When does romance cross the line into erotica?

A reviewer asked that very question after reading Holding out for a Hero and Surviving her Dominant and I came up with the very informative answer of ‘I don’t know.’

You have your ‘sweet’ romance, the Christian and YA romance, which are love stories with no bedroom action at all and then you have ‘hot’ romance where the characters get up to a lot of rough and tumble between the sheets (or even not between the sheets and just ANYWHERE!)

So, what’s the different between ‘hot’ romance and erotica?

Basically, it’s the story—or so I’m told.

Romance has more plot and often, a happy ever after, and if the sex was taken out, the plot would stay the same. But if you removed the sex from an erotic novel, you’d lose the essence of the book completely.

Lainy Swanson from a Bunch of Book Bloggers believes as soon as there are graphic sex scenes then it’s erotica. She says, ‘Everyone counts Mills and Boon as romance and there is usually some kind of scene, confined to one page (it has been a while since I read one) but the rest of the book has more focus on the build-up of the relationship/romance. I think once it gets into the sexy details it turns to erotica.’

But what do you think? I’d love to know! Could it be that certain sexual positions or sex acts make you think it’s erotica? Or could it be words that the author uses i.e cock, orgasm? Or is it just personal?

Along with your comments, feel free to add your book links for an add to Book Junkies.

T E Kessler

Amazon| Book Junkies library   

4 thoughts on “When does romance cross the line into erotica?

  1. Worse, once a book is classified as erotica on Amazon, it becomes almost invisible. It’s no longer included in any of the lists Amazon shows you nor in any search results (say if you search “gamer girl” and “slow burn” you will not get any books classified as erotica by Amazon even if the author identifies their book as having those elements). Readers can only find the book by searching that specific title and author. It’s book death. And a form of censorship I really despise.


  2. I think it’s the focus. If the focus of the book is on the sex, with plot and/or relationship between the characters a secondary consideration (or not present), it’s more easily classified as erotica.
    If the focus of the book is the relationship between the romantic couple (or trio or group, whatever) overcoming whatever they need to overcome to reach their HEA, then it’s more easily classified as romance.
    The line is blurry. Amazon evidently has a 10% rule. If 10% or more of the book is devoted to sex scenes, then it’s erotica. I think that’s an arbitrary rule, because I’ve read books where a strong, non-romantic plot was developed through sex scenes (I’m thinking of the Only Human series by Candice Blevins in particular), but it’s also fair to say that there are exceptions to every rule.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, the lines are very blurry. It’s a shame because as soon as the book is classified as ‘erotica’ some people immediately think it’s poorly written (usually it’s those who’ve never read eroticia). I’d not heard of the 10% rule. That’s interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

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