Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Porn Vs. Erotica



The million dollar question...What is the difference?

Let's start by seeing what the dictionary tells us:

Porn
–noun
creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire.

Erotica
–noun(used with a singular or plural verb)
literature or art dealing with sexual love.

By the above definitions we can see a difference. Where porn is just sex for sex, erotica is sex within a love story. There are well developed characters and internal and/or external conflict, and the sex moves the plot along.

Of course there will be some people that will be haters and call everything you write porn. God forbid they read such an abomination. If they did, they'd toss the book into the fireplace, run and wash their hands with antibacterial soap, and then drop to begin two hundred and seventy six Hail Mary's.

Come on people! Erotic romance is huge! It sells! Women want to read it!

As erotica authors we often get the short end of the stick. We are judged more harshly because sometimes 'sex' is an uncomfortable topic, even though it is a huge part of humanity, whether people care to admit it or not.
Straight-laced friends and family may point fingers and whisper. They may say you are a pervert, a freak or a devil's advocate. Eek! Don't listen to their gibberish. If their minds are that closed, than you're better off without them. Seriously. From my experience, seeing that most of my friends write erotic romance, erotic writers are one of the most tolerant bunches I've ever come across. Funny, open-minded, caring and creative.

Fearless Desires (Immortal Love, #1) does not need the sex to hold it together. It has complex characters and plot. The sprinkling in of erotic scenes is just icing.

I did indulge further with my coming up title, Saving Grace. The sex is more graphic and abundant, but I honestly fell in love with the story and my betas agree.

All my books are romance first!
Love, emotion and a HEA are the most important elements when I write a book. Anything erotic added to the story is not needed as glue. With porn, if you removed the sex, you'd be left with nothing.

10 comments:

K.A. Mitchell said...

Interesting post, Stacy. I've always thought the difference between what I write (erotica) vs. sensual romance (explicit love scenes) us that if you take out my love or sex scenes there is no growth for the characters. The sex is where they are vulnerable, the sex is where they change. Just like if you take the suspense scenes out of a romantic suspense, you wonder why the characters are together at the end. The suspense exposed their emtions and allowed them to grow as characters.

The love scenes are a part of the characters' journeys in my books. It's why I can't add or subtract any. They're part of the narrative.

Stacey Espino said...

Very interesting!
I know in Saving Grace her sexual journey is necessary in finding herself. Again, not sex for sex, but a very important part of the plot.

Danica Avet said...

I don't write what I classify as erotica or sensual romance. I consider it romance, but I know a lot of my love scenes are more explicit than sweeter romances and the like. If you took them all out of the stories, the story would still be there although it wouldn't be as good, lol.

Sex is a part of life and people need to accept that. I'm not saying to let loose with hardcore sex scenes for primetime television or anything, but what's so wrong with grown people reading a love story that just so happens to have steamy sex scenes? Nothing, that's what :)

Stacey Espino said...

Yep!
Even the mainstream books I love to read like Ward and Cole, etc. would be great without the sex. But, hey, the sex makes it so much better!!!

Eden Glenn said...

K.A. Mitchell. I like your comment. I hadn't thought of it that way. Figuring out what I write has been a journey. Do I write erotica, romance with steamy love scenes.

This post helps. If I write romance with steam then some of the more graphic words common in erotica would have to be toned down. If I write erotica then some of the diluted illusions could be revealed.

Part of this game is writing what is held acceptable in the market you're courting.

Great post Stacey

Eden Glenn
www.edenglenn.wordpress.com
Beacon finalist

Stacey Espino said...

I agree, Eden. You have to write for the market. What seems to be selling right now is erotica. I didn't wake up one morning and say "Hmmm, I want to write a cowboy menage." It's what sells well at my publisher, so I wrote to fit the market. My stories don't suffer when I step away from my comfort zone. Rather, I see it as a challenge and am better for it. :)

Eden Glenn said...

I started writing the stories that I had in my head but I found problems with cross genre. I have a book under the bed that has the senario of a single mom but a heat index of erotica. Which, just won't work in the market. The stories with a single mom situation are series romances and can't be as graphic as I have the romance. lol

Hence, the under the bed.

The next I DID set out to write a paranormal menage. lol. Looking for agented representation for it now. Just finished query and synopsis. It has contested well so I'm ready to go pro.

I do have to watch for mixing my genre's...rookie mistake. One of the things I worry about with the current piece I'm shopping is that the menage theme technically is in erotica territory. Yet my story has a strong suspense line along with the graphic physical relationship. However, in a typical erotica the physical starts almost on page one. Mine doesn't jump in quite that quickly.

We'll see. I'm looking forward to looking up your cowboy book. Is it out yet?

Stacey Espino said...

Eden, my first cowboy book will be out in a couple months with Siren. I'll post when I have more details.
NONE of my books, even the erotic have sex in the first chapters. I like to develop my characters to a certain level before I indulge them. That's just me, like it or leave it.
I feel the same way about books I read. If things happen too fast, it's not as believable for me and doesn't become an emotional experience.
Stacey

Eden Glenn said...

That is great to hear Stacey. I agree with what you are saying. I hope that becomes the general trend. I don't alway see that but it makes so much more sense to me.

Zahir Blue said...

This will sound glib, but methinks the difference between porn and erotica is simply quality.

Even good porn barely qualifies as a good story or interesting characters. At most you get a believable scene, sometimes an intriguing plot, but all this orbits the sex as the mood does the earth.

Erotica, on the other hand, is about the sexuality in terms of the story. The story comes first, but the sex is an intrinsic part of it--much as (for example) tragedy is at the heart of Romeo and Juliet (if they lived happily ever after we wouldn't remember that play) while both love and deceit fuel Sarah Waters' Fingersmith.

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