The Difference Between Sex and Romance

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Written By - JettaFrame

Romance makes sex.

Sex does not make, or equal, romance.

As an erotica writer, I'm used to telling people who ask me what kind of stories I write, "I write sex." This either kills the conversation or gets excited, "really? Me too!" Because it seems that few people asides from other erotica writers are willing to carry on with a conversation once I drop that nuke of a bombshell on it.

Despite my fantastic conversation killing skills, however, I do a bit more than 'write sex'.

I write erotica, yes, which includes writing about sex but there is far more to erotica than just the sweaty bump and grind. If it were that easy to write decent - and I emphasize the word decent - erotica, then more folks would be banging on the door of literature's most sexy siren.

Unfortunately, good erotica involves more development than just one character sticking another - or several - appendages, into another character's...vessel. Box. Love petals - you get my drift.

If erotica were as easy as writing a literary wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, then I'd have a lot less work on my hands. Good erotica, however, has romance.

Romance is not just candle-lit-dinners and sappy hallmark cards - no. Romance in this context means relationship. Background. Connection. Chemistry.

I don't really care, for instance, if Harry DowntheStreet finally manages to nail Ruby FromUpTown. But if Terry TheJuvyKid falls for Lucy TopGradesOnly, while she's teaching his kid sister how to solve how many apples the math teacher ate for lunch and manages to seduce her despite Lucy's snooty mom forbidding she have anything more to do with that boy - then hell yeah, I'm interested. Excuse my run on sentences, by the way, if you managed to decipher my meaning despite the abuse of commas then you are truly a magician of epic proportions.

 Excuse my run on sentences, by the way, if you managed to decipher my meaning despite the abuse of commas then you are truly a magician of epic proportions

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Back to erotica.

My run on sentences mean this - if you want to write good erotica, you need to learn how to write relationships. Sex will only be sex if all you learn how to write is about danglers and juicers. If, however, you learn how to write real people, having real sex, with real problems and real feelings - you'll be the realest shit out there.

And I mean that in a good way.

I have a fairly well-read erotica collection on my profile that is based on this principle. Granted, I started releasing said book once I had a lot of followers, but forty plus chapters down the line with several thousand unique readers a day still has credibility. If that sounds gloaty, I don't really mind, I'm attempting to prove my point here (for the benefit, hopefully, of other erotica writers) and if I sound like a arrogant four-letter-word, it'll only be half wrong.

I digress.

Romance always works. Sex will only work for so long.

Before I became a writer, I was a reader. I can still do it by the way - read, that is. Even now, I like to read erotica. Somewhere down the line I came across the collection on here by A.M.SNEAD (she wrote little gems such as Slippery Slopes). It was my first encounter with slash. Preferences aside, my erotica taste at the time didn't extend into this sub-genre. I was what you could call a 'sheltered erotica reader' if there is such a thing. However, after reading through her books, a crack addict would have had trouble matching my fiendish appetite for her books.

After I read my first book from the lovely Audrey, I devoured half of her collection that same night (yes, if you're wondering, my boss was pissed when I showed up late to work). Her sex was out of this world, granted, but it was her romance that kept me coming back for more. Her characters didn't just bump pelvis because of some unfounded, sudden uncontrollable urge that seems to feature in most amateur writers works, no. They were genuinely attracted, or at least seeking sex for a reason, to their partners. There was a story. There was background. There was sure as hell a buttload of chemistry.

Back to my arrogant statement about two and a bit paragraphs prior - this is what I do. I can write sex. Quite easily. But what makes my job more challenging is writing relationships that feature sex.

Erotica is at its core, a story, and to write a story you still need conflict, development, humour, heartbreak/tragedy and resolution - all those good things that people assume erotica writers aren't in general, capable of writing. Bless their deluded souls.

It is *censored word* hard to do all of that in the short form that erotica is usually presented in, which could be a founding reason that a lot of writers don't

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It is *censored word* hard to do all of that in the short form that erotica is usually presented in, which could be a founding reason that a lot of writers don't. If, however, you are one of those plucky souls that want to improve your erotica writing, the foremost bit of advice that I will give to you - if I could be so presumptuous - is to build the story. There are weird and wonderful ways of doing this, the possibilities are endless, but if you want your erotica to be remembered, don't just write good sex. Write romance. Give your characters a reason for their insatiable, sometimes irrational attraction to another character.

As one gorgeous user on here once put, "the nicer you treat her outside the bedroom, the naughtier she'll be inside it" - or to that effect. It's the same with your characters. The more you develop them outside of sex, the better their sex will be. A.M.Snead was most definitely an example of this for me, another is the hottie from the motherland (that would be UK, in my case, not America) who wrote possibly my favorite one shot of all time, featuring a genius hacker and his spunky little minx - again, all because of the story between the two. Declarations of love after dry humping one's girlfriend to distraction while she's trying to hack national security? Who the *censored* wouldn't love that?

Before I make this article longer than anyone is ever going to read, let me conclude. Romance makes sex better, sex will not always make romance better. One can definitely live without the other and I know which I'd choose if put in an erotica jam.

For any questions regarding this article? Feel free to get in touch with me. Just don't end our conversation after I tell you I write sex. 

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