Over the past few weeks we've been reading submissions for our current open submission call (which you can check out here). It's interesting to see what various authors consider erotic, and with that in mind, we thought we would discuss some different classifications of erotica.
Porn: This is the category favored by author Gio Lassater, with whom we have been working closely while she finishes the first draft of the first novella in an upcoming trilogy. Porn is what you think it is. It exists solely for the titillation of the reader. It depicts graphic descriptions of sex, and it may also contain adult language. There is almost no character development, and characters exist solely for the acts they engage in. This category will most likely offend the more mainstream reader.
Erotica: The characters are on a journey of exploration and development, but there is not necessarily a romantic relationship involved. There are most likely depictions of graphic sex scenes, but the characters don't necessarily exist for the sole purpose of having sex. There can be character development and adult language. This category might offend the mainstream reader.
Erotic Romance: This focuses on the development of a romantic relationship, and the sex scenes are inherently necessary for the story. However, the sex scenes are going to be more tame than in the two categories above, and the usage of adult language is not as prevalent in this category. Most mainstream readers will not be offended by erotic romance.
Romance: Sex isn't an inherent part of the story or the character development, and if the sex scenes are removed, the story doesn't suffer from it. There is almost no adult language, and the sex scenes may be more metaphorical or implied than in the above categories. This is what mainstream readers indulge in most often, and they'll find it inoffensive for the most part.
So, there you have it. Each of us have different tastes when it comes to erotica, and we read different categories at different times and for different reasons. We hope this will help anyone interested in submitting to our open call or to our general submissions. As always, if you have questions, we'll gladly answer any you may have.