The Interesting Case of Erotic Romance vs Porn Fiction by Ryan Field

The Interesting Case of Erotic Romance vs Porn by Ryan Field

I won’t be linking to anything today because I’ve been wanting to write this post for some time. A conversation I had on Twitter earlier today prompted me to get moving on it and stop putting it off. I’ve mentioned the topic before, but I don’t think I’ve gone into any detailed explanations. And I think it’s important to do this sometimes so readers understand what often motivates authors who write erotic romance…or even erotica. We don’t do these things by accident. Also, let me make it clear this is my opinion and it’s what works for me as an author, and I feel this way about all erotic romance, not just gay erotic romance. If you don’t agree with me, I respect your right to do that.

Way back when in the earlier days of the Internet, when I subtitled the blog with this…A quiet blog that discusses LGBT issues, fiction, publishing, pop culture, and happily ever after romance books with naughty guys who always have strong stories…I didn’t do it by accident. I wanted to make a point of stating that there is a big difference between erotic romance and fiction that’s considered “porn.” “Strong Stories.” I’m not going to try to define porn here because even SCOTUS hasn’t done that yet, but the one definition of erotic romance I’ve always seen is that erotic romance is a book or story that contains sex and has a story line. A strong story line. In other words, if you take the sex out of any erotic romance the story should still be able to stand on its own. In most cases erotic romance authors work even harder with their story lines to offset the sex. Yes, there are books out there with just sex. They often call them erotic romance. I don’t. And neither do most of the erotic publishers or authors I know. The story is still the main focus.

For me, the sex in an erotic romance should move the *story* forward. I never thought of my stories as moving the sex forward. And I’ve gone to great lengths at certain times to prove this with my own books.

In book 2 of the Chase series, Chase of a Dream, I purposely…not by accident…released two distinctly different versions to the public with the intention of showing that an erotic romance can stand alone without the detailed sex scenes. Here’s a link to the version that I labeled “Unabridged.” That version contains the original sex scenes. As you can see from the cover below I even stated that clearly, on the cover, so there wouldn’t be any mistakes. Of course a few people made the mistake and I quickly exchanged the books for them so they could get what they wanted without have to go through a third party.

With that said, here’s another link the to version of Chase of a Dream that I released *without* sex scenes. I repeat, no explicit sex scenes. A PG rated gay romance. It was a matter of revising the unabridged version of about 7,000 words. That’s all. 7,000 words of sex were removed. The entire book is about 60,000 words. So you see where I’m going with that. If an erotic romance with explicit sex scenes only has 7,000 words of sex in it, there must be a storyline somewhere. More important, I didn’t consider this self-censoring because I wanted both versions out there so readers could decide which one they preferred. I wanted the readers to make their own choices. It was double the work, but I still think it was worth the time, effort, and expense to publish it both ways. As far as I know, no other erotic romance out there has been released with and without the sex scenes in two different versions.

Here’s the cover of Chase of a Dream without sex scenes. Again, as you can see I made this clear to the reader by stating “Abridged version does not contain strong erotic scenes.” There were still a few people who didn’t see that and I quickly exchanged the book for them. In most cases, ironically, where there was a discrepancy, the people who accidentally made the mistake wanted the version with sex.

And to take this just one step further, when I got the rights back from a book that was released about five years ago titled The Bachelor, I revised it completely, changed the cover, and then re-released it with a new title, Meadows Are Not Forever. That book always bothered me because I didn’t like what the publisher wanted with it. So I indie pubbed it myself and I think I improved it. The MOST significant thing with that book is that this time I did self-censor, admittedly, and I did it for a reason. I wanted that book to be out there *without* sex scenes because I never thought the story line needed the sex scenes. And I’m no prude, trust me. I just wanted that book to be a sweet little romance that talked about gay relationships where sex can be more of a problem than a solution. Here’s a link to that one.

One book reviewer almost made me cry when he wrote this:

This is the first book by Ryan Field I’ve read, and I have to say I’m very pleasantly surprised. In Meadows Are Not Forever he introduced us to a young man on the cusp of leaving the young stud age and moving into the mature, adult age because, gasp, he’s learning there is more to life than just SEX. I know, for some of you it maybe hard to believe, but it’s true! And like many of us when we made that transition he learns what is really important in life.

This reviewer has no idea how much that meant to me. He “got it” and I never had to explain a thing and didn’t have to go into detail about sex scenes. That almost never happens. 

What prompted me to write this post was a comment I saw on a tweet earlier today about erotic romance. It was done in jest and there was no harm intended. Someone said something to the effect of “That book has too much sex for me,” and then they joked about it in a friendly way. However, my reply was that you can always skip the sex scenes and there’s still a strong story line…or should be a story line. In fact, I could take each one of any of my books or stories, now in the hundreds, and revise them without sex at all and they could still stand on their own. When writers who understand what erotic romance is, and they’ve been doing it long enough, they are always thinking and planning ahead to make sure the story line is always more important than the sex scenes. I personally think the sex does, indeed, add to the stories and move them along…I also think it creates another level of reality in a world of fantasy that’s often necessary. I like to write sex scenes and read them. But the truth is they aren’t always needed. I know there are people who disagree with that, and I’m fine with that. However, that’s why I wanted to prove, instead of just talking about it blindly, that an erotic romance can stand alone without the sex scenes.

