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Romance/Erotica

15 BDSM Romance Books to Keep You Tied Up

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Jessica Pryde

Contributing Editor

Jessica Pryde is a member of that (some might call) rare breed that grew up in Washington, DC, but is happily enjoying the warmer weather of the desert Southwest. While she is still working on what she wants to be when she grows up, she’s enjoying dabbling in librarianship and writing all the things. She can be found drowning in her ever-growing TBR and exclaiming about romance in the Book Riot podcast (When in Romance), as well as on social media. Find her exclamations about books and pho on twitter (JessIsReading) and instagram (jess_is_reading).

Even in 2023, over a decade after it was written, the first thing many people who are unfamiliar with the subject will think of is Fifty Shades of Grey. Or, maybe, Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series. But there are a lot of romances that utilize BDSM. BDSM, or Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, and Masochism, is sometimes generically bundled into the term “kink,” though there is a lot of kink that doesn’t actually fall under the BDSM romance books umbrella. A lot of what we see, though, does — and it’s presented in very different ways. Sometimes it’s going to a sex club. Sometimes, it’s living every moment of your life as a dom(me) or a sub, or something in between. Sometimes it’s all about sex, while a lot of times it’s not about sex at all. The most important part of all encounters between love interests is that they are safe, sane, and consensual; and since these are romance novels, happy endings are a must. Preferably without anyone’s kinky nature being “fixed” because that’s not a thing.

Do you know what I love about BDSM romance books and various other types of kinky romance? I can explore and enjoy myself, and everything stays on the page. Sometimes, I might learn something about myself. Other times, it’s very much a case of YKINMK (your kink is not my kink). But in either case, there’s a lot of entertainment to be had when reading romances about kinky people. Because they deserve HEAs, too, no matter what that might look like!

Here are some BDSM romance books you might be interested in that run the gamut of no sex to…well, a lot of sex. But the romance part? That’s always there and wonderful.

Their Troublesome Crush by Xan West book cover

Their Troublesome Crush by Xan West

Xan West, AKA Corey Alexander, was one of the greats of presenting inclusive representation of kink while also offering magically romantic stories. (It’s more than likely that, for me at least, the former contributed to the latter.) In Their Troublesome Crush, Ernest and Nora are metamours planning a party together for their shared partner. Ernest, a sub, and Nora, a switch, have a type of chemistry that makes them relatively uncomfortable at first, but as they work through it, they discover that they can make this work in the way that is best for everyone.

cover of Lowdown Dirty by Holley Trent

Lowdown Dirty by Holley Trent

If you’re looking for more of a Kink 101 kind of story in which one of the protagonists is learning about BDSM right there with you, this might be a good place to start. Tim is a boat builder who doesn’t think he’s family material. But he can’t help but want Valerie from the moment he sees her, and thinks a short-term relationship while she’s in town working on a construction project will do them both a world of good. But there are a lot of things neither of them are prepared for, and they’ll have to figure it all out together.

Praise by Sara Cate cover

Praise by Sara Cate

I’ve been seeing Sara Cate’s name around a lot recently, and I figured I should try her out. And whoo, y’all. You’ve seen Secretary, right? So this book has a similar premise. Charlie doesn’t have the greatest self-esteem, but when she starts a new job as a secretary, her new boss — WHO IS ALSO HER EX BOYFRIEND’S FATHER — mistakes her for his new sub, and things kind of go from there. Also, if you don’t know much about praise kink, you gon’ learn today.

cover of Syncopation by Anna Zabo

Syncopation by Anna Zabo

This was my first romance featuring an aromantic lead, and five or six years later, I can’t stop thinking about it. When Zavier decides to audition for Twisted Wishes, whose drummer spot has recently opened up right before a new tour, he knows that there will be a problem: he and Ray Van Zeller, the lead singer, have a bit of history. But once they get over that initial hurdle, their chemistry comes back in a tidal wave, and they come up with interesting ways to help each other get through the anxiety and lack of control that the tour brings them.

cover of 52 Fridays

52 Fridays by KamalaDevi McClure

The subtitle of this book is “A polyamorous, queer, kinky, tantric love story” and everything you get from the title is exactly what you’re gonna get if you pick this one up. There are 52 weekly lessons that include some great scenes between a domme and a new student who wants to be taught and disciplined. Let the games begin.

