Reading and Writing Erotica

I believe the eReader is a godsend to all who read or write our genre. The humble device grants us the ability to read whatever genre we like, where we like.

Not so long ago, reading while travelling for example would have had fellow passengers glancing at the front cover of your paperback. No more. When we’re sitting somewhere, waiting for any number of reasons we can read our books confidant that nobody else is aware of the content.

It should be a pleasure to read any genre, but doesn’t erotica in particular suggest a more intense, personal gratification? If we’re being honest, whether we read or write erotica, it is a class of voyeurism. Now, there is a hobby you don’t usually share.

Until I’d read a few erotica books I thought they would all take me into a world of titillation and forbidden pleasures. One book comes to mind, and I don’t care how much money was made from the thing – it is still fifty shades of something best treated with a roll of tissue ….

I’ve read several traditionally published tales, and a wide variety of indie stories in this genre, and the variety in ability is about as wide as the variety of the stories themselves.


What am I expecting as a reader?

I’ll read about heterosexual, group sex, gay men, gay women, bi-sexual, transgender, cross-dressing, cougars, BDSM, and whatever else is out there. All I ask is that there is a coherent story, and it’s not so incredible that it’s bordering on fantasy. Well-rounded characters and good imagery are good to have on the journey.

I bought into an anthology last year which promised a variety of talent, and if the blurb got nothing else right – it got that part right. One story opened with a scene of graphic sex without any preamble, and apart from naming the main characters, it was sex from beginning to end. There was no discernible plot.

Another of the stories was so detailed it might have been written by a medical student, and I’m talking here about intimate detail and naming the body parts and internal organs with their prescribed technical titles. In the entire collection of twenty-plus stories I found three I would rate as erotica.

One of the biggest no-no areas in any regular genre is the use of a ‘dream’ to explain the impossible. My greatest irritation with a lot of the transgender erotica is the frequent use of ‘experimental’ drugs which transform the victim/volunteer/whoever to become the opposite sex. What a waste of time.

If you are a writer and you want to write sexual scenes, please make the effort to produce a story, not a fantasy.


What do I provide as a writer?

The easiest response to this question is to see what I expect as a reader. Yes, see the first paragraph of the previous question. I want to imagine the people in the story could be having the conversations I’m reading about. I want to believe they are doing the things they’re doing in the story. I want to feel as if I’m there, if not taking part as one of the characters, at least feel close enough to watch, sense the heat, smell the aromas, taste the pleasure of it all.

Well written erotica should arouse the reader, and prior to this, it should arouse the writer. If the storytelling has no effect on the person who produces it, there is little chance it will have the desired effect on those reading.


In my intro I suggested that the eReader was a godsend to those of us who produce or enjoy reading erotica, but I don’t believe writers should deliver low quality work simply to grab cash from those who are expecting a decent story of intimacy. Unless the writing is good enough, it’s fraud to ask for payment.


If you’ve got an opinion on any of my thoughts on this topic, please comment.

Likewise, if there is an area you believe would make a good topic for an article, please say.