Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Earn my submission or bite me! #erotica vs #romance

This week's Thrusty Thursday post is a little early. But I have a book release on Friday, so I decided to post this today.

Also it's not a book review. Well, not it the normal sense. Still, It was triggered by a book I read recently. So while I'm not going to mention the actual title, I want to discuss the content.

It's no secret that as well as other romance categories, I read erotic romance and erotica. And for those who don't know the difference between the two, I'll help you out.

Wikipedia has a good definition of Erotic Romance: 

"Erotic romance novels are stories written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction.[1] The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and couldn’t be removed without damaging the storyline."

It goes on to say that...

"Erotic romance novels have romance as the main focus of the plot line, and they are characterized by strong, often explicit, sexual content.[3] The books can contain elements of any of the other romance subgenres, such as paranormal elements, chick lit, hen lit, historical fiction, etc. In fact, many erotic romance novels are often categorized by one of the categories already defined in the industry.

Erotic romance novels take the reader beyond the bedroom door where more traditional romance does not breach that barrier. The sex scenes, while explicit, are there for the purpose of character development."

Passionate Ink describes Erotica as "stories about the sexual journey of the characters and how this impacts them as individuals. Emotion and character growth are important facets of a true erotic story. However, erotica is NOT designed to show the development of a romantic relationship, although it is not prohibited if the author chooses to explore romance. Happily Ever Afters are NOT an intrinsic part of erotica, though they can be included."

Maree Anderson's Porn vs Erotica vs Erotic Romance post states the differences clearly in my book.
She wrote and I agree "For me, the key points when defining erotica are emphasis on a “sexual journey” or “sexual exploration”, rather than emphasis on a developing relationship. And for those readers expecting a traditional “And they lived happily ever after”? Well, don’t hold your breath. It’s more likely to be an “Oh yeah, baby! I’m sexually satisfied and rather happy…. For now.”"

In my head these differences are clear. So as a reader it really annoys me when an author masquerades erotica as erotic romance and I feel cheated.

I recently bought a book marked as contemporary romance. As I read, the hero and heroine seemed to tumble from one sexual encounter to the other, which I didn't mind, as I thought it was an erotic romance.

However, halfway through the story when I was expecting to see some 'romantic development' between the two, the hero sets the heroine up with 3 of his friends without her prior knowledge, in a scene that includes very dubious consent, coerced bondage and forced submission.

And I was left thinking, "Hello! Where is the romance?"

Don't get me wrong. It is obvious the story was about the sexual journey of the characters rather than the development of a romantic relationship between them. This scenario works perfectly well in an erotica story. And if I knew that was what I was buying I would've been perfectly happy.  

But in a romance, erotic or not, I draw the line at forced submission, puh-lease. There is nothing romantic about tying a woman up against her wishes and displaying her for the pleasure of your friends. She's never been in a ménage, didn't have a safe word and when she said no, it was ignored.

I personally think like for respect, submission should be earned not forced. You shouldn't bully your sub. She/he should submit freely not by coercion. Otherwise it's not romance.

Come on, people. What do y'all think? Am I wrong here? Where do you draw the line between romance and erotica? I'd love to know what you think.