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Books on Erotica

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By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors by Mark Twain 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors

An atypical piece of writing by Mark Twain, the short bawdy skit documents a conversion between Queen Elizabeth and several notable writers of the time, including Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Beaumont, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare. Despite first being published in 1880, the piece remained anonymous for a period of time, until it was later acknowledged by Twain in 1901 as his own. Comprised of humor, descriptive imagery, ribald connotations, and vulgar language, the faux conversation is simultaneously humorous and repulsing, but nonetheless a wonder for its satirical precision...

By: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Erotica Romana by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Erotica Romana

Also known as the "Roman Elegies," Erotica Romana is von Goethe's literary tribute to human sexuality and eroticism. Written in 24 elegies to emulate classical Roman elegy writers such as Tibullus, Propertius, and Catullus, von Goethe creates a lyrical work of art that has often been subject to censorship.

By: John Cleland (1709-1789)

Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

One of the most controversial and censored books in English literature, Fanny Hill is regarded as the first original English prose pornography. Notorious for its vivid depiction of sexual exploits in all possible forms, the novel digs up the most thrilling erotic fantasies and pieces them together in a most seductive manner. Published in two installments in 1748 and 1749, the novel was attacked for its obscene content and was consequently banned and withdrawn from publication, due to disparaging moral values whilst promoting debauchery and sexual promiscuity...

By: Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811)

Book cover Michael Kohlhaas (English Translation)

Michael Kohlhaas is an 1811 novella by Heinrich von Kleist, based on a 16th-century story of Hans Kohlhase. Both the theme (a fanatical quest for justice) and the style (existentialist detachment posing as a chronicle) are surprisingly modern. They resonated with other writers more than a century after it was written. Kafka devoted one of only two public appearances in his whole life to reading passages from Michael Kohlhaas. Kafka said that he "could not even think of" this work "without being moved to tears and enthusiasm."

By: Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798)

The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova by Giacomo Casanova The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

This is the first of five volumes. – Giacomo Casanova (1725 in Venice – 1798 in Dux, Bohemia, now Duchcov, Czech Republic) was a famous Venetian adventurer, writer, and womanizer. He used charm, guile, threats, intimidation, and aggression, when necessary, to conquer women, sometimes leaving behind children or debt. In his autobiography Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century, he mentions 122 women with whom he had sex...

By: Charlotte Lennox (1730-1804)

The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox The Female Quixote

The novel formally inverts Don Quixote: as the don mistakes himself for the knightly hero of a Romance, so Arabella mistakes herself for the maiden love of a Romance. While the don thinks it his duty to praise the platonically pure damsels he meets (such as the woman he loves), so Arabella believes it is in her power to kill with a look and it is the duty of her lovers to suffer ordeals on her behalf.

By: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch Venus in Furs

The framing story concerns a man who dreams of speaking to Venus about love while she wears furs. The unnamed narrator tells his dreams to a friend, Severin, who tells him how to break him of his fascination with cruel women by reading a manuscript, Memoirs of a Supersensual Man.This manuscript tells of a man, Severin von Kusiemski, so infatuated with a woman, Wanda von Dunajew, that he requests to be treated as her slave, and encourages her to treat him in progressively more degrading ways. At...

By: Kate Percival

The Life and Amours of the Beautiful, Gay and Dashing Kate Percival, the Belle of the Delaware by Kate Percival The Life and Amours of the Beautiful, Gay and Dashing Kate Percival, the Belle of the Delaware

This surprisingly explicit sample of Victorian erotica follows the sexual awakening and subsequent adventures of its author, Kate Percival, the "belle of the Delaware." Content warning: this one is definitely NC-17 rated.

By: Marie Stopes (1880-1958)

Married Love by Marie Stopes Married Love

"Married Love" is one of the most famous 'sex education' manuals. First published in 1918, it sold tens of thousands of copies, and was one of the first publications to openly discuss issues such as variations in male and female sexual desire in a form which could be easily read and understood by the ordinary reader. This is the 6th, revised and expanded, edition, from 1919. The main text is mostly unchanged. An appendix has been added with some extra information on subjects such as sex during pregnancy.

By: Michael Knerr (?-1999)

Sex Life of the Gods by Michael Knerr Sex Life of the Gods

Beth Danson was about twenty-five and, besides her deep auburn-brown hair and lovely face, she boasted an equally attractive body. He found himself captivated by the warm thrust of her breasts beneath the silk blouse. The clear milk of her flesh, at the “V” of her throat excited him in a strange way. When he thought of her as his wife, it was frightening. It was as though someone had tossed him a woman and expected him to just fall into the routine of marriage. It wouldn’t be hard to come to love this woman, but it would take awhile...

By: Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533)

Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto Orlando Furioso

Charlemagne's nephew Orlando (AKA Roland) is driven insane by the infidelity of his beloved Angelica. Angelica's relationship with him and others loosely unifies multiple story lines to produce a rich tapestry of romance, fictionalized history, and pure fantasy. This romance-epic is a sequel to the less distinguished and unfinished romance Orlando Innamorato, by Mattteo Maria Boiardo.

By: Sheikh Nefzaoui

Book cover The Perfumed Garden

A fifteenth-century Arabic sex manual and work of erotic literature. The book presents opinions on what qualities men and women should have to be attractive, gives advice on sexual technique, warnings about sexual health, and recipes to remedy sexual maladies. It gives lists of names for the penis and vagina, has a section on the interpretation of dreams, and briefly describes sex among animals. Interspersed with these there are a number of stories which are intended to give context and amusement.

By: Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Book cover Brittains Ida or Venus and Anchises

While hunting, the boy Anchises stumbles upon Venus's forest retreat and is so kindly entertained by the goddess that he becomes the proud father of Aeneas, the hero of Vergil's Aeneid. The poem is an epyllion like Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" and Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis," a short erotic poem with a mythological subject. The style is Spenserian, the stanzas rhyming ababbccc. When Brittain's Ida was published in 1628, the publisher ascribed it to Edmund Spenser. However, in 1926 Ethel Seaton discovered and published Fletcher's original manuscript, whose opening stanzas make clear that this is the work of Fletcher, who entitled it "Venus and Anchises."


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