What Is Erotic Fiction?

You can read erotic fiction at many places online, including Tumblr, blogs, and Wattpad. You can also write and post your own erotic fiction on those sites.

However, the genre can be difficult to define. For example, romance includes sex scenes, but not necessarily erotica. If sex is an integral part of the character development and storyline, it’s probably erotica.

Definition

As the name suggests, erotic fiction has a strong sexual element. However, the genre can encompass many other elements as well. For example, erotic fiction can be romantic or comedic. It can also be a critique of society or a political statement. It can even be an examination of a relationship.

Unlike pornography, which tends to be viewed as a taboo hobby, erotic literature has traditionally been considered an acceptable substitute for entertainment and sexual stimulation. Some erotic novels have become part of the literary canon and are considered classics, such as the Kama Sutra and other Sanskrit texts from the 5th century ad, Persian lyric poems known as ghazals, Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, the 16th-century Chinese novel Chin p’ing, William Shakespeare’s Venus in Furs and D H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Many contemporary writers use classic tropes of desire and subjectivity in their works, whether they are explicit or not. These include Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James, Syliva Days’ Crossfire novels and Anna Todd’s After series. Moreover, in films like Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, which uses past-tense narration and subtle descriptions to arouse, the viewer is manipulated without any sex scenes or gratuitous nudity.

Generally, the most effective erotic writing involves a sexy character that has an emotional or psychological hook. It is also important to use the right adjectives and euphemisms when describing genitalia or sex acts. When overused, such words can make your story seem silly and unrealistic.

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Characters

In recent years, the book market has seen a huge surge in erotic novels. This is largely due to EL James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, which topped sales for Joanne K Rowling’s Harry Potter books (see Kraxenberger, 2019b).

Readers of erotic fiction are usually heterosexual women in committed relationships. They are highly educated, from a broad age range, and report that they read for pleasure and enjoyment. They also reported that erotic novels give them a sense of ease and distraction from everyday life.

The characters in erotic fiction are typically well-rounded and have interesting pasts. They have an internal conflict that is heightened by the sexual tension in the story. These conflicts are often resolved through sex, although they may also be resolved in other ways.

Sex is the main driver of plot and character movement in erotic fiction. However, it is important not to overdo it. Sex can be used as a tool to explore themes and emotions, but it should never be gratuitous or simply titillating. It is crucial to focus on the overall story and how sex can enhance the narrative rather than detract from it.

It is also important to avoid the pitfalls of “pornography without a plot.” Readers tend to be less forgiving of stories that are nothing but explicit sex scenes without a clear and compelling plot.

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Setting

As we know, erotic fiction has a huge readership with no sign of slowing down. Since the release of Fifty Shades, there has been a steady stream of best selling erotic novels with sexually explicit content. While little empirical research has been devoted to this new genre of books, we do know that most of the readers are heterosexual women in committed relationships. The majority of the readers are also highly educated and from a wide age range. These readers describe themselves as avid readers and they use the erotic novel to satisfy their sexual imaginations.

Vignettes are often used in erotica to create sensual experiences that are arousing and memorable for readers. These moments of erotica are reusable, imagination fodder that takes a permanent place in the reader’s erotic fantasy. For example, Fifty Shades of Grey features a taboo encounter between the main characters in an elevator. Other examples include Nora Roberts’ Montana Sky featuring a kiss between cowgirl and cowboy, and Jennifer Gilmore’s Something Red featuring a taboo hotel room scene.

Most erotic fiction is written in short story form, although some is published in novel format as well. Writers who are new to writing erotica may want to focus on one subgenre at first, so they can practice and become more proficient in the form. Choosing a specific erotic kink or theme may also help them to find an audience and improve their chances of success.

Plot

It is often argued that erotica does not have to have a plot. It only needs to be sexy. However, the sex must be in service of the story, not just thrown in to make it erotic. This is why a good starting point is to read a few bestsellers in your genre. See how they start and then apply those first page techniques to your own work.

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For example, it is common for a romance to begin with a sex scene. That sex scene is the set-up for the main conflict of the story. But then the rest of the book must show character growth and relationship development. The sex scenes need to be major milestones in the story that cannot be removed without damaging the narrative. The story must end with a happily ever after.

Some erotic stories focus on the exploration of the characters’ kinks. This might be as simple as a character discovering their first kink or as complex as an entire journey into a specific kink. In these stories, the kink may become an intrinsic part of the character and have significant story consequences.

Some research indicates that the erotic novels that have emerged in recent years, like Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James and Syliva Days’ Crossfire novels or Anna Todd’s After series, are being interpreted as advancing progressive values. Specifically, the erotic novels are being seen as reducing the gender gap in access to sexually explicit books.

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