I’ve posted before about what I think the differences between porn and erotic romance are. Though it can get more complicated because it is so subjective, I think erotic romance has sex with a storyline and the sex should move the storyline forward. Porn is just sex with no story. Even erotica that’s not romance should have a storyline, and the sex should move that storyline forward. How much sex is too much or too little depends on the author and the reader.
This is just my opinion, and I know there are some who will disagree with me. I know people who believe that whether or there’s a storyline or not if the sex is to detailed…or too much…they consider that porn. I’ll never argue with them because no one’s really come up with a set definition of porn, so I just do what I think is best with my own fiction and I mind my own business. I also follow the guidelines of what most publishers consider taboo and I don’t cross those lines. The only time I get frustrated as a reader is when something is marketed and promoted as erotica or erotic romance and there’s either no sex, very little sex, or some kind of vanilla pg rated sex that’s being passed off to sell books. Then, as a reader, I feel frustrated. I would much rather know what to expect and not be disappointed one way or the other.
When I released two versions of “Chase of a Dream,” with and without sex scenes, I tried to cater to both groups. I also wanted to see if removing the sex scenes could actually be done without hurting the book. I found it not only can be done, but I only had to remove about 7,000 words from the book. I doubt I’ll be doing this again any time soon with erotic romance. One, because I don’t want to start self-censoring myself. And two, because I’m writing erotic romance and erotica and there are supposed to be sex scenes.
As I said, it’s hard to define what’s porn because so many have different opinions about it. But I’ve always been curious about it. When a friend sent me a link to that infamous alleged sex video with Colin Farrell recently, I was curious about it and I watched it in full. I’m not linking to it here because the woman in the video has already received more than what I consider her fair share of attention. And I don’t think Farrell ever wanted the video released in public. But it was interesting for me as an author who writes a lot of sex scenes because that video was a good example of what I consider porn. I’m not judging it. I’m just calling it that.
There was nothing romantic or emotional about it. And it wasn’t very good in more than one respect. The ridiculous woman in the video is either inept in bed or she wasn’t into Farrell, because I found myself eager to fast forward more than once. Actually, Farrell wasn’t bad at all and he lives up to his reputation. And though the things he did to the woman were far more detailed and accurate than what she did to him, it was enough to make any gay man scream and clamp his knees shut.
But I’m not reviewing Farrell’s alleged sex video here (I say alleged because who knows if it really was him…it sure looked like him, but I’m still not certain), and I’m not trying to define porn in a general sense. I’m just casting my own personal opinion about what I think the difference between erotic romance and porn is and anyone can feel free to disagree with me. I’ve always been open to discussion with this topic because I’ve always been so on the fence about it. In books, I just try to go with what I think the characters would do. If I think there should be a sex scene and it works with the story, I write it and I don’t hold back.
I can tell you one thing: not everyone agrees and I don’t think there will ever be a clear concise definition of porn…or even erotic romance for that matter. I posted about Levi Johnston’s Playgirl photos a while back and how Sarah Palin thought they were porn and he didn’t even show full frontal as far as I know. For Playgirl Magazine, I actually thought his photos were artistic.
I have been slammed more than once for writing sex scenes that some find too explicit, and sometimes I even understand where they are coming from. I’ve also written parodies of sex scenes that were intended to be funny and have been taken way too seriously…and I’ve always been stunned that someone would take them so seriously. I joked around once in a book about a burping penis and you’d be amazed at how seriously THAT was taken. There’s one sour old woman author who is still talking about it. But I’ve never tried to define either porn or erotica, and I’m not going to start now. And the only rule I have is that I try to stay away from people who do.