On Genre / Special

Divas On Genre: Erotica

We’re starting up a new series on the blog all about genres. The series will post every Friday with one of the Divas showcasing a different genre each week. To kick off this new series with a bang (pun intended), today we’re discussing erotica.

Merriam-Webster says: Erotica is works of art or literature that deals with sex and is meant to cause sexual feelings.

Erotica has been around for a long time. And I mean long time; try hundreds if not thousands of years.  Sex is as old as man. Granted, how else would we be here? But erotica in literature is relatively new in terms of the long history of sex and pornography.

How do you know it’s erotica and not romance? When the question is posed to me while editing, I like to explain that if you read these key words or a combination of these words with added gratuitous slang: nipples, penis, clitoris, shaft, cock, thrust, juices, cum, come, balls, member, pussy, and tits… you have yourself an erotica. Romance tends to be more flowery and fade to black at the good parts, while erotica is very blunt and lays it all out there for the reader.

Whether it be poems, sonnets, ,lyrics, short stories, or full length novels; erotica has always been a racy and taboo subject up until present day. Even in the twentieth century, sex manuals were considered erotica. Basically anything to do with sex was labeled risque.

Traditionally, in the past one thought reading erotica was dirty and meant to be kept in the privacy of your boudoir. Calling your dogged ear paperback a bodice ripper was a nicer term than admitting you liked to read graphic sex.

With the success of E. L. James and many other erotica authors, the genre has become mainstream and very much in the public eye. There is no hiding the fact one likes to read smut; it’s more acceptable. Over the last couple of years, I’ve found many people from every walk of life, carrying around copies from Sylvia Day or Maya Banks. When an older woman in the doctor’s office I was waiting in pulled out a title from Lora Leigh, I wasn’t all that shocked… anymore. Call it a sexual revolution; it’s a major shift in the collective minds of many people around the world: Reading erotica isn’t so shameful. Maybe it’s a little fun. It definitely seems to have opened the minds of many people recently. There have been many stories how women and men have taken hold of their sexuality and identity because erotica helped them realize they don’t need to hide it anymore. Kudos to them.

What’s hot in erotica now? With the popularity of self-published authors, anything goes with erotica. BDSM, ménage à trios, poly, LGBT, and spicy romance are available for purchase from any book retailer, plus is more prevalent for the consumer to find.

Not all of erotica is strictly just sexual. Many books in the genre are high on substance, plot, and character development while low on sex scenes. It’s the depictions and the nature of the sex scenes that make the book an erotica.

If you’re looking for something juicy (pun intended) to read, check out this long list of erotica books from Goodreads.

Happy Reading!!


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