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Erotic romance v. erotica…what’s the dif?

October 31, 2010

When people ask what I write, I tell them erotic romance. But I could just as easily label my work erotica. I see romance, erotic romance, and erotica as existing on the same continuum with romance at one end, erotica at the opposite end and erotic romance in the middle. Some authors place their work firmly in one camp or the other. For me, there is no sharp dividing line, only a vast area of gray.

I see romance as a story that focuses on the love relationship between two people. It has a plot and it always has a happy ending. It may have a sex scene or two, but sex is not integral to the story.

Erotic romance focuses on the love relationship between two people. The emotional relationship is primary, but sex is an important secondary aspect. There’s a definite plot, a story with a beginning, middle and happy ending. But the sex is graphic and explicit. Without the sex in an erotic romance, the story would feel flat.

 Erotica focuses on the sex between the characters. Almost by definition, it is graphic and explicit. The elements of romance are purely optional and wholly secondary to the sex. It may have a plot or it may not. It may be emotionally intimate or it may not. There may be a happy ending, or there might not be. Without the sex, there is no story. Erotica often can be kinkier than erotic romance, but not necessarily. I’ve read some tame erotica and  some graphically kinky erotic romance.

So what kind of book is it if two characters fall madly in love while having lots of a really hot sex?

 It would be nice if you could call it a bestseller…but as for erotic romance or erotica, it could be either one.

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