Erotic literature is literature, either as a form of erotica written to arouse the reader, or to give instruction in sexual technique. Most erotic literature is of novel length, although there are also erotic short stories.
Sex manuals such as the Kama Sutra are some of the best known works of erotic literature. The Ananga Ranga is a lesser known one, aimed specifically at preventing the separation of a husband and wife.
There is a substantial overap between erotic literature and pornography, with the distinction typically being made on perceived literary merit. This is particularly true of works aimed at men, which generally use explicit sexual imagery. Many banned books have been suppressed because they used erotic imagery.
While there are substantial quantities of written pornographic works, very few of these come near the standards of mainstream literature.
Works of significant literary merit that can be classed as erotic literature include:
- The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter
- Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin
- The Story of O by Pauline Reage
- The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Many women find romantic novels powerfully erotic.