May is National Masturbation Month, and we’re celebrating with Feeling Yourself, a series exploring the finer points of self-pleasure.
The first few weeks of lockdown, I couldn’t read a single page without my mind wandering elsewhere.
A phone call with a very dear friend soon made me realise it wasn’t so much reading, but the type of books I was choosing, that was the problem.
On my friend’s advice I switched from non-fiction to fiction, and picked Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan as my first read. I guzzled it and quickly realised my friend was spot on. What I needed right now was compelling, readable fiction with intoxicating central relationships.
I had missed the feeling of having a book completely consume your life, of reading characters that felt like friends of mine. As a single person living through a global pandemic with zero chance of having sex anytime soon, I am living vicariously through fictional characters’ romantic and sex lives.
If you happen to be in the same boat, or you simply want a good book to curl up with, why not try the following highly enjoyable books.
Arguably the horniest book about mermaids you’ll ever read. The story goes like this: Lucy is going through a breakup and decides to move to Venice Beach, LA, to work on her thesis about Greek poet Sappho. There, she meets a mythical sea creature, a merman, who she starts shagging. Highly readable, this book is a thoroughly enjoyable merman erotica-fest.
Irish author Naoise Dolan’s debut novel is a smart, witty, and gripping read. When Dubliner Ava moves to Hong Kong to teach English, she finds herself embroiled in a love triangle. First, she meets a posh English banker named Julian, who she starts having sex with, before moving into his spare room. But when Julian leaves the country for several months, Ava meets Edith, a Hong Kong–born lawyer, and starts sleeping with her. Who will Ava choose? Good luck putting this book down.
By now, you’ve likely read, watched, or — at the very least — heard of Normal People, Rooney’s second novel. But, have you read her equally horny debut novel? Chances are, if you didn’t quite gel with Normal People, you might prefer this one. Basically, two couples’ lives become entangled in what you could describe as a love square. This is a novel about infidelity and the complications that arise from sex and intimacy.
Penny Bridge is single and ready to mingle. But when a dream man shows up, followed by another man, and ANOTHER man, she ends up in something of a romantic quandary. Now it’s not exactly the nightmare many of us are used to having, but Penny has three dreamy men who want to date her. Which one is The One?
Who doesn’t love a good enemies-turned-lovers trope? Behold, this flirty dalliance between English prince Henry and Alex, the son of America’s president. Now that’s what I call…a special relationship (sorry, I had to).
“Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.” Anyone who’s ever had a hot summer romance will be suitably enthralled by this beautiful and romantic coming-of-age story. set in Lombardy, Italy, this is the story of 17-year-old Elio and Oliver, the handsome doctoral student who comes to stay for the summer. Elio and Oliver end up spending quite a bit of time together, if you catch my drift.
Queenie is a young black millennial living in south London navigating the world of dating and casual sex. Queenie’s personal life is…complicated. There’s accidental infidelities, sex on bathroom floors, and a whole lot of sexually charged flirting. In this captivating story, Carty-Williams explores mental health, racism, and the fetishisation and hyper-sexualisation of black women.
The author of Eat Pray Love brings us a hot tale of sexual awakening in the summer of 1940 in New York. 19-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in the Big Apple with nothing more than a suitcase and a sewing machine. She turns her hand to the task of being seamstress to showgirls. A sexy exploration of female desire in the ’40s.