Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday Frolics: What's the big difference?


I can't believe I forget it's Friday and time for Friday Frolics. Sorry, this isn't even an April Fools’ joke. Think I'll blame last night's lightning for keeping me off the computer and remembering to visit with you today ;)

Enough of that, let's get to our HOT authors and their input on:

What's the difference between erotic/erotica and porn...?


To a certain extent, erotica vs. porn is in the brain of the beholder. Actually, I take that back – it is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Ask a hundred people and I expect you’d get one hundred different answers – if they were able to answer anonymously. What people will admit to publically and what gets their libido flowing in private are not necessarily the same thing. I seem to remember a quote from years ago that went something like, “I can’t define porn but I know it when I see it.” If you, the reader (or viewer, in the case of a picture or video) experience something you find arousing and not offensive, I believe you are more likely to call it erotica. If you see something (which you might still find arousing in some way) but you have a reaction of ‘ooh, ick’ then you’re probably more likely to categorize it as porn. I expect the ratio of sex to non-sex parts of the story affects that distinction too. I remember reading a series of historical romances years ago that I seem to recall averaged a sex scene every twelve pages. I didn’t call it erotica or porn then – I called it smutty (and I didn’t mean it in a bad way). And dang was she good at it. I think every female character in that series ended up in a harem at some point. The author was Bertrice Small. RIP.

In recent years I have come across an oft-repeated definition, I believe beginning with author Sylvia Day (, that is mentioned in one form or another in various e-magazines and blogs; to paraphrase what I understand to be the differences in writings of Porn, Erotica, and Erotic Romance:

Porn - no plot and no characterization; the graphic sexual description in porn enables the reader to have fun all by their lonesome, no one else required.

Erotica - requires a plot, requires characterization; describes a sexual journey, usually including graphic sexual descriptions which is an essential part of the story, but not the entire story, by two people in which a romantic relationship usually does not develop, but an ending of Happy For Now is required, or at least expected, by the readers. (Okay, maybe more than two people.)

Erotic Romance - requires a plot, requires characterization; describes a sexual journey, usually including graphic sexual descriptions which is an essential part of the story, but not the entire story, by two people in which a romantic relationship does develop, and an ending of Happily Ever After is required, or at least expected, by the readers. (Okay, sometimes maybe more than two people.)

And, though I'm sure I've butchered the original definition through my paraphrasing, this is my understanding of the difference between Porn, Erotica, and Erotic Romance. Makes sense to me.

In my opinion, the difference between erotic/erotica and porn is strictly the type of content. Are words porn? Hmmm, good question. I certainly don’t think they are.

Erotic romance is just that. Open doors between the reader and characters, sharing the most intimate details of a relationship. In other words, the reality. Everyone is getting busy, why hide it? There’s a plot and story line that assists in bringing the hero and heroine together, tear them apart and bring them back around to their HEA or HFN. 

Erotica romance is more the act itself. Not so much the romance. Not saying the characters aren’t in a relationship, just stating the story line isn’t going into those types of details. More often, there isn’t a HEA.

Porn…it’s nothing but sex, sex, and more sex. No content (not what I consider content) and complete titillation. Not sure if porn is written, aside from the script the actors use. There isn’t a HEA or even a HFN, not in my opinion anyway.

Now, let me remind you that I’m an oddball. So, this is just my opinion concerning the differences between the three. I’ve been told often that what my thoughts aren’t are not what is the norm and what things are in actuality. LOL Enjoy!

This is an incredibly subjective and culturally relative issue. We live in a world where some people think nude art is porn. Even the legal standards have changed over time. Lolita was censored as porn when came out, as was Ulysses. In our contemporary Western world, there seems to be a consensus that the major difference is whether a book or movie tells a story or simply depicts sex scenes. While a porn novel portrays endless sexual couplings, the category of Erotic Romance, presumes that a romantic story is being told (sex being a natural result of love), and the reader expects it read a compelling story that wind ups with a romantic (happy ever after, or happy for now) ending.

As a writer of erotica, I try to explore sexual dramas through characters who interact as complex people. Lust is often the motivation for their choices, and we see how that plays out in the context of a story arc. The explicit sex provides intensity and emotion. Porn has the explicit sex, but lacks any larger context and makes no attempt at answering questions. For instance, my paranormal stories work on taking the romantic idea that love never dies, and carries it further, saying 'what if lust transcends death?" The question leads many interesting places.

Thank you for dropping over, we appreciate it. Have a fun weekend and hope to you see next week.
Remember, if you have a question or anything you want us to muse about just drop me a line at
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