Jul 6 2011 1:30pm

I Don’t Do Creamy: Why I’m Not a Fan of Erotica

Ice Cream Sundae by TheCulinaryGeek via FlickrBefore I started reviewing, I had never touched an erotica. Flash forward a few years and I have officially had my fill (no pun intended) of erotic novels. There are only so many cocks, heaving bosoms, and dripping orifices I can take.

I am a plot-based reader. Regardless of genre, I want a good plot I can follow along with. What I do not want to read is sex just to have sex. Most of the eroticas I have read seem to take this route: Characters meet, clothing falls off, they mount each other, and the plot disappears. That has always been my biggest complaint with erotica and why I really don’t review them or I stick to authors I’ve read before and enjoyed.

Don’t get me wrong, I have read some erotica that makes it a point to have a great plot and good sex. I have read some erotica I’ve loved, but for the most part, erotica doesn’t do it for me. I skip sex scenes in the Anita Blake series, so you can well imagine I am skipping a ton of pages in erotica.  I am all about that plot and while sex is great, I don’t need to read it every single chapter. I get it—they like sex, they’re compatible, but don’t saturate (again, no pun, I swear) me in it.

The sex doesn’t bother me so much; it’s the cheesy descriptions that do me in. Laving, heaving, dripping…just not attractive to me. But you all know by now, certain words squick me out. Hell, I don’t find most sex scenes visually appealing when I think about them, but erotica to me is over the top.

I am also a visualizer; when I read, I think over the scene in my head, and with erotica, I get easily distracted:

“How is that physically possible?” to “Ouch, she’s got to be drier than the Sahara by now”

And the descriptions of body parts, I’m telling you, if any man said he wanted to milk me like a cow, he’d be dead. DEAD. Moo?

I was sent one erotica by a friend that had me laughing so hard at the over-the-top descriptions, I was convinced I might pee myself. Comparing a vagina to a salmon is in no way attractive; why would anyone think it was?

While erotica is pretty popular, it’s not my bag. I’ve tried, I really have, but it just doesn’t do anything for me.

Am I alone? Do you read erotica for the sex or the plot or what? I want to know—heck, suggest some good ones for me, change my mind. But don’t send me anything with salmon. 


Natasha Carty reviews Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy on her website Wicked Little Pixie and lives in Toronto, Canada, with her cat, Seamus.

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Marisa O'Neill
1. MarisaONeill
Natasha - salmon? Did you say salmon? No wonder you're not a fan of erotic romance. Personally, I'm a big fan of any book that is good - and that includes erotica and erotic romance. While there are many bad erotic romances out there, there are some really good ones as well; but that's true of any book no matter what the genre.

I'm definitely a fan of erotic romance - but it MUST contain a plot, a good plot with great characters. Otherwise I'm out of there.

Some of my favorite authors in erotic romance who give equal weight to plot, sex, romance and characterization are:
Beth Kerry
Jaci Burton
Maya Banks
Lora Leigh

If you like your sex 'behind closed doors' then perhaps these authors may not be for you. But hey - different strokes... What I can say is sex for the sake of sex bores the crap out of me and that's why a good erotic or erotic romance novel has interesting characters that sustain a strong plot otherwise why bother?
Kiersten Hallie Krum
2. Kiersten
Nope, not alone. I don't naturally lean towards erotica, though just read Maya Banks' Sweet Possession the other night and though it was very hot, I was surprised to find it tagged "erotica" because it had such great character/relationship journey and plot.

Like you, I read sexual descriptions in erotica with a furrowed brow and variations on the following thoughts: Weren't they just - how the heck did they get into that position? How is her leg not cramping? Dude, four times?! Really?!

The genre seems a hit or miss for me. I try to go on recomendations to minimize the "what the?" factor
3. DiDi
I just stumbled into erotica about a year ago with Lora Leigh, then I found Lorelei James, I became addicted to her books. I ended getting a kindle and went through all of Lorelei James Rough Rider series. Then I started looking into more of Lora Leigh's books and found Maya Banks, once I went through all of theirs I started finding books on amazon and boy is there some horrible erotica out there. I then realized I want erotic romance, plots with steaming sex, not erotica sex just to have sex and no real story.

Lorelei James, Lora Leigh, Maya Banks, Cherise Sinclair, Melissa Schroeder, Vivian Arend, Olivia Cunning, Cheyenne McCray, Sophie Oak, Jianne Carlo, Jaci Burton, Jayne Rylon and Lauren Dane are some of my favorite erotic romance authors, they all have great stories with steaming sex. Not just sex, sex, sex...oh is there supposed to be a romance.....Lorelei James is my number one favorite, if you haven't read her, you should try her newest Chasin' Eight, it's part of her Rough Riders series but can be read as a stand alone.
4. StephTD
I use an ick meter to describe disgusting sex. And I read non-erotic for relief. But sometimes it's fan your self, do we have icewater handy, hot.

on the ick scale the highest was a book which shall remane unnamed. but it went:
Baby you're so hot, I've gotta come." he said, sending her over the
edge. He fucked her hard as she split open, muscles pulsing around his
assault. He spurted into her, bathing her with his love cream.

