55 Literary Books With Great Lesbian Sex Inside Them

For me, it’s never been the visuals so much as its been stories. Given the choice to go the rest of my life without porn or without surprisingly hot sex scenes in literary novels, I would sacrifice porn. I don’t mean erotica or romance novels — which have their own value, and I value them! — I mean how Eileen Myles has a chapter in Inferno called “My Revolution” and it’s just a whole meditation on the genitals of various women with whom she has engaged sexually, or that weekend-long threesome from Chronology of Wateror how I didn’t have any idea The First Bad Man or The Gin Closet were going to be books with lesbian sex in them and then all of a sudden it was happening. I mean how I’ve never forgotten the first time I read Dorothy Allison writing about “frog-fucking” or struggling to reconcile trauma with desire. Reading authors like Dorothy Allison or Mary Gaitskill or Kathy Acker who are VERY frank and explicit about sex in their work makes me feel like a tiger.

Anyhow, I took to twitter dot com to ask y’all about literary novels you’ve loved for the story but you know, also for the sex. Firstly, it’s worth noting that certain parts of Inferno and Chronology of Water, as aforementioned in this intro, came up in this thread almost immediately, thus affirming my life choices.

This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for 2023. 


Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, by Audre Lorde (1982)

Books with lesbian sex: The cover of Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, biomythography // lesbian 

“Ginger moved in love like she laughed, openly and easily, and I moved with her, against her, within her, an ocean of brown warmth. Her sounds of delight and the deep shudders of relief that rolled through her body in the wake of my stroking fingers filled me with delight and a hunger for more of her. The sweetness of her body meeting and filling my mouth, my hands, wherever I touched, felt right and completing, as if I had been born to make love to this woman, and was remembering her body rather than learning it deeply for the first time.”


“Lesbian Appetites,” by Dorothy Allison (from Trash: Stories,”1988)

A cover of Dorothy Allison's "Trash"short stories // lesbian

“We wrestled, eggplant breaking up between our navels. I got her shorts off, she got my jeans down. I dumped a whole plate of eggplant on her belly.

“You are just running salt, girl,” I teased, and pushed slices up between her legs, while I licked one of her nipples and pinched the other between a folded slice of eggplant. She was laughing, her belly bouncing under me.

“I’m gonna make you eat all this,” she yelled.

“Of course,” I pushed eggplant out of the way and slipped two fingers between her labia. She was slicker than peanut oil. “But first we got to get the poison out.”


Don Juan in the Village, by Jane DeLynn (1990)

Cover art of Jane DeLynn's "Don Juan in the Village"short stories // lesbian 

“With my nipple still in her mouth she pushed my jeans down so they encircled my ankles. I was sweating and messy. She was much older than me, almost clinical as she proceeded, which not only aroused me but made me like her better. Somehow things were more in balance than earlier in the evening. I wished she had brought a camera with her so we could have taken pictures of me masturbating to the sight of her naked body — and ever after I could torture myself over what she had done with them.”


Written on the Body, by Jeanette Winterson (1992)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art for Jeanette Winterson's "Written on the Body," novel // queer

“Nail me to you. I will ride you like a nightmare. You are the winged horse Pegasus who would not be saddled. Strain under me. I want to see your muscle skein flex and stretch. Such innocent triangles holding hidden strength. Don’t rear at me with unfolding power. I fear you in our bed when I put out my hand to touch you and feel the twin razors turned towards me. You sleep with your back towards me so that I will know the full extent of you. It is sufficient.”


Two Or Three Things I Know For Sure, by Dorothy Allison (1995)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Dorothy Allison's "two or three things i know for sure,"memoir // lesbian // i just wanted to include this quote here because it is one of my favorite things anybody has ever written!

“I told her, Don’t touch me that way. Don’t come at me with that sour-cream smile. Come at me as if I were worth your life – the life we make together. Take me like a turtle whose shell must be cracked, whose heart is ice, who needs your heat. Love me like a warrior, sweat up to your earlobes and all your hope between your teeth. Love me so I know I am at least as important as anything you have ever wanted.”


Rat Bohemia, by Sarah Schulman (1995)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Sarah Schulman's "Rat Bohemia,"novel // lesbian
Read our interview with Sarah Schulman

“I clenched my teeth. She bit my neck until I thought her teeth would break. Thank God. I like it when it hurts. Vaginal trauma is what I live for. Skeletal friction first and then my skin is the softest skin. When she comforted me, I loved the comfort. When she hurt me, I loved the pain. When she controlled me I loved the capitulation. When she serviced me I loved the intent. Coming out is not the end of insanity, you know. It’s only the beginning.”


“Buscando,” by Claudia Von Vacano (The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading, 1995)

Cover art of "The New Fuck You" edited by Eileen Myles and Liz Kotzone story in an anthology of fiction, poetry and essays // lesbian

“I am masturbating. I am letting la Sangre crawl down the walls, making her way to my fingers. The fingers push her back to my ovaries, making red blood waves. I pull my fingers out and let the blood ooze gently onto my hand. I cup a handful and let it drip on my flesh. First on my round belly, just a drop enclosed within my navel, then on my nipples. Bruised breasts, going from purple green to tender brown. There is a powerful message in the red fluid that is my blood. It is trickling down through the orifice, the mouth-like opening at the tip of my tit. Instead of milk being sucked out from its deep roots, la Sangre is finding her way in. Buscando y arrancando. There are rough ropes tied in intricate and ornate knots. I am being held by these threads like my flesh is being sewn shut, the needle being held by a hand blurry in my vision. Raises. Roots sucking the water.”


