Erotica or erotic romance?

My stories always feature sex, usually quite a lot of it. Early on, I’d have called pretty much everything I wrote “pure” erotica. For instance, something like 1, Coverlid Place is very definitely a story about sex, and pretty full-on sex at that (think woman goes to adult store to give anonymous blowjobs at a gloryhole, then goes to an adult cinema knowing the audience will be a room full of horny men…). Or take Farmer’s Daughter Threesome – the title pretty much speaks for itself – the aim was to write a hot threesome story! I wrote longer stories in this sex-is-the-point-of-the-story vein too – Penny Meets the Neighbors is novel-length, and has a plot, but the plot is about how Penny gets deeper and deeper into her new, extremely wild sex-life. These stories are not romances!

Somewhere along the line, I started writing stories that I’d classify as erotic romance, rather than pure erotica. There’s still a lot of sex in them, and I strive to make them just as hot, but not only do they have a romantic couple-meet-and-fall-in-love element, but I also try to make them rounded as a piece of writing. There’s more character growth in them, and the sex serves a purpose in the storytelling beyond just being a turn-on (although these stories are still very much intended to arouse the reader!)

The first thing I wrote that felt different this way was Meaningless Masturbation? – it’s as hot as hell, and still one of my favorite stories, but writing it was about so much more than just the sex scenes, and it was really satisfying when it all clicked together and everything about the story felt “right”. More recently, The Sin of Love worked this way too – the sex scenes are super intense and smoking hot, but there was heaps more to the story than just the sex. It rates right up there with Meaningless Masturbation? in my own personal ranking of my stories.

There are a few stories that end up halfway between the two extremes, either by accident or design. A Bit of Rough (another novel length book) starts off as erotica with a main character who develops an obsession with “rough” men such as the builder working on her house. About halfway through, once she’s had a succession of encounters along those lines, I made her character grow, and the romantic element of the story increased. So overall, it’s an erotic romance, but early on, there’s a lot of sex that’s there for the sole purpose of being hot! Another example is An American Affair. It’s hot, and very sensual, because it focuses on the sexual encounters of an affair, but it’s also a little deeper, because it is based on real events, and is very personal to me.

So, have I switched from being an erotica writer to an erotic romance writer? I’d say no, but I have got better at merging the best of both worlds into my stories. My most recent book (The Other Side of Town) is definitely erotica rather than erotic romance, but I think it benefits from the lessons I’ve learned along the way. My work-in-progress (which will be called Islands) will be erotic romance, but again, the plan is to make sure it’s plenty sexy too! Going forward beyond that, I’ve got story ideas that fall into both categories – I just have to chose which ones to write!

Finally, have I picked a side? Do I prefer one to the other? Should I write one category of story more than the other? Even though I’ve found some of the erotic romance stories very satisfying to write, I don’t think I have chosen – I mostly write what I like, rather than writing for the “market”, and as long as I enjoy what I’m doing, I imagine I’ll keep on switching between the two – “pure” erotica can be a lot of fun to write! Hopefully I’ll keep on producing more stories that combine the best of both worlds. It all depends on where my muse takes me!

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