View Full Version : Is eroticism necessary?

03-01-2006, 07:03 AM
Just wondering what you guys use erotic scenes for. A lot of the sex scenes in books these days just seems like it wants to concentrate book sales and not character development.

How is eroticism strengthening for a novel? After all, many more forms of love are expressed strongly without sex. Curious as to when it is good to show it.

Thanks for your comments! :)

03-01-2006, 04:18 PM
I think there are many way i could answer this question. Here are a few of them.

Eroticism is necessary to the extend that it is inevitable.

Why should sex only be there to strengthen literary goals? Why not write work with the goal of entertainment and titilation? I see nothing wrong with enjoying sex, enjoying sex writing and enjoying writing sex for its own sake.

If you have adult sexual characters in a situation where sex is likely to occur it is more bizarre not to write it than to write it. people who are not used to reading sex scenes will assume these aspects are 'tacked on' regardless. I cannot think of many mainstream books that had sex scenes where the role the scene played in the narrative was not crystal clear. I write mainly romance, the role of sex in a romantic relationship is pretty straighforward.

03-01-2006, 06:21 PM
If you look at the post I made the other day (Good News for Us), you'll see that audiences are actually wanting more eroticism in their books.

So whether one is just going with the trend or writing what one feels is essential, I think erotic scenes have their place and are not just wanted, but expected now days.

I agree with Veinglory in that eroticsm is the natural expression of love/lust for adults in romance novels or in romantic situations in other genres. Why not play it out to the fullest extent?

03-09-2006, 09:08 AM
Nowadays, sex is in everything. Commercials, movies, fashion, and novels. Sex sells. Is it necessary? No. But, it's what today's readers want.

03-18-2006, 08:08 PM
Sorry for being a bit of a thread necromancer here, but I just have to say that I don't think there's any cliche' as empty as "sex sells." Humans have been fascinated with the sexual experience long, long before we became obsessed with commercialism. Whether you visit the heights of civilised society or the remotest tribe in the rainforest, no society treats sex lightly. So why shouldn't it appear meaningfully in our literature?

Sex is complicated -- not necessarily the act itself, but the emotions and reasons involved. That's what I like to write about, as well as the act itself. Of course, I wouldn't throw in a sex scene if I were writing a book about Thomas the Tank Engine or whoever, but I seeing as how I try to humanise my characters as much as possible, yes, there will be sex when it's appropriate. We breathe, we eat, we swear and we have sex. I don't understand why anyone should be looked down on for including the latter two in their writing (I was a part of an art / writing group that allowed artists to draw nudes because of the body's "natural beauty," but writers couldn't allow their character to swear or engage in the slighest romantic act), or why it's automatically a matter of "just trying to sell a piece." The media may have indeed cheapened the act, but there's still a lot of power in it that presents a challenge for the writer to harness.

03-21-2006, 12:39 PM
i think one of my friends put it best: "i only read books with either sex or pictures. preferably pictures of sex!"

straight from the average American reader...

03-26-2006, 06:45 PM
I have searched the threads, but can find nothing which explains the literary difference between erotica and porn. In my day (a very long time ago) of youthful exploration for reading material to take to the outhouse with me the lingerie section of the Sears & Roebuck catalogue was considered 'erotic' by the younger set. Does the explicity of the scene determine the difference? Are those books sold in adult book stores erotica or porn? Is a plot mandatory which involves sex? I'm truly curious. I guess what I'm really asking is at what point does 'erotica' cross the line, if there even is one?

03-26-2006, 07:48 PM
The only reason I consider the difference at all is because a number of publishers say 'we take erotica' and 'don't send us porn'. So they obviously distinguish between the too. really, I think writing about sex is writing about sex.

I gather that what is often meant is that the story must have a plot that could stand on its own without the sex, or the sex must occur in the context of a loving relationship (or both).

I don't really see 'pornography' as a derogatory term, myself.

04-03-2006, 07:45 AM
Just wondering what you guys use erotic scenes for. A lot of the sex scenes in books these days just seems like it wants to concentrate book sales and not character development.

How is eroticism strengthening for a novel? After all, many more forms of love are expressed strongly without sex. Curious as to when it is good to show it.

