The best erotica collections of 2020

Porn. It’s everywhere these days. Whether you watch it regularly or not, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s always one click away. Every Google search yields a new fantasy on the screen (inadvertently or not) – and you can find free videos featuring even the most far-reaching fetishes and kinks in a flash. As technology keeps evolving, it can almost feel like porn that doesn’t come with complimentary 3D glasses or that’s not delivered straight to your virtual reality headset is outdated.

But as a writer who had her major sexual awakening at the hands of steamy romance novels and Jacqueline Carey’s toe-curling sex scenes, I’m here to tell you that the written world of erotica has never been more alive. And it turns out that reading your porn offers something unique that PornHub may be failing to provide you: imagination.

When our brain is left completing the puzzles of our fantasies, we get to tailor our desires more completely. Got a fantasy that features a very specific haircut and facial scar? That choice is yours with some good erotica. Crushing hard on your physical therapist? She’s now the star of this steamy read.

This freedom to pretend is what makes erotica feel a bit more like having sex than watching porn clips. When you’re getting intimate with a lover ( virtually or face-to-face) you are an active participant in how it unfolds. Your body takes part in the process, and your mind is a major player in helping you achieve that blessed orgasm.

When we’re looking for a quality sexual experience, we employ our senses. We buy used panties because the smell transports us somewhere else. Our tongues linger on a strawberry, the flavor deepening our pleasure. And of course, we read erotica so that our minds can stretch those fantasies to the limits .

Watching videos just doesn't engage your brain as creatively and wholly. That’s not to say that one is better than the other – erotica and porn fill very different roles in our bedrooms. But if porn has you feeling like something’s lacking, erotica may be the answer to your sexy, sexy prayers.

Erotica’s come a long way from the questionable Harry Potter slash fic of yore. These days, it’s thoughtful, provocative, and empowered. And as we all explore what sensuality means to us, it’s no surprise that erotica is more deliciously diverse than ever. Here are thirteen names to remember that are sure to tantalize even the pickiest palate.

 Fluffer Everyday

The word “everyday” is right there in the name, but this magazine manages to be anything but. While celebrating the common heroes of our sexiest daydreams, Fluffer Everyday gives us license to let our fantasies run amok. 

And what makes this magazine so distinct is the pleasure readers get not only from what it offers, but from what it holds back. In a land where folks bare it all, Fluffer Everyday comes at us like a fresh Alfred Hitchcock for sex – the editor knows that witholding the nitty gritty builds tension and thrills their audience. Without full-frontal nudes to accompany the magazine’s stories, our imagination sprints to fill in the blanks. We’re never left wanting, though. These photos remain evocative. Their goal? To remind you of the little things you spy everyday that pluck the strings of your desire.

Their latest issue is a prime example. It’s dedicated to the naughty thoughts we have when we encounter baristas, hair stylists, massage therapists, and more in our daily lives. If there was ever an ode to the fantasies we have when we spy a hottie on the street, this is it.

Once you get a taste and realize you can’t get enough, Fluffer Everyday’s blog will help tide you over between their magazine publications, which are released three times a year

 Take Me There: Trans & Genderqueer Erotica

Step aside, recurring publications: this one-time anthology stands on its own as quality erotica worth mentioning. Featuring sexy gems dedicated to trans* and genderqueer honeys, this 2011 book features diverse and delightful stories, like the one about a “baby butch dyke and the transwoman she pics up in a small-town cafe.” 

Sold. What makes this series a success is that the stories speak to the trans* experience with sexy respect. Instead of the cringe-worthy or outright derogatory language surrounding trans* and genderqueer sexuality that’s so common in the porn industry, these are stories written by queer folks for queer folks. And with almost thirty to choose from, there’s bound to be a story that accompanies your next solo session.

Although this one-time romp was published nine years ago, the excellent reviews should let you know that Take Me There is an experience you don’t want to miss, no matter where you fall on the gender spectrum.

Dipsea

In a class all its own, Dipsea isn’t quite like anything else on the list. Not an anthology, not a written collection, these stories are short – about five to twenty minutes long – focused on female pleasure...and designed exclusively for your listening pleasure. 

With talented voice actors bringing these fresh scenes to life, these stories lay all their sexy vibes on the table – with a little something for everyone. Start by deciding whether you want to listen to stories featuring her + her, her + him, or her + them. Then, you’ll be asked to filter by your mood. Are you gearing up for a “menage a moi,” looking to gain inspiration for later, or are fixing to get hot and heavy right then and there?

Whatever you’re looking for, Dipsea has curated gems made just for you. Subscription based, you can enjoy hundreds of stories for just $8.99 per month, and keep up with the latest releases. Think of it as a sexy Audible that’s dedicated to helping you discover your own pleasure, one sound bite at a time. 

