If life has taught us anything, it’s that most women need to be mentally and physically stimulated to get off. It’s no surprise, then, that erotic novels—which are largely geared toward women—are a huge industry.
These books allow you to get wrapped up in a great story while getting some pretty intense details about the build-up, climax, and aftermath of steamy sex scenes.
A(nother) nice perk to keep in mind? Erotic novels often look like “regular” books, so you can dive into one wherever you want without worrying about getting the side eye from someone in public.
Of course, it’s one thing to know you want to read an erotic novel (or five) and another to actually pick one. There are a lot of options out there and it can get really overwhelming, really fast to try to settle on a place to start.
With that in mind, Women's Health has weeded through the top erotic novels out there and curated this list just for you. Keep scrolling for the best erotic novels out there right now.
1. A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Judith McNaught has an army of fans, and A Kingdom of Dreams does, too. This book tracks the story of Jennifer Merrick, who was abducted from her convent school by the arrogant Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. The two trade barbs until Jennifer realizes she has feelings for him and…you can take it from there.
2. Follow Me Darkly by Helen Hardt
Follow Me Darkly has many similarities to 50 Shades of Grey: There’s an innocent young woman with big dreams who catches the eye of a billionaire. The two start dating, and the woman (Skye Manning, FYI) realizes that her new love has some dark desires.
3. And Playing the Role of Herself by K.E. Lane
Love celebrity stories? And Playing the Role of Herself tells the story of Caidence Harris, an actress on a hit show who just became a big star. She ends up crossing paths with talented actress Robyn Ward and sparks fly.
4. Crave by Tracy Wolf
This one is giving off some serious Twilight vibes. A woman joins an academy with supernatural students. She meets and connects with a vampire and things heat up from there.
5. Company of Fiends by Kathryn Moon
This Amazon best-seller tells the story of actress Hazel Nix who has a string of current and ex-lovers. Hazel considers leaving the theater where she’s worked for the last eight years as a string of mysterious happenings strike—and her love life gets even more complicated.
6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
TikTok is obsessed with this book, and that's reason enough to give it a try. The young huntress, Feyre, ends up in the dangerous fantasy world that she has heard about only in legends. She and the immortal faerie, Tamlin, have an enemies-to-lovers affair that is very *spicy*. A top review on Amazon identifies it as "nothing more than erotica," which I'm totally fine with.
7. Bridgerton: The Duke And I by Julia Quinn
At this point, you've probably watched Bridgerton on Netflix—it's been literally everywhere. Well, while you are waiting for the next season, grab the books and get a healthy dose of "your grace." If the series wasn't hot enough for you, the books take it up a notch. Plus, you can get a head start on the rest of the series while they work on season two.
If you haven't binged it yet, the Bridgerton series is about each of the Bridgerton siblings finding love and marriage in high-society London in the early 1800's. Each book tells the story of one sibling's romantic journey. This first novel in the series, which the first season of the show follows, is about Daphne falling in love with the Duke of Hastings, who also happens to be her older brother's best friend.
8. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
If you've watched the series, you know that Jamie Fraser is just...wow. He sets the bar so high for men. Time travel, the Scottish highlands, and freaking hot sex. That's pretty much what Outlander is.
Clare, a former British combat nurse, has just been reunited with her husband as they embark on their first trip away together after the war. When Clare ventures into an ancient standing rock circle, she is thrown back into the mid-1700's. And that's where she meets Jamie, a young Scots warrior, and the story takes off.
9. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Just getting into erotic novels? You might want to start with something like The Wedding Date, which could fit in the romance novel category as well. It's a perfect way to ease into the genre and experience a fair share of romcom-y charm, along with quite a bit of sex. Here's the deal: Drew picks stranger, Alexa, to be his plus-one to an upcoming wedding—a classic fake significant other story that leads to, yes, you guessed it, actual love.
10. Temptation by Ivy Smoak
A student falls in love with her tall, dark, and handsome professor—nothing new there. But this professor has a little secret: He used to live the billionaire lifestyle in New York City. He thought it would be easy not to socialize with any of his students, but he never expected to meet such a beautiful woman like Penny. This book is scorching hot (according to Amazon reviewers).
