The Stigma of Erotica and Erotic Romance

01 Jan

I guess we have another hurdle to get over as authors. First we had to deal with the stigma of writing romance and how it was considered less than other genres. Then we had to deal with the stigma of self-publishing—for those of us who have gone that route. Now we have a new stigma to deal with: writing erotica or erotic romance and having it shunned because people think it’s nothing more than written pornography.

I know we still have the first two stigmas, but I think they have been getting better lately. And I believe they will keep getting better. With the third, who knows, maybe the whole 50 Shades explosion will help lift erotic romance and erotica up out of the gutter some would like to shove them in.

To me, comparing erotica—with plots just like any other story—and erotic romance to pornography is like comparing a wonderful sex scene in a movie to a porno. Pornography is fine—I like pornography. It has its place and time. Although, I would like to see more geared toward women, but I think our day is coming.

But erotica and erotic romance is far from pornography. Pornography usually doesn’t have a well-thought-out plot and is—as expected—completely about the sex act. Good erotica does have that plot and the sex is there to help enhance the plot. It is the same for erotic romance. None of those stories are merely about sex.

I wouldn’t want to push anything erotic on someone who didn’t want it, but when I try looking for places to post my free book or to get reviews and they tell me, “Sorry, no erotica,” it kind of pisses me off. They’ll take anything else, any other genre, but oh my, if there’s an explicit sex scene or two the world must be coming to an end.

Those same places that refuse erotica or erotic romance have no problem hosting horror with all kinds of killing and violence. It’s just like media in general. We can show all the violence imaginable, but the minute sex is involved the censors come out screaming. Blow someone’s brains out, but you better not give them a blow job first. (I also love horror and don’t want an end to that genre; I’m just trying to make a point.)

Ooh, speaking of BJs, did anyone watch CNN’s New Year’s Eve show? I loved it when Kathy Griffin kept threatening to give Anderson Cooper a blow job. Now that was some good TV.

Okay, I could rant about this forever, but I’d like to know what you guys think about the subject. Please leave a comment and weigh in.

I say it’s time we shout loudly from the top of a mountain, “I write erotic romance (and/or erotica) and I am not ashamed. My books should be right there beside all the others.”


Posted by on January 1, 2013 in My Writing, Writing


Tags: , , , ,

10 responses to “The Stigma of Erotica and Erotic Romance

  1. MonaKarel

    January 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    This goes back to Conan The Barbarian when the censors didn’t want Grace Slick’s breast to show but had no problem with a disembodied head rolling down the steps. And, hmmm, which is more likely to cause nightmares?
    I love reading good erotica though I write a few degrees of heat less myself. Even so, since my characters do touch each other in various places and do physically consummate their relationship, in some minds that would be erotic. Heck in some minds the statue of David is considered pornographic. Do we really want to write down to the lowest common denominator.
    Got room on the top of that mountain for me?

    • Lorraine Pearl

      January 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Hi Mona, thanks for your input. Conan was a good example, and unfotunately there are many more. And you’re exactly right about the nightmares. I never thought about the statue of David, but you’re right there, too, of course. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind or make them read things they don’t want to, but we definitely have some room to grow with our beliefs about erotica and erotic romance.

      And yes, there is absolutely room at the top of the mountain. Come on over and shout with me. 🙂

  2. kandysparks

    January 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more, our day is coming 🙂

    • Lorraine Pearl

      January 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks, Kandy. I say our day is coming, too. 🙂

  3. Chloe Thurlow

    January 3, 2013 at 8:07 am

    I have written in my book “The Fifty Shades of Grey Phenomena” that EL James has done us all a great service in bringing erotica into the mainstream. Time to stand proud and turn to the sun.

    • Lorraine Pearl

      January 3, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Exactly, Chloe. I absolutely agree. And now it’s only a matter of time before the stigma is gone. 🙂

  4. Samantha Evans (@MsSamanthaEvans)

    January 10, 2013 at 1:28 am

    I agree with you, Lorraine. I also think there’s a not-very-subtle sexism involved in a lot of the denigration of erotica and erotic romance these days. Most of the writers in these genres are women, writing about things that nice girls aren’t supposed to know about, let alone describe in joyful detail.

    To make matters worse, 50 Shades became such an overwhelming bestseller because *women* both bought a mountain of paper copies and also made them the first, second and third highest-selling e-books last year. Stereotypes about what women like, what we’ll write about and–perhaps more significantly–where we’ll put our money have been shaken hard.

    It’s fascinating to look at some of the responses to E.L. James’ success. Many people are scandalized because her books aren’t particularly well-written, yet they’ve made Ms. James a heck of a lot of money (and kept Random House in the black, too). The books don’t pretend to be finely-honed literary fiction, but most of Dan Brown’s work is solidly commercial stuff, too. His plots are more complex and I think his characters often change more over the course of their stories than James’ do, but I don’t think he’ll be awarded a Pulitzer anytime soon.

    I read 50 Shades, Darker and Freed and I enjoyed them. I’m delighted that Ms. James has had such success because she’s helped us all make it clear what women may really enjoy. I think we were on our way to exploring the breadth and textures of our sexuality in the 1970s but we got sidetracked by so-called feminist prudish sensibilities. I hope that the age of repression is over at last and that everyone who is interested in reading and writing erotica and erotic romance will feel welcome and empowered to do so.

    • Lorraine Pearl

      January 10, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Well put, Samantha. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I read something on Facebook this morning about how, after 50 Shades, women have been able to have open conversations about sex and reading erotic stories. I say anything–whether well written or not–that makes it okay for women to be sexual and not be ashamed of it is doing us a good service.

      I think you’re right about the sexism aspect, too. But I think all of that is going to change because we’re in the drivers’ seats now. Even the movie Magic Mike showed that women want to have as much fun as men. We want to see, read, and talk about sexual things. We want to be freed of that “nice girls don’t do those kinds of things” mentality.

      Sure it will take some time, but since I’ve written these books, people I know who would never think of discussing these things have read my books–and enjoyed them. Some can talk more openly now, some not, but at least the latter are opening up in some ways just reading erotic stories. My favorite was from someone who basically rolled her eyes at me when I told her I was writing erotic romance. After she read the books, she gushed over how much she was shocked at how well-written they were and what great stories they were. Her opinions of erotica and romance changed completely.

      Again I say, our time is coming. Now, I would like more movies like Magic Mike–only better. And now, it’s not the women who have to worry about the whistles when they walk past construction workers. It’s the men out there sweating and working who have to worry about us walking past and ogling them. 😉

  5. Teri Schure

    January 11, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Exotic, Not Erotic

    I make no apologies for the genre of my book, although in my opinion it is exotic, not erotic.

    In the five years it took me to write Our Romantic Getaway, I went back and forth as to whether or not I should use my actual name or a pen name.

    In the end, those closest to me thought I should be proud of my accomplishment, and not worry about what others will think of me. So I used my name, and pretty much stepped into a quagmire.

    Good or bad, my life has been changed.

    The generalization that exotic or erotic fiction is nothing more than sex and porn is simply untrue. And the idea that I’m not a “real writer” is pure bull and extremely narrow-minded of the haters and writers out there.

    I have nothing to say to the haters. They are going to be haters no matter what. Although I was blindsided by who those haters would turn out to be.

    Here is what I have to say to the “writers.”

    I should be able to write about anything I want. Nothing should be taboo. And writers are supposed to think outside of the box, no? Writers stifling writers? Tsk. Tsk.

    Erotic fiction has soared in popularity and market share over the last couple of years. It was just two short years ago that Fifty Shades of Grey, the E.L. James trilogy of erotic novels exploded onto The New York Times bestseller list, reportedly selling more than 35 million U.S. copies.

    Major publishing houses are now successfully releasing erotic fiction, and the genre continues to grow and expand.

    And listen up “writers,” the erotica market is booming and helping to keep the struggling publishing industry afloat, so stop judging.

    • Lorraine Pearl

      January 12, 2015 at 8:30 am

      I’d say a lot has changed in the last two years since I wrote this post, Teri. It almost feels like we went from being unwanted and abused to being the ones other writers want to be. I’m sure there are still those out there–some writers probably included–who continue to look down on us and what we write, but for the most part, like you said, we have gone mainstream.

      I wonder if those writers who still turn their noses up at us aren’t either jealous they can’t write erotica for whatever reason or still just don’t respect the romance genre and therefore anything with erotic content as well.

      And honestly, the major publishing houses were putting out erotica and erotic romance before 50 Shades, it was simply the majority of the public didn’t know. If it wasn’t for Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, and the erotic scenes in it, I might never have ventured into this genre. And those books were out well before 50 Shades. And we can’t forget J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Yes, my picks usually involve vampires. LOL. 😉

      It will only keep getting better from here. I have faith.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Rose-Marie Sorokin

Yoga, meditation, spirituality, writing, retreats, super health

Specializing In Romance Cover Art

C.M. Blackwood

The Journal of a Delusional Writer

Nail Your Novel

Nail Your Novel - Writing, publishing and self-publishing advice from a bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor

Corey D. Truax

Author | Editor | Father of Thor | Veteran | Military Spouse

Author Don Massenzio

Independent Authors Unite!

Skinny and Single

Single and Almost 50 and Not Suicidal About It


for writers and readers....


"There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter - and bleed." Ernest Hemingway

Writer's Treasure Chest

A blog for authors, about authors, written by an author

YA Fantasy Novelist & Fairy Prose Metrist

The Last Krystallos

Its those silly dreams that keep us alive...


Handmade jewelry and wedding decoration


The Adventures of a Blonde Writer

Girl Meets Monster

Writing, Reading, and Helpful Hints for Dating in the Underworld

Nicholas C. Rossis

Award-winning, dream-protecting author

Circles of Gemstones

Enjoying & understanding semiprecious gemstone jewelry

Romance Debuts

There's nothing like a new romance

Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

A writer writing about writing and life...

Archer's Aim

The speculative fiction of P. H. Solomon

Suffolk Scribblings

All is not quiet in the countryside

Bryn Donovan

tell your stories ~ love your life


Romance Author


Writer: Historical Detective Fiction; Contemporary Fiction; The International Sales Handbook. Writer for Hire


Did aliens visit ancient civilizations?


Writing, Publishing, and Marketing Ideas

Authors You Want to Read

Get to know new authors and books!



Authors Supporting Authors

Authors United to Make Dreams Come True.

Everything Indie

Supporting Indie Authors with Tips, Reviews, and Services

The Literary Game

Editing and Advice for Determined Writers

Penguin Blog

Thoughts and ideas from the world of Penguin

Confessions of a published author

Storyteller, Order of Merlin 1st Class, Master of Potions, Holder of the Golden Snitch, and Author of Infertility, Infidelity, and Insanity

Erotic Romance by Sascha Illyvich

Stories by the Gentleman Playboy of Romance

Kev's Great Indie Authors

Supporting Indie Authors Worldwide

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

And, for good measure, a bit of Cooking and Eating

Veronica Bale


Live to Write - Write to Live

We live to write and write to live ... professional writers talk about the craft and business of writing

Luke Young

Author of the Friends with Benefits Novels

Ian Dalton

Author of the Victoria Wilde Novels

Lit World Interviews

Share and Spread the Word About These Authors!

Skye Callahan

Feed the Darkness


Writing Mayhem

Atlanta's CW69

Atlanta's CW69

%d bloggers like this: