Erotica has seriously moved on since the days of lady novelists dictating tales of ripped bodices from their chaises longues. In the past decade we’ve seen E L James’sFifty Shades of Grey trilogy bring breathless sex to the daily commute (thanks to the Kindle, where no one can see what you’re reading). Now women have a new secret thrill – X-rated podcasts.

And unlike mainstream pornography, which is overwhelmingly made for and sold to men, these ‘porncasts’ – short fiction focused on female desire and often read aloud by actors – are proving a huge hit with women.

‘The biggest sex organ is the brain, and with audio the brain activates every sensual part of our body,’ says Lianne Young, a relationships counsellor and adult industry expert, who has recorded her own erotic audiobooks. ‘It’s about escapism: you don’t think about work or any other stressors. You don’t have to share it with anybody, and it’s individual, whereas every conventional porn film is the same – watch two or three and you may as well have watched them all.’

‘Women are creative creatures with an imagination that can be wild and free.

‘Being able to listen to something sexy rather than have it on show is quite valuable to women who have been raised to think that their pleasure is shameful,’ she says. ‘Plus, pleasure is a private thing. People love that they can listen to a podcast on the tube without anyone knowing that they’re hearing all about how to have an orgasm – and it’s the same with all of these erotic podcasts.’

An estimated six million Britons listen to a podcast every week, so it was only a matter of time before the global porn industry – which is worth a whopping £78 billion – got in on the act.

Part of this rise in erotic audio is also due to ethical concerns surrounding the adult industry – to say nothing of better acting. There are no sexual demands on a podcast performer – they are simply reading the stories.

As with all sex, what you enjoy – and how you enjoy it – is up to you.