Monday, April 2, 2012

My thoughts on bad erotica.

A lot of romance authors, including myself are annoyed when people refer to romance novels as porn for women. But, surprisingly I've discovered that many erotica authors feel the same way about their work. Well, I kinda think erotica is porn. Porn is made for the purpose of inciting sexual arousal in its audience and I always felt that erotica served the same use. I mean, it's not like I read it for a compelling story or a deep emotional connection. (Disclaimer, I'm referring to short erotica stories, not erotic romance, which does involve those aspects.)

That said, I should clarify my statement: Well-written erotica is like good porn with good acting.

Admit it, most of us have seen at least one adult film...and chances are, we've seen an awful one...or ten. The bad acting goes far beyond robotic lines.

The worst aspect is the woman who is obviously faking enjoyment. Watching her painful efforts to mask the agony in her eyes and moan in false pleasure always makes me think the director shouted, "Now you better pretend to like it, or this rape film will turn into a snuff film real quick!"

...and sometimes it's the guy who seems to be losing despite his costar's desperate attempts to moan encouragement. It's like they're being held at gunpoint or something.

Get in the mood, or else!

Badly written erotica is the same way. It doesn't matter how many "dirty" words and exclamation points the author throws in. It's not going to turn me on. I'm going to give an example, but to keep it PG-13, I'm going to replace all the dirty words with "smurf."

"My smurf was so wet. At last my fantasy of being filled with two smurfs was about to come true! Lester's tongue flicked across my throbbing smurf as Wilbur unfastened his pants releasing his giant smurf. 

"I took it all into my mouth and fondled his smurfs. His hand reached forward to stroke and pinch my smurfs! 

"Then Lester's smurf plunged inside of me, filling my smurf until I couldn't take another inch! 
'Smurf me, Lester!' I cried as Wilbur's smurf dripped down my chin."

And then Gargamel showed up, turning this nightmare into a full-fledged clustersmurf.

Anyway, you get my point.

Now good, smurf-free erotica is, well, it's hot, and definitely does incite arousal in its audience. So if someone calls it porn, I shrug and say, "So?"

However, finding quality erotica can be difficult, so I always recommend downloading the free sample first....and if it ends up being bad, I turn on the text-to speech feature and enjoy a good sophomoric laugh. 


  1. I don't think it's this clear cut. (Of course, I write erotic romance so I'm coming from that perspective.)

    You said: "I mean, it's not like I read it for a compelling story or a deep emotional connection."

    I don't agree that the erotic has to mean that you can't find a compelling story or an emotional connection. Yes, there is bad erotica just like there is bad everything else. But a really great erotic story can have every element of a great non-erotic story just with steamy stuff in it as well. My whole goal every time I sit down to write one of my books is to create layered characters with deeply emotional connections and backstories and a plot that tells a great story. Yes, there is sex in it. Yes, hopefully readers find that exciting as well. But it's story and characters first, sex second.

    If it were porn, I could just throw a hot pizza guy and ditzy blonde into a scene and let them go at it. Who cares who they are or what their story is.

    I always liked the definition the Passionate Ink Chapter gives on the different types of stories:

    "Porn: stories written for the express purpose of causing sexual titillation. Plot, character development, and romance are NOT primary to these stories. They are designed to sexually arouse the reader and nothing else.

    Erotica: stories written about the sexual journey of the characters and how this impacts them as individuals. Emotion and character growth are important facets of a true erotic story. However, erotica is NOT designed to show the development of a romantic relationship, although it's not prohibited if the author chooses to explore romance. Happily Ever Afters are NOT an intrinsic part of erotica, though they can be included.

    Erotic Romance: stories written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction. The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and couldn't be removed without damaging the storyline. Happily Ever After is a REQUIREMENT to be an erotic romance."

    So that's my opinion. If I want porn, I'd watch porn. If I want to get lost in a sexy story, I pick up a well-written erotic romance.

    1. Excellent response, Roni! I totally forgot to mention erotic romance. This post was referring to short stories found in erotica anthologies. Thanks so much for the reminder. I'm going to edit the post with that disclaimer to avoid further confusion.

  2. Lol! So true. I read a couple of short "freebies" and was horrified at the writing. But a great writer can make you fall in love with the hero ;) Smurf ya later XD