Call it a backlash against the always-at-your-fingertips YouPorn era -- it seems erotic literature, eye-roll-inducing titles and all, is now all the rage.

According to a piece on MSNBC, sex-centric novels, with names like "Candy Licker," "G-Spot" and the ever tempting "Thong on Fire," have been the one bright spot in the ailing book publishing industry over the last few dismal years.

One company, the San Francisco-based Cleis Press, reports that sales have risen 56 percent over the last few years due to the genre, while Karen Auerbach, of publishing house Kensington, which produces an imprint solely for vampire smut, says the trend has swept the whole industry by storm.

"We saw it as a growing opportunity," she says. "It has exploded."

While the typical reader of the novels is still a 40-something middle class woman, it seems men -- gay and straight -- and younger women have also gravitated towards the steamy books.

The later group's arrival is partly due to the subset genre of urban erotic fiction, written by black female authors like Noire and Zane, who paint rough on-the-streets scenes similar to an episode of "The Wire," except, explains Noire, "the sex is off the hook!"

Erotica fans, unable to keep their love for dirty stories a secret, are even planning erotic book clubs coast-to-coast or meeting in online groups like erotica-readers.com, which is, naturally, sponsored by Good Vibrations.

While the MSNBC article didn't exactly pinpoint why there's an increased demand for these titillating titles, it does point out that the updated series of books feature more same-sex pairings and sexual experimentation than in previous generations.

But perhaps the real reason for the rise in the genre, aside from the more risqué scenes, is the fact that, like the Fabio-clad romance novels of decades past, readers don't just get smacked in the face with a shag scene on page one. Instead, they have to actually work for it -- in the form of reading a minimum of 30 pages -- before they get to the good stuff.

And the idea of having to put in a little effort, with the help of one's own under-utilized imagination, can seem a helluva lot more sexy than fast-forwarding through a 20-second ho-hum pizza delivery scene to see magnified hard core images, not to mention more romantic. And maybe that's the real secret thrill of the bodice-ripper.

Are you a closet erotica fan? If so, what's your favorite title? Share (anonymously) in a comment below.