respective boyfriends' bones as soon as we got back from the movie theater). If the dom/sub stuff is more the source of intrigue, you could try Secretary.

And if Delta of Venus gets her into Anais Nin, there's Henry and June. (Maria de Medieros played Nin, and actually made me question my sexuality for a bit when I saw it.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:59 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Outlander. Buy a kilt.
posted by kidsleepy at 2:01 PM on October 9, 2014 [21 favorites]

Sylvia Day's Crossfire series (currently up to three books) is like a parallel universe Fifty Shades except it's written by someone who actually has a decent command of the English language and who apparently allowed her books to be edited properly . There are parts where you can see that she's taking shots at the Fifty books and it's delightful.

Seconding Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series if she was waaaaaaay into the S/M aspect of 50 Shades.

And if she's okay with depictions of homosexual and bisexual S/M.

I have to say, I started reading it and thought it was the most laughably terrible crap I had ever seen.

I had a similar reaction. The series may have made a big splash back in the 80s but I don't think it has stood well the test of time.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:01 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have not read 50 Shades, but from what I gather (about it), books by Anne Rampling might fit the bill. It is the pseudonym Anne Rice used when writing erotica. I have read Exit to Eden and it is BDSM-themed.

Though I will second the idea that you might want to do more to address this issue than just buy erotica for your wife.
posted by Michele in California at 2:10 PM on October 9, 2014

Seconding The Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day. I made it through book one of 50 Shades and just couldn't do it, but the Crossfire books are actually pretty good.
posted by jabes at 2:15 PM on October 9, 2014

Outlander. Buy a kilt.

Warning: contains super graphic extended man-on-man rape/torture scene which no one warned me about for some reason
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:16 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Find out what TV shows/movies she likes and get her into Slashfic online. It's basically erotic fanfiction. Basically the whole 50 Shades of Grey thing was Twilight Slash that got published with name changes. If not try the Anne Rice "Beauty" series, though that is pretty hardcore.

If she likes Fantasy novels then anything read by the "Vaginal Fantasy" podcast crew will probably do the trick
posted by wwax at 2:17 PM on October 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Why not ask your wife this question? I mean, surely as a literate person, she understands that there are other books, and that some of those books have sexual content that she might like?

One thing I'll say is that there is lots and lots of literary erotica out there (as opposed to porn videos/photos), and there is a bit of a stereotype that women tend to prefer it to more visually oriented erotica. Now, maybe your wife really detests the idea of reading Erotica proper rather than the safe best-seller stuff like 50 Shades, Outlander, and the like. But, y'know, there is a metric crapton of romance and erotic literature out there. And only she can possibly know what she would like.
posted by Sara C. at 2:19 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding Day's Crossfire series (which is better than 50SOG but still kind of wan) and Tiffany Reisz (The Siren is the first in her first series, I don't know if the first book in the Headmaster series is out yet, but that'll be good too) .

CD Reiss's Songs of Submission series starts with "Beg."

My personal favorite writer of quirky erotica, some of which is power play type stuff, is Charlotte Stein. Control is a good one to start with.

And it's a quiet little multi-million-dollar industry, so looking up any of these names/titles on Amazon will lead you to another 100. There's literally something for everyone's tastes, right down to the dinosaur erotica. Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews and Smexy Books are prolific and extremely readable review blogs, as it's hard to keep up with what all is out on any given day.

While I read Anne Rice's Rampling books, the Sleeping Beauty series and Exit to Eden, and back in the day we walked uphill in the snow both ways for non-historical kinky ladyporn and we liked it, I would not force anyone to start there now that there are so many other options.

And yeah, you can offer to buy and make suggestions, but let her pick her own. It stops being reading for pleasure once it becomes a sex chore for someone else's.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:22 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Fifty Shades was written as Twilight fanfic, so you could see if she's interested in Twilight. It doesn't blow my skirt up, but I have friends who swear by it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:22 PM on October 9, 2014

I think one of the struggles that erotica writers have is that there's a hell of a lot of stuff that I think is better written that wasn't the big cultural phenomenon. But Circlet Press has some really good stuff if you head towards the SF/Fantasy side of erotic.
posted by straw at 2:24 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have to say, I started reading it and thought it was the most laughably terrible crap I had ever seen.

That was my reaction too, but she sold an awful lot of those books, so people must have been loving them.

There are entire publishing houses (example) that only publish erotic romance for women, mostly with a kinky edge. Very few books have the cultural splash of 50 Shades or the Anne Rice books, but most of it is much better written as well. If anything you will have an embarrassment of riches to choose from, but I agree with the people above suggesting that a conversation might take you further than ordering her a book a week for the next twenty years.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:35 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Everything from Samhain Publishing. Normally I'd add Ellora's Cave, but they're in the process of falling apart, and everyone from authors to cover designers aren't getting paid.

In short, get her a Kindle and get her good and addicted to erotic romance... there are more publishers out there, and reams of books on Amazon.

Oh... and good luck. Because 50 Shades is actually a pretty cruddy example compared to the excellence that's out there.
posted by stormyteal at 2:48 PM on October 9, 2014

Georges Bataille

*runs off snickering*

Srsly tho if it turns out she's into that then holy shit
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:50 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I feel bad that I forgot a great writer and a great series: Jenny Trout/Abigail Barnette's The Boss series, which was written as a direct response to haters (who didn't like her hilarious and serious recaps of 50SOG) saying "as if you could do better!" So she did.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:52 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Why not ask your wife this question? I mean, surely as a literate person, she understands that there are other books, and that some of those books have sexual content that she might like?"
posted by Sara C. at 8:19 AM on October 10

I could ask her, and I have once before, and her answer was she wasn't sure what else she might like that was like 50 Shades. Also, I'm asking because book recommendations are helpful for finding out whats good and what's not and I'd be buying these for her as gifts/surprises.