I swear, it was actually in a book from NetGalley. If words can make her orgasm her ears are in the wrong place!
5. Ridley
I'm sort of with you. All the Big Names in erotic romance - Maya Banks, Lora Leigh, Lauren Dane - bore me to tears. They write erotic romances in that way I detest. Instead of making sex and sexuality a crucial part of the romantic conflict, they just take a romance and smack a Now With 33% More Sex! label on the front. The extra sex is just that - extra. It doesn't move the plot forward or give the characters extra dimension, it just fills page space.

Good erotica and erotic romance should use sex as a storytelling tool, not as cheap filler or gratuitous titillation. So many authors write sex like a user's manual. I don't need to know what body part inserted where. I know where everything goes, thank you. Instead, they should be focusing on the characters' feelings and reactions as a way of showing us how sex effects how they feel about each other or themselves.

Without giving the, context and meaning, sex scenes are either boring as all get out or just for reading one-handed. And if you just want a masturbation fantasy, stroke fiction is free on the internet.

The erotica and erotic romance I've read and enjoyed includes- Cara McKenna's Willing Victim, Meghan Hart's Broken, Alison Richardson's The Countess Trilogy, Roxy Harte's Heart of Change and Victoria Dahl's The Wicked West.

I think I vastly prefer erotica to erotic romance because it avoids the whole romance + more sex pitfall. Since the whole point of erotica is a character's self-discovery through his or her sexuality, writing sex as extra padding doesn't work. You can't lean it on a plot because it *is* the plot. So, perhaps reading actual erotica, and not erotic romance, might work better for you in terms of relevant sex writing.
rachel sternberg
6. rae70
lol @ Kiersten!! I have been known to turn a book while reading it, trying to think how in the world are they getting into that position... if 1 hand is here and the other is over there, what the?!! I guess I like the descriptions leading up to the "act" and not the describing of the actual description of body parts pulsing or throbbing or creaming... ick!! It makes me want to run for the soap and water...
7. hrharris398
I used to read a lot of erotica novels, Lora Leigh being one of my favorite authors. I have turned away from reading erotica anymore because I find the sex far to distracting. I am always wondering when the clothes came off and how they ended on the bed when he just had her pressed up against a wall. I sometimes wonder what kind of imagination the auther has to come up with such dirty sex. I pretty much skip the sex anymore hoping for a better plot. I can only take so much before my mind feels like mush.
Kathy Kamrath
8. applik
I have enjoyed some of the erotica I have read , but I agree that sometimes it is over the top. I too have found myself skipping the sex scenes to just get on with the story! There has to be a good plot to keep me interested. I want to be thoroughly drawn into the story!
10. torifl
Salmon...really? Ewww. LOL
Carmen Pinzon
11. bungluna
I haven't seen Emma Holly mentioned. She was the first erotic writer I ever read and I very much enjoy all her books. While other erotic writers leave me cold, Ms. Holly has always been consistently engaging.
12. Maria L
Great article. I'm with you. If the hero and heroine are having sex on page two it's a DNF for me. I'm a relationship kinda gal - and if there's no relationship building I might as well put the book down and watch Reality TV.
13. rdsangel127117
Salmon? Oh ... that is disgusting! I've read erotic romance and it's the lack of story, plot and descriptive words that get to me. Sex scene after sex scene is boring. Why do we have to suffer one every other page? In those kinds of books, I've found myself wondering if the characters have time for anything else? If you have a book like that, you've basically wasted your money.

Like Maria L I love relationships. I want to know more about these two people before they take that ultimate step to express those feelings physically. They have to have substance. And those cheesy descriptive words? I don't think I've gotten used to those at all. I still have trouble with the word cock. There's just something about it that suggests vulgarity, more than the correct term of penis. I find it very offensive in any kind of romance. Maybe it's supposed to titillate, but it has the opposite effect on me. As soon as I see it, I kinda stall, have to re-read the scene, substitute the right word and barrel on. It stops me every time. I realize that's my hangup.

Why don't authors read some of these comments readers make and clean up their language in romance books? There are too many beautiful words in the English language to only use a few to describe a body part's functionality. Or maybe they just lack tact? If not tact, maybe it's just follow the leader? Sex is a part of romance yes, but not the only part. We need more of that romance to facilitate those beautiful love scenes. In other words give us more buildup of that romantic tension until we just can't wait for the hero and heroine to be together, lots of good story and maybe only a couple of love scenes. Now that makes any kind of romance the kind you can luxuriate in.
14. Redbee
I enjoy erotic fiction but agree with alot of the comments on here. I thoroughly enjoy Lorelei James' Rough Riders series but if you're not into non stop sex scenes then they are definitely not for you! Try Pamela Clare's I-Team series as her books are more about the journalists and indepth crime plots and the sex scenes are just a very small part of the relationships.
15. Charity Kase
Didi...You included Cheyenne McCray? Really?Talk about cheesy porn and lack luster writing. I agree with imagination, not glistening slits, bulging cocks, and retarded story lines from sad women who probsbly can't survive in the real world. Witches, cowboys... Enough! Those who don't have great sex, write about it... In this uninteresting manner. Whatever! I prefer REAL authors. REAL romance. Not cheesy porn. The End.
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