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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

ROMANTIC EROTICA vs. STRAIGHT EROTICA -- WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

There was a point when I was naïve; when I never thought there was much differentiation about erotica. This summer I read several erotic novels/stories, and if there was ever a separation of romantic versus straight erotica I found it--particularly in erotic stories about prostitutes. There is not a better example of the division of the two. Pure sex must emanate from a story with a prostitute--it is not called the world's oldest profession for no reason. As a job, not every aspect of it is something that is loved. In what I read, most of the protagonists enjoyed sex and exuded nonstop sexual energy, yet there was still apprehension when taking on a new client or even within a rendezvous with a regular client. Sometimes a sense of resignation--trying to have sex that seemed pleasurable even if they were not in the mood for it--but not failing to perform. Then there is the very definite difference when the person with her makes her feel something. Perhaps when she kisses her client on the mouth, even though it is something she does not usually do, and feels things she was not expecting to feel. An orgasm can occur with someone who made her feel cheap of course--here is the potential for her excitement being because she is made to feel cheap. But just because it is work does not mean that there cannot be love or deeper intimacy in these exchanges. Love might be a taboo in some workplaces and particularly in this one--someone in the throes of orgasm might make declarations and promises they have no intention of keeping, but it is not always possible to be intimate with someone and not have stuff come up that might be deeper. It can be dangerous to harbor deeper feelings, but it still might happen. As a writer, I am often inspired by film. I just rented ‘Never Forever’ with Vera Farmiga, who, while having difficulty conceiving, begins a relationship with a man who looks like her husband. A cut and dry business arrangement but neither of them are apparently able to keep their feelings out of it. I am a violent romantic; it seeps into everything I do. I wrote a short story about a woman who was being stalked by a sexual predator, and that man ended up falling in love with the woman he wanted to kill! I think the main difference with romantic erotica and straight erotica is whether or not intimate feelings seep in. Sex is an effective tool to get the character something they want--whether it be a lifestyle, secret or affection. And depending on the use, it can make an erotic scene cool as metal or unbearably warm. The only thing I do not think should vary with erotica is the level of heat the pages create on the fingers of the reader, among other places....♥
Photograph by Maria C. Ferrer

4 comments:

  1. To me, an erotic romance is a romance first, with a happily ever after, a smokin' hero we all want to love and a heroine we want to be. (And, sometimes, a third player!) As you noted, it is more about the feelings and emotions than erotica, which is solely about the mechanics. The only thing that sets an erotic romance apart from other subgenres of romance is that there may be more sex or more graphic sex or kinkier sex. The language is less euphemistic. But that's about it. The other romance conventions are the same. And, honestly, with the level of steam in many romance novels today, it is often hard to find a really bright line at all between some erotic romance and other types of romance. But the line between erotica and erotic romance is generally pretty clear.

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  2. I think of the difference between romantic and straight erotica as being a lot like my days as a young, single woman. For a long time I considered sex to be a sport (and back in the late 70's you could get away with that relatively safely) and I had a LOT of fun. At a certain point though I decided I wanted more. I wanted love and romance, and emotional attachment with the right guy...AND hot, smokin sex, of course. Neither desires were right or wrong, good or bad, they just were what I needed at the time...not to mention, as a writer, an EXCELLENT repository of resource material!

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  3. Some very insightful comments here as well as a thougth provoking post! I find it hard to seperate sex from morality thus I am simply not a big fan of the erotica genre. For me, its all about finding true love and the happily ever after and with hot smoking sex of course. I'm fine with erotica which leads to the HEA but the other stuff, just not my bag dude. Maybe what I really like is "romantica?" A perfect combination of the two. True love and lots of sex. I love Joey Hill for this and think she is a perfect example of this kind of writing. Fidencia, do you know some other great writers who are riding along these lines?

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  4. I have apparently fallen into the box of being an erotic romance writer, so I will say that I agree; the principle difference between erotica and erotic romance is the romance. I've read a few stories that were basically just sex where feelings were sort of incidental. In an erotic romance, sex is explicit and important, but emotions are paramount. (To me, sex scenes in erotic romance should advance the romance plot and not just be there for the sake of being there.)

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