Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Erotic Romance vs. Erotica: What’s The Difference?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the two sensual genres that have become more popular since the rise of Fifty Shades of Grey. In order to distinguish the difference between erotic romance and erotica, the best place to start is to define what makes up a romance novel.

There are certain necessary components for a book to be considered a romance novel or novella. The Romance Writers of America (RWA) says a romance novel must have two things: “a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.” That ending is often called a “happily ever after” (HEA).

Now that we’ve established the requirements of a romance novel, let’s take a deeper look at two genres that many people lump together.

There is a misconception that both erotic romance and erotica lack a compelling love story, and only describe kinky sex and hot men. This is just not true. There are stark differences in the genres. Erotic romance has the foundation of a captivating love story, takes the reader into settings that may be public or private with kinky or not-so kinky graphic sex, and has a happily ever after ending. Erotic romance is a romance novel by all definitions of the genre.

On the other hand, erotica describes the act of sex itself and doesn’t have to have a story attached to the sex. Erotica can have a love story, but there is nothing requiring its authors to produce one. There can be a satisfying and optimistic ending, but again, that is solely up to the discretion of the author. There is no guarantee of an HEA and a central love story like there is in erotic romance.

What does erotica share in common with erotic romance all the time? The answer is smoking hot, graphic descriptions of characters in a variety of sexual acts and lifestyles.

Erotic romance is not erotica, even though they are often grouped as one in the same.

About author Anna Lores

Anna started writing erotic romance as a by-product of insomnia. After a year of late night reading, she borrowed her son’s laptop and set about breathing life to her very own characters. A month later, she was surprised with a new laptop to pursue her dreams.
With a B.A. in English Literature and a desire to fill her world with wonderful stories she and her close friends could not just talk about, but gush over, Anna shed her job as mom of three in the midnight hours and began a journey into the publishing world.

Now, Anna is living her dream as a multi-published author of five contemporary and paranormal erotic romances with many more to come.

Looking for Anna Internationally?


Anna Lores said...

Thank you for having me on the blog talking about my favorite genre, erotic romance, and what makes it a "romance."

Jennifer Wilck said...

Thanks for the explanation. I have to be honest, I never knew the difference. Good luck with your books!

Ilona Fridl said...

Great post, Anna! I write sex scenes into my books, but I never considered myself as an erotica writer. In my stories sex is just one part of the scenes. I tend to consintrate on all aspects of the relationship.

Anna Lores said...


Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm glad you learned what makes erotic romance different from erotica :)

Anna Lores said...


Thanks! The genres get confusing. I'm glad I could help clarify the difference. Erotic romance is a romance novel that takes the reader deep into the bedroom with plenty of graphic descriptions of sex enhancing the central love story AND concludes with an HEA :) It's a wonderful genre for romance readers who like to add some spice to their reading!

Charlie Davidson said...

The sex must be real and dirty, because that's how sex is in real life, but there must be purpose or point to it and there must be a central love story with a happy ending. I don't like BDSM or any literary effort that downgrades women at all. I like bizarre and spice, but there must be love and as I said a Hollywood ending.

Cathrine Goldstein said...

Nicely written and very informative! Thanks for the info!