Sunday, January 14, 2007

Yes, Erotic Romance is Still Romance

I've had this discussion, several times with several people. They argue that erotic romance is not really romance. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. For readers who prefer the more traditional format of man meets woman, they fall in love, then have sex and live happily ever, that's great. I like those stories, too. Still read them all the time. Erotic romance is constructed similarly, with 1 change: man meets woman, they have sex, then fall in love and live happily ever after. That's it. That's the big plot-oriented difference, at least in my mind. I'm sure others will have different opinions, and that's what makes romance in general so great--there's a book for everyone.

Detractors of erotic romance point out there are more content differences between a traditional romance and an erotic romance. Absolutely true. For the reader looking for something a bit steamier, erotic romance offers a stiff cock, instead of a throbbing manhood. The language is different, yes. Why one description of a penis is more romantic than another, I'm not sure. Some people find more plain language crude. Generally, if it fits the story, the character and the situation, I'm fine. If the writing, story and characters are good, I'm perfectly happy to read the book as is.

The acts described in erotic romances are either more in depth and/or not generally featured in a traditional romance. I don't find the detail about the exact friction of the slide of said cock into a woman's sex unromantic. As for ménages or anal sex being unromantic...I say 2 things: First, romantic fiction in general is about fantasy. Not all people share the same fantasies. What's romantic to you may not be romantic to someone else. The acts described may affect readers for different psychological reasons. One reader's revulsion may be another reader's ultimate act of surrender or provide amazing power. Second, I'm don't see why consenting adults exploring their sexuality in a safe, controlled environment is unromantic. In fact, it could show a great deal of trust between the parties. In my opinion, trust benefits any relationship.

Some people have called erotic romance nothing but porn. I'm always curious whether these people have watched or read porn. That genre isn't about characters and their conflicts, or their growth. Porn isn't about plot. No one has to have any motivation or emotions about sex. They see someone they want, they get excited, they drop trou and go for it. That's not erotic romance. Yes, erotic romance plots have sexier themes and are constructed to fit in the maximum amount of sex, but it's supposed to be sex MOTIVATED primarily for emotional reasons. These aren't people with a 400 page itch to scratch.

I've also heard erotic romance called erotica. Um, no. At least not in my opinion. There are elements, yes. But there are big differences.

Erotica is usually one person's journey of self-discovery through sex that's meaningful to them in a personal sense, but not necessarily in a romantic love sense. Erotica often contains sex with multiple partners, which can be of the opposite or same sex. Whatever propels the main character toward their self-discovery is allowed. Think Black Lace, Nexxus, Spice, etc.

Erotic romance, simply put, is a romance with a lot more frequent and graphic sex. But the focus is on the hero and heroine and their growing relationship, which is often expressed in the bedroom. The sex between them may begin as a result of pure lust, but morphs into love, and each encounter should show the growing closeness between them. In these books, you might see elements of BDSM, ménage, etc., but at the end of the day, the hero and heroine (or committed triad in a pure ménage book) are together permanently because they have expressed love for each other.

Naturally, all this is my opinion. I'm sure I'll get plenty of people to say otherwise, with comments ranging from "I disagree", all the way to hate mail. But I love writing this genre and I'm grateful every day that there are readers ready and more than willing to take a walk on the wild side with me.

Shelley Bradley aka Shayla Black
WICKED TIES - available now
Berkley Heat
Watch the trailer!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you're not going to receive either an "I disagree" nor hate mail here, but rather a "thank you!" :)


Sunday, January 14, 2007 at 10:55:00 PM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

Whoo Hoo Shelley! Great post. You nailed it. I'm with you Erotic Romance and Erotica do differ and neither one of them are porn. It's all about the characters and their interactions with each other.

Sex without romance is like a cookie without milk. That Ahh! Sensation is Missing.

Monday, January 15, 2007 at 12:17:00 PM EST  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think you got it absolutely right. as Emma Holly wrote on another blog recently, if you like it, it's erotic romance/erotica. If you don't like it, it's porn.

Monday, January 15, 2007 at 5:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger Cole Reising said...

I think this is a great post! And totally agree - it has to do with a persons taste as to what they 'catergorize' things.


Monday, January 15, 2007 at 8:07:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do they have to have sex before falling in love?

Can't they fall in love and then have sex?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 10:05:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erotic sex is a definite mental tonic, but, there's a lot to be said about THE CHASE...That's half the adventure....No chase, no challenge...and the challenge is the aphrodisiac..

Friday, April 13, 2007 at 11:51:00 AM EDT  

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