Renowned novelist, screenwriter and producer George R.R. Martin once said: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” Literature, and erotic literature in particular has the distinct ability to awaken our deepest desires. Not only are we able to live vicariously through the uninhibited characters in these novels, but we can also envision them any way we choose. When an erotic novel is particularly popular, it may even be adapted for the big screen (or television) and turned into an award-winning movie or TV series. While there have been countless erotic novels that have made it onto the screen, there are 3, in particular, that have amassed somewhat of a cult following among erotic novel enthusiasts.
‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ – Milan Kundera
‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ is a 1984 novel by Milan Kundera that observes the intertwined relationships of two men, two women, and a dog in Prague in Spring of 1968. The film adaptation of the novel was released 4 years after the book in 1988 and was directed and written by none other than Phillip Kaufman who is also the man behind award-winning films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Henry and June. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, and Lena Olin, the film is undeniably sensual. Apart from being best-known for its eroticism, the film is also filled with complex characters and a myriad of nostalgic nuances. The sexual content itself may not be as explicit as that portrayed in more modern-day films but it does lend itself to a certain amount of eroticism that will leave viewers positively lustful. Although criticized by some as being ‘downright unbearable’ to watch, The Unbearable Lightness of Being was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe and received numerous awards including a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ – E.L. James
Shortly after its release, E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey became the best-selling book of all time in the UK, surpassing even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The movies are every bit as erotic as the books are and star Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in the roles of naive college student Anastasia Steele and damaged CEO Christian Grey. With the first Fifty Shades movie earning a whopping $571 million at the box office it is not surprising that it has been hailed as one of the most successful erotic films of our time. Before the Fifty Shades phenomena, bondage and the use of sex toys was still frowned upon by conservatives. After the release of the first movie, an increasing number of people started to introduce a couple of sex toys in their bedroom routines such as handcuffs, blindfolds, vibrators, and fleshlights to give their sex life a boost.
‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ – D.H. Lawrence
Lady Chatterley’s Lover is without a doubt Lawrence’s most daring novel and was even banned in the UK once due to its very explicit sexual content. The novel tells the tale of Lady Chatterley, the wife of an affluent paralyzed man, who finds herself falling for the local gamekeeper. There have been many on-screen adaptations of the 1928 novel since 1955 including a TV series that was broadcast by BBC Television in 1993 and that starred Sean Bean and Joely Richardson. A 2015 made-for-TV film stars Holliday Grainger as Lady Chatterley and Richard Madden, who is best known for his role as Robb Stark in the hit series Game of Thrones, as the gamekeeper.
Reading erotic novels have become a beloved pastime of people all across the globe. As fulfilling as reading may be, it is sometimes equally enjoyable to see your favorite characters come to life in a well-produced movie or TV series.