11. Next in Line for Love by Harper Bliss
After living in Europe for years, Ali Lennox's father asks her to move back to L.A. so that she can take over the family company, Lennox Breweries. However, this decision angers the company's COO, Jill Gold, who has been at LB for more than 20 years. Annoyed that she has to show Ali the ropes on top of her career snub, Jill treats Ali with disdain. Can the two find a common ground and mesh at work? Potentially. It turns out that sparks fly outside of the office, too...
12. Tempted By You by Stephanie Nicole Norris
Meet Jasmine, the star of a super popular day-time soap opera living in Chicago. Now, meet Luke, a major mayoral candidate and a professor at the University of Chicago. He's got everything figured out: He wants to give back to the city he's always called his home. Together, they find themselves in the middle of a forbidden love affair. What will they do about their respective romances? You'll have to read to find out.
13. The Dare by Lauren Landish
Elle is totally busted when her (um, really attractive) boss Colton catches her using the photocopier to ***take pics of her ass*** for a risky dare from her bestie. In short, she's super embarrassed that her tall, dark, and sexy superior saw her in such a NSFW situation. But it might work in her favor as she works toward taking on the biggest dare of them all: Making Colton fall in love with her.
14. The Goode Governor by J.J. Arias
Governor Georgia "George" Fernandez is *very serious*. And since she's started her reelection campaign, she's even more stoic than before as she focuses on winning the race of a lifetime. That is until Mila, a young woman working as an exotic dancer, almost ruins Georgia's run with a juicy scandal. To mend the situation, Mila is offered a position working at the governor's office. It turns out that opposites really do attract since Mila and Georgia soon find out they have some serious chemistry.
15. Let Me Please You: A McClain Family Novella by Alexandria House
Kat McClain just got out of a failed marriage and is the only sister in a family of super-protective brothers. She wants to move on with her life, which is perfect timing for family friend Tommy Kirby, who conveniently has been crushing on Kat and wants a wife and kids of his own. Could these two find the romance they've both been waiting for in each other?
16. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
There's no Timothée Chalamet in this version, sadly (pro tip: you can picture his face when you read). But still, the story of Elio and Oliver is just as steamy in book-form. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot, Oliver is a sexy American student who comes to stay with Elio's family in Italy. At first, the pair appear to hate each other. As time goes on, however, it's clear that there's more to their relationship than meets the eye.
17. Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
After moving into her new San Francisco apartment, Caroline Reynolds is less-than-thrilled to find out she lives next to a super-loud neighbor. Each night she hears him banging against the wall and letting out moans of pleasure during sex (with a different woman each time). Soon, though, the noise becomes too much. Caroline heads over to give him a piece of her mind, only to find out that he's, ahem, very attractive.
18. Mouth to Mouth by Cara Malone
Sarah is a passionate paramedic who will literally do anything for her patients. Veronica is an ER nurse who is getting fed up with work (and, um, her meddling ex-GF). After pushing herself to the limit one day, Sarah passes out and falls into Veronica's arms. From there? Well, things heat up even more.
19. Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon
Harriet and Sally were in love 17 years ago until Harriet broke Sally's heart. Now, they've stumbled back into each other's lives only to realize that they've got some serious trust issues. Can the two make it work despite their past—and the fact that they live in two different states?
20. Cinnamon Blade by Shira Glassman
Cinnamon Blade is a modern crime fighter in a city threatened by aliens and vampires on the daily. She's saved the book-smart Soledad Castillo from bad guys on multiple occasions, and each time she does their sexual chemistry increases. Soledad is attractive, but how can they have any time of relationship when Blade is constantly protecting the vulnerable city from danger?
21. Sexy Dare by Carly Phillips
Jason Dare is a guarded nightclub owner living in New York City. Because of his ~dark past~, he keeps those he calls family close and doesn't let anyone else in. That is until he meets candy store owner Faith Lancaster. Faith is ambitious and sweet, and she wants to let Jason in, but she has her fair share of secrets, too, like the fact that her brother is trying to steal her inheritance. Dramaaa.
