View Full Version : Help out an old broad... definitions?

Sheryl Nantus
04-09-2005, 12:18 AM
title says it all - help out this old broad...

what, exactly, makes a story erotica instead of romance?

I've written fanfiction smut for years and am just wondering if I've been writing erotica and didn't know it.

or just romantic fluff.

thanks in advance for taking pity on me...


04-09-2005, 03:07 AM
Romance is, well, romantic, with or without steamy sex scenes, and erotica is erotic, with lots of steamy sex scenes, but with or without romance (preferably with).

Ideally, erotica should turn the reader on, not gross them out. :)

Did that help?


04-09-2005, 02:25 PM
Pretty much what Torin said:

As far as most publishers seem to see it romance has the main plot focussed one forming or maintaining a committed relationship -- erotica incudes substantial description of sexual situations (normally intercourse but potentially fetish like spanking, tickling etc). Of course it can have both!

04-09-2005, 05:33 PM
And now there's Romantica (which I believe is a trademark), as established by Jaid Black (a pseudonym), who runs Ellora's Cave. It combines element of romance with very, very steamy love (sex) scenes. A good combo.

04-09-2005, 08:05 PM
The instructor of the Erotica Workshop I took in March said that the standard difference between erotica and romance is not in how graphic the sexual content is but in whether the work follows the fairly rigid rules imposed by romance.

A 'sexy romance' isn't 'romatic erotica.' The difference between the two is a matter of proportion of sex scenes to non-sex scenes, not how graphic/detailed the sex is.

The rules of all romance, including the sexy romance and the erotic romance, are a female protagonist, no adultery, all sex one-on-one, and a happy ending with a future together expressly stated or strongly implied.

If a sexy novel doesn't adhere to those rules, the romance readership feels betrayed or shocked, so the romance publishers avoid such works, regardless of their merit. When they're published, they're shelved as erotica, not romance.

I don't read romance, so I don't know how accurate her perception is. The instructor has 19 titles in romance and erotic romance, so I presume she knows her stuff.


04-09-2005, 08:24 PM
I think it keeps changing. My last novella is an erotic romance but also gay and with an sexual inifidelity scene.

04-10-2005, 08:23 PM
Change is good! (And the romance publishers are somewhat late in realizing how many straight women enjoy reading gay male sex scenes, don't you think?)


04-11-2005, 05:49 AM
Much of what I read today that is purported to be erotica is just the same old romance stuff using the words cock and ***** instead of the "majestic mast" of old. I fume a little because certain publishers are selling stuff they say is erotica, however I think it is not close. These publishers muddy the water and blur definitions. I suppose all definitions are in the eyes of the beholder, however my erotica has been passed over for review by so called erotic reviewers for being too graphic LOL. And, all mine has two partners, meeting, staying together, in love or lust. Soon, I guess I will just have to give up and call mine soft porn.
I think erotica is as much about the sex as the plot, but there must be a plot. I think it is more literary than just plain old raunchy male porn. I think within inside erotica there should be or are sub genres, like romance erotica, etc. I think women will pick up something that says erotic or erotica on it before they will something that says porn.


04-11-2005, 05:51 AM
laughing, the board censored my word p u s s y.

S. Anders

04-11-2005, 12:35 PM
Most of the e-publishers have a rating scale with very specific defintions so that the reader know what they are getting.

However I think it is more than a vocab change. traditionally romance didn't describe sex at all -- it culminated at the marraige.