Professionally written Erotic Romance is just like any other Romance novel only with the sex still in it. And a beautifully written sex scene that rises organically out of the story is a thing of beauty. It flows with a life and an excitement all its own, but it never strays from the flow of the story. The reality is we all have sex in real life. So, why are we so afraid of it in stories or on television or in the movies?
We’ve been conditioned since childhood to be ashamed of our naked bodies and scared of sex because it’s a sin and it’s evil. The reality is that’s complete crap. Our bodies are not dirty or evil. People can do evil things with their bodies (like killing someone) but bodies themselves are beautiful and natural. Great Erotic Romance stories do what any other great story does. It takes you on a journey and transforms you. You live vicariously through the story. Maybe you even connect with the main character or want to become the main character. It takes you to another world and allows you to escape from yours for a while. That’s a powerful impact on your psyche and an extremely healthy way to use your imagination.
Now, I said the short answer is no. The longer answer is... maybe. Poorly written Erotic Romance is worse than porn because if doesn’t make sense on the screen you can still tell people are having sex. It may be boring or pointless but it’s still there. When the story is poorly written nothing makes sense. Not the sex scenes, the non-sex scenes. It just becomes a mess. What’s become interesting about this genre is how fast it’s growing. The sex industry itself has exploded in no small part to COVID. People were left with little to no income, so they turned to what commodities they had left. For many it was sex hence the massive increase in homemade porn and OnlyFans pages on Twitter and erotic content on places like Subreddit and Literotica. It’s been spouting like weeds for months and shows no sign of slowing down.
The Erotic Romance short story and novel market is no different. It exploded first with M/F stories and then M/M became so popular some publishing house created their own publishing division just for LGBTQ-based erotic romance stories. The funny part is the buying market is made up of about 90-95% women, the majority of whom are white. And the demand continues to grow. And this demand has led to more and more people self-publishing their stories through online retailers like Amazon or Smashwords. Medium is also making a major push right now for erotic short stories and that market is taking off. Short stories also extremely popular on Amazon.
The problem with this much content is that a lot of it isn’t particularly good. It’s not written well. The stories are either half-developed or convoluted and the sex scenes are either poorly written, not realistic or are just out of place in the story. A lot of newer authors don’t take the time to fully edit their work or get it beta read by other readers for constructive feedback.
I have written twelve novels and four short stories. The short stories and four of the novels are Erotic Romance. The remaining eight novels range in genre from Adult to Young Adult to Satire. I have not published a single one of them yet because I want to be sure they are the best they can possibly be before I stick my name on them. Does that guarantee my novels will be great and will sell like wildfire? Not a chance.
And even if they are great, it doesn’t guarantee they will sell like wildfire. That requires a great deal of marketing and buildup before release to make sure people are excited to see it. It also takes a lot of luck and perseverance and footwork that has nothing to do with writing.
But at the end of the day, it all comes back to the story. If you don’t have a strong story and characters your readers can relate to, it doesn’t matter whether there are sex scenes in your story or not. It isn’t going to sell, and it will look a lot like porn. Bad porn.