Fall On Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald (1996)

Cover art of Anne-Marie McDonald's "Fall On Your Knees"historical novel // lesbian

“I slid my hands under and up her smooth sides, I wanted to be slow to savor but we couldn’t, she gripped me and moved under me. I felt her nipples under my palms and I think I died. Rose gasped as though I’d stabbed her and I felt like a savage robbing a sacred tree, her thigh between my legs. I found her hand and led it to a place I know, I kissed it with the mouth that I keep hidden, then took her inside and sucked her like the greedy tide that can’t decide to swallow or disgorge. I lost track of everything. And even after I finally could stop, I knew that I would never be finished.”


In Another Place, Not Here, by Dionne Brand (1996)

Cover art of Dionne Brand's "In Another Place, Not Here"novel // lesbian 

“…to appear normal she had slept with men at first. Slept with was hardly the phrase, certainly not fucked. Sex. Yes, she had sex with men until one day she couldn’t have it any more, just couldn’t and returned to the thought of her breasts in the curve of a woman’s, her legs wide to her tongue, her lips warm to her face, the fat of her belly, her hands searching her back, easing her muscles, watering her thighs. She’s thought of the brush and ease of the skin, the melt into the soft and swell of the body. How this is sometimes not done, not spoken, in her room, the beer at their lips, the moment with nothing to say between them. Then sometimes she would fall asleep in the curve of the breasts, in the crook and keen musk of thighs, the slip of the skin. She wants nothing more.”


Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters (1998)

Cover art of Sarah Waters' "Tipping the Velvet"

historical fiction // lesbian 

“Soon her breaths became moans, then cries; soon my own voice joined hers, for the dildo that serviced her also pleasured me — her motions bring it with an even faster, ever harder pressure against just that part of me that cared for pressure best. I had one brief moment of self-consciousness, when I saw myself as from a distance, straddled by a stranger in an unknown house, buckled inside that monstrous instrument, panting with pleasure and sweating with lust. Then in another moment I could think nothing, only shudder; and the pleasure — mine and hers — found its aching, arching crisis, and was spent.

After a second she eased herself from my lap, then straddled my thigh and rocked gently there, occasionally jerking, and at last growing still. Her hair, which had come loose, was hot against my jaw.

At length she laughed, and moved again against my hip. “Oh, you exquisite little tart!” she said.”


My Mother: Demonology, by Kathy Acker (1993)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Kathy Acker's "My Mother: Demonology,"experimental fiction // queer

“After she came back, Isabelle and I arranged to meet alone in the church.

“I missed you.”

“I missed you.”

I dug her neck into my teeth. Then I nailed her hands against the floor. Her pincers tore at me. I followed everything inside me. From now on her legs would always be spread open. I stormed her openings as if she was beleaguered fortress.

“Tell me.”

“I love you.”

“Again.”

“I love you.”

“Again.”

“I love you.”

Another memory: Night after night when it was dark I crawled into I’s bed. We held hands and told each other our stories of childhood.

“The school,” she said, “was burning down.”

No. Our cunts.

I don’t remember. Don’t describe what can’t be remembered. What will never be seen. What’s between the legs, I and I. She was discovering the little organ that the cock imitates. My limitations are too painful. I transformed into the sex of a dog, red and unbearable to my own eyes.

It has come.

(For this reason women don’t need Christ.)

Our comings can’t end.”


Valencia, by Michelle Tea (2000)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Michelle Tea's "Valencia,"memoir // lesbian

“I took the brat through the dark streets of the city I had owned first and we sucked from glass bottles, hands twisting the sacks around the necks into paper flowers. We fucked in bathrooms and alleys bold as boys, bent over porcelain sinks that creaked from the wall with the weight of her hand inside me. The rustle of clothes and rats, clink of belt buckles and feet on broken glass. When someone saw us by accident, I let them be embarrassed. Shame was like a dirty tampon pulled from my body and flung in the bucket when I was with Iris.”


Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters (2002)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Sarah Waters' Fingersmithhistorical novel // lesbian

“So, I kissed her again. Then I touched her. I touched her face. I began at the meeting of our mouths — at the soft wet corners of our lips — then found her jaw, her cheek, her brow — I had touched her before, to wash and dress her; but never like this. So smooth she was! So warm! It was like I was calling the heat and shape of her out of the darkness — as if the darkness was turning solid and growing quick, under my hand.

She began to shake. I supposed she was still afraid. Then I began to shake, too. I forgot to think of Gentleman, after that. I thought only of her. When her face grew wet with tears, I kissed them away.

“You pearl,” I said. So white she was! “You pearl, you pearl, you pearl.”


Lee and Elaine, by Ann Rower (2002)

Cover Arto of Ann Rower's "Lee and Elaine"experimental novel // queer

“I felt so good, tied to the bed, without choice, chosen, legs and arms spread; I hovered above myself, seeing my fantasy of the student’s experienced fingers opening the teacher’s clothes, unsnapping teacher, spreading her, sliding inside the material; over her breasts, around her shoulders, down to her navel over her belly and down into her bush, which was not as bushy, of course, as it had been when she was a student herself, much to her sorrow. I returned to my body and gazed up at the face on top of me, close, intent, the curly gray hair getting curlier from dampness. I started to thrash.”


