Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What's Erotica and What's Not?

A few years back I was blown away by an interesting contemporary romance that revolved around weight, Heavy Issues by Elle Ayecart.  The book was classified as erotica, a classification that perhaps Loose ID, the publisher, probably tagged it.

Like Deep Down, the latest Ayecart, the designation of erotica bothers me because so many of the Regency romances I was reading at the same time I read Heavy Issues were as erotic if not more so.  At the time I wasn't quite sure what made erotica erotica.  Now I'm even less sure.

The sex scenes in Deep Down are no more detailed or lusty than those found in the run-of-the-mill contemporary or historical romance.  If plot and not sex is the issue, then again erotica, at least Ayecart's erotica, is less erotic than every other romance published today.  Deep Down features the same angst-ridden couple who share a Big Misunderstanding.

In fact, the only thing that separates Deep Down from probably every other lusty contemporary or historical today is the trio of grandmothers, whose sometimes nearly slapstick antics lighten the otherwise fairly typical plot.

I'm wondering if erotica is a subgenre of the past.  Has its time come and gone already?

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