Sex scenes in stories: When does Sweet Love become Erotica and Erotica become Porn?

kissing statuesOn a recent writing board that I follow the question was posed about why are sex scenes in most general fiction so unbelievable?

One reason is guidelines for sex scenes established by mainstream publishers. Some do not allow any sort of explicit sexual language or the mention of body parts at all. You end up with a hungry kiss and slipping off into a bedroom in that case or in the case of Sweet Love, a gentle kiss and loving caresses. No body parts are mentioned other than the lips touching and hands clasping. These you find in Sweet Romances and Young Adult fiction. Though, I think we all know that young adults do engage in sexual activity.

Explicit language and bodily descriptions during the sex act puts you into the realm of erotica.Erotica is mainly sold online by the publishers. The authors sell most paper copies of that genre themselves. I have found that most erotic stories are actually strong fiction stories with the addition of explicit sex scenes and sexual language. I think these are probably closer to what happen in reality.

Pornography is sex for the sake of sexual arousal and excitement of the reader. Pornography includes graphic scenes of rape, snuff, all sorts of kink. Porn can depict sex with underage individuals and acts of incest. These are not things regular readers want to experience on a page. These books are sold online by their publishers and in pornographic book outlets.

There are general standards for all of these genres in the industry, though some bleed over into the others in some cases. Some people called 50 Shades pornography, yet it was sold in most mainstream book outlets. It talked about rough sex and BDSM. In the end, I think it is the market place that determines what is acceptable and what is not.

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One thought on “Sex scenes in stories: When does Sweet Love become Erotica and Erotica become Porn?

  1. I think you’re right. There were a number of sex scenes in the books I had written, and some were quite graphic. I was trying to get across the intensity of the situation as it was between two people who shouldn’t have been doing what they were doing. After discussing it with my editor, he felt it added a lot to setting the story. A

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