Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Five Reasons I Write Erotica

A good friend and I went out for a coffee date last week.  She sat across the table with her iced latte, regarding me as I sipped at my coffee-caramel-cookie-crumble-whipped-cream confection.  Why erotica, she wanted to know? Why not mainstream, YA, science fiction, memoir – most of which I've written.  Why erotica?

Caught by surprise, I mumbled something about how I liked what I was doing with the erotica, and how my future plans include both erotica and mainstream fiction.  But she made me think:  why DO I write erotica?  What makes me think I know enough about sex and orgasms and romantic relationships to write about such things?  After much consideration, I came up with a list I wish I’d been quick enough to give my friend when she’d asked.

1.  I’m good at it.  After a few squeamish moments writing an explicit sex scene during my  first erotic story, Paint Job, I never looked back.  I found I could write it all, the descriptions, who is doing what to whom, who is feeling which exquisite sensation - and I could do it with the perfect amount of steamy detail.  Better yet, my editors at Ellora's Cave thought so too.

2.  It’s fun.  I get right in there with my characters.  When my imagination is flowing just right, I sometimes feel what they feel.  I tap into their sex lives, their love, their passion, their desire.  What’s not to like?  I love it!  It thrills me to give my characters beautiful sexual encounters.

3.  It’s free-ing.  I write things that I may never have a chance to do in real life – ménages, lesbian sex, exhibitionistic sexual performances.  And even things that I hope I never do in real life, such as the erotic encounter with a demon in my newest novel, Inn on the Edge.

4.  It sells.  I had no idea there was such an enormous market for romance, erotic romance, and erotica.  Why is this not common knowledge?

5.  Writing erotica makes me feel alive.  When I write a passionate scene, I feel vibrant.  I feel younger, excited about the world.  And when I’m not actively writing, I've found a welcoming community of erotica and romance writers to learn from and with whom to share my editing, publishing, and marketing journey.

So, those are my reasons.  It will be interesting to see how I feel in a year.  Will I be over this erotica thing?  Will I love it even more?  Will I still want to write erotica, but run out of ways to portray sex?  Time will tell.  For now, it’s enough that I’m having fun with it.

Now it's your turn!

Why are you writing erotica, or romance, or whatever you're writing? Please share your own list in the comments.  


  1. Hear, hear. The money issue alone drew me to erotica, but I discovered I loved writing it. With crossover genres becoming more popular, there is no need for authors to choose between say, heavy hitting space opera and erotic romance.

  2. ...Or combine the two, like an author I happen to know!

  3. I get friends asking why ~gay~ erotica*, often followed by suggestions for female love interests I could work into a story. (I really, really need to remind myself to say, "That sounds like a good idea - maybe you could write that.")

    I used to tell myself that I should write more "respectable" stuff, but sod on that. I write erotica (and/or horror) because it's what's churning in my head, because it holds my interest enough to get me through the long slog of writing a story, and because I enjoy doing it. If I weren't writing what I actually enjoy writing, I wouldn't be writing at all.

    (*I write m/m (erotic or not) specifically because I get to experience being a woman every day in real life. I'm more interested in writing about things I don't get to do, whether it's being a touring musician, sleeping with men as a man, ripping people's throats out as a blood-thirsty vampire, or living in a floating space ghetto...which isn't to say that my POV characters are stand-ins for me, just that ~that~ sort of story is more engaging to my imagination than writing about a writer, a web programmer, or a wife/mother/daughter. (All of which means that someday I'll no doubt write m/f stories...it's just that they'll likely be from the POV of the m, and then only once I've reached a point where I wouldn't be sticking the woman in just for the sake of putting a woman in, or because the plot calls for it. Or because friends would be more comfortable if I were writing het sex.))

    Finally (because this comment isn't long enough yet, right?) I think that people who write character-driven erotica are less likely to suffer burn out than those who write sex-driven erotica (and you know sex-driven erotica when you read it because you can substitute any two or three or whatever number of people for the bodies in the stories), because sex is (despite all its wonderful variations and possibilities) a pretty basic thing (arousal, stimulation, climax) that we just dress up different ways, whereas characters are truly complex, engaging and capable of surprising us.

    (I really didn't mean to write such a long comment....)


    1. I loved your explanation about why m/m feels right to you. And I absolutely agree about character-driven erotica vs. sex-driven - it's a huge difference. I've always challenged myself to write my erotica to the same high standards I'd write anything else, and that includes character-driven motivations and all the rest.

      Thank you for writing.


  4. I wrote my first book because I liked reading erotic romance and wanted to see if I could write it myself. Then I learned I had a knack for it and enjoyed it. Oh, and the money. That's pretty awesome, too.

  5. Yep! I agree with all of the above. Thanks for writing!


Please let me know what you think!