Monday, March 1, 2010

Erotica vs. Pornography

Erotica is NOT pornography! Erotica is NOT pornography! Erotica is NOT pornography! Erotica is NOT pornography! Erotica is NOT pornography! Erotica is NOT pornography!

Erotica is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT pornography!

Got it?

Few people understand this. And as an erotic author I get this question more times that I can count!

So what is the difference between erotica and pornography? Well, if I could be so bold, I'd like to sum it up with a picture. As they say, a picture is a thousand allow me to demonstrate my point.

Erotica: has dirty words or graphic scenes, but the language is stylized and sensual. Like this photo here:

Now, this is a graphic picture, wouldn't you agree? Clearly, she's naked. Just as naked as the woman below her, but notice the difference here. This picture is an expression of something other than sex. We see her tits and pussy, but it is done in a stylized way and there's something deeper than just what we see on the outside. The lighting, the background, her pose, her hair--! Everything tells a story! It wasn't just slapped together, no, it was thought about and meticulously planned by the photographer... It's not what is shown, but how!

And she's quite lovely don't you think? She has a very mysterious expression. There's something for your imagination to work with.

Now observe the picture below and note the differences:

It appears to me that like the first picture, this photograph was done by a professional. Obviously she is posing, but look how she's posing. Is there anything left to your imagination in this photo? Not really. Not for me anyways.

Now, she's quite lovely too, but this picture screams PORN not art. This picture is about sex and nothing more. There's no mystery to this girl. Nothing deep or aesthetic. No character development. No dramatic arc. Just sex.

And that's NOT a bad thing! I'm not knocking porn or saying porn can't be artistic! But for the most directors aren't thinking about their "craft" when they do a shoot. They aren't even going for a coherent storyline.

And THERE'S the difference.

Erotica is like any other story...except it has sex in it. There's a beginning, middle, and end. There's a conflict and a resolution. It has heroines and heroes to drive the plot forward. Pornography is simply about sex. That's it. Usually there isn't a storyline, and if there is one, it doesn't make sense or it is poorly executed. Without the sex, the "story" could not stand on its own.

This isn't the case with erotica. Take away the sex and you get a sweet romance, or whatever sub-genre you were writing. Erotica is like any other genre except that it has sex in it! Sometimes...a lot of sex! But the fundamental plot is still there without all the sex scenes.


Robin Eduardo said...

TK, I'm not sure if you've read more of my own blog, but I have a piece up that I wrote and I also include the definition of erotica to help others who see erotica as being just "a dirty story". There is a huge difference between writing porn and writing erotica. Both are meant to stimulate, but one leaves everything up to the imagination and tells a story, where the other one spoon feeds you all of the details and there is not really much else left to imagination. Both may elicit the same response, however erotica is "high art" compared to it's "low brow" brother, pornographic literature. Check out my entry and tell me what you think?

TK Turner said...

Yes, I most certainly agree with you! And your blog entry explained it perfectly! :) Few people "get" there's an art to writing erotic literature! It's such a misunderstood genre!

I'm going to post a little more on the subject in a future blog post, but thank you for your comments!

Always glad to have visitors (and fellow authors) over for tea! Come back anytime!

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