Erotic Writing ~ What it Means to Me

I’m currently writing a full-length novel. The yet-to-be-named psychological mystery is a mix of John Fowles/Charles Bukowski/Haruki Murakami with just a dash of Pauline Réage. Erotic elements will pepper the book, but it’s a departure from erotica.

For classification purposes, I’ve always referred to myself as an erotica author, though some people have said I don’t quite fit the definition of the genre.

To illustrate this, I’ve excerpted several reviews of my book, Spring into Summer: (Full reviews on Amazon)

“… This was not simply erotica – this was fine literary writing with sexy erotic scenes that were an essential part of the story, not just added for the thrill of it … whether you like good literature, good erotica or heck, even good sex. It has all of those qualities.” ~ L. Smith


“To call this erotica is, in my opinion, an insult to Eden Baylee’s immense talent. These are not one-dimensional stories about sex. These are stories about love, loss, passion, and self-discovery … Yes, there are erotic sex scenes. But beyond that are stories that struck me deep and will stick with me for a very long time …” ~ Book Addict


“… While Baylee’s writing is absolutely everything that erotica should be hot, intense, passionate … Baylee’s tales are so much more than simply good erotica. They are stunning slices of humanity laid bare at their most vulnerable moments and shared with her readers …” ~ Tracy Riva

The reviewers highlight two important points:

  1. They draw attention to areas of my writing critical to me—strong character-driven stories and emotional impact.  “… slices of humanity laid bare at their most vulnerable moments…” as Tracy Riva writes is exactly what I aim for.
  1. All three reviewers do me the great honor of considering my work as more than just erotic. Book Addict goes so far as to say “To call this erotica is, in my opinion, an insult to Eden Baylee’s immense talent.”

That erotica, as a whole, is plagued by minimal character development and negligible plot is, of course, a generalization. Bad writing exists in every genre. The difference is: erotica has something other genres don’t have—sex, sometimes lots of it, and that scares people.

I recently wrote a guest blog for author, Patti Larsen called “Intolerant Attitudes About Erotica” and was overwhelmed by the response. The truth is—even as adults, sex continues to be taboo. We can discuss sex academically, joke about it, or judge others for their indiscretions. Yet, to have an honest discussion about what arouses us sexually is—for most people—too personal. It opens up that vulnerable part of us, which many share with only one significant other—if that. Erotica can expose us (if only to ourselves) to be less straight-laced than we’ve led others to believe—or the exact opposite. Not all of us can reconcile what it means to be aroused by reading BDSM, kink, or fetish fiction. What does it say about us? Are we (god forbid) abnormal?

My answer is a resounding “no.” I’ve never been a fan of what the majority considers “normal.” The spectrum of normalcy is wide, and conventional man-made standards are often moving targets. Ultimately, where sex is concerned, there is little I consider abnormal between consenting adults. One person’s deviant behavior will surely be another person’s normal—I’d bet my life on it.

Case in point, Goodreads classifies its “Best Erotic Classics” as stories that are famous explorations of human sexuality. Readers compiled this tasteful erotica list, and included Lawrence, Nabokov, Nin, and Réage, but I also saw an unfamiliar name—Seymour J. Cohen, author of The Holy Letter: A Study in Jewish Sexual Morality.

A philosophical and religious treatise about the morality of sex?

Is this erotic?

Not in my book.

I don’t profess to have a higher moral standard than anyone reading this post right now. In my stories, I won’t tell you how to have sex or whom to have it with. I won’t judge what turns you on. If you’re aroused by reading my books, that’s wonderful, but first and foremost, be entertained by a good story.

Reading fiction should arouse you. After all, I’m aiming my words directly at your largest sex organ—the one between your ears.




Filed under Craft of Writing, Revelations & Humor

34 responses to “Erotic Writing ~ What it Means to Me

  1. YOU ROCK, Eden …. what would writing be without YOU? You inspire me!


  2. “Lena” — Hot Flash character — I really do want more.


  3. You say it well, dear lady! Best wishes.


  4. Great post! I’m kinda the same way due to my many interests. I don’t fit into a single category and catch some grief when someone doesn’t understand something. lol. Never being one to conform to normal ideals, I appreciate what you go through. Stay true to yourself, it’s the best thing to do IMO.


  5. Like real life, your writing defies categorization.


  6. Excellent post, Eden! The whole “normal” thing is a bit offensive to me. Who gets to decide what is normal and what isn’t? Those defining the parameters are often more deviant than the majority who are considered “abnormal”.

    I agree that fiction should arouse us. Sadly, I think many amateur writers assume that erotica is easy to write. Those stories read like an instruction manual – place tab A in tab B and moan accordingly – which is the total opposite of arousal for me. Your stories first arouse my imagination and my intellect, which lets me live the story through the characters. Then, when the character is aroused, so am I. That is a gift you’ll carry with you into any genre you choose to write.


  7. A psychological mystery!? Hope that the female lead is in some way ‘haunted’ by her past, perhaps losing her virginity on prom night, a prom she did not attend . . . . or something similar.

    [And, it’s ‘whom to have sex with,’ and thanks for not telling me.]


  8. Eden is an amazing writing tigrees. Knows how to tell a story. I got hooked after reading a short story she did. My first love was short story writing. Then read novella she did. A full novel I look forward to from the creative mind of Eden.


  9. I’m with all those who obviously appreciate your qualities as a writer. I hope they all realise that hearing you read them adds yet another dimension to the experience. I hope you’re thinking of doing the as yet unnamed novel as an audiobook, too.


  10. @JasonDarrick

    Every time the “experts” get involved, something gets horribly messed up. Literature in any form is a free expression, which anyone should have access to regardless of implications. Thank you for this post, Eden.


  11. Lance

    I hope you don’t get mad at me for saying this but I don’t find what you write to be erotica. I think it’s literature with erotic themes. You tell stories where characters have sex or engage in sexual aspects. There’s more depth of character in your subjects than any adult content literature I’ve ever read outside of Henry Miller or lady Chatterley’s Lover or Anne Rice novels.

    I love your writing.


    • Lance, me mad at you? Never. I tend to agree with you about my genre not being erotica, but it’s odd how people slot particular books into genres the minute there is sex in them – goes directly to erotica or erotic romance.

      I love your writing too, which reminds me I must visit your blog today,


  12. So much goodness in this piece. Sharing all over the place.


  13. Great post, Eden.

    What’s the fun of getting pigeonholed into being set into a single category as a writer anyway?


    • SO agree with you William. I think many authors feel strongly about writing in only one genre, which is fine.

      I prefer to write in various genres, and it’s a good way to challenge myself and explore what I’ve learned in all the years of reading different authors.


  14. Well written and smoothly transitioned from a “scary 1st date via computer possibly” to much more which though still scary is also deeply satisfying for the heroine and her reader.


All comments are appreciated.

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