This post first appeared on my BeefcakesandBabes.com website.
Back in August 2015, a post by Jami Gold about subjectivity and reader shaming lit a tiny defensive fire in me. Reader shaming is something that happens a lot in the romance genre, so I wrote a post about it.
This got me to thinking about the difference between erotic romance, erotica and porn.
There IS a difference and it would be nice if people would just stop thinking that the romance genre in general was nothing but porn.
Because it’s not.
I like reading erotic romance. Those are the kind of books I want to write as a hobby.
I was telling a long-time family friend that I stopped writing YA so that I could dabble in adult romance.
“Oh, like that 50 Shades of Grey?” he asked.
As if all romance–in all its many many forms–is like 50 Shades of Grey. <eye roll inserted here>
Thanks to the hype surrounding the movie, the public now thinks this way. To be fair, I’m not talking shit about the book or the movie. BDSM and all that stuff isn’t my thing, so I’ll never read the books. Honestly, I think it’s pretty groundbreaking that this type of book was turned into a movie. It says a lot and paves the way for other romance authors to make it to the big screen.
But along the way, I think the author missed the opportunity to educate the public about what genre of romance 50 Shades falls into.
In July 2015, kind of in preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo, I read Alison Kent’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Erotic Romance.
In the back was an Author Roundtable of questions and 6 authors responded to the question: How Do You Define Erotic Romance? Erotica? Pornography?
In my opinion, I think Jordan Summers’ definition was the best because it sounded so textbook perfect:
“Erotic romance is a romance that develops into a deeper emotional connection through the characters’ physical relationship. Sex comes before the emotional development as opposed to traditional romances, which has the sexual relationship developing after the emotional connection. A happily-ever-after ending is expected in an erotic romance.
Erotica stories [like 50 Shades] are based around sexual discovery and are specifically written to evoke particular emotions like fear, love, anger, frustration, etc. They do not need to have a relationship or a happily-ever-after in them for the story to be complete, but a change of some kind must occur.
Pornography is a series of written or visual events meant for no other purpose than to titillate. In-depth plots and emotional connections are not necessary ingredients for these stories, nor do they require a happily-ever-after ending or a change of any kind to take place.”
So, there you have it. I couldn’t have said it any better myself (which is why I didn’t).
All adult romance is NOT porn.
Consider yourself educated.