Literotica - A Great Big List Of Literate Erotica Stories
The earliest successful websites often looked like big lists. That’s because in the early days, people weren’t totally sure just what the World Wide Web was supposed to be for. So they started out by making lists of all the cool stuff that already existed on the web. As if by magic, their new lists became the new web pages. As the web got bigger, their lists got bigger, and so the first runaway-success websites were really just huge lists.
At the heart of this phenomenon — and the reason that it worked so well — is that a great website is, first and foremost, a place with a lot of great stuff to read. And that’s nowhere more true than in the realm of erotic stories. One of the largest erotic stories sites on the web is Literotica, a site that implemented the classic early “big list” model during the web boom at the tail end of the 1990s.
The founders, Laurel and Manu, saw a need for a site that served both readers and authors of erotic stories. Literotica was born, and has grown to include not just a huge archive of stories, but also large collections of erotic poetry and some smaller collections of visual erotica (adult comics and erotic art) as well. There’s also an extremely active discussion forum on the site with a lively-looking personals subforum area. But the main attraction is the 1990s-style huge list of stories, organized neatly into alphabetical categories from Anal to Transsexuals and Crossdressers:
The three things that make Literotica special are its venerable age, its strong and active community of authors and readers, and its huge collection of stories. In a very real way, these should not be viewed as three separate things. Over the course of almost two decades, a thriving site can build an amazing community, and an amazing community is precisely what the site needed in order to build the huge database of erotic stories we find there today.
So how are the stories? That’s truly the most important question, isn’t it?
I propose that it’s time to for me to depart from tradition.
The tradition in articles like this is to pause at this point to warn the reader. The warning goes like this: Any large body of non-commercial art (whether we’re talking erotic stories or fanfic or amateur manga or fan art or homemade Youtube videos) is mostly low-quality stuff, with just a small percentage of treasure hidden in it somewhere. “Hold your nose”, the message goes, “and keep searching through all the poor-quality stuff until you find the little bit of good stuff.”
That was pretty much the journalistic approach that Salon took back in 2015, even while naming Literotica one of the seven smartest, classiest porn sites on the internet. Salon’s author was clearly baffled by the fanfic element of some of the stories, and was totally bewildered by the depth of selection available. Somehow they landed on some TV fanfic with an incest theme, and they didn’t have the first clue how to process it:
Don’t go picking categories randomly lest you end up like I did, unhappily in the midst of a story about “That 70s Show” called “Red Rules the Roost” in which everyone in the whole damn family has sex with each other, including the old dad Red. Yes, RED. I contacted my friend, a cool Bay Area techie chick, one of many women who’d recommended the site, to say basically, “WTF? RED?!” But she was undeterred in her Literotica love.
Maybe Salon’s writer does not ship Red Forman and his entire family, but the writers at Literotica will gleefully ship pretty much anybody; there are more than 9,000 stories in the Celebrities and Fan Fiction Stories Hub alone. Kelly and Regis? Jeanie the genie and Major Healy? Literotica’s authors ship them all, and have got you covered:
But we were talking about the quality of the stories, and about tradition, and about my departure from tradition in writing articles like this.
The Literotica story archive is close to twenty years old as I write this. It must have more than 100,000 stories in it. Maybe it has 200,000, there’s not a grand tally. Anyway, it’s a big bunch of stories. A metric buttload. TOO MANY STORIES TO READ. You’re not going to read them all in your lifetime; neither am I. There’s nothing meaningful we can say about “the Literotica stories” as a class. The only quality metric that matters is the quality of the tools for searching through the stories and finding the ones that we like.
And here, Literotica shines. The site’s search tools are superb. In addition to the detailed categories in which the stories are presented, the keyword search tool has an “advanced search” dropdown that allows searching individual story categories, story titles, and a system of story tags. What’s more, each story category offers a “Hall of Fame” listing that ranks the 250 stories most popular with other readers, which offers a fast way to leverage the wisdom of crowds and get straight to “the good stuff” in your category of interest.
So the tradition I’m going to depart from would be to dip at random into a large category (such as BDSM, with 30,000 stories in it) and find something terrible, to serve as a warning about the overall low quality. I actually did do the “dipping at random” thing, and I did in fact find something kinda bad if not outright terrible. The story I found is by random dipping is a poorly-wrought tale of a medieval wife whose husband “punishes” her by having her exposed in the public stocks where she’s raped in the dark by parties unknown. Which could be fine; it could even be fine that she likes it and decides she wants more such punishments, if only her emotional journey to this realization were somehow revealed. But instead, the story is presented as “bad thing happens, worse things happen, gosh, in hindsight protagonist decides she enjoyed them” which is just sort of a narrative mess.
But that’s my own fault for random dipping. Instead, I propose to try the experiment of making a purposeful search, using the tools provided and our own natural ability to skim search results, looking for quality prose. This should be the true paradigm when evaluating an erotic story site: not “does it have bad stories” but “can you find good ones easily?”
So let’s set out to find a nice little spanking story with a historical theme and a bit of sex. Keep the search strategy simple: go to story search and type in “spanking historical“. Start skimming. Here’s one that pops up on page three of the results, also featuring a pillory, let’s look at it:
I won’t spoil the story for you, but it’s much better than my randomly-chosen bad example. It’s a modern tale of light-hearted couples at play, and though the spanking I was looking for only gets threatened and not actually delivered, the overall story is sexier and better-written, featuring characters with plausible reactions to each other and to events.
So, back to Literotica as a whole and the only question that matters: how are the stories?
They’re numerous. The stories are unbelievably numerous. And that’s good news, because many of them are very good, too. With the excellent keyword search tools and the category lists and rankings by popularity and tag searches and all of the many ways to drill down into the stories to find exactly what you want, Literotica is a ridiculously good place for finding erotic stories that should satisfy just about anyone.
Bacchus is the author and proprietor of ErosBlog, writing since 2002 about sex, porn, and the adult internet. In recent years he's become passionate about curating digital porn and about the challenges of stabilizing it in well-sourced collections.