1. The Story of O by Pauline Reage
A tale set in the glitzy world of a fashion photographer and written in 1954. This novel, originally in French, saw the author facing the police under charges of obscenity. That excitement has made it a classic. 40 years after it was published, Anna Desclos admitted she was the woman behind the pen name and that the entire thing was based on her letters to a lover, which feature details of female submission, whips, blindfolds and chains.
An honourable mention must go to the Fifty Shades of Grey series by E.L. James. Although it is — essentially — badly written fan fiction, it is bringing that BDSM and erotica to a more mainstream audience. Even if that audience is just bored housewives.