Let’s be blunt: Erotica is in. Fifty Shades of Grey is the fastest-selling novel series in history and has already outsold J.K. Rowling in her own country.

Many readers, however, are wondering why such fuss exists over writing that’s grammatically suspect at best and mediocre at worst. Author E.L. James laughs in the face of correct comma usage, lets her 22-year-old heroine gasp, “Oh, my,” through most of the trilogy’s many scenes of BDSM, and thrills us with such riveting moments as this:

“You’ve brushed your teeth,” he says, staring at me.

“I used your toothbrush,” I breathe.

His lips quirk up in a half smile.

“Oh, Anastasia Steele, what am I going to do with you?”

Adding the readers who might be looking for something a bit juicier to the millions of readers who loved Fifty Shades, we arrive at the clear need for more, quality, erotic fiction.The sad truth, however, is that the market is currently flooded, most of it with writing that makes E.L. James look like Nabokov. So what’s a newbie reader of erotica to do?

Never fear. The Daily Dot is here to satiate your desires. (But not like that.) We present the top 10 places on the Internet where you can find the good porn, much of it free. For our purposes, “good” means writing that is grammatically correct and thematically interesting, with a generally well-developed style.

1) AO3  

Fanfiction.net and Wattpad censor anything that’s too racy, AdultFanFiction.net tends to have poor writing, Skyehawke.net is reliable but de-populated, and Tumblr is impossible to navigate. Then there’s the Archive of Our Own. With a current moratorium on new users and traffic climbing to 1.5 million hits daily, AO3 is largely populated by an experienced, literate corner of fanfiction-based fandom: writers who started out on ff.net, transitioned to Livejournal, and eventually recognized the need to create a platform of their own so that third-party censorship didn’t get in the way of the good stuff. AO3 lets readers browse by fandoms and use its extensive search engine. For example, a search of mature/explicit fics with over 10,000 hits turns up nearly a thousand fics.

Not bad for anyone looking to do a little light reading.

2) Pinboard and Delicious

Goodreaders aren’t the only group of fans to crowdsource their recs. Fandom has been doing it for years on social bookmarking platforms Delicious and Pinboard. Delicious offers lots of users, so stories with high ratings and thousands of saves are likely to be high-quality. Pinboard generally has newer fics in more recent fandoms, which it helpfully delivers via a listing of the most popular links tagged “fandom” from day to day.

Pinboard is behind a paywall, but you don’t need an account to search it by tags or by keywords of your favorite fandoms and characters. Most of these are slash, which is romance or erotica between two characters of the same sex, usually men. As with original fiction, male/male fic is currently the most popular kind of fanfiction there is—except that slash has been popular since the days of Star Trek's Kirk and Spock, and its popularity has only grown over time. Be warned, fandom seems to be having a werewolf moment.

3) Original fic

The stories written for Shousetsu Bang Bang occupy a weird space. While they are original, they are similar in theme to fanfiction and often written by the same people. In fact, a whole online genre of “origfic” exists for original works, mostly erotic, that seem to have more in common with fanfic than with novels you buy at the bookstore. Most writers offered these online novels to the public for free, such as Manna Francis’ massive, hugely popular Administration Series and Jesse Hajicek’s The God Eaters, both of which are also published and purchasable. Other popular works that are offered for free as well as for purchase include Captive Prince and Starfighter, HamletMachine’s original yaoi webcomic.

The fact that all of these works are original slashfic speaks to the free online culture of fanfiction in which they tend to originate. It’s a shared trait that lead hundreds of users of popular reading recommendation site Goodreads to build several recommendation lists of “unpublished” male/male fiction which list fanfiction and origfic side by side.

4) Shousetsu Bang Bang

Yaoi (or Boys’ Love) is so popular that English-speaking fandom decided to create their own, written version of it. Shousetsu Bang Bang is a free zine and fic fest that runs both yaoi and yuri (queer female) issues throughout the year. In keeping with yaoi’s emotionally saturated themes, SSBB promises ‘at least one sex scene and a happy ending.’ The zine is currently on its seventh year and its 37th issue. The full list of “heartwarmingly predictable” stories may be found here.

5) Erotic manga

Manga is the Japanese word for comic. A huge part of Asian culture, romantically-themed manga can be straight, male/male (yaoi or bara), or female/female (yuri). Erotic manga (hentai, or ero-manga) is growing in popularity throughout the world. It’s easy to find online scanlations—fan-translated scans—of unlicensed print titles, and English-language publishers have made many titles available in the U.S. (such as Ayano Yamane’s classic Finder no Hyouteki). Digital publishers like eManga and Sublime, and print publishers like Project H make such titles available for sale, as does Amazon’s Kindle store, though it occasionally censors yaoi.

Doujinshi are short, unpublished manga. They can take the form of fanfiction or original fiction, and often feature erotic themes. The best way to get doujinshi is to be lucky enough to be in Japan during Comiket or other doujinshi conventions, like Yaoi-con here in the U.S.. But for the rest of us, there are online doujinshi circles, where translators (or “scanlators”) have been bringing English-speaking countries quality doujinshi for years—most of it free.

6) Kink memes

Deep in the bowels of fandom lurk hundreds of anonymous fic-posting communities called kink memes, where anonymous readers can request stories written about anything their hearts desire, no matter how smutty or illicit. Fics are usually posted in the comments of LiveJournal kink meme communities. Not all are active, especially given how many of them there are (the lists linked are by no means conclusive), but many garner thousands of comments. Like most fanfiction, kink memes heavily feature slash fic. 

7) Smart Bitches

Never ones to shy away from bad writing, the women of Smart Bitches,Trashy Books have been delivering hilarious, savvy reviews of love stories since 2005. Browse their list of Grade A-reviewed titles—not everything will be erotic, but you’re guaranteed to find a great story as well as lots of heart-tugging romance.

8) Fantasy authors

Many fantasy writers like Lynn Flewelling, Diana Gabaldon, Laurell K Hamilton, N.K. Jemisin, and Anne Rice have built up substantial cred in the sensuality department. Rice’s popular BDSM erotic series, known as the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, is being reprinted this year. Flewelling even wrote a collection of short stories that amount to deleted scenes from her popular Nightrunners series, for all the times when you wish the camera hadn’t, erm, faded to black just yet.

9) The small presses

Samhain. AllRomance. OmniLit. Torquere. These e-book publishers and others like them have thrived by offering erotica to voracious readers. Although the chief target audience for romance continues to be straight women, much of the erotica you’ll find on these sites is gay male porn. All Romance’s bestselling feature right now falls into that category. Torquere likewise specializes in queer fiction but has a large straight female readership.

10) The Twilight fanfics

It’s no secret that Twilight fandom has been crowdsourcing popular works of fanfiction and then publishing them as originals. Wanna get a jump on the traditional press? Here’s a list of dozens of racy novels currently being sold as e-books, all of which began life as Twilight fanfiction. If you want more like 50 Shades of Grey, all of these books are ready to deliver the goods.

Disclaimer: The author of this article is a member of the Organization for Transformative Works, a nonprofit fandom organization that runs the Archive of Our Own, among other projects.

Illustration by HamletMachine via Starfighter