"Fifty Shades was written as Twilight fanfic, so you could see if she's interested in Twilight."
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:22 AM on October 10

She does love the Twilight series, and has read them all, but it didn't make her particularly rambunctious at all.

"Most romance novels, e.g. Danielle Steel."
posted by Melismata at 7:35 AM on October 10

She likes Danielle Steel too, but like Twilight, it didn't dial her sex drive up to 11.

To be clear, when she was reading 50 Shades, it got to the point where we were having so much sex, I had to turn her down on a number of occasions which is something that I would normally never want to do. This is the effect I want to recreate (the more sex bit, not the me-turning-her-down bit). She often joked that 50 Shades was like a female viagra for her.

Thanks for all your help so far, friends! I'll be looking into some of the suggestions here shortly, and assigning best answers as I do. More recommendations are appreciated, especially ones that have definitively resulted in increased libido/sex drive.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:19 PM on October 9, 2014

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there were only a couple of fucks in Twilight, they weren't sexy, and they ended badly. It's Mormon boyfriend porn, not actual sexual interaction porn. Most romance novels don't have explicit sex, or you only get one or two that aren't behind closed doors. (The line gets blurrier in subgenres like New Adult and Contemporary, which can mean a lot of things but tends to not be especially explicit and never violent or kinky.) Danielle Steele is drama, it's not sex.

You're looking for erotica - reading about sex is what is priming her pump. It can be erotic romance (which has a certain set of rules, including a happily ever after or at least happy-for-now), or it can be erotic fiction (not relationship-centric) or erotic cross-genre like SF, urban fantasy, paranormal, historical etc and then there's a bunch of subgenres that are erotica-specific like shapeshifters, sports, many kinds of kink configurations, straight, gay etc. (You can also go real dark into dubious consent, underage, kidnapping and assault - generally you're gonna know if you've ended up in that territory, though, it's pretty hard to stumble on.)

Amazon has erotic romance and erotica categories, but they are quasi-hidden. It's easiest sometimes to just search an author or title you know is categorized as erotica and then jump from there to the category or the charts. Or go from the review blogs' links.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:37 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh, and in terms of what other books/TV/movies she likes, she generally reads a lot of true crime books. She once said her favorite author was Ann Rule, but she also like Nicholas Pileggi. Which is also probably why her favorite film is Goodfellas, but she also liked Casino and the Godfather movies. Robert DeNiro is her favorite actor.

On TV, we generally like the same things. We're both watching Chuck at the moment as well as Star Trek (Voyager and Deep Space Nine). We both love Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad and she really likes Castle, although I'm getting bored of that one. She also really likes Supernatural (she thinks Dean is hot) and Orange is the New Black. I don't mind either of those shows and watch them with her on occasion though they're not my favorites.

Of course, these are just the things she enjoys the most. None of them have had the same effect as 50 Shades did... although she did once jump ,e after the season 4 premier of Game of Thrones, but I think that was around the time she was reading 50 Shades, so that may or may not have been GoT related...
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:56 PM on October 9, 2014

So 50 shades started out as Twilight fanfic so maybe more fanfic? It's not a book but you could tell her about Archive of Our Own. I see there are a couple of works tagged 50 Shades.
posted by oneear at 3:59 PM on October 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seconding Outlander. I can't believe it's not being screamed from the rooftops. She could try the show on Starz to see if it interests her - that's how I got hooked: 6 episodes of casual watching, then obsessive reading of 4 1200+ page books to get more of Jamie Fraser. Am trying to take a break after Drums of Autumn because the reading leeched away all of my sleep time.

And yes: buy a kilt. An 18th century-style plaid.
posted by AthenaPolias at 4:53 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I could not get past the first chapter of 50 Shades so I don't have any specific recommendations. But if she doesn't mind digital books, she could check out Some authors are really good, others are eye-rollingly awful, but they provide excerpts so you generally know what you're getting into in advance. Reading through the excerpts and browsing some of the categories might also help her pin down the kinds of things she wants in an erotic story.

But choosing a book should be something she does, especially if she can't articulate just what exactly it was about 50 Shades that turned her on. Maybe browsing through Loose-ID or Amazon together could spark that discussion?
posted by rakaidan at 6:27 PM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

As Lyn Never recommended: The Boss series. Um. Yes. Very.
posted by at 7:32 PM on October 9, 2014


Erotic stories about water. Bonus is that the book is waterproof so you can read it in a bubble bath.
posted by MadMadam at 7:51 PM on October 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

posted by michaelh at 8:32 PM on October 9, 2014

My Secret Garden, Forbidden Flowers, Men in Love, and Women on Top, all by Nancy Friday. Three of the four are women's sexual fantasies, one is men's. All highly erotic. I should warn that these books cover pretty much every fetish/interest out there, but the chapters are clearly labeled so she can skip subjects that are total turnoffs.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:28 PM on October 9, 2014

There's the fairly active facebook page, "What to read after 50 Shades." There's also a website. Amazon has thousands of erotica and erotic romance stories in the kindle store (and even more behind the 'adult' filter (i.e. results that can't be found from the main store search bar, but can be found via searching within specific departments).
posted by lovecrafty at 12:46 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ditto Zane although the only book of hers I've read is Addicted. Note, most of the characters are African American if that makes a difference. Also, the movie adapted from the book is opening in theaters today.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:04 AM on October 10, 2014

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