Read this post alone.

A few weeks ago, we issued a challenge:  could any Mamamia readers write a piece of erotic fiction that could rival Fifty Shades of Grey?

And Mamamia readers rose to the challenge – we’ve received plenty of stories that are definitely NSFW. As promised, we’ll be running a selection of our favourite entries over the coming weeks before we announce a winner.  (It’s still not too late to enter!  Click here for more details.)

Here is the entry from our third finalist, Lily Lane. In it, a fortysomething woman bored with her suburban life goes looking for adventure online. It’s called “A Rose in Bloom” …

Sex toys for Her.  Click.  Swingers parties in Melbourne.  Click.  Erotic lingerie, free delivery.  Click.  Clunk.  The dishwasher shuddered and shut off.  Gently, she lowered the lid of her laptop and went to the kitchen to check the damage.

Sandra Rose, 47, part time bookkeeper, mother of three, wife of 22 years, was surfing the net.    Night after night, when the kids were in bed, her husband away, she turned on her digital connection to a world of weird and increasingly forbidden delights, and explored.  A little guiltily.  A little furtively.

What was Sandra looking for?  She couldn’t say for sure.  She had read reviews of erotic books, knew the comparative advantages of rabbit versus bullet vibrators, knew – in theory – where to press to find her elusive G-spot.  Were there others like her?  She, who after so many years of not caring if she never had sex again, suddenly felt an insatiable yearning deep in her belly for something wild, passionate, perhaps even a little rough, with . . . . she didn’t know who with, but certainly not her husband.

The dishwasher attended to, she focused on a screen image of a gorgeous woman clad in low cut black bra, suspender belt, and stockings.  What would it feel like to wear something like that; to be intensely desired, to arouse?  Distractedly, Sandra began to stroke the soft skin of her inner thigh.  She imagined a man, a stranger, approaching her, and wordlessly unhooking that black bra from her own body.  With the tip of his finger, he began to trace around each breast, teasing her nipples with a featherlike touch.  Now one finger traced down to where the suspender belt hugs her hips and slips under the belt and down into the soft fuzz over her mound.  Very slowly, very lightly, the finger sought out the little nub of delight nestled under the fleshy hood, which was becoming hot and engorged . . . .

“MUM!  I forgot, there’s a note in my bag you gotta sign!”

Sandra froze, and quickly withdrew her hand from under her skirt.

“OK darling, I’ll fix it up.” she called to her 13 year old son.  She was relieved he had chosen to scream at her from bed, rather than creep into the lounge room unnoticed.  She retrieved the offending note and returned to her computer.

The spell of the black lingerie had been broken.  She typed ‘Male Escorts in Melbourne’ into the search line, and found several photos of smooth, muscled torsos.  No heads.  Certainly not above the neck, anyway.

“Finding the right man is just an email away. . . Add some spice into your life. . . maybe the thrill of being with a gorgeous new man if only for one evening is the thrill you’ve been looking for.. . .”    Sandra closed her eyes and imagined pressing her face into one such seductive, sophisticated chest at only $500 an hour. . . . .

Her phone rang.

“Hello dear.  Everything alright there?”

Her husband, calling from Perth.  He was a good man.  She loved him.  She liked him.  They got along pretty well, given 22 years of kids, bills, renovations, mismatched desires.  The sex was regular, once a month or so.  It was routine, quick, mostly painless, usually uninspiring.  He tried to give her pleasure, but didn’t really know how, and she couldn’t be bothered showing him. Which she knew was unfair, but in all honestly, she didn’t really know either.  Since the birth of their second child, she had no desire anyway. She didn’t so much as make love with her husband, as allow him to have sex with her largely dormant, passive body.

“How are the kids? Can you pick up my drycleaning tomorrow?  I’ll be home around 6. What are we having for dinner?”

She hung up the phone and sighed.  “Where was I?”  Lifting the cover on her laptop again, she gave up on the male escorts and sat staring at the home page of her search engine, wondering what would satisfy the unfathomable yearning.  She typed in random words, seeing what came up. “Sex”(too broad), “Clitoris” (medical stuff), “Female Orgasm” (clinical descriptions), “G-Spot” (I don’t think I have one), “Marriage without Sex” (what a terribly sad chat room that brought up!), . .nothing seemed to hit the spot that ached for stimulation.  There was so much sexually explicit material available, but she was careful to steer clear of anything overtly pornographic: it made her wince, queasy, sometimes even cry.

Finally she typed in the words ‘married affairs’.  A website came up, called Manhattan Alliance.  Its home page featured two bold sentences “You only have one life.  Why only have one lover?”  She stared at it.  Could there really be a dating site for illicit affairs?  She was intensely curious to see what sort of people had joined such a service.  But she soon discovered it was impossible to pry without first creating an account.  Her hands flew furiously over the keys as she began to weave herself a new secret identity – first a fake name – Saucy Suzannah – then a new email account for this adulterous alias, then finally a profile for the secret siren living on the dark side of Sandra.

“Profile – 166 cm tall, 58 kg, shoulder length chestnut hair, felatio – yes, cunnilingus – yes please, sensual massage, I am happily married but looking to regain that sense of excitement and wonder with another – kissing, caressing, sucking, and hot wild sex.”  Sandra actually blushed as she typed.

Exactly ten seconds after posting her profile, her computer chimed.  Someone was on live chat -‘Niceguy69’ was apparently his name.

“Hi, you’re new.  Let me be the first to welcome you.  I bet you’ll be popular!”

Sandra gulped and stared at the screen for a while, terrified that some strange man might actually be there looking at her.  She moved to shut the site down quickly.  She hadn’t expected this.  She wasn’t ready for this. But instead she typed a reply.

“Hello.” She could feel her cheeks burn and her heart thump.

“Why do you think I will be popular?”

“Believe me, I know you will.  I’d like to meet you.  Would you like to?  When are you free?  Are you ready to play?”

Yes. . . . I think I am. . . .

You can read the first finalist’s story here and the second here.