A while back I chatted with a university prof who studies
women's issues and pop culture, a smart, personable, way-reasonable lady. A strong romance fiction supporter, she says
she's got no beef with describing erotic romance as porn.
While the First Amendment-huggin' part of me likes her idea of not demonizing adult entertainment - and allowing chicks the right to revel in depictions of sexuality for the simple sake of libidinal arousal - I think erotic romance and adult entertainment generally fulfill entirely different, n'er-the-twain-shall-meet needs...
Even when we dress up adult film in "story" -- the newer
"women's erotica" films, for example, in which we view a couple having sex
interspersed with B roll of their clothed selves telling their "how we met" stories --
we're still watching the flick simply to experience sexual
We also read erotic romance novels (erom) expecting to become aroused. In erom, scenes of sensual and sexual play occur frequently and generally are depicted with graphic language and imagery .
Yet the erom fan also demands sex in the erotic romance be linked inextricably with the formation and growth of an intense emotional bond between the lovers depicted. Sensuality in erotic romance necessarily moves the story forward as partners use their sexual exploration to build relational connectivity in the same way sexual tension and relational interaction is used in less-sensual romances.
That said, don't think for a moment I and others don't turn to favorite erotic romances the way some guys I know seek out certain Jenna Jameson downloads. I mean, there are 30 or 40 strategically dog-eared pages of Emma Holly's upcoming "Kissing Midnight " that I regularly reach for in ways that probably would alter anybody's definition of the term comfort read.
But here's the rub, as it were: I may get off on the scenes, but I've already absorbed the love story Holly's laid out for me, how the shape-shifting vampire hero's adored the heroine for years, how his rapacious craving for her is heightened by the way her humanity affects his newly awakened ability to fiercely love a being other than his adopted children.
And if you read romance, you dig just how much more sexy that makes Edmund Fitz Clare and anything he and his big ‘ol vampire body can do to a woman.
So, if we can pull out of context and read a scene from an erotic romance and get hot, and we use porn for the same reason, aren't they one and the same? I asked this question of author Portia Da Costa, an author whose exceptional work is influential in the worlds of American as well as British erotic romance.
"Basically," says Da Costa, "I just let people classify books and stories how they want to, and as long as they're enjoying what they read in the way they want to enjoy it, I'm happy with that."
Quite reasonable, considering how we've talked around Unabashedly Bookish of lines between genres and subgenres blending. In Portia's case, you can make your own call when you check out an 18+ only excerpt from Portia's delicious upcoming erom, "Kiss It Better ." But I predict you'll get a grand idea of how erotic romance weaves a spell of sensuality with a promise of the relational commitment that will develop through sexual exploration.
Yikers. I may have confused rather than clarified the porn vs erotic romance debate. But let's review anyway: Love develops when partners connect emotionally and experience relational growth toward commitment while exploring joyfully shared sensual pleasure.
Yeah, my thoughts exactly; romance is just so unrealistic.
If they both are created to get you hot, are porn and erotic romance the same beast? How do they differ? What do you love about erotic romance? What are some of your faves?