How erotica can be great for your mental health

It’s not uncommon for people to think about erotic literature as something cheap and sleazy, and we get that. Not all erotic literature is great by any means. There are tons of bad books that capitalize on current trends and rip off more popular works by other authors. However, there’s also a bunch of great reads out there that can help you in more than one way.

Sexual arousal and panic attacks

Most people will find it surprising that panic attacks and sexual arousal have similar symptoms. And yes, it’s quite strange to find that two seemingly opposite feelings have so much in common. A racing heart, flushing, shortness of breath, and muscle twitching can feel both good and bad. It all depends on the situation.

The reason for this paradox is a little thing called misattribution of arousal. This is a psychological phenomenon. It describes the tendency of our brain to search for clues around us to understand why we’re feeling exhilaration or agitation. One experiment suggests that men are more likely to pursue women they met in unsafe situations. The reason is that our brains confuse fear and arousal, so they think these women are more attractive.

Some people understand this and use erotic literature to relieve the panic they feel. Moreover, they convert it into the sexual desire they want to feel. If the book is any good, it only makes reading an even better experience. Of course, this is just one of many benefits of erotica and its literature. There’s much more to it than you’d give it credit for.

Porn consumption vs. Romance reading

There’s a certain notion that women don’t enjoy pornography, while men simply can’t get enough of it. Of course, there are numerous examples of girls loving their adult video content, but we can’t help but accept this is the rule. By the way, we’re aware of the growing rates of female porn consumption. But we still see women enjoying erotic literature much more than watching a bunch of people fucking on the screen.

A 2015 survey suggests that more than 85% of erotic story readers are women. There are many theories about this, but we can’t help but favor one over the rest. From calling women “less visual” to suggesting that they have a lower libido, all others just sound a bit cheap and misogynistic to some extent. Therefore, we’re more inclined to believe Emily Nagoski and her view of this phenomenon.

In her 2015 sex educator book, “Come As You Are,” Nagoski points out some interesting ideas. Namely, she suggests that, unlike men, women are more likely to look for emotional context when it comes to arousal. Furthermore, they lose interest more easily if they feel even the slightest stress, self-criticism, disgust, and attachment to the content they see in porn.

Let’s be honest here. Adult videos enjoy classifying human bodies, shaming them, using words such as sluts and good girls, and so on. Moreover, these terms are mostly for male enjoyment. Even porn categories and genres are such that they cater to what men want to see. You know, big tits, blondes, DPs, etc. On the other hand, erotic literature content portrays believable relationships, character development, and drama.

Reading erotica helps with anxiety attacks

Many female authors say that writing and reading steamy stories can help with their anxiety attacks. Most of them suggest that they were in unhappy marriages and relationships where their partners would abuse them both physically and mentally. Moreover, they were subject to nonconsensual sex — rape. Still, not enough people understand what kind of consequences such heinous acts can leave on the victim.

One fanfiction author tells us that the stories she writes are something her ex can’t take away from her. Her work is only hers, and he is unable to use it against her. More importantly, the tales she creates are full of consent and loving characters. They have no intention of taking advantage of one another. This way, she creates a happy place where she can, to some degree, experience everything her previous relationship and sex life couldn’t offer.

Unfortunately, lots of people who have experienced abuse begin to associate the act of sex itself as something they can never again enjoy. If they do, they feel shame and guilt. But sex therapists we’ve mentioned say that reading and writing erotica can help people jump across the barrier and escape guilt. Of course, erotica isn’t the cure for all your stress and anxiety. It’s merely one of many tools that can help you overcome unpleasant feelings and dark places you might come across in real life.