Erotica vs Porn vs Sex

When is it that erotica becomes pornography? When is it appropriate to introduce sex in some form to a story? And why is it necessary to speak about sex at all?

These and many other questions can plague a writer who chooses to write in a format that would be considered uncensored. Now, when the world says uncensored it means sex. Not horror, or blood, or murders, or any form of violence. None of these things hit anyone’s thoughts when the word uncensored is used. Nope, sex is the thing which pops into someone’s mind when you say uncensored.

Which is why we dropped the word from our website. We dropped any mention of the word, but do we censor our writers? No, we don’t. Why? Because I want the writers to feel the freedom of the press. The true freedom to write the story as they feel it.

If this means the story contains graphic violence, then so be it. The same with terror, horror and anything else which the world wants filtered from books. I feel people believe freedom of the press means they, the always popular they, can say anything they want but no one else should. It is a lot like racism these days. No one on the planet is a racist except a white man. Hardly true, but it is the perception created by the media these days.

Now perception is an incredibly powerful tool. Which leads me back to erotica versus pornography versus sex. The world right now is awash with singular distinctiveness over a person’s sexuality. God knows we have enough initials out there now. LGBTQAA+. Or something like that. Believe me when I tell you I am rather tired of having everyone’s particular letter shoved down my throat.

Why? I don’t really care. I don’t. I am not having sex with you, so I don’t need to know anything about your sex life. But people do, don’t they? People live on the edge for who is having sex with who. Which makes books based upon the subject very interesting, and extremely profitable.

Look at the book Fifty Shades of Grey. A book about bondage and submission and all those fetish subjects most people don’t want to talk about but secretly want to know something about. Then there were all those Anne Rice books written under pseudonyms. Her BDSM stories about Sleeping Beauty are some of the best written erotica ever published.

Which leads me once again back to erotica versus pornography versus sex – period. When is each required and what defines them as a whole? So how do we decide when each is needed as a publisher?

There are many answers to this question. However, for me, it is all about the story. If sex is the main theme of the story, then is it represented as eroticism or porn. Erotica is legal but porn isn’t. Even in today’s world of easy access porn on the internet, it is still illegal in some places, more places than you can believe actually.

So, is your story pornography?  The definition of pornography boils down to anything which produces a sexual feeling or provides a representation of sex in any form. In many definitions, the word erotic or erotica is used to define porn.

Nor does it matter if romance is a part of the erotica. As long as the material written can be considered capable of producing sexual feelings or urges then it is classified as pornography. Which has always astounded me since my ex-wife used to read books labeled as romance. Deep literature I never knew possessed more hardcore representations of sex than I got from looking at Playboy. I mean these books could and do give modern versions of porn a run for their money.

So why leave the sex in if it is meant to be a classical romance? Because sex sells. Lady Chatterley’s Lover made a fortune. It was scorned, placed on banned books lists and spoke of as an affront to decent people’s lives, but it sold to those very same people screaming about how nasty it was. In fact, the book is considered a classic now.

I have read the book. I try to read all banned books. I want to understand why they would be banned. In the United States we have the freedom to say or write whatever we want. Why ban a book?

Here at The Pyrateheart Press we don’t ban any writing. However, we do edit it. What does that mean? It means we look at what a writer has placed inside a book and decide if it is necessary for the story? Is the sex needed for the story? If it is, is it written well? Does the sex bring about feelings of arousal or does it illustrate a different point altogether?

Is the sex erotica, porn, or simply a depiction of sex?

Sex is all around us. It is a natural driving force between people. It is also the biggest thing we try not to talk about even though we think about it all the time. If you aren’t getting sex, then you think about it and if you are, you think about it more.

This applies to both men and women though the dividing line about where men and women get what they want to arouse them differs greatly. Men prefer porn. In your face, visual representations of men having sex with women who act like they love it.

Women prefer the written version. They want to let their minds create the images instead. Which is where we come in. when I read a book which contains large quantities of sex, I ask a simple question. Does it help the story?

In the end, I don’t care if sex is classified as porn, erotica, erotic literature, or romance. All I care about is if it creates a good story.

I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at The Pyrateheart Press and I’m out.

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