The Salt Roads, by Nalo Hopkinson (2003)

Cover art of Nalo Hopkinson's "The Salt Roads"novel // queer

“I burrowed my head in closer and tunnelled my tongue into her gully hole. Lisette giggled, then sighed, my girl, and opened her knees wider. The salty liquor of her spread in my mouth. I lapped and snuffled, held her thighs tight as she wriggled and moaned. Pretty soon she was bucking on my face, calling out and cursing me sweet. All sweaty, she was, and she had her thighs clamped to my ears so that my hearing was muffled. My hair was caught beneath her. It pulled, but I cared nothing for that. I reached behind her and squeezed her bumcheeks, used them to pull her closer. She wailed and shoved herself at me, until to breathe at all I had to breathe in her juice. And she pitched and galloped like runaway horses, but I held her, held her down and sucked her button in, twirled my tongue around it. Then even her swears stopped, for she could manage words no longer, and only panted and moaned. The roar she gave at the end seemed to come from the pit of her, to bellow up through her sopping cunny.”


“Her Body, Mine, and His,” by Dorothy Allison (from Skin: Talking About Sex, Class and Literature, 2005)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Dorothy Allison's "Skin,"essays // lesbian // if my ex is reading this, i would like her to know that i think she still has my copy of this book and i would like it back!!

“Frog fucking. Her hands on my hips; my heels against my ass, legs spread wide; her face leaning into my neck; my hands gripping her forearms. Her teeth are gentle. Nothing else about her is. I push up on the balls of my feet, rock my ass onto my ankles, reaching up for every forward movement of her thighs between mine. Her nipples are hard, her face flushed, feet planted on the floor while I arch off the edge of the bed, a water mammal, frog creature with thighs snapping back to meet her every thrust.”


Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis, by Ali Smith (2007)

Cover art of Ali Smith's "Girl Meets Boy"

historical experimental fiction // queer

“Her beautiful head was down at my breast, she caught me between her teeth just once, she put the nip into nipple like the cub of a fox would, down we went, no wonder they call it an earth, it was loamy, it was good, it was what good meant, it was earthy, it was what earth meant, it was the underground of everything, the kind of soil that cleans things. Was that her tongue? Was that what they meant when they said flames had tongues? Was I melting? Would I melt? Was I gold? Was I magnesium?”


Santa Olivia, by Jacqueline Carey (2009)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Jacqueline Carey's "Santa Olivia,"urban fantasy novel // queer

“Oh, fuck it,” Pilar whispered. She took Loup’s face in her hands and kissed her, hard and deep. The rainwater was cool, but her skin was warm beneath it; and there was no pulling away, only pushing closer. Closer and closer. She pressed Loup against the door, kissed her hungrily, her tongue agile and expert. Pilar’s breasts pressing against hers, nipples erect with cool rain and desire. One leg pressed between her thighs. Her hands slid down to Loup’s waist, under her tank top, craving skin. Loup wound her arms around Pilar’s neck, kissing her back.

It was exhilarating.

Better than fighting, better than anything.”


Inferno, a Poet’s Novel by Eileen Myles (2010)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Eileen Myles' "Inferno,"memoirish novel // lesbian
read our review of Inferno

“Waves of feeling rocked through my chest and cunt. It was too much to ask, to imagine. She was the lesbian. It was hers. Her bed. her room. Her beautiful sunshine going down on the awful medieval filth of me. A horrible dirty twenty seven year old. Too late. I was rotten with men. All that sex an hour ago now made me hopelessly wrong. To have the privilege of a girl. Her smells were all I could hope for. She would eat me?”


Chronology of Water: A Memoir, by Lidia Yuknavitch (2011)

Cover art of Lidia Yuknavitch's "The Chronology of Water"memoir // bisexual 

“Whoever was staying in the [rooms next to ours] must’ve gotten an earful. Hours of woman on woman on woman whose regular lives didn’t allow for such wild abandon. Sometimes Hannah’s fist up my cunt Claire’s mouth on mine or me sucking her epic tits. Sometimes Hannah on her stomach me up her ass with a strap on Claire behind me giving me a reach-around — a skill she intuited. Sometimes Claire on all fours me and Hannah filling every hole licking every mouth rubbing her clit making her scream making her entire corpus shiver her head rock back her woman wail let loose gone primal cum and shit stains and spit and tears. I came in Hannah’s mouth, her face between my legs like some goddess in a new myth.”


My Education: A Novel, by Susan Choi (2013)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Susan Choi's "My Education,"novel // bisexual

“She made me come so many times that afternoon that had I been somewhat older, I might have dropped dead. Had I been a doll, she might have twisted off each of my limbs, and sucked the knobs until they glistened, and drilled her tongue into each of the holes. Certainly had the windows been open, as would have made sense on that sunny June day, my thundering cries, in the end, would have summoned the neighbors; for Martha, in dismantling me, dredged a voice out of me I did not know I owned; the devastation of my pleasure surged outward and outward again, like an ocean-floor tremor, while that voice I had never imagined was bellowing harshly oh GOD oh GOD OHGODOHGODOHOGOD! — and it was then that Martha finally flung herself onto my shore, and through violent sobs kissed me…”


Women, by Chloe Caldwell (2014)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Chloe Caldwell's "Women,"memoir // bisexual

“She unbuttons my shirt. Underneath I am wearing a lace tank top. What is this shirt, she says, This shirt is going to haunt me. We kiss and kiss and then she turns me around, fucking me from behind with her hand, pulling my underwear to the side. I keep my tank top on. I like fucking you while you still have some clothes on, she says. We laugh after I come. Let’s make you come again, because it’s fun, she says. I ask her if she came and she says, Did it feel like I came? I ask her if she wants to see the new lingerie I bought. She says yes. I leave the bed and walk to my dresser, opening the top drawer, stripping my clothes off and pulling the pink and lacey dress over my head. She lies on her back on the carpet and I lie on top of her.”


Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (2015)

Cover art of Leah Lakshimi Piepzna-Samarsinha's "Dirty River"memoir // essays // queer
read our review of Dirty River

“You’re so open right now. I could almost fist you,” my lover says. I say “making love” with this one without irony. There are many moments when we make love and kiss, and it’s sacred, it’s hovering spirits inhabiting and flying over our bodies; it’s making love with the psychic incest-survivor crazy who is a grownup after a lot of therapy and medication who I fund, waded in a river and prayed for.

They have four fingers inside me. They have big hands. I am all the way open. The day before my period. New moon in Pisces, and I’ve been crying from the gut all week. All the way love. All the way open to you. It doesn’t hurt. It’s not hard. I am opening. I come a series of high and open. I will keep opening for you. I make this joyful choice.”


Life Is Wonderful, People are Terrific, by Meliza Bañales (2015)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover Art of "Life is Wonderful, People are Terrific" by Meliza Bañalesnovel // queer
read our review of Life Is Wonderful, People are Terrific

“Having her in bed with me made me realize how alone I’d been. Her body was so soft and warm, she had a round belly and firm tits with dark nipples that I held in my mouth for a long time. She was quiet at first which only turned me on more, but when she whispered in my ear “Will you go inside me?” I almost lost all control. I took it gently, then gained momentum. She was beneath me and I kept watching her face the entire time, the light from a new half-moon shining on her face through my window in the dark. I could feel the moment of pressure inside her against my middle finger and that’s when she cried out, hot liquid all over me, my bed, underneath her. Me next to her, wrapped around each other, kissing for hours. I kept thinking about the Cherrie Moraga poem and all the ways I felt myself open right then with Gabby. It wasn’t the kinkiest or the craziest sex I’ve ever had but it was one of the most intimate and I found myself practically high off her and she let me have all of her.”


Under the Udala Trees, by Chinelo Okparanta (2016)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Chinelo Okparanta's "Under the Udala Trees,"novel // bisexual 

“Slowly she made her way to my chest. We’d never gone farther than the chest. But now she gently removed my nightgown, and then removed hers. She cupped her hands around my breasts, took turns with them, fondling and stroking and caressing them with her tongue. I felt the soft tug of her teeth on the peaks of my chest. Euphoria washed over me.

She continued, leaving a trail of kisses on her way down to my belly. She traveled farther, beyond the belly, farther than we had ever gone. I moaned and surrendered myself to her. I did not until then know that a mouth could make me feel that way when placed in that part of the body where I had never imagined a mouth to belong.”


Paul Takes the Form Of a Mortal Girl, by Andrea Lowler (2017)

Cover art of Andrea Lawlor's, "Paul Takes the Form of a Moral Girl"novel // lesbian // genderfluid

Note: The protagonist, Paul, is a shape-shifter, and the author uses he/him pronouns for Paul regardless of what shape he’s in. For this excerpt, Paul is in a woman’s body.

“They kissed more, with this dare in their heads, and then Paul couldn’t take doing nothing else, her hands all over him. He slid his hand down her workpants into the slidey packet of her, and felt some kind of jittery bursting in his own self, and she jangled out of her clothes to give his hand a better angle to get inside her and he cupped his fingers up inside her, mouth on her nipple, under her pushed-up shirt. His hands somehow knew what to do and he realized that he’d slid his entire hand inside her without asking. She squeezed his knuckles and he tried to tuck his thumb without hurting her, because of how many lectures on safe fisting, and how different could a vagina be? He wondered if she would break his hand with her throbbing and then he surrendered to the immediate need to suck on something and bent to her clit, where he felt exceedingly peaceful for a long time, sucking and slowly moving his fist, so slowly, until she began to come, or come again?, through which Paul just hung on, which seemed to be the right thing. Afterward she smiled at him and they kissed and Paul felt floppy and amped and disturbed in a way he though might be connected to not having come. Or had he? Things were very sloshy down there and had maybe changed states in some incomprehensible way. Diane was kissing him again, and again this dispelled the thinking and then somehow she had slid between his legs, pulled off his shorts, and was sucking on his girl parts through and then under his hot soaking panties, building to a violent universal bang. Then it was over, and he was just smelling crushed grass and sex and the starry night all over him.”


Abandon Me: A Memoir, by Melissa Febos (2017)

Cover art of Melissa Febos' "Abandon Me"memoir // bisexual

“The first time she asked me to come, she asked in Spanish, the Captain’s first language. It felt like a consummation. Not of love, per se, but a desire stored deep in our bodies. This, we said with our hands and teeth and tongues. This is as close as we can get to it. This is everything, and it is not enough. I understood what she had meant when she wrote that I had taken something from her. I wanted something from her that I could not name. My whole body was a mouth. My heart was a mouth that only she could fill, that she could never fill.”


