For some reason this topic has come up a lot in conversation lately. I’m not sure why. It might be because I write erotic romance so people are interested in what that means, what it is. Where the line is drawn or more specifically, where I draw the line.
That’s easy, but let’s explore the issue first.
Definition of erotica:
1 : literary or artistic works having an erotic theme or quality.
2 : depictions of things erotic.
3 : literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire
Definition of pornography:
1 : sexually explicit videos, photographs, writings, or the like, whose purpose is to elicit sexual arousal.
2 : printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.
3 : the depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction <the pornography of violence>
So in short, pornography is a show all and tell all. Erotica is a tease.
Personally, I’d rather be teased. I get no pleasure in seeing body parts in their raw and open form, seeing the act of intercourse or fellatio or anal sex at close range. It doesn’t mean it’s vulgar because our bodies are not vulgar nor is sex vulgar. I personally just don’t enjoy seeing it depicted in that form, however, I’m also not interested in banning or prohibiting porn.
Lately, I’ve been more aware of how television is becoming pornography in its own way. Nothing is left to the imagination anymore. There are so many shows I like. They have all the formulaic ingredients: action, adventure, who done its, love, sex, violence. But each of those categories is getting more and more explicit. When the ‘bad guy’ is killed, rather than shooting the scene right up to the moment of murder, the murder is shown in its entirety – being bludgeoned with an axe or stabbed multiple times. You can hear the skull crack, you see blood spurt, you see the violence in the killers eyes. It is so real and so explicit it’s frightening. Does it have to be so graphic?
Nothing is left to imagine, to fantasize, to wonder about. They have shown us everything. Our limits have been pushed to the max and we as audiences now expect this type of visual entertainment. Just think how this is shifting our consciousness into some extreme level of what could be considered ‘normal’. But I digress…
Why do we (as audiences) want to see more, see it all? It seems once you go down that road, you seek more and more. You are never satiated. Perhaps that’s human nature?
Reading a good book (erotic or not) leads you along a page turning journey, pulls you through the story by what is ultimately going to happen, intrigued all along the way. Even when all is revealed, there is still so much left to imagine because somehow all has not been revealed.
Good erotica doesn’t give it all away. It can be explicit but (in my opinion) if written or filmed or photographed well, it has the nuance of sex, the ‘just the right amount’ to make you squirm.
I write romance with an edge. I write titillating. I enjoy writing the stories most of all, and if the stories are sassy and sexy and provocative, that’s okay. My line is easily drawn.