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'Years later, I still remember it vividly.' 16 women on the most sensual book they've ever read.

If Fifty Shades of Grey proved anything, it was that reading erotic fiction is nothing to be embarrassed about. 

These NSFW novels not only feature some seriously steamy sex scenes, but most of them are also layered with intricate characters and complex storylines that are just as good as many best-selling books. (And in the case of sex, far better.)

Mamamia confessions: The weirdest place I've had sex. Post continues below.


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To weed out the not so great erotic fiction (because we know there's far more cringe than sexy out there), we spoke to our Mamamia community to discover their favourite picks.

From Three Women to The Story of O, here are 16 women's favourite sensual novel - the ones that have stayed with them years after they first read them. 

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber.

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"It’s a thick read but it’s about an infamous 19th century prostitute who is paid a retainer by a wealthy gentleman who falls in love with her, and she with him. The first half of the book is very steamy and the second part is such an interesting plot twist. I love some of the old timey terms they use around sex but it’s still super hot." - Kim.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

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"Such a brilliant series, even before the TV show came out!" - Tegan.

Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

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"A timeless favourite for me. It captures the complicated nature of the imbalance of love so beautifully that we can all find a piece of ourselves or lovers we’ve known in each of the characters. It's set against the backdrop of Soviet occupation in Prague in the '60s and is about the lives of two couples from the point of view of an unknown narrator." - Vickianne.

Sleeping Beauty Trilogy Box Set by A N Roquelaure.

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"It’s #problematic I know but DAMN." - Amy.

Story of O by Pauline Reage.

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"Mysterious, full on and the original Fifty Shades Of Grey except... not bad! No fairytale ending though." - Kathy.

Thoughtless by SC Stephens.

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"Crazy love with a rock star... it’s what all my dreams are made of!" - Danni.

Crossfire Series 4-Volume Boxed Set by Sylvia Day.

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"I read them about six years ago and still remember them vividly." - Ange.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo.

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"It was so raw and honest. I think the fact that it was real, too. It was hot and steamy without having the typical fiction hot and steamy desires." - Jem.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

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"Sensuality plus." - Barbara.

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.

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"Tragic and beautiful." - Tegan.

"I love the connection to the characters before the erotic scenes. It’s like the difference between sex with a partner you have a long term intimate connection with as opposed to a one night stand. I’d describe in a similar way to seeing a sensual scene in a movie or TV show (as opposed to watching porn), you might not have watched it for the sex scenes but it can definitely induce pleasure anyway!" - Kate.

Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley.

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"It shows that you (female) can be you no matter what that is and still attract the type of attention (male in this case) you want." - Christine.

The Clan of the Cave Bear series, Jean M Auel.

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"These beautifully descriptive novels are set in prehistoric times with a heroine who discovers her own sensuality. I encountered them when I was a teenager and I still remember how it felt to read for the first time about that side of being a woman." - Georgia.

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman.

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"Just beautiful. And the peach scene is iconic." - Emily.

The Pisces by Melissa Broder.

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"Yes, its about a woman who falls in love with a merman. And if you Google mermaid fanfiction you'll get a whole other subset of, ahem, novels. But this book is the sexiest damn thing. The way Broder writes is sensual and gorgeous but still very much set in the real world, with two absolutely unforgettable characters." - Poppy.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James.

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“We all know it isn’t the best writing or plot (what plot?) but when 50 Shades first came out, it was the book that every girl in my grade at my all-girls high school read and then excitedly dissected at recess. For so many of us, it was the first erotic book we’d read and led us to openly chat about sex and sexual pleasure. It opened up a whole new world for many." - Rachel. 

Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho.

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"I was apparently 'too young' to read it but I did. It was the novel that helped me become that person everyone went to and asked about sex when I was in high school." - Jessica.

What's your favourite sensual novel? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image: Supplied/Booktopia.

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