“Real Woman Have Bodies” by Carmen Maria Machado (from “Her Body And Other Parties,” 2017)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Carmen Maria Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties,"short stories // bisexual

“You’re really beautiful,” she says into my skin. She grinds her pelvis hard against mine, and I moan, and at some point the cold charm of her necklace dips into my mouth and knocks against my teeth. I laugh, she laughs. She takes off the necklace and sets it down on the nightstand, the chain slithering like sand. When she sits up again, the ceiling fan frames her head like a glowing halo, like she’s a Madonna in a medieval painting. There is a mirror on the opposite side of the room, and I catch fragments of her reflection. “May I —” she starts, and I nod before she finishes. She puts her hand over my mouth and bites my neck and slips three fingers into me. I laugh-gasp against her palm.

I come fast and hard, like a bottle breaking against a brick wall. Like I’ve been waiting for permission.”


America is Not the Heart, by Elaine Castillo (2018)

Cover art of Elaine Castillo's "America is Not the Heart"novel // bisexual

“The problem with having somewhat good sex with someone reasonably available—well, reasonably; immoderately and extravagantly available, more like—was that, once had, it was difficult not to want it all the time. It was difficult for Hero to remember that she’d spent months and months filling up her days with something that wasn’t fucking around with Rosalyn, that in fact she’d gone most of her life doing things that weren’t fucking around with Rosalyn, that she had an entire lifetime’s worth of evidence showing that it was possible to think about things that weren’t fucking around with Rosalyn—and yet. Hero found herself ignoring all the evidence in favor of spending her days thrumming, like a machine that had been left turned on and then forgotten about, leaking electricity, draining itself dry, until Rosalyn got within hand’s reach again.”


The Best Bad Things, by Katrina Carrasco (2018)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Katrina Carrasco's "The Best Bad Things,"historical fiction // bisexual

“Her hips are rocking into Alma’s touch. The pale ribbon whispers through each set of eyes. Nell unhooks the corset’s busks, and it falls open like a flower. She pulls off her chemise and is all bared to Alma, her skin pearly in the lamplight, silvery lines on the skin at her hips, on the skin under her navel, tracing toward the dark thatch of hair where Alma’s hand is still busy, still twisting. Alma walks her backward to the bed. Drops to her knees and replaces her thumb with her tongue. Nell moans. Hot musk in Alma’s nose, slickness on her tongue, oh, and it’s good, her mouth dripping spit, Nell’s fingers in her hair, holding her down. Her breaths come thick, fast, and god damn it, she can’t wait any longer. She kneels wider on the floor, the boards’ seams biting into her knees. Pulls her hand from the heat of Nell’s body and works it under the band of her small clothes. Fingers wet with Nell’s juices, Alma’s tongue pulsing in time with her touch, oh, yeah, it won’t take much, her body is wound tight as a watch spring.

“Let me see you,” Nell says, breath hitched. “Let me see your face.”


When Katie Met Cassidy, Camille Perri (2018)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Camille Perri's "When Katie Met Cassidy,"novel // lesbian
read our review of When Katie Met Cassidy

Katie ran her fingers across Cassidy’s taut stomach. “You know how you felt out there on the ranch?” she said. “Like you were out of your element?”

A trail of goosebumps followed the path of Katie’s fingertips upon Cassidy’s skin.

“That’s how I feel with you.” She traced her way down to Cassidy’s hipbones. “I don’t know how to touch you.” She glided her fingertips down the inside of Cassidy’s thigh. “But I want to.”

Cassidy kissed Katie’s neck, took her earlobe into her mouth. She whispered into Katie’s ear, “I’ll show you.”


Roller Girl, by Vanessa North (2018)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover of Vanessa North's "Roller Girl,"novel // lesbian // transgender

“How long has it been since I laughed with someone during sex? Have I ever? It feels good, shameless and free. She bites the side of my breast, her breath wet and hot there, then trailing slowly across to my nipple. My whole body tightens in anticipation as her lips close over my waiting flesh. I shiver, caught in the rush of heat. My limbs go lax as she draws on my nipple, again and again. One hand slides down to cup me through my pants, and instead of pushing it away, I ride her hand as another kind of pressure builds inside me.

“Yeah, rub off on me,” she whispers, “Can you come like that?”

I don’t know, but it would take an act of Congress to keep me from trying.”


Animals Eat Each Other, Elle Nash (2018)

Cover of Ellie Nash's "Animals Eat Each Other"novel // bisexual

“The way I ate her was like a meal, in little parts. Jenny gave small pieces of herself away each time my tongue pressed into her. A little less of her seemed to come back with me. The places where we became one thing together like this, our open membranes raw and bleeding. The cave of her colliding into my mouth, the place where words form. The way our darks connected. I didn’t know what to think about how this felt other than we were here, alive and breathing and fucking, and maybe this is how it was supposed to be.”


Mostly Dead Things, by Kristen Arnett (2019)

novel // lesbian
read our review of Mostly Dead Things

Books with lesbian sex: Cover art of Kristen Arnett's "Mostly Dead Things,"

“I kissed her to make myself forget. Forget all about it. Think only about the body how it would open for me, the thing that I needed.

She lay back on my unmade covers, still rumpled from the night before. Had me set the carapace of the cicada on the plane of her stomach, in the fallen divot between her ribs. We watched each other through the open hole of its body. I could hear the live ones screaming again outside in the trees, high and shrill. When my mouth touched the opening to her body, her chest rose abruptly. The cicada rolled forward, ready for flight.”


Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, by T Kira Madden (2019)

novel // lesbian
read our review of “Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls”

“I pull her pants down to her knees and push my face into her and taste what I want to taste. I fuck her with my hand. Relax, she says. I’m the one who tops here.