cover of Hunted by Adriana Anders

Hunted by A. Anders

This is the first in the “Kink Camp” series, in which adults basically go to summer camp to have a place to enjoy their kinky fantasies away from prying eyes and concerned objections. This specific story includes a woman who wants to be hunted and the man who is just the person to do it. Please note the author’s content warnings, including consensual non-consent. And always remember that if something isn’t for you, remind yourself that everyone’s kink is not your kink, and move on.

cover of taking the lead by cecilia tan

Taking the Lead by Cecilia Tan

This is an older title, but Cecilia Tan is one of the masters of erotic romance, especially those centering BDSM. Ricki is a billionaire heiress who has just inherited an estate that includes a super-exclusive BDSM club. It’s there she meets Axel, an up-and-coming rockstar who strikes a nerve — not just emotionally, but in the way he makes her want to submit. If you’re looking to read about someone coming to terms with being very dominant in the real world but looking to be topped in bed, this is the story for you.

cover of His Leading Lady by Jenny Nordbak

His Leading Lady by Jenny Nordbak

Alex is a heartthrob actor preparing for the role of a lifetime, but he needs some help. Lady Elena is a domme who isn’t interested in being in the public eye. But when she’s hired to help Alex learn about domming, she has to pretend to date him so people don’t know what’s really going on. This should be easy, right? Too bad they’re also incredibly attracted to each other.

cover of Plus One by Tanon

Plus One by Tanon

This book is a bit of a doorstopper, at nearly 600 pages, but it’s worth it, I promise. Dillon is a dancer whose experience at a strip club’s amateur night led her to pursue it professionally. When she meets Neyla and Abel, her relationship with each of them builds into friendship and possibly something else.

cover of The Pearl by Tiffany Reisz

The Pearl by Tiffany Reisz

While it’s technically the third book in a series, you can read all three of the Godwicks books individually, and this one hits just as hard as the first two, The Red and The Rose. Tiffany Reisz is another one of those authors who has a lengthy history writing BDSM and erotic romance novels, and this series is the culmination of that talent and history. Lord Arthur Godwick finds himself making an agreement to pay off his brother’s debts in the claimant’s bed. And it all just goes down from there.

cover of Plie by AH Cunningham

Plié by A.H. Cunningham

If this book’s cover doesn’t draw you in, you don’t have eyes. Aisha runs a dance school that has recently started losing students. Knox is a parent to one of her young students, who covers his attraction with snark and antagonism. When they encounter each other unknowingly at a kink club, something sparks between them, and they might find a future where each of their desires can be properly met.

cover of Charming Your Dad by Sarah Blue

Charming Your Dad by Sarah Blue

BDSM in magical and fantasy stories is starting to be more of a thing, especially with two of romance’s current favorite things — monsters and witches. This witchy novel includes a woman who decides to get back at her cheating ex by bewitching his dad. Dax turns out to be a demon, and there is more to both of their stories than we know. But there’s also a murder plot and a magical council to contend with.

A Lesson in Thorns book cover

A Lesson in Thorns by Sierra Simone

Sierra Simone. If there is a name you should know by the end of this, it’s Sierra Simone. A Lesson In Thorns is the first in the Thornchapel series, and it is dark, hot, and intense. Just the way a Sierra Simone book should be. Librarian Poe has come to Thornchapel to work, but she’s also looking for information about the last place her mother was seen alive. And the angst only gets worse from there.

Cover of Get Off Easy by Sara Brookes

Get Off Easy by Sara Brookes

This is another older title, but it really highlights a great relationship between three people, not just as a trio, but one-on-one all three ways. Since it’s older, there’s some tech stuff that might be a little weird to read now, but you’ll hardly notice because the relationship is hot and surprisingly sweet. A pair of doms don’t know what hits them when Grae shows up.

cover of Fit by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Fit by Rebekah Weatherspoon

It’s pretty easy to read the three novellas in the Fit trilogy in a day or so. In Fit, Violet is a Los Angeles producer intent upon increasing her fitness level. Group fitness classes and other options, among other things, are anxiety-inducing. But she starts to work with trainer Grant, who is also a dom, and things change for the better, in more ways than one.


While it’s not a romance novel, I can’t write something about BDSM without mentioning Kink: Stories, edited by RO Kwon and Garth Greenwell. This is a collection of stories about all kinds of kink, spread across countless different perspectives. This is a literary collection spanning historical and contemporary, from authors like Roxane Gay and Brandon Taylor, among many other familiar and less familiar names. And if you’re looking to explore more about BDSM from a fiction and a nonfiction perspective, there are tons of books from Cleis Press that should spark your interest.

And if you want more BDSM romance, check out this list from a few years ago.