 Leste Magazine

A little while ago, I was prowling through Powell’s City of Books on a rainy afternoon, running my hands over every unique publication I could get my paws on – and stumbled across Leste Magazine. From the outside, it looks something a little more like a punk zine and less like an erotica publication. But once you sneak a peek, you’ll quickly see that this magazine dares to go there in a way many other erotic compilations don’t. It’s fresh, it’s sexy, and it’s a work of art. I’m not the only one who thinks so. 

If there’s one person I trust on thoughtful, open-minded sex talk more than anyone, it’s Karley Sciortino, host and producer of Slutever, writer for Vogue’s Breathless” column, and all around sex extraordinaire. She’s a multi-faceted writer who explores just about everything you can imagine in the world of sex – including Leste Magazine.Not afraid to give a critical take when she has to, Sciortino has nothing but amazing things to say about this Leste. That’s because it is beautiful, highly sexual, and empowering. Here, underrepresented voices are given a chance to carve out what exactly erotica means to them.

Each of Leste’s magazines feature a range of treasures like thought provoking nudes and erotic novel excerpts.. By the time you read it cover to cover, you may just be both ripe with desire and enlightened on sexuality – a pretty clutch combination for anyone who wants to learn the true meaning of eroticism.

When you’re too eager to wait for the magazine that’s only published twice a year, get your fingers all up in their Instagram, where you can see that delicate balance of reflection and evocative (but Instagram-friendly) content.

 Pornceptual

If there’s something that summarizes Berlin’s progressively more open-minded approach to sexuality, it’s Pornceptual. Part party, part magazine, this erotic powerhouse of content offers a lot more than just nudes and stories. 

Their whole concept? Porn doesn’t have to be oppressive. And they show this to the world both with parties that draw in younger crowds and their Pornceptual publication that houses erotic poetry and photography side by side. 

While many people rail against porn as institutionally oppressive, Pornceptual takes a different tactic. Instead of saying we should shut down the sex industry, they think porn and art can find a home together. Pornceptual believes that by centering the focus on inclusion, diversity, and queerness, they can make porn and erotica a hit for us all.

We’ve all witnessed the fetishization of people of color, lesbians, and trans* women in porn over the years (whether you watch it often or not). By placing power in those very hands, Pornceptual hopes to give a voice to people as they see themselves sexually. Their third issue, with the theme Guerilla Porn, gives a taste of exactly what that means.

Browse their website to see how this community isn’t just a political statement or line in the sand – it’s a sexy, unforgettable experience you can enjoy in print or in person.

 Dirty Dates: Erotic Fantasies for Couples

Another anthology for the books, this little gem earned its spot on the list with a thrilling compilation of stories about lovers getting their freak on, BDSM style. Erotica and porn usually showcase one night stands, chance encounters, and that once-in-a-lifetime sexual opportunity. What makes Dirty Dates stand out is that these are tales of established couples who know each other’s bodies intimately – and that familiarity adds to all the sexy scenes. It makes sense:  if you know a body better, don’t you know the right buttons to push their pleasure over the edge?

This anthology seems to think so – and that’s why you can read these kinky scenes between loving couples all night long.

 Suspira Magazine – The Fetish Issue

Too interesting to pass up, this dark magazine goes out to all the goth babes I love. Suspira Magazine is a unique pick, as it’s usually a feminist horror magazine – and not an erotica publication. But their fetish-specific issue, which you can still buy even though they’ve published another issue since, they veered into erotica with a twist. This horror magazine chose to focus on the ways our society mingles sexuality and horror. Specifically, this issue dissects our obsession and fear with “feral female sexuality.” 

Arousing, educational, and spooky all in one go, Suspira’s fetish issue takes you places you’ve only visited in your weirdest sex dreams. Witchy babes in summoning circles, scintillating stories of women who take no BS, and tentacle porn illustrations are stacked side by side in this beautiful magazine that will haunt you as it titillates.

Curious? There’s a little horrific something for everyone looking to stroke their inner goth.

 PC Erotic

Are you down to get weird? Let’s get weird. Follow PC Erotic down the rabbit hole and enter a strange world exploring the combination of sex positivity and the digitization of our sex lives. This one-time publication is unique, affordable, and has stories, illustrations, and photography tackling everything from tentacle porn (again) to robot sex chats. Although they haven’t created a second issue recently, you can still catch their take on the digitization of our sex lives over at their Instagram, where they seem to have shifted their focus away from print and into the podcast realm. For those of us who get our kicks with a little reading, however, PC Erotic is still available to complete our quirky erotica repertoires. 

 Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year

Published annually, the title of these anthologies sums it up. Holding nothing back, each year Sinclair Sexsmith curates the finest lesbian erotica of the year and compiles them together for every perv in the land to enjoy.

If you love to love women who love women, you won’t be disappointed. Their most recent publication came out in December 2019 and features storylines that already have my pulse racing, like the one about “a mysterious warrior at the Renaissance Faire.” Not interested? How about “an elder reunited with a lost love or a bottom with chronic pain” (sign me up)? If that’s not for you, then you’re going to have to losen your collar once you read their stories about “a new play party for a long-term couple, a fantasy speed-dating night, a dress-up doll,” and “a femme gangbang.”