Jane tries to flip me over, but I don’t want her to touch me. As if by reaching inside me she will find the very pith of my fraudulence. I have a UTI, I lie, crushing my hips into her leg.

Sometimes I jerk off thinking of you, she says.

I come when she says this.”


A Song For You, by Robyn Crawford (2019)

memoir // lesbian

“Whitney and I held hands and got close on the dance floor, but once we started kissing, we left. We made it to the car but couldn’t wait long enough to get back to the hotel. I parked the rental car alongside the water, and before long a cop knocked on the window. We were in there naked, but the windows were fogged up so he couldn’t see much and just urged us to move along. Whitney was uncomfortable with her body, but I thought she was beautiful. I used to tell her, ‘God must have put you together piece by piece.'”


A World Between, by Emily Hashimoto (2020)

Books with lesbian sex: Cover of Emily Hashimoto's "A World Between,"novel // lesbian
read our review of A World Between 

“Eleanor felt twenty again, with a craving like there was nothing else in her life, and pressed Leena into the air mattress as it weaved and waved with the pressure of their bodies. With Leena naked underneath her, she licked and kissed paths all over her skin, relearning the geography that once kept her up at night, gently biting the birthmark on her inner thigh, moving right on past the engagement ring as if it wasn’t even there.”


Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters (2021)

novel // bisexual // transgender
read our review of Detransition, Baby 
A cover of Torrey Peter's "Detransition, Baby"

“How long had she been sobbing? She didn’t want to sob, she wanted to kiss the pretty dick resting on the pad of her tongue. For the last month, she had been obsessed with Reese; all she wanted to do was get closer and closer to her. It was to the point that the phrase ‘I want to eat you up’ took on shades of the literal — digestive incorporation being the only act that Amy could imagine getting her closer to Reese than sex. Just an hour before, Amy had watched Reese brush her teeth, her long brown hair hanging loose, and her arm pistoning back and forth so hard as she brushed that her tits waggled side to side under her slinky nightgown. Amy decided it was the sexiest thing she’d ever seen, topping each of the fifty other Reese actions she’d decided one after another that day was the sexiest vision ever.”


With Teeth, by Kristen Arnett (2021)

With Teeth by Kristen Arnett

novel // lesbian
read our interview with Kristen Arnett

“Sammie knew people always described their orgasms as cresting waves. Invoked the beauty of a starburt, or fireworks all in a row: bang, bang, bang. But for her, coming felt more like finally sitting down for a good meal after starving for weeks. The movement of it—spasms like a jaw clenching and unclenching. Like her pussy wanted to swallow everything and ask for seconds.

She fisted a hand in Myra’s hair and rode out that first big one. If Myra kept swirling her tongue like that, she might come again. Then it would be like having leftovers. Just thinking about that way led to her next orgasm. She yelled a word that almost sounded like fuck, and tightened her grip until she knew there’d be strands of Myra’s hair twined between her fingers when she let go. She almost came a third time, but she was spent, it was done, and when she finally let go and Myra sat up, smiling, she saw blood ringing the other woman’s mouth.”


Skye Falling, by Mia McKenzie (2021)

Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie

novel // bisexual

“Back in my room, we lie on the bed and kiss. And kiss. And kiss. I cannot get enough of Faye’s mouth, of the taste and smell of it, of the way her lips feel against mine. I could lie here with her tongue in my mouth for the rest of my life. But after a few minutes of kissing, she climbs on top of me. She sits up, so she’s straddling me, then she pulls me into a sitting position, too. She tugs at my shirt and, as I raise mu arms, she pulls it over my head. This is when I realize I’m still wearing my emergency bra and begin to scream internally.”


You Exist Too Much, by Zaina Arafat (2021)

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafatnovel // bisexual
read our interview with Zaina Arafat

“After climbing into bed the night before, I’d woken her up the way I knew she liked, pressing my nose against her neck and breathing deeply until the vibration roused her. I then switched up our usual roles, pulling myself on top of her while at the same time scooting her beneath me.”


Yerba Buena, by Nina Lacour (2022)

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour

novel // lesbian
read our review of Yerba Buena

“Sara took a woman home that night, something she rarely did, though the offers tumbled forth with every night she worked the bar. She was practiced in the art of being just friendly enough, of the gentle rejection, of the absolute no when it was required. But that fantasy—cupping Emilie’s cheek and drawing her closer—wouldn’t let Sara rest. So when a woman stayed late, past the time her friends left, past everyone else, Sara gave in. They had sex on the sofa in Sara’s small living room. The woman came quickly, and Sara felt a burst of tenderness for her—Christa or maybe Christine? It had been loud in the bar when she’d told her—but soon, emptiness came rushing in. That inevitable feeling. The reason no relationship lasted very long.”


Our Wives Under the Sea, by Julia Armfield (2022)

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

novel // lesbian
read our review of Our Wives Under the Sea

“Sex with Leah was a key and a lock, an opening up of something I had assumed impassable, like a door warped shut by the heat. Joy in the fact of pleasure, in the fact of my own relief. When we fucked, I felt myself distinct from my previous versions: the frenzied me, the panicked me, the me who had imagined herself poisoned by something she had never even done.”