22. Saving Savannah by Krista Wolf
Savannah has just relocated to Salem, Massachusetts. She's hired movers and when they arrive, she sees that they're three college hunks and she's pretty pumped. They offer to come back to her place later tonight to "help her unpack," but it turns out they also have a little more in mind (hint: it's a foursome!).
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23. Getting Down to Business by Nicolette Dane
Amy Barnes has never had much luck with love. But she basically thrives at everything else. (She's a rising star at work, for instance.) Then comes Josephine Taft, an attractive, accomplished tech investor who's looking for a stake in Amy's company. Distracted by her attraction to Josephine but also passionate about wanting the investment for her company, Amy's got, like, a lot to juggle. And I'm here for it.
24. Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren
Yep, this is the sexy sequel to Beautiful Player *and* the book I mentioned earlier. Beautiful Stranger follows the story of Sara and Max (friends of Hanna and Will from the first story), two strangers who meet at a New York City club and have discreet, spontaneous sex on the dance floor. Pretty soon public, no-strings-attached sex becomes their ~thing~. But their no-feelings agreement doesn't last for long (classic).
25. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Stella Lane's spent much of her adult life focused on her career, meaning she has way less dating experience than the average 30-year-old. She decides she needs to take a crash course in romance and hires an escort, Michael Phan, to show her the ropes. He takes Stella up on her offer, teaching her everything from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
26. The Rose by Tiffany Reisz
At her university graduation party, Lia receives a beautiful wine cup decorated with roses. Almost immediately, a family friend, August Bowman, tells her it's a rare ancient artifact instilled with the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life. Of course, Lia doesn't believe him, so August dares her to try it. Not only does the cup's magic work, but it allows Lia and August to live out their wildest, sexiest dreams—together.
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27. Beauty and the Professor by Skye Warren
To pay her college tuition, Erin cleans reclusive ex-soldier Blake Morris's house twice a week. Then, one day she accidentally walks in on him in a, uh, compromising position, and feels something deep and sensual stir inside of her. Meanwhile, Blake is secretly infatuated with Erin but believes he'll never be good enough for her. He hopes to reenter the world—and become worthy of her love—when he accepts an associate professor position at his alma mater. But on his first day, Blake finds out Erin is one of his students. Will they be able to keep their relationship strictly professional?
28. When Love Calls by Sharon C. Cooper
Mona Lisa Gregory has been with only one man over the last 35 years. She's over it, and she's ready to move on and redefine her previously held beliefs about love, sex, and more. Along comes Dex, who wants to be the only one in Mona's heart. Will the couple make it work? You'll have to read to see.
29. The Mister by EL James
Londoner Maxim Trevelyan has breezed through life, relying on his good looks, connections, and money to get him whatever he wants. But, after a family tragedy, Maxim inherits his family’s noble title, wealth, estates, and...responsibility. He's unsure if he can rise to the challenge, and that uncertainty doubles when Alessia Demachi enters his life. She's a mystery to Maxim, and that just makes him want her even more. Before long, his desire for her develops into a fiery passion, unlike anything he’s ever experienced.
30. A Lesson In Thorns by Sierra Simone
To find out what happened to her mother 12 years ago, librarian Poe Markham takes a job managing the private library at Thornchapel, a grand manor—and the place her mom was last seen alive. But as she searches for information, Poe knows she needs to stay away from the house's tortured owner, Auden Guest. That's easier said than done, as the more secrets Poe uncovers, the more she's drawn into Auden's seductive, elegant world—and to his handsome, brooding enemy, St. Sebastian.
When you're done devouring these erotic novels, check out the 25 best romance novels:
Madeline Howard is a writer, editor, and creative based in Brooklyn. Her work has been published in Esquire, Nylon, Cosmopolitan, and more. Among other things, she was formerly an editor at Women’s Health. Subscribe to her newsletter ‘hey howie’ at madelinehoward.substack.com.