As far as personal tastes go, I understand that everyone is different. Most people are into sports and that is something I couldn’t care less about. There are people who feel the same way about my books and the fantasy genre as a whole. I respect there are different hobbies and different points of view. That is what makes us human. However, there is one thing in the literary world that particularly bothers me, the attempt to claim that erotica is not pornography.
The last sentence of the previous paragraph undoubtedly raised the ire of a few. Questions such as “how can you claim to be respectful of other people’s interests and make that claim?” For me it’s simple. I am a logical person. As the old saying goes if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. On twitter especially I have seen erotica authors (which seem to be a dime a dozen on there) make various impassioned arguments that erotica isn’t porn at all.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines porn as “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.” That sounds a lot like erotica. After all, what is the point of a story that primarily centers around sex if not for the soul purpose of arousal? Sex by itself is not a plot, other plot elements may be intertwined with the story, but if that was the focus it would cease to be erotica.
I bring this up because all other genres may not be enjoyed by all people. I don’t particularly fancy romance, but at the end of the day it is still art. That is what sets erotica apart from all other genres. Strictly speaking, erotica isn’t art, it’s porn. A quick search into the definitions of the two clearly makes a distinction. This isn’t about me pushing my morality onto others or to insult those who read erotica, but I want us to drop the pretense that it is some sort of extreme romance and not functionally a literary version of late night Pay-Per-View.
I believe this is an important topic to discuss. Especially considering the popularity of the genre and recent scientific findings of what porn does to the human brain. As always though, anyone reading this is welcome to disagree. I encourage everyone to research it themselves. Especially the effects of porn and the differences between porn and art. From my point of view the evidence is undeniable, but of course there are those who feel passionately that I’m wrong.