Topics: Erotica verus Romance

Intro

This week’s blog entry is not just a book review, but also more of a discussion of “porn erotica” and “literature erotica” (my terms).  Please note this is just my opinion and  the quotes and subject matter is quite explicit.

We have all heard phrases like “I don’t watch porn, but I know it when I see it.”  To some people a naked man might be art and others might see it as porn.  In 1989 there was huge controversy with the Robert Mapplethorpe, whose photos were controversial for their erotic nature.

So come back to the topic of erotica.  I have read some whose imagery is so visually barbaric that I flinched.  Other books might have graphic sex scenes but otherwise is well written and just as successful as any other “mainstream” novel.  Does my thinking that some erotica books are too graphic make them less of a valid expression of writing?  Let’s take a look for an example of erotica.  Yesterday I did a re-read of Ink Master by Frances Stockton.

Basic Plot: 

Cassie Williams has a twin sister (Allie) who was murdered by her boyfriend in a BDSM scene gone wrong.  Now Cassie is interested in Phalen Maddox who is a Dominant.  Can she trust him and fall in love?

That sounds rather tame, right?  Now, consider the basic plot redone in the two forms both accurate in their description of the plot but the tone rather different:

Porn Erotica:

Cassie yearns to learn more about the D/s world.  She meets Phalen, the Ink Master.  Can she allow herself to submit to his domination and learn to be the submissive he demands that she become?

Literature Erotica:

Cassie has long been tormented by the murder of her twin sister Allie.  Now that she is on her own, Cassie is drawn to a man who is so much like her sister’s boyfriend.  New to the BDSM world, Cassie learns that there is a possibility that Allie’s boyfriend did not commit the murder, but rather there is someone else out there might be stalking Cassie.  Can they find him before she becomes the next victim?

Porn Erotica (PE) versus Literature Erotica (LE)

Which category would I put Ink Master? The quick answer?  A little of both.  Erotica technically has more sex scenes to total number of pages, and those scenes might be more explicit or less traditional in content.  To me, PE has lots of sex, and those sex scenes are vulgar and not intrinsic to any development of either plot or relationship.  It almost feels to me as if the author attempts to shock or make a scene seem risqué.  The action is just an excuse to get to the sex.

One easy way to spot a porn erotica, is in the use of words and spelling and use of “orgasm” as “cum”.  While it might be technically more accurate than “come”, it just has such a crude feel to it.  It certainly gives me visions of porn movies rather than enlightened literature.  Is that a fair statement to say?  Maybe not, not all erotic romances have to have “cum” and it doesn’t mean that it is a bad book if it does.  But it certainly is a warning flag of possible badness to come.  Surely we could have come up with better wording and originality in writing.

Female Lead:

Cassie is beautiful and sassy, practically perfect in every way.  She immediately wants to be Phalen’s submissive and instantly falls in love with him.  She constantly makes love to him.  No wait, she constantly “fucks” him.  It’s “fuck me” here and “fuck me” there.  No making love or even having sex.

“Motherfuckinghell,” he cursed at how good his preacher’s daughter was at fucking. She’d been wasting her sexuality on denial for years.

Wow, what scintillating thought processes this illustrates.  This is such a bad stereotype of a preacher’s daughter gone wrong.  Reminds me of that late night TV ad for “Girls Gone Wild!”  I was just waiting for the screams and bead twirling on Bourbon Street.  Also, just because she is not having rampant sex with total strangers does not mean that she is “wasting her sexuality”.  Is there any character development?  Don’t hold your breath.

Male Lead:

Phalen, the former Special Forces Alpha male who is physically manly, strong and apparently has a huge penis!  Not to mention that he can constantly have erections and is the perfect lover.  I mean fucker.

He’d let her off the hook for the look she’d given him when she’d checked out his cock without permission.  She likely didn’t know she’d licked her lips.  She’d been that hungry for it.

So apparently Phalen is really one big hot stud.  This is the typical character development that we can expect in this book.

Theme Summary:  

Generally porn erotica doesn’t have much of a story line, but it usually will revolve around sex.  For relationship development in Ink Master, Phalen and Cassie have fallen instantly in love with each other and the perfect relationships.

Strong Points:

The suspense aspect of the book was quite interesting.  I enjoyed the relationships and dialogue between secondary characters.

What could be better?

What frustrated me about this book is that it straddled the fence in between porn and literature erotica.  It could have been so much better but it ended up feeling like glorified porn.  My biggest complaint other than the porn aspect was the depiction of the BDSM.  This seemed more to be a late night TV BDSM, not the deeply emotional and psychologically complex aspect of a BDSM relationship.

Conclusions:

Ok, but Bea, I’ve read books with plots and suspense and still had lots of sex.  What do you call that?  I call it literature erotica.  Two good examples of that is Lauren Dane’s Brown Siblings Series and Shannon McKenna’s McCloud Brothers Series.  Both have complex characters, thorough plot lines, and excellent writing quality.

As you can tell, I consider Ink Master porn erotica compared to literature erotica.  But, I will say that I have re-read this book several times, so there must be something about it that I find compelling.  Does this mean that I liked it?  Or that it was a good book?  When Phalen and Cassie were not constantly having perfect hot sex all of the time, I liked the writing style.  Phalen’s brothers and Alex were interesting characters and I wanted to learn more about them.  I usually just fast-forwarded through the sex scenes until I got to something plot related.

I suppose that the point of this blog entry is to consider the intended audience.  Some books are to be read as a light read, maybe to read before a date night as prep work.  So the key is, don’t judge a book by its genre and if you don’t like first book then there is another one that fits your tastes better.

Bea

Rating:  (Two Star)

5 thoughts on “Topics: Erotica verus Romance”

  1. […] I found that Erotica as a whole can be hit or miss when dealing with plot and character development.  There are some authors/series that I tend to call “porn erotica”, where there does not seem to be much point to the book other than sex.  Which is fine, but sometimes you are looking for more complexity.  This is where I found books that fall under that “literature erotica”, where my love of history and culture could find fulfillment.  See my article about erotica versus romance. […]

  2. I had a slight change of opinion on one of the topics discussed here. After reflection, I think the spelling of cum verses come is the right way to go. But I stand by the concept that there are classier ways of describing an orgasm.

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