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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Erotic Romance vs Porn?

Erotic Romance vs Porn?
 
I recently blogged about the difference between erotic romance and pornography and I’m posting the question again with a few additions because it’s an interesting question and I was desperate for a blog today. lol

As a writer of erotic romance I often see knowing looks on the faces of others when I tell them what I enjoy writing. I notice a lot of heading nodding and smirking. I’ve often watched in slight discomfort as the “Wow, I thought she was such a nice lady…” expression melted right off their face and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it except explain myself.

Men can be especially bad about jumping to the wrong conclusions. A few immediately assume erotic-romance must fall into one of two categories “silly women’s romance” or “porn for women” and they say so. “Oh you write porn, I never would have guessed.” Or “Oh, that silly woman’s stuff? Maybe I can pose for your next book cover?” (Then they actually pose)

I often feel honor bound to explain that the vast majority of well-crafted erotic romantic fiction deserves its own category and it’s not silly or pornographic. 

Porn is lonely. It doesn’t foster tender feelings or look for common ground between partners. It’s a purely physical focus. It’s about bodies meeting—not souls. 

If souls don’t meet in a story, it’s not a satisfying romance.

Erotic romantic fiction focuses on the sexual side of emotional bonding. Souls meet and bond through the physical act of love. Erotic romance has a heart. The partners involved care about each other and grow to love each other. 

In my opinion emotional intention is the big difference between porn and erotic romance. Erotic romance incorporates strong feelings for the other. The other partner’s thoughts and welfare matter before, during and after any sort of sexual activity—even a kiss.

Pornography doesn’t care about those involved in the act or ask about their feelings afterward and to my eyes, is not the least bit romantic. 

Erotic romantic fiction is about exploring love through the physical sensations and emotions associated with sex. 

In erotic romantic fiction (if not always in real life) sexual exploration must lead to a caring mutually beneficial relationship. Love and respect must exist between the fictional partners or else the story simply doesn’t work as a romantic fiction. 

The erotic part of the story has to be honest, emotionally engaging and trigger a physical reaction in the reader or else it doesn’t work as erotic fiction. 

An author of erotic romance has to seek a delicate balance between love and lust that oscillates between the panting, crazed, call of the wild and the highest, selfless expression of sacred love. 

When it all comes together the result can be some very memorable, soul-thrilling erotic romance.



The boundaries get pushed to the limits with erotic romantic ménage. The balancing act gets far more complicated. Multiple fictional partners equal multiple emotional entanglements and everyone needs to be included in the heart circle or else it’s not a romance, it’s just erotic. If the partners are simply enjoying sex and don’t really care about each other (gasp!)—it’s porn… 

Many authors handle the mixed emotions of ménage beautifully and have written some stunning love stories that can leave us all wondering “what if that could work?”

Where do you draw the line between the erotic and pornographic?

XXOO Kat

5 comments:

  1. I like my love and lust mixed together. I see the biggest difference as being the heart and soul of a story. Porn has no heart and no soul. It's a mindless act, the zip-less f-ck Erica Jong was looking for in her book, Fear of Flying. Erotica as a much deeper meaning than the mere physical act.
    I remember watching Deep Throat when I was in college and thinking of how meaningless the sex scenes were and therefore, how devoid of interest and arousal. Without meaning, the acts became grotesque.

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  2. I agree. I find porn pretty disappointing. I need emotional involvement to care about the action.
    XXOO

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  3. I agree that the fundamental difference between pornography and erotic romance is the emotional involvement of the characters.
    I also understand how some people, due to the explicit language we use and the many non-traditional relationships we explore, see no difference.
    I enjoy the wide array of reactions I get when I proudly announce I'm an author of erotic romance and make it clear I'm more than comfortable to talk to them about any part of the process or the subject matter!
    'Porn' has long been used as a term to encompass anything that has graphic sexual content. In my opinion, whatever label is used, our genre is an incredible form of artistic expression.

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  4. Agree, erotic romance encompasses the whole enchilada ... sex plus emotion, storyline, plot, conflict, character development, and though not necessarily a "happy" ending, a satisfying one.

    Collette Thomas

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