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Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Difference between North & South

*** Before we get to the blog, let me seduce you with a contest. Anyone who comments on this post is entered. Winner chosen randomly with her choice of prize. Choice of prizes below.

Now, let’s get to it.

No, this blog isn’t about a geography lesson. What I’m referring to in the title is the difference between the brain (up North) and the groin (down South) when it comes to sex and most of all romance.

As some of you already know, I’m one of the co-hostesses at The Romance Room. During the last couple of days, I’ve had many authors write that they didn’t understand or didn’t see the difference between erotica and erotic romance.

Well, I’m here to educate them and anyone else who cares to listen that there is a HUGE difference between the two.

In erotica, it’s all about the sex – as ribald, frequent, and unusual as the writer can make it. What plot there is will be minimal. For example, the heroine may be a woman who’s been sexually repressed and is now on a journey to discover her inner vixen. In that kind of tale, romance isn’t a necessary component. Attraction and lust with the partner or partners is what it’s all about. This is what I call a groin-driven story…the action is South of the navel. It doesn’t reach the head and certainly never comes close to the heart. Some readers might liken it to porn.

On the other hand, erotic romance is romance no matter what you’ve heard to the contrary. There’s a love story, an emotional connection between two (and sometimes more) people. They ache for each other, you feel their pain when they’re separated, you’re cheering them on through the plot’s pitfalls and always rooting for an HEA, which you’ll get. This type of story starts in the brain (our biggest sex organ), travels to the heart then finally reaches the groin.

The only difference between erotic romance and a sweet love story is that there are explicit sex scenes in the former. Scenes, I might add, that enrich the story. If they’re gratuitous, they won’t satisfy readers and all erotic romance writers know that. So the scenes are woven into a complex set of circumstances that culminate in the expression of love between the characters. In other words, they’re like the best parts of real life.

I’m always puzzled by writers who dismiss erotic romance as something tawdry. Why? Because it explores the physical drive that’s so much a part of all of us? I find that rather arrogant. We’re all sexual creatures. IMHO, nothing is as comforting as the scent, texture and warmth of a lover’s skin, arms wrapped around willing bodies, gentle breaths tickling necks and ears and the full expression of passion while making love.

Trust me, it takes a lot of skill to write those scenes in a believable and moving fashion. It takes heart and thought to get them right.

Erotic romance is a fuller, richer more intense peek into the world we all live in or hope to live in.

So hug an erotic romance author today and tell her that you finally understand the difference between what she writes and straight erotica. She’ll be grateful you did.

*** Now to my contest. Simply leave a comment on this post or on today’s blog at my site and you’re entered. Winner gets her choice of one of my highly-praised books, including:

1. Adored – ebook
2. Deep, Dark, Delicious – ebook
3. Close to Perfect – mass market paperback
4. Bad Boys with Red Roses – trade paperback
5. Take My Breath Away – trade paperback

Details/covers/blurbs/excerpts on all of the above can be found at

(If winner is from the continental US, she gets her choice of any of the books. A winner outside the continental US gets her choice of one of the ebooks)


Amber Skyze said...

Great post, Tina! It's always nice to talk about the differences. Too many people shy away thinking its porn.

Tina Donahue said...

You're right, Amber. And it's not. It's good romance. Hopefully, this post will clear up a lot of the misconceptions about erotic romance.

April Ash said...

Thanks for posting many people don't understand the difference! Erotic romance has a plot, romance and not just sex for the sake of sex. Erotic romance is NOT's a love story with a HEA ending readers want to relate to.

Katalina Leon said...

Wonderful post Tina! This is an important topic to understand and conquer especially in our industry if not the rest of life. There is a big difference between erotica/porn and erotic/romance.
Erotica/porn does not foster tender feelings or look for common ground between partners. It’s a purely physical focus.
Romantic/Erotica focuses on the sexual side of emotional bonding. It's the ultimate honoring of the call to life. In my opinion emotional intention is the big difference between porn and Romantic/erotica. They are not the same thing at all.

Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

Great explanation, Tina. Erotic romance is the most difficult genre I've tried to write.

Tina Donahue said...

So true, April - hopefully this post will clear up the difference for some readers. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Hey, Kat - couldn't have said it better myself. I don't understand the aversion some of the public have to erotic romance. Sexuality is so much a part of life. Sometimes, the best part. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Me, too, Marie-Nicole. Maybe it's because the best erotic romance starts in the brain and it's more difficult to convey thoughts/emotions than to simply describe action.

Cathy M said...

Great descriptions, Tina. I adore reading erotic romance, and appreciate the skill and imagination that is required to balance the erotic component with a well written storyline.

The added intensity and connection of the characters packs an emotional punch that is addictive, and I am so hooked.

Keep them coming, I am a big fan.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Christine H said...

Hi Tina!! Great post!
Just wanted to come out and support ya. I've got or read all those books so don't enter me in the contest. Although I'm ready for the new one. Almost time to buy my ereader. Still thinking of going with a sony but the husband is wanting the Apple i pad now. We'll see. Have a great day!!

~ Christine

s7anna said...

Hey Tina,
You've brought up a really important topic today...there are still so many people who label erotic romance as porn which always just gets my goat. I love a good love story and if there's a great deal of heat...well that only makes it that much more awesome. As much as I love erotic romance, I don't enjoy reading erotica...I find it lacks emotion and is too cold...


Anitra Lynn McLeod said...

Great post, Tina! I'd like more understanding about what I write--and more hugs. You can never have enough hugs. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Hey, Cathy - good to see you here and I'm glad you undertand and enjoy erotic romance. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Christine - is it never gonna be your birthday, hon, so you can get your ereader? You must be bouncing in place waiting! :)

Tina Donahue said...

I with you on erotica, Anna. If there isn't an emotional connection between the characters, I figure why bother?

Tina Donahue said...

I so agree with you, Anitra - writers need hugs badly! :)

Paris said...

Fabulous post and I wish more people understood this genre. Maybe after reading your post they will!

Carol L. said...

Great post Tina, so many people put erotica and porn in the same line. Thanks for showing the difference.
Carol L.

Tina Donahue said...

Hey, Paris, hope they do understand by now. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Hey, Carol - who's the hot guy in your icon box? Wow, what a doll!

stacey said...

I would read Erotic way more then i would ever read Erotica i like a story a connection to the characters.


stacey said...

I would read Erotic way more then i would ever read Erotica i like a story a connection to the characters.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your post and hope that it will inspire more people to talk about the difference between erotic romance and erotica. I used to get the two genres mixed up and still see erotic romances listed under erotica at some online bookstores. This post will help so many people that are looking for a romance story, but are unsure about the difference between the terms erotic and erotica.

Tina Donahue said...

Totally agree with you Stacey - it's all about the connection and the characters, not necessary the sex. That's a bonus. :)

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Leni. Too bad we can't come up with completely different titles for the two so readers wouldn't be so confused.

Tina Donahue said...

And the winner of yesterday's post is (drum roll)



Carol, I'll be emailing you in a sec to ask you which of my books you want. :)

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