Thanks for your comments! :)

If it generates book sales, there's probably a reason for it...

honestly, isn't everything in novel put in to generate sales? the cardinal purpose of a book is to be read. if people want to read it, people will write it. in fact, SHOULD write it.

that's what writing is for: depicting the human experience.

is sex necessary? not anymore than war, or rivalry, or friendship, or travel, or conversation, or any of the rother thigns that fill pages. it's there because someone finds it worth reading.

04-03-2006, 11:00 AM
it's there because someone finds it worth reading.[/QUOTE]

And someone finds it worth writing.

Even as a Christian, I get tired of the restraints (no pun...) put on me in writing. I like sex, like writing about the sexual experiences of characters in an honest, sacred/not-sacred, entertaining way. People of my faith act shocked about this; more and more, it's seeming so hypocritical.

It's been hard to find the line between "gratuitous" and "integral." I've deleted things that were fun for me to write, fairly shocking in the context of who I am and pricked my conscience. Then I read stuff in best-sellers and think, 'well, my stuff was pretty mild!'

As to who will read or enjoy them, most of my prim friends say they really like my scenes of romance/physical encounter/sexuality. So on I go.

Lady Cat
04-14-2006, 07:03 AM
I donít think the sex in erotic romance is just to sell books. People in love are going to have sex, erotic romances just emphasize it a little more. Okay, maybe a lot more in some cases. But it creates a connection between the two main characters, and without a connection, thereís no romance.

And for the record, Iíve read romances with a lot of sex and Iíve read romances that I reach the end of before realizing there was no sex - Iíve enjoyed them both. For me itís the characters and the story, not the amount of sex, that counts.

As to the difference between eroticism and porn, a writing friend of mine once told me that eroticism was like a gourmet dinner and porn was fast food. They both feed you but one is a slow, sensual experience and the other is just instant gratification.

04-14-2006, 10:26 PM
Is eroticism necessary? No

But it sure is fun! Plainly put, I agree with veinglory as well. The only difference between erotica and porn is the POV of the reader.

One of my favorite hate mails called what I wrote Porn With Plot. I politely replied that her opinion was her own, but it had pleased me to no end. Do I think I write Porn With Plot, no I don't. But that's my opinion and if the email's writer thought the book had plot, that's all I cared about, at the time. Take away her use of 'porn' and you're left with plot, and that's what made me smile!

I like sex. I like to write about sex. I like it dirty. Occasionally, I like it soft. I'd put explicit sex in just about any kind of novel where you have human beings in close quarters for any length of time. M/m, m/f/m, m/m/f, f/f doesn't matter to me. I have two full length mss. sitting on the back burner. They both have sexual content, one explicit scene in each, because that was what the story called for. They aren't romances, though.

I'm blathering a bit here, but the betas for my mss have suggested I add more sex. I thought about it, but it isn't called for or necessary. I've also been told first hand that some of the big houses that are picking up erotica now, are telling their recently acquited authors to put in more sex. So, I'd say sex does sell.

04-26-2006, 10:35 PM
I've been told by an editor, my manuscript was too explicit. I was asked to rename the male and female sex organs. I used P**sy, and d**k. The editor thought those words were too ranchy for the love story. So, I used (v) for the female, and (P) for the male's. A reader reviewed my book, and said, "The sex scenes gave a mechanical feel, to the point of it not being realistic."
My point is, if the readers are willing to pay for an erotic story, give them what they want.
Erotica, is an engaging story, with realistic characters living their lives, working at a job, raising their children, going out to nightclubs, something that readers can relate to, and an added bonus of various sex scenes that'll allow the readers to watch and be a part of.
Porn, has no story, just straight sex. Remember the porn videos, where a girl is in bed fondling herself, then a guy acts as though he's a pizza delivery guy, comes to her door, and she invites him in to have sex? That's porn, because the scene ends after they've finished.

04-27-2006, 04:38 AM
I think sex is excellent for exploring a character's psychology. Like, I wrote a long scene the other day discussing the relationship between fear and eroticism in the case of a character who is afraid to get pregnant and at the same time finds it erotic to imagine becoming pregnant, particularly being forcibly impregnated.