August 24, 2022

The Benefits of Reading Erotica

By Danielle Ferguson
The Benefits of Reading Erotica

noun: erotica

  1. literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire.

Have you read erotica? If you have, you probably already know how exciting it can be but did you also know that numerous scientific studies have shown that reading erotica can help improve your own sex life, sexual gratification, and can be good for your overall health?

According to mental health and sexuality educator Sarah Jane, reading sexually-charged books or material that is supposed to be arousing can help you shift your stress or anxiety into positive emotions, like feeling excited and hot instead of feeling scared or overwhelmed. In other words, the body’s physical response to stress and anxiety shares some similarities to that of sexual arousal. This phenomenon is called “misattribution of arousal” and readers can use it to their advantage when reading erotica. When you’re reading erotica and you notice you’re having anxiety symptoms, like a pounding heartbeat or faster breathing, your mind attributes these effects to the erotica and assumes these are good symptoms.

In a 2016 essay titled, "My Secret Weapon Against Stress and Anxiety," Jane writes, “You can interrupt your stress or anxiety with something that produces a similar physical response, like increased heart rate, but also provides you with more positive feelings. A few minutes before I pick up one of my favorite erotic novels, [my] racing heart is perceived as very scary. But once I start reading, it’s just arousal.”

Emily Nagoski, sex educator and author of Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, explains that women and femmes tend to desire an emotional investment or context to experience arousal. While pornography or otherwise primarily visual material can and does turn women and femmes on, Nagoski shares that certain types of visual porn can also provoke viewers to feel stressed, confused, and/or tempted to compare their bodies to the actors on screen. 

"Sex is most satisfying for most women when in a context that is low stress, high trust, high affection, and explicitly erotic," Nagoski says. Through detailed, written descriptions, erotica has the potential to provide consumers with more of an emotional connection. It can even enable readers to envision their own sexual encounters in ways that are sexier and less stressful. Erotica can basically put the reader into the driver’s seat.

 Erotica can allow you to explore interests and fantasies in a safe space. You can choose novels that include the kinks you want to fantasize about and discover those that you might never have heard of. "You are feeding your erotic imagination so that you are opening your mind to new erotic possibilities," Dr. Stephanie Buehler, licensed psychologist and sex therapist, explains. Erotica can actually let you experience fantasies through the eyes of the protagonist before trying it out with a partner. This can lead to you finding out more of what you want and the ability to communicate that to your partner, which can ultimately lead to strengthening your intimate relationship. Re-enacting whatever it is that turned you on can be extremely satisfying for all parties involved. 

You can check out our section of erotica both online and in the shop and discover how it might transform your own pleasure or partnered intimacy!