I occasionally do book reviews for an online, gay book-review site called Rainbow-reviews.com. It’s a great site, well run, but most of what they review is erotica. I don’t usually review erotica for a couple of reasons: first, much of it not written well (especially the sexual scenes), and second, I simply don’t enjoy the storyline stopping for a few pages while characters have sex. But last week I saw a gay erotica book available for review by a much respected author, and I thought I would give it a go, thinking it would at least be well written.
I’m only forty pages into this two-hundred-page story, so things could change, but what I’ve read so far is making me debate about the differences between erotica and porn.
I’ve always considered the definition of erotica to be a story with a somewhat complex plot and multi-faceted characters who struggle against real human issues. It’s similar to regular fiction only it allows the reader to occasionally peek into the bedroom and see the characters have sex. Porn, on the other hand, generally has thin plots that are there only to carry the one-dimensional characters from one sex scene to the next.
So when I began reading this “erotica” story by this respected author, I was very surprised to see that the first twenty-three pages, two chapters, was one continuous sex scene between three teen-aged cowboys. Chapter three started with one page of describing an older man dreaming in bed before it launched into another sex scene with the old cowboy having sex with an Indian shaman who starts off in the body of a snake and changes midway through the scene to a bear, so the old cowboy was having sex with animals. I’m sorry, this is not erotica, it’s trashy porn. It’s not even good porn. All of the five characters so far, while in the process of sucking, licking and humping each other, had so much chatty dialog that I began to think they were high-school girls. After two pages my eyes glazed over.
Sad to say, I’m forty pages into it and there is no trace of a plot on the horizon. I’m pretty sure I will not finish it, even though I committed to reviewing it. It was billed as erotica, which as near as I can tell, is a boldfaced lie.
Or perhaps my definition of erotica is way off base. I would love to hear from other writers and readers. Do you expect a well developed plot and characters with depth in erotica, as I do? Or are you simply interested in reading about guys getting off and who cares about a storyline? Please leave a comment and set me straight, so to speak.