If you’re not satisfied by their annual anthology alone, the editors sometimes compile the best stories for certain fantasies, 2010 classic Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch Femme Erotica. Curious? Browse around Sinclair Sexsmith’s website to see what else they’ve whipped up that has your queer-ass name written all over it. You know you want to.

Literotica

If you fancy yourself something of a binge reader, you may not be sated with only two dozen stories in a book. You can take matters into your own hands by signing up for boundless erotica online. Literotica is an online compendium of erotic stories of all stripes. This amateur content thrives in a judgment-free zone, and you’re able to browse anonymously or make a profile to save your favorites.

You’ll have no lack of options to choose from. This prolific site has almost fifty thousand stories in the Incest/Taboo category alone, and close to four thousand Erotic Horror morsels to sinkthose fangs into.

If you’re turned on by the idea of a limitless compendium of amateur erotica, but want to skip all the straight stuff you may just want to check out the next site...

Nifty

Around since 1992, this site cuts straight to the chase. With thousands of stories made just for the queer community, Nifty offers free erotica fast. While this site is primarily for gay and bisexual men, there are plenty of stories for women, trans*, and gendernonconforming horndogs as well. However, since it’s user-driven, keep your expectations low for quality. These aren’t professional writers creating plots, meaning you won’t be getting the compelling storylines that make good erotica great.

Regardless, sometimes a simple and sexy story is enough to get the job done for you fast. If you’re all about quantity over quality, Nifty is the place to get your thrills. 

The Anonymous Sex Journal

A unique publication that’s in a league of its own, what I love about The Anonymous Sex Journal is how real it is. Under the cloak of anonymity, writers have license to divulge their steamiest secret encounters. A little bit exhibitionist, a little bit voyeuristic, this magazine unleashes fantasies we all share without the writers having to worry about their Aunt Margaret finding their name attached to some wet and wild threesome epic. 

Anonymity doesn’t just let people be sexy, however. Because nobody will put a face to a name, the stories are allowed to be awkward, and the sex isn’t necessarily polished. It’s more honest that way, because sex is often funny. Weird noises happen. Teeth sometimes click together. That delicious weirdness is part of what makes sex so appealing in the first place. The Anonymous Sex Journal embraces that headfirst – and accompanies each sizzling story with unique illustrations. Every issue features a different artist who creates drawings in response to each story. In the upcoming issue, Soufiane Ababri will be illustrating what this magazine is calling “The Hasty Issue, or Just a Quickie.” We’ll let you tease out exactly what it’s going to be about.

Math Magazine

Although they pretty firmly state they don’t want to be considered an erotica magazine, for those of us who aren’t up on the sex magazine lingo, Math Magazine certainly looks like a publication about all things erotic and lusty. This sex positive, queer affirming magazine is as sexy as it is sleek, and is all about “helping you on your sex journey, wherever that is.” With two publications a year plus a sweet adult coloring book brimming with nips and vulvas, this magazine is here for all brands of pleasure, body types, and sexualities. 

No matter where you’re coming from sexually, it’s easy to find something that gets you hot and bothered here. And that’s on purpose. The editor-in-chief, Mackenzie Peck, says that Math Mag’s “primary mission is to turn people on.” But it goes deeper than that. She adds that they’re also “working to push important social and cultural changes while remaining joyfully inclusive.” Their end goal is to “reflect the real diversity of bodies and desires of our time” while showcasing the beauty of the full gender spectrum. 

If that’s not enough to wow you, consider Math Mag’s ambitious final goal: to “redefine pornography through consent-driven collaboration and radical transparency.”

Translation: This magazine is all about pleasure for everyone, by everyone, that works for everyone. So pull up a chair, because you deserve a seat at this delectable table.

Reading is sexy.

Print is far from dead, and these magazines are a thrilling way to keep abreast with the latest developments in your favorite sexy niches. Kind of like how a book is almost always better than a movie, our sexiest fantasies shine when we’re getting off on the written word. So chip away at your Goodreads Reading Challenge, get your porn fix, and read the latest from upcoming contemporary writers all in one go.

If you’ve scrolled through all thirteen of these pubs and are impressed by none of them, you’ve still got options. Pop into your local bookstore and head for the magazine section. If your bookstore is cool (read: anything that isn’t a major chain like Barnes & Noble), you can expect some righteous erotica magazines shoved into a corner somewhere. If you can’t find them, try another store. They’ll be there.You may even find that the erotica of your dreams isn’t a highbrow publication at all, but a local erotica zine made by real people who may be living just around the corner. If absolutely nothing catches your eye, or you just haven’t found a magazine that features your kink, fetish, or particular demographic, then maybe you need to bust out your creative chops and make an erotica zine of your own that has everything you could have imagined. The only limit is your imagination.