Body Grammar, by Jules Ohman (2022)

Body Grammar by Jules Ohman

novel // queer
read our review of Body Grammar

“It felt heady and strange to be kissing someone she didn’t know well but was extremely attracted to. Her body hummed as Thayer took off her shirt and peeled down her jeans, then lay there, looking up at Lou. Lou asked what she wanted, and Thayer told her. Lou didn’t know what to do, but she knew how to follow directions. She could put her mouth there and there and there, and she could move her tongue like that and that, and she could do everything that was asked of her, especially if she was asked like that, and it turned out she could it all well, like really well. Thayer smelled and tasted delicious and Lou was so hungry, and as soon as it was over, she wanted to do it again.”


We Had to Remove This Post, by Hanna Bervoets (2022)

We Had To Remove This post by Hanna Bervoetsnovella // lesbian

“Later, during the spell when Sigrid and I didn’t see each other for a while, I would nonetheless evoke that kiss when I was masturbating, and over time my memory of the fantasy has become clearer than my memory of the night itself. In that fantasy Sigrid won’t stop staring at me. She uses every excuse to touch me, deliberately pressing into me as she leans over to grab another beer off the tray. In the fantasy, I reach out and put a hand on her thigh; she, in turn, shakes her head and flushes red, and then I get up to go to the restroom and she follows me. She tugs at my shoulder to turn me toward her and I push her up against the wall. We’re blocking the hallway to the restrooms, which is too narrow as it is—by the time our lips touch I’ve usually already come, and if not, I switch to a different memory, an image from a few weeks later: We’re in my bed and Sigrid is straddling me, “Deeper, deeper,” she cries, her face contorted with pleasure and yet vaguely mournful, and the memory of that grimace—ugly and hot at the same time—tends to get me there right away.”


Helen House, by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya (2022)

Helen House by Kayla Kumari Upadhyayanovella // lesbian
read our review of Helen House

“When she found out about the promotion, we’d gone out for Korean BBQ. Later in bed, I could still smell the smoke in her hair, and it made me hungry for her. I mean, sure, I was always hungry for her. But that smoky smell was like a spell, and I asked her to put on the harness I usually wore, watched her fumble with its buckles and straps without offering any assistance, my hunger deepening when she whispered, Like this?


All This Could Be Different, by Sarah Thankam Mathews (2022)

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathewsnovel // lesbian
read our review of All This Could Be Different

“I touched the Kia Soul’s gear stick. Get naked, I said. Then put your mouth on this.

A look of uncertainty flashed across her face. Still, she complied. Contorting her torso to stay perched on me. Her generous lower lip and its slender tremulous companion, pink shot through with brown. Her mouth, parting.

Pleasure this, I said, taking in the bemused look in her eyes, feeling the vague gathering mists of foolishness—and of course, real wild desire is braided tightly with foolishness, with all that is awkward and stilted. I had to work against this. To safeguard the moment, which still felt savable, felt swollen with blood and heat.

Pleasure it, I said, as if it were my cock.


Pretty Baby, by Chris Belcher (2022)

memoir // lesbian

Pretty Baby by Chris Belcher

“Sam and I spent two weeks sweaty fucking for hours a day in her mom’s two-bedroom, one-bathroom trailer without air-conditioning. We barely left except to walk to McDonald’s or Subway, where I would order double and eat until I felt sick. The sex made me ravenous, but I hated leaving Sam’s bedroom, tiptoeing out past her mom, into the kitchen. She looked up at me from her recliner like she could smell her daughter on me, and surely, she could.”


Sirens & Muses, by Antonia Angress (2022)

Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angressnovel // bisexual

“At first they only hooked up in Louisa’s studio, late at night when the building was empty and silent, but after a few days they began having sex in their room, as well. It was surreal, Louisa thought sometimes: there were her posters on the wall, and there was her green plastic shower caddy, and there was her towel on its hook, and here was Karina’s pale pink nipple in her mouth, and here were Karina’s fingers moving inside her, and here was Karina’s tongue on her neck, and here—”


We Do What We Do in the Dark, by Michelle Hart (2023)

We Do What We Do in the Dark by Michelle Hartnovel // lesbian
read our review of We Do What We Do in the Dark

“Mallory turned toward the woman and kissed the woman’s shoulder, her neck, her lips. They kissed for while before the woman went to lie back on the bed, reaching her hand into her underwear to rub herself, soft and slow. Her eyes were closed. Mallory, still seated beside the woman but looking down at her, understood that the woman wanted to be watched doing this too, so that was what Mallory did: watched.

Almost as a reflex, Mallory, who’d taught herself to masturbate by watching other women do it in porn, began to mirror the woman’s movements on herself. She felt her own wetness and fell back next to the woman. The two of them moved like this, alone and together. Their breaths became heavier and heavier until the woman whispered, ‘Do you want to touch me?’ Mallory said yes, and the woman took Mallory’s hand in hers, bringing it between her legs. The woman, using Mallory’s hand to rub herself, opened her legs wider, and Mallory sat up to kneel between them. A low moan trembled in the woman’s throat. The woman removed her own hand and Mallory continued. ‘Yes,’ the woman said. ‘Like that.’ It was as if she was teaching Mallory to draw.”


