Moist Thighs and Heavy Sighs--The Naked Truth About Writing Erotica

by Kayla Perrin

I admit it. I write erotica. Yes, I write those books with explicit depictions of what goes on behind closed doors. The kind of books that people show their friends certain pages of and sometimes have a giggle.

But does that make me a slut? Depraved? Most definitely not!

Your husbands are safe around me, and despite what you might think, I don't conduct random "erotic" research in my bedroom!

I am constantly amazed at just how uncomfortable people seem to be regarding sex. It's okay to read a book about women and children being slaughtered without trying to hide the book's cover in public, but put a racier (or, let's face it, even a tame romance image) on a book and many people try to hide what they're reading.

Why? What's with the massive discomfort regarding sex?

The kind of discomfort that leads to erotica writers using pseudonyms for fear of persecution. Think I'm joking? Just ask Judy Buranich, who writes under the pseudonym of Judy Mays. When parents learned that the quiet high school teacher also wrote erotic romance novels, they went to the board of education in Middleburg, Pennsylvania and demanded the teacher be fired.


Check out the news video that comes up under the link when you click on "Judy Buranich" above, and also check out the very smart video posted on youtube by one of her former students below.

Okay, I would get it if she were a pedophile. But a woman writing about sex--which almost every adult on the planet engages in--I simply don't understand. And check out this article and one of the comments, where a reader's comment compares writing erotic romances to pedophilia. Click HERE.

In a day and age where upstanding judges and lawyers swap partners at swinging clubs, how are those who write erotica branded as depraved whores?

Here's the naked truth as I see it. First, non-erotica readers just don't get it. They think--erroneously--that it's all just depraved sex, which isn't the case. Erotica novels are about the story as much as any other good fiction; if it's just sex, sex, sex without a compelling plot and compelling characters, people will lose interest.

Which leads me to my second point. Erotica is not pornography. That's a big misconception on some people's parts. Hot sex does not equal porn. The erotica and erotic romances being written by the many women I know are as much about the emotional connection as the physical one, even with fetishes and menage-a-how many. The sex is used as a way to show character growth--it isn't simply gratuitous.

Come on--don't you want the sex you experience with your partner to be as hot as can be? Sex between two loving adults is not dirty; it's a beautiful, bonding experience.

The naked truth is, there is power in the numbers, and since I began writing romance novels in the late 199os, I've heard editors say "Make it hotter" more and more. Women--wives, girlfriends, schoolteachers, soldiers--want to read more of what is going on behind closed doors. In my opinion, women are boldly claiming their sexuality, and enjoy reading it in fiction.

I know I certainly write about women who are empowered in every aspect of their lives, including sex. In my novel, GETTING EVEN, which launched the Harlequin Spice line in 2006, my three female protagonists had been screwed over by the men they loved. There were sexual betrayals that cut deep. For example, Claudia had done all kinds of sexual things to please her fiance, only to have him dump her. In GETTING SOME, the follow-up book, the women claimed their sexuality in a way that made them stronger. No longer were they going to do what men wanted simply to please their men in the bedroom, but to please themselves.

The saga continues in GETTING LUCKY, my newly released third novel in this series. One of the characters (Annelise) is now happily expecting and wants her two best friends to find love. So she plans a secret hook-up with two male friends and her two girlfriends in Mexico--where, yes, they have lots of sex. But the thing is, the sex is in the context of finding true love--something we can all relate to.

Lastly, I am always perplexed by the divide between romance authors on the subject of erotic novels. Yes they should be allowed to be entered into the RITA contest, no they shouldn't be--the judgmental attitudes are ridiculous. Because I can tell you that some novels that read "romance" on the spine are just as sexually explicit as the ones that read "erotica". Romance writers have constantly battled the stigma of writing about love, and it seems some are now ashamed to say that they also write about sex--a completely natural and necessary human act.

I'm one of those writers who has written in varying genres: romance, erotica, suspense, and even children's. And I put my real name on everything. Why? Because if you take a pseudonym for your erotic work and people find out, they'll come after you like they're hunting witches. Just ask Judy Buranich.

Ah, I just don't get what the fuss is about. Do you? Please, share your thoughts.

And if you pick up GETTING LUCKY, I hope you enjoy it! Make sure you read all three in the series!

Until next time, happy reading!

(Winner of the Romantic Times Award for "Best Erotic Novel of 2010, CONTROL--published by Harlequin Spice.)


  1. I don't get the fuss either, Kayla. And like you say, I've read some romance, classified as historical on top of it all (!), that had way more explicit and (unfortunately) gratuitous sex, than books categorised as erotica (any erotic book by Megan Hart, for example!).

    Good erotica is sometimes even better than romance, because you can see the author took the time to think out the story, to make the sexual encounters AND the romantic journey walk hand in hand in a clever, well-thought-out manner that doesn't take the reader for a dimwit idiot who would just be seeking cheap thrills. These books read deeper than conventional romance, because they're about journeys of self-discovery and you simply cannot do that with fluff and cheap thrills.

    And FYI, I have Getting Even on my TBR - will be plunging into it soon. :)

    Great post - hopefully it will get a lot of people thinking. xoxo

  2. Great post Kayla! I agree I think violence is more acceptable in our society than sexuality is. And romance writers are always breaking down those barriers. :D

  3. Hi, Jo,
    Crazy society we live in, right? Glad you enjoyed the post!

  4. Hey, Zee...thanks! You're so right about great erotica and how it delves deeper into a character's growth/journey.

    As for GETTING EVEN, I hope you like it!

  5. interesting post..and yeah, you're so right. What is all the fuss about? Silly people. That's snobbery at its best.
    And, Zee, you are so right! Erotica novