• Past Pleasures: Is Historical Erotica Sexy?

    Past Pleasures: 20 Erotic Stories edited by Antonia AdamsFrom Justine to Fanny Hill, erotic classics from as early as the 18th century have remained popular.

    Recently however, we have seen many newly published erotic novels by modern authors set in times of courtesans and contessas.

    Xcite Books has picked up on this trend, releasing the aptly named Past Pleasures - a collection of short stories ranging from trysts with Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt to coming-of-age naughtiness with a Celtic chieftain.

    The arrival of Past Pleasures at our desks got the Lovehoney office wondering: is historical erotica sexy?

    Is there still room for bodice-ripping in the Fifty Shades of Grey generation, where the action takes place firmly in the modern setting, with sleek cars, elevators and kitchen countertops the scenes for debauchery?


    Mitzi Szereto, author of the widely successful Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts, attributes the renewed popularity of historical erotica to the desires of the audience. “Readers are rediscovering the literature of the past, but on more modern terms,” she says. “They’re finally getting all those ‘what if-?’ questions about what went on with their favourite characters in the bedroom (or in the stables) answered!”

    Yes, it’s unrealistic. Yes, there’s no possibility of ever acting out Regency romp in real life. Unless you manage to procure a time machine, there isn’t much likelihood of getting spanked by the housekeeper. It is utter escapism. But frankly, how likely is it to find a handsome billionaire to act out BDSM desires with?

    The Victorian era, when corporal punishment was common, is the perfect setting for believable BDSM-related erotica: a genre that Fifty Shades has shone a light on. Let’s face it, there’s just something about Victorian corset-clad maids and the stallion-riding, breeches-wearing master that lends itself perfectly to indulgent erotica.

    Erotica is all about the fantasy, the unreal, the unbelievable. If the thought of doing the dirty with a Duke turns you on, then go ahead and treat yourself to a steamy bodice-ripper.

    With that in mind, here are Lovehoney’s top picks for historical erotica:

    Pride and Prejudice Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

    Pride and Prejudice Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto

    As Lovehoney is based in Jane Austen-obsessed Bath in southwest England, we were understandably thrilled to get our hands on Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto - a re-telling of Ms. Austen’s most famous novel with sexy bits added in.

    Any student who read Pride and Prejudice in school and wondered if Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy ever got it on will love this sexy reimagining of the classic. Szereto creates alternate storylines while staying loyal to the original story. Read all about Lydia’s romps with the redcoats, Bingley’s lust of his closest friend and Charlotte’s discovery of an all-female group who do much more than embroider.

    The Education of Victoria by Angela Meadows

    The Education of Victoria by Angela Meadows

    When headstrong Lady Victoria is found in a steamy situation with the stable-hand, she is sent away to boarding school to learn all the skills needed to be a good wife. Surprisingly, her education goes beyond cooking and cleaning - there are night classes in matters of the bedroom and instruction on how to please one’s husband. Victoria begins to explore her sexuality with abandon and when her father loses his fortune, she has to draw on her bedroom skills to survive.

    Indulge in a period tale with lots of corseted passion and spanking.

    City Maid by Amelia Evangaline

    City Maid by Amelia Evangaline

    The last thing Eleanor expected when she became a parlour maid in a big house in Victorian London was to be forced to drop her bloomers so frequently. Between the other maids and her captivating mistress Mrs Hampton, she is subjected to frequent spanking and talked into exchanging sexual favours for money.

    Her sexual awakening reaches new heights when 18 year-old Master Tom returns from boarding school and Eleanor discovers the joy of giving, and receiving, pain.

    What do you think? Are you able to suspend disbelief and enjoy an erotic set in times past, or is just a bit too unbelievably to be sexy?

    Comments (4)

    • Nymeria: August 20, 2012 14:38
      I actually watched a programme on the evolution of Pornography... and it was really interesting! For those that think they only knew about the missionary position will be very surprised. Some of them were really wild and kind of kinky. o.O Puts my shenanigans to the dust. lol

      I'm a big fan of Fanny Hill as well but wouldn't mind reading some recent ones on the "past" as I do have an interest in it. I'm just very fussy when it comes to books, especially erotic ones. Fanny Hill was just amazing to read because it was so original.

      I love the picks on here though. They do look very tempting- may have to try one out soon.

    • Tilly Hunter: August 20, 2012 21:02
      I think the allure lies not so much in the facts of history but in the way in which history is like the proverbial 'foreign country'. It's so far removed from our everyday, modern lives that it gives the imagination a free space to go wild. As a writer, I find you can be more fantastical, more risque, in a historical piece. The reader is (I hope) more accepting of such things because they have nothing in their own lives against which to measure them. And there's such a vast range of historical periods to let our imaginations go wild in!

    • JenKat: August 23, 2012 10:29
      One of my biggest passions is history, especially Egyptology, and Medieval Britain, so I am definitely going to be buying Past Pleasures...It sounds excatly like my kind of erotica!

      I am very much an old soul...born in the wrong era. I melt at the thought of a gentleman dressed and behaving like hes stepped out of the Dickensian times, and I adore the romanticised nature of the days gone by.


    • Lovehoney - Alice: August 27, 2012 11:56
      Nymeria - Have you read 'The Crimson Petal and The White'? It's not exactly an erotic romp, but it has shades of 'Fanny Hill' to it as it's about a prostitute's progress. It's about 1600+ pages long, but I read it in about a week because it was just so captivating.

      Tilly Hunter - Absolutely agree. The suspension of reality is very liberating - without having to stray into the paranormal.

      JenKat - Past Pleasures sounds like just the ticket! I must say, I'm hugely intrigued by the Egyptian story.

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