And if these books and stories can’t stand alone without the sex they aren’t erotic romances as far as I’m concerned. I’m not judging them, not by any means. I don’t care if an author wants to just write sex scenes and make them the story line. I think that’s wonderful and more power to them. But that’s just not how it works for me with erotic romance. I’m sure this won’t end the debate of erotic romance vs porn in fiction, however, at least I explained what motivates me when I either add, or remove, sex scenes from a book.

But most important, if there’s a strong story line readers can always skip the sex scenes in an erotic romance and still enjoy the book…or least they should be able to do that. The story should always come first. 

Gay Boyfriend "Twins"; "Fag" Cousin; Anal Cancer

Gay Boyfriend “Twins”

This one made me smile. Through the years Tony and I have known several gay couples who fall into this category: gay boyfriend twins. It’s not about incest. These guys aren’t related to each other. They are boyfriends who try hard to look like each other. The first year we were together Tony made a point of telling me he didn’t want us to ever look like “one of the Bobsie Twins.” At the time we knew a gay couple who wore the same outfits (always tight black shirts), the same shoes (black boots), and even wore their hair the same (too short, dyed black, and spiked)…like identical twins…and even though it’s not something that would have occurred to me I completely agreed with Tony on that matter.

This article explains it in more detail with photos:

We’ve all seen it happen. Two people start dating, and over the course of the relationship, they start to morph into mirror images of each other. It can be funny, sad, hot — it all depends, really.

But did you know there’s a blog that chronicles this phenomenon? The aptly named BoyfriendTwin Tumbler is just chock full of wonders.

You can read more here. The comments get a little snarky, too. This one seems to have hit a nerve.


Side note: most of the gay couples we’ve known over the years do NOT do this. They don’t dress like twins, and make a point of it. The ones who do dress like twins are usually the ones you run from at parties.

“Fag” Cousin

This guy’s cousin came out to him on social media…my nephew did the same with me on Facebook. This guy claims he wasn’t shocked…I was stunned. I really didn’t have a clue. But then I didn’t know my one brother was gay until I ran into him in a disco in New York.

In any event, it’s an interesting story about how their relationship as gay cousins devolved over time. From the way it sounds the younger cousin who came out on social media felt as if the older cousin was trying to mold him into being the gay man everyone expects…the typical South Beach gay man. It didn’t work because the younger cousin wasn’t into any of that, and the two cousins wound up drifting apart for obvious reasons.

When I moved to New York my relationship with Juan took a turn for the worst. My other cousin, Raul, came to visit. I hadn’t spoken to Juan in a few months and asked how he was doing.

“Dude,” Raul told me. “You know he doesn’t like you. He was talking mad shit about you the other day and I swear to God I wanted to punch him.”

I was floored. “What do you mean? What did he say?”

“He said: ‘There are two types of gay men in this world. Ones like me and fags like Paul.’”
It’s interesting to me because my one gay brother has always been a circuit queen. I’d rather eat dirt than follow a bunch of dizzy queens in skinny jeans to Spain looking for the disco ball. I’d rather go skiing in Vermont than clubbing in South Beach. We are complete opposites in many respects, and I think too much alike in others. It’s taken years for our relationship to reach a point of ease…the best word I can think of because we never argue…so just because two family members are gay doesn’t mean it makes anything easier. My relationship with my straight brother is much easier, and we tend to agree more on everything (the other gay brother is awkward with him, too). It’s interesting. 

Anal Cancer 

There’s a campaign moving forward about the growing awareness of anal cancer among gay men. It’s called “Behind Closed Drawers.” 

“A growing number of physicians and health activists recommend that all men who have sex with men, especially those who are HIV-positive, be tested every one-to-three years depending on their immunological well-being and CD4 count,” organizers said in a statement. “They suggest that HIV negative individuals be tested every three years. This work is important, because most people know little about anal cancer, have never been tested for it, and don’t know that screening tests exist.”
You can read the rest here. They’re asking for help and there’s information there on how to do it. I don’t know much about this type of cancer so I can’t comment. 

I think this comment from the thread about HPV is interesting.

The key thing that is not made clear from this article and much of the coverage you see around is that the vast majority of Anal cancer is caused by HPV infection (Human Papilloma Virus) – so it is a sexually transmitted disease. It is the exact same virus which causes the majority of Cervical Cancers in women. Anal Cancer is just as nasty and aggressive as Cervical Cancer, and if you have a screening programme available to you, you should take it up because getting to it early makes a huge difference.

And there is a myth that if you don’t have genital warts, you don’t have HPV – you can be infected with HPV and never know it. 

You can also be vaccinated against HPV. In the USA, all gay and bisexual men up to the age of 26 can be offered HPV vaccination (and all other men up to the age of 21). In the UK there is currently no vaccination of men but you can request it. The message is clear: if you’re gay or bisexual, take part in screening and get vaccinated if possible.

I like to make a point of letting readers know this book was released in two versions, one with strong sex scenes, one without. This is the PG rated version and runs about 52,000 words. It’s .99.

Chase of a Dream PG-Rated Version


Amazon Reader Review:

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very very good read & very romantic, September 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This book was a great read and I like the austhor’s writing style. I couldn’t put the kindle down once I began the read.Most reads coming available are so like each other once you read one other authors seem to copy situations and language from each other. Ryan Field should use this novel as his best, hope he continues to produce such good reading.