Posted February 10, 2014 by in Book Lists

Erotic Fiction to Try After 50 Shades of Grey

The current market for erotic fiction is downright unprecedented. The last time true erotica was popular may have been when French writer Anaïs Nin published her first work in 1977, but E. L. James has created with 50 Shades of Grey a series that is readable with a steamy story line. Many predict that the book-buying audience has simply evolved to embrace sexuality, while still others suspect that racy romance has always been a popular genre but is only now becoming self-aware, having been labeled simply as “romance” in the past.

If you ask me, I think erotic fiction has become easier to purchase and read now that electronic readers have become more common. However, now that readers have had a taste of erotic fiction, how will they find similar titles? Erotica lovers, you are in luck; publishers have anticipated your desire for more and the market is now rife with possibility. If you have not tried any erotic fiction before, Valentine’s Day might be the perfect time to try one of these titillating reads for the first time.


Sylvia Day’s Bared to You


The author of this book thanks E.L. James in the acknowledgments section, expressing her appreciation to an author “who wrote a story that captivated readers and created a hunger for more,” which can be seen as a nod to the writer for creating the market where Bared to You has thrived. For readers who are looking for a story composed similarly to 50 Shades of Grey, you can’t get much closer than this book. Indeed, even the covers of Day’s books were designed to appear similar to the 50 Shades of Grey covers, with the first in the series sporting a tasteful set of silver cufflinks that would not be out of place next to Christian Grey’s silk tie, the image for E.L. James’s first book.

The immediate spark between the characters, chemistry combined with a power struggle, and a sexy billionaire love interest…the similarities are hard to ignore. Once you get past these broad strokes, readers find that the books have some major differences that set them apart. Bared to You has been described as “better written,” which is not a great stretch considering that Sylvia Day had previously published over a dozen historical, paranormal, and even nonfiction books, whereas E.L. James was previously unpublished. The main character of Bared to You is a strong, independent woman who is revealed to have a traumatic past that she deals with assertively and confidently. Those who found the main character of 50 Shades of Grey to be overly weak, inexperienced, or timid might enjoy The Crossfire series a bit more because of the strong female protagonist. Additionally, the sex scenes are more abundant, with less of the S & M or bondage elements that 50 Shades of Grey had.


Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Renard


Having only the barest trace of similarity to 50 Shades of Grey, this title immediately reads differently than most of the erotica on the market. The female protagonist turns down admission to Harvard’s graduate school because her family can ot afford the high tuition and instead enrolls in a graduate program at a college in Toronto. As the title might suggest, the main character and the love interest are both intimately fascinated with Dante’s Inferno, to the point where they have deeply personal reasons for their academic interest. From the very start, the author of this title hints to the reader that there is a lot more going on than is being portrayed on the page. Hidden truths linger in the background, leaving the reader in suspense to discover what is not being said. Strangely, there isn’t just one love interest in this plot, but technically three, even though one lingers as a very real aftermath of something that has happened in the character’s past. While you would never guess from the book alone, Gabriel’s Inferno had the same humble beginnings as 50 Shades of Grey: as Twilight fan fiction, originally published online under the title The University of Edward Masen.


Afterburn by Zane


Before there was 50 Shades of Grey, there was the author who simply goes by Zane. Many readers who enjoy this author’s work have expressed relief that they can now share their love for this genre with the public since everyone has now jumped on the erotica bandwagon. Zane’s title list includes 30 separate works of fiction, previously categorized within a genre called ‘urban fiction’; they all share the same element of unashamed, uninhibited sexual passion that embraces female sexuality rather than shames it. A good starting point would be Afterburn, one of Zane’s titles that has some similarities to 50 Shades of Grey. The book’s female protagonist has had a difficult family history. Her mom is not the best role model and even though she has given a few dates a try, she is finding it hard to fall in love. The love interest of the story is a chiropractor who meets the main character at his bank, where she works as a teller. The story gets steamy quickly and ends up having a meaningful message alongside the romance.


Unteachable by Leah Raeder


This self-published title has been categorized as ‘new adult,’ a genre created for those adult readers who had been enjoying ‘young adult’ books but could handle more sexually explicit content. After only a few months, this title started gaining attention for its unique plot line and extraordinary prose style and quality. The main character in this novel is a young girl in her last year of high school. After a very steamy and explicit first chapter where she meets and has sex with a man she meets at a carnival, the protagonist discovers that this man is the teacher of her film studies class, which she had been looking forward to since she preregistered the previous year. With polished prose loaded with double meanings, Raeder puts her characters in a situation rich with conflict, both with the young girl’s new love interest and in her home life, where she struggles with a drug addict mother and absent father. While younger than 50 Shades of Grey’s Anatasia Steele, Maise is much more sexually experienced and self-confident. The two characters do share a  vulnerability that affects the relationships depicted in each of the novels.


What would you recommend to someone who liked 50 Shades of Grey?

Erotic Fiction to Try After 50 Shades of Grey 4.00/5 (80.00%) 2 votes

Lauren V. Bryant

Having studied library and information sciences in a graduate program at San Jose State University, Lauren is a professional librarian who has worked in school and public libraries. She currently works at a public library where she helps the public get e-books and other downloadables on their devices. Check out Lauren's website, http://www.LaurentheLibrarian.com/ for more book related articles and content. Check out all my articles.