Dykette, by Jenny Fran Davis (2023)

Dykette by Jenny Fran Davisnovel // lesbian

“Sasha fell forward, as though by accident, collapsing into Jules. Pressed into the shoulder of Jules’s royal purple hoodie, she took a deep drag and closed her eyes. It was a sad smell, a smell of the past, a past that isn’t quite gone. Jules arranged her arms around Sasha and pulled her in. The pressure of their bodies together made Sasha so wet that she wondered if she was somehow already coming. They stayed like that for a few minutes, and then she wedged her right knee into Jules’s crotch, gently, again like an accident. Jules’s big body gave in almost immediately, her groin warmly accepting Sasha’s knee, sucking her knee into its micro-climate, and Sasha felt Jules’s wetness through Jules’s jeans and through her own black tights.”


Big Swiss, by Jen Beagin (2023)

Big Swiss by Jen Beaginnovel // queer
read our review of Big Swiss

“Her pussy looked like advanced oragami. A crisp pink lotus flower folded by a master. Greta briefly rearranged it with her mouth. The flower transformed into an acorn. Then a unicorn. Then back again. Greta dragged her tongue over it diagonally three dozen times. Now it resembled two dragonflies languidly mating on a lily pad.”


The Fake, by Zoe Whittall (2023)

The Fake by Zoe Whittallnovel // lesbian
read our review of The Fake

“Shelby remembers when she and Kate were like that, when even if they were only driving an hour out of town they’d have to stop and have sex in the car on some side road, the bruises on her shins she’d have later that she liked to look at.”


Your Driver Is Waiting, by Priya Guns (2023)

Your Driver Is Waiting by Priya Gunsnovel // lesbian
read our review of Your Driver Is Waiting

“‘Wait, wait. There’s no one here,’ she said between gasps, still grinding on my face. She opened the door and got out, pulling at me to follow her. She wasn’t afraid of showing me how much she wanted me. She walked around to the front of my car, and bent herself over the hood, before reaching down to touch her pussy. Fuck. Of course I was falling for her. She leaned against the car, my car, with come-get-me eyes.

‘Is this okay? Can I do this?’ asked Jo.

I leaned towards her, wrapping my leg around her, bringing her closer with my arm, then I kissed her neck. We were naked and maybe someone was watching but I didn’t think about it. Our bodies were close, and we rocked, finding each other’s rhythm. She bit my neck harder and scratched at my back, but I kept going until she was limp and shuddering in my arms.”


Homebodies, by Tembe Denton-Hurst (2023)

Homebodies by Tembe Denton-Hurstnovel // lesbian

“‘Okay, I’m sorry,’ Lex whispered against her flesh in a voice deeper than normal and Mickey felt the hum of desire rising in her skin. They loved to make up by fucking, some of their best, most spontaneous sex happened that way. The kind of sex they had when they first fell in love, and it reminded her that she could still feel that way, even after all these years.

‘I need a better apology than that.’

‘How do you want me to show you?’

Mickey hopped up on the countertop and opened her legs.”

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3181 articles for us.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 814 articles for us.

36 Comments

  1. Thank you for the shout-out, Riese! 😄 Super proud of the Nell/Alma scenes in THE BEST BAD THINGS. I wanted to make queer sex visible and pleasurable. I kept thinking in edits someone would tell me to tone it down but no! I got to keep it all!

  2. this is perfect and wonderful and i’m so honored to got to have recommended books for the list but also riese THIS “if my ex is reading this i would like her to know that i think she still has my copy of this book and i would like it back!!”

    i’m dead

  3. Roller Girl is not a literary novel. Sadly it is a bad novel. It’s harlequin romance quality.

    I thought the sex was really badly written too. The author appears to be a straight woman who has previously written gay male romances. I don’t want to say that what she wrote is impossible because people have sex in all kinds of ways but I definately thought this author doesn’t know what she’s writing about and lesbians don’t have sex that way. It was also weirdly heavy on transcribing the dirty talk and not actually describing the acts accompanying them.

  4. One of the sexiest books I’ve ever read is Jeanette Winterson’s “Art and Lies” (the Sappho chapters in particular). I can’t quote a specific scene, and I’m sure I’m not smart enough to truly understand half of what she’s written, but the language is just exquisite.

  5. I’m not sure exactly what you expect any of us to after reading that…except i bet you have a damn good idea. And also, I’m going to tell my client I couldn’t work today because Reise, and she’ll just have to figure out the rest.

    Finally, Lidia Yunkavitch is everything.

  6. I love that a lot of these were part of my young adulthood in the early aughts. I almost forgot about these scenes… THE EGGPLANT included, wow. Thank you so much for these.

  7. three cheers for an update- adding some of these to my list. always on the hunt for non-YA queer lit.

    i recently read ‘what we do we do in the dark’. heads up if you’re reading these in anticipation of the sex, it did not feel sexy to me despite sex technically happening. and the device of calling the older woman ‘the woman’ throughout the. entire. book. was beyond annoying. (seriously, she never gets a name, and i ‘get it’ but in execution it is incredibly clunky, to the point of being a distraction.)

    the hottest literary book i have encountered in the past couple of years was akwaeke emezi’s ‘you made a fool of death with your beauty’- doesn’t fit on this list because although the sex is between queer people they are an ostensibly cis man and woman, but holy shit.

  8. hello again to this post- yesterday i finished ‘i keep my exoskeletons to myself’ and not only was it really good in general, but also can confirm there’s great queer sex. i don’t think i would normally have pulled this comment section back up but i thought it was especially well written in the sense that it feels real and relatable in a way that sex scenes often aren’t. (i’m pretty sure it didn’t use the word ‘pussy’ at all? or ‘cunt’ or fruit or flower metaphors? i would have to go back and reread to figure out exactly what it was but something about it was different in a good way.)

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