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Erotica VS Erotic Fiction:


What’s The Difference?

by Deborah Kepler

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word ‘erotica’ is described as a literary or artistic work having an erotic theme or quality, eroticism is a sexual impulse or desire especially when abnormally insistent. The definition of ‘erotic fiction’ according to the web site www.eroticfiction.org is writing that stimulates the senses, but at the same time not demeaning to either women or men. Erotic fiction concentrates on the emotions and sensations that the characters are experiencing rather than focusing on the ‘mechanics’ of sex.

What is the difference? Not much! When you look at both styles of writing, you’ll find that there is a very fine line that is the crossover between erotica and erotic fiction. Although you can put both in bookstores, you will only find erotic fiction along side the regular romance books. Erotica can usually be found behind the closed door or curtain somewhere in the back of the store. Erotic fiction tends to be geared more to the sensual rather than the obscene. The story plots have more romance and substantial relationships than that of erotica. Erotica is more like “extreme sex”. Sure some books do have a theme whether romance or suspense, but erotica has a more violent sexuality to it. It’s more visual rather than emotional. Of course, some erotic fiction authors use this visual sex appeal in their stories, but in a more sensual manner. In erotic fiction you have similar vocabulary as in erotica. As an example: slang words such as cock, pussy, and also sexual acts like S&M, sodomy, fellatio, cunnilingus, and whips and chains. Although you could argue that at least two of these; fellatio and cunnilingus, can also be found in regular historical romances, but on a softer and more “innocent” scale. In sensual romances, such as those written by Julia London, Danelle Harmon, and Jane Feather, these sex acts are mostly assumed and are described by the author in the telling of the hero and heroine’s feelings and thoughts at the time of intercourse. In erotica and erotic fiction all of these words and acts take a forefront, in many cases, to the story.

Yes, there are some erotic fiction books that are based on a love story or some kind of historical fiction as well as contemporary or crime suspense, but not many. Bertrice Small, Thea Devine, Robin Schone and Susan Johnson are just a few of the authors who write in this vein. And most erotica books are based solely on the acts themselves. It also might be a point to mention that most, but not all, erotica and erotic fiction are written by women for women. The Black Lace books are a very good example of this type of fiction, about 99% of all of the short stories are written by women. As are the Sleeping Beauty books by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure. There are some male authors out there, more erotica than erotic fiction, but these seemed to be written more in the crime theme than any other. Take David Lindsey’s book Mercy: A novel of Psychosexual Suspense. Its erotica at it’s bloodiest and most violent. Topping from Below is written by Laura Reese and is an erotica thriller that is more a mystery than a love story.

Have you ever read a book and then saw a movie that was based on that same book? Which was better, the book or the movie? Most people would probably say the book was better because you’re exposed to what the characters are thinking and feeling. You are able to visualize in your own mind what is going on and that is more exciting than actually seeing in on film. The mind is a tremendous tool to the imagination, and the brain works on that tool to get the reader all excited and hot while reading these types of books. Remember, erotica and erotic fiction are books written for your entertainment. The differences may be slim, but the outcome is the same. They are written to stimulate and arouse you into a new and different kind of sexual state.

We hope that this column has opened a new door to your regular way of reading. All of these observations have been from our own opinions and research from those books that we have in our possession. There are hundreds of erotica and erotic fiction books out there, and there is sure to be one that would be to your liking.





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