I’ll just come right out and say it: I obsessively read erotica. Especially lesbian erotica. Especially butch/femme lesbian erotica. Especially butch/femme lesbian erotica with some kink play in it. Especially butch/femme lesbian erotica with some kink play in it that is particularly well written.
I’ve read hundreds of erotica books. I used to do a quarterly write-up of all the lesbian erotica that was newly released.
So when I say that I have 10 of the best erotica books for butches to recommend to you, I’m not joking. I really did pick the creme de la creme, the really good stuff skimmed off the top of a lot of mediocre (and a lot of downright bad) stories.
But also: If someone is a butch, does it mean that they have the exact same taste in erotica as every other butch? Um no. Obviously no; just like “women’s erotica” isn’t guaranteed to be appreciated and desired by anyone who is a woman. There is a wide variety of sexual desire in any group of folks with the same gender identity: Some butches are bottoms, some butches are tops, some butches date femmes, some butches date butches, some butches are trans, some butches are genderqueer, some butches vehemently identify as women. Some butches like to read erotica about gay men, some butches prefer porn to erotica, some butches read heterosexual romance novels.
So how the heck am I going to recommend 10 books to you? Well, let’s start by making an assumption: I’m prioritizing books with butch characters in them, and particularly, with butch protagonists. I don’t know about you, but I like to superimpose myself in the story, and if the character’s gender is so very different from mine, I can’t imagine myself in their experience as easily. So, in all of these books, there are at least some butch protagonists.
Instead of general lesbian erotica, these books have a butch/femme slant, primarily because those collections tend to have at least a little more of an understanding of gender than the average collection. And last but not least, these books tend to be anthologies, which are excellent tools for finding erotica that you personally might like, because if you read a story and you find you’re not crazy about that style, it’s cool, just flip to the next one. And in a collection of twenty-some stories, you’re bound to at least find a few that you like!
On to the books!
1. She Who Must Be Obeyed: Femme Dominant Lesbian Erotica edited by DL King
What, did you think I would start out with a collection of dominant butch tops? Well, there are plenty of those, so let’s just highlight this other amazing collection first: femme tops. DL King put together a phenomenal collection of stories, some of which are femme/femme pairings and some of which are butch/femme. Even the most hardcore of butch tops will find at least some turn-on in the sexy, powerful femmes in this anthology.
2. Sometimes She Lets Me: Butch/Femme Erotica edited by Tristan Taormino
A classic, essential collection of erotica from editor extraordinaire Taormino, who has edited some of my most favorite erotica ever. This one features a range of characters in a variety of kinky scenarios and with a variety of sexuality pairings, and introduces some amazing erotica writers.
3. Switch Hitters: Gay Men Write Lesbian Erotica, Lesbians Write Gay Male Erotica edited by Carol Queen & Lawrence Schimel
I didn’t expect to love this collection as much as I did, but it’s a gem, and it’s stood out to me for more than 10 years, since I first found it in a used bookstore in Seattle. Just like the subtitle suggests, this book features gay men writing lesbian erotica and vice versa, and while some of it is trite and cliche, other stories are knock-your-socks-off incredible.
4. With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn edited by Amber Dawn & Trish Kelly
Sometimes, what a butch really needs is to get into the head of a brilliant femme. Here’s an entire anthology of femmes writing dirty smut, putting words to desires, sharing their private thoughts about what turns them on. Read it, and then read it again, and then take notes. And somewhere in there, you might just get off.
5. Show Yourself To Me by Xan West
I don’t usually love or suggest single-author erotica anthologies, but I feel confident that this belongs on that list. Xan West writes some of my most favorite erotica ever. They are a genderqueer/transmasculine writer, and they write heavy BDSM with power dynamics, humiliation, and deep corporeal play; they also include a wide variety of bodies, gender dynamics, and abilities in their work. This is their first full-length anthology of short stories, and each one has a little content warning telling readers what kind of activities to expect in that story. It’s brilliantly put together, and the stories are incredibly hot.
6. Behrouz Gets Lucky by Avery Cassell
This is a novel, following Behruz, a genderqueer submissive person in their 50s, as they navigate dating and falling for Lucky, who is butch and toppy. This book is a beautiful homage to San Francisco past and present, to the dynamics of kink and love in this culture. Avery Cassell has done an incredible job weaving the narrative together with dirty, sexy scenes of real connection and intimacy, which sometimes the characters love, and sometimes makes them nervous.
7. Boi In The Middle by Patrick Califia
If you haven’t yet read Boi In The Middle (or every single thing Patrick Califia has ever read, for that matter), I envy you: you are in store for a wild ride. This collection of stories includes all sorts of genders and power dynamic differences, so even though it’s single-author, it includes a wide range of kink expressions. Essential, classic, incredibly well written.
8. Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica edited by Tristan Taormino
Most butches don’t identify as part of the trans world, but this is one of the few anthologies of trans erotica available, and it opened up my eyes to all kinds of things about trans desire and bodies that I hadn’t really connected before. Characters are seen for who they truly are, and that goes beyond “passing” or “not passing” and into nuance and complexity of intersectional identities. It includes stories from all sorts of amazing queer writers, including Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman, Ivan Coyote, Julia Serano, Helen Boyd, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Andrea Zanin, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Toni Amato, and many more.
9. Set in Stone edited by Angela Brown
There are very, very few anthologies of butch-on-butch erotica. Two, that I know of, actually, and this is the first—Set In Stone. There are some complex and very, very sexy stories of masculine desire, of stone identity, of complexity and angst, and of unabashed lust.
10. Me & My Boi edited by Sacchi Green
This book, my friends, is not even out yet, but it’s one of only two butch-on-butch anthologies, and the incredible DL King edited it, so you know it’s going to be awesome. You should preorder it right now to assure you get your copy as quick as possible. King always picks the best stories from seasoned erotica authors, and finds incredible new writers to highlight, too.
For the record, I have stories in the books Me & My Boi, Take Me There, and Sometimes She Lets Me, but I don’t get any commission from them in any way. I just think they’re incredible books.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of erotica books that butches like. I would love to recommend my own anthology Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica to you, since I am particularly fond of that one, considering I chose all the stories. This is only some options that I highly recommend, books that I read over and over, books with stories so good I break the spine, and books that I frequently find myself loaning to friends.
There are dozens more amazing books that probably could be on here, but I’m trying to limit it to 10. So, lay it on me: Which are your very favorite erotica books?