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Top10 Sexiest Romance Books

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
Script written by Caitlin Johnson These are the sexiest romance novels ever! For thus just we’ve included novels like “The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “Call Me by Your Name” by Andre Aciman, “Delta of Venus” by Anais Nin and more!

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Top 10 Sexiest Romance Novels

Words can be sexier than any pictures. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Sexiest Romance Novels.

For this list, we boiled it down to the most influential and sexy literary romance novels from the past few centuries.

#10: “The Swimming Pool Library” (1988)

Alan Hollinghurst

William Beckwith is a 25-year-old gay aristocrat who moves to London, in 1983, to pursue a life of pleasure and vices after his rich grandfather Viscount Beckwith bequeaths him a fortune to avoid death taxes. Will has no need to work and spends his days swimming at the upper-class Corinthian Club, and his nights cruising London’s gay scene. He is described as irresistible and will sleep with any boy who comes his way; and his adventures make up what was called “the best book about gay life yet”. There were no other books as gay or as sexy as this one when it was first published.

#9: “Pride and Prejudice” (1813)

Jane Austen

One of the most famous novels in the English language, this is Jane Austen’s masterpiece; and the novel’s main conflict is not the classic will-they-won’t-they conundrum of Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy – though they are one of the most enduring romantic couples of all time. The real scandal comes when Lydia Bennet, Lizzie’s 15-year-old sister, elopes with a shady soldier with a shameful past, going as far as to live with him outside of wedlock. And, like, the 1995 TV adaptation has that incredibly sexy scene where Colin Firth walks out of a lake, soaking wet. Yummers!

#8: “Call Me by Your Name” (2007)

André Aciman

During a hot summer in Italy in 1987, a sultry affair emerges. When a 17-year-old bisexual boy’s family invite a twenty-something doctoral student named Oliver to stay with them in Northern Italy, to help the professor dad study archaeology, a secret relationship blossoms. Want sexy? Elio, the teenager, masturbates into a peach he has cut open and Oliver proceeds to eat it in front of him. That scene was altered in the movie adaptation, but the film does justice to the novel’s intensely sensual prose.

#7: “Delta of Venus” (1977)

Anaïs Nin

This is quite possibly the most scandalous short story collection in history. Anaïs Nin was commissioned to write a prose series for a man only known as “the Collector” in the 1940s; literature created for his private consumption alone. Because of this, it wasn’t published publicly until 1977, but Nin was still an erotica pioneer; and despite her instructions to only focus on explicit pornographic scenes, she still managed to add literary style to the stories. They are now celebrated for masterfully tackling every sexual taboo without being crude or tasteless.

#6: “Vox” (1992)

Nicholson Baker

The New York Times dubbed Nicholson Baker the “Mad Scientist of Smut” because of his contributions to brilliantly sex-centric genres, and “Vox” is quite possibly his most famous work: a novel written entirely about phone sex. A lonely man and woman who live hundreds of miles away from each other call an adult chat line and become lost in each other’s voices, coming up with increasingly imaginative sexual situations. Famously, a copy of “Vox” was also once given as a gift to Bill Clinton by Monica Lewinsky, the intern with whom he had an affair in the 1990s.

#5: “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (1782)

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont are rivals in every aspect of their lives, and they’re also each other’s ex-lovers. In 18th Century France, these aristocrats engage in many manipulative sex games with naïve and unsuspecting victims, trying to seduce and corrupt anyone they desire. In hindsight, this novel is often used to illustrate the deep flaws of the French upper-class that eventually led to the French Revolution; and it has also been described as the first psychological novel in the Western canon. Its scandalous qualities were exciting enough that even Queen Marie Antoinette read a copy. Ooh la la!

#4: “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (1928)

D.H. Lawrence

Despite the author of this book being English, it was only after thirty years, after its initial private publication in Italy in 1928, that it was finally published in Lawrence’s home country. In the ’60s, this book quickly became one of the most scandalous books in history because of its explicit depictions of an upper-class woman having an incredibly physical affair with a gardener on her property. These descriptions, along with the work containing words so profane they weren’t legally allowed to be printed at the time, led to an obscenity trial against Penguin Books. After Penguin prevailed, it became one of the best-selling books in history.

#3: “Outlander” series (1991-)

Diana Gabaldon

So far, this acclaimed book series consists of eight novels (and counting) and has also spawned novellas, a highly successful TV show, and a musical. The story is a raunchy one of love and time travel: a Second World War nurse named Claire Randall finds herself transported to Scotland in the 1700s, where she quickly takes up with a dashing Highlands warrior, Jamie Fraser. Their unconventional love story, involving many, many, many steamy sex scenes, has riveted readers (and viewers) around the world. It’s definitely one of the sexiest romance franchises out there.

#2: “Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” (1748)

John Cleland

This novel was ahead of its time, to say the least. Called the “first original English prose pornography,” “Fanny Hill” is a story, told via two letters, about the titular character and her scandalous past working as a prostitute for five years in her youth. This novel describes sex in vivid detail, using poetic language, along with wit and humor, to describe Fanny’s escapades. Its publishers were arrested for “corrupting the king’s subjects” and it was completely banned for two centuries, before re-emerging in the 1960s. But despite its erotic nature, the deeper love story between Fanny and a man named Charles is what really makes the novel.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few Honorable Mentions:

“Endless Love” (1979)

Scott Spencer

“Losing It” (2012)

Cora Carmack

“Fifty Shades of Grey” (2011)

E.L. James

#1: “Tipping the Velvet” (1998)

Sarah Waters

Our steamy top pick explores a fictionalised lesbian world within vividly-described Victorian London, in which a young woman, named Nancy, falls in love with an eccentric male impersonator named Kitty, eventually joining her on-stage as a cross-dressing performer. Nan eventually leads a life replete with tumultuous relationships and sensual encounters; and even the title of this novel is a double entendre, with “tipping the velvet” being Victorian slang for cunnilingus. It received critical acclaim and was adapted by the BBC in 2002, in what was, at the time, one of the most explicit things ever aired on British television. It has even been adapted into a successful stage play.


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