General · reading · Writing

Erotica vs Romance

I’ve read a lot of romance and a lot of erotica, but I don’t know where exactly is the line between the two things. I started wondering about it I began the gay modern-day fairy tale.

The easy answer is that romances are about love and erotica is about sex. But all romances have sex and most erotica has romance, too. In erotica (to my mind) the plot revolves around sex. In romance, plot revolves around the romance. But in both the sex has a point. A plot point, character development, something. The sex isn’t gratuitous. If the definition of erotica is any story where sex serves a plot point, than everything would be erotica and this post would be pointless. (Plus, a good chunk of urban fantasy would be called erotica, too.) BTW, that’s how they are organized in my kindle. Romance or erotica, they are all in one folder.

My favorite erotica (Vampire Trinity by Joey W. Hill. But I love anything by her) the sex and romance are equally balanced. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. Of course, Joey W. Hill gets into alternate lifestyle situations that most traditional publishers wouldn’t touch. Alternate situations include not only kinky stuff, but gay romances. Josh Lanyon, whose Adrien English Mysteries is a long, drawn-out romantic suspense series. Oftentimes it has more suspense than romance. I discovered it on an erotica publisher’s website, but it is not erotic in the least. It has equal or less sex scenes than your average romance (i . e. Nora Roberts). So I am thinking that’s one way a story becomes erotica; the sex is out of norms somehow.

But that’s not enough! I mean, plenty of erotica has vanilla, one, guy, one girl kind sex. So I am thinking now one of the differences is language. Erotica has words that you would never find in romances. (i. e. pussy) Sometimes the words seem kind of forced, like they don’t belong, maybe as if the publisher insisted on using those words. But they are there.

The third thing is that if someone is published by an erotica publisher, they will always be erotica writers and everything they produce afterward will be deemed erotica. That isn’t fair and I am not sure how true it is.

What do you guys think? What separates erotica from romance? Does the separation even exist?