Smut. That’s what you call it. I prefer the term, Romantic Erotica. Yes, I can sugar coat it until I run out of sprinkles, darling, but unless you’ve read it, you’ll never truly understand it. Try it…..I dare you.
There are varying degrees of intimacy hidden inside the romance genre. But, let me be specific on this one point, Romance and Erotica are two different categories.
Romance is about the story and the characters journey toward self-discovery that includes the intimacy shared between those characters. It can be sweet, steamy, smoldering, or downright HOT! The point is that sex is NOT the story, it’s a part of the character’s journey WITHIN the story.
Erotica, however, is about the sex. Some of my friends would call it, PWP…Porn without Plot. I take a bit of a broader view of it though. While the story has a lot of sex in it, there are still elements of plot. Erotica is written to seduce you, luring you into another’s bedroom. It pulls you into the story, rides you hard then puts you away wet.
Romance and Erotica also have different voices. Terms used in romance are more euphemistic, often mild and suggestive without being overtly sexual. Erotica, however, uses more sexual language, often using terms that are blatant and blush worthy.
There is also the issue of pairings. Romance for the most part sticks to traditional gender roles, one man and one woman who are involved in a blossoming love affair. Erotica takes things a step further. Sexual encounters in erotica can run the gamut. There can be more than one couple, same sex pairings, ménage a trois, etc. Erotica can also step up the intensity of the encounters adding elements that would be considered adventurous for some. For example: BDSM (Bondage Dominance Sadism Masochism), voyeurism, role play, etc.
Not to say that romance cannot incorporate these elements to some degree, but that is where Romantic Erotica comes into play. It is an addicting combination of the two that while working us up into a sexual frenzy, can also give us the warm fuzzy feeling we get from a good romance.
I personally like to think of my writing as Romantic Erotica. While I do focus largely on sex in my stories, I try to weave plot into the story to make it cohesive and romantic. I also lean toward romance by focusing my attention on the traditional male/female pairing. Essentially, I keep the love strictly between the main characters, taking a snapshot of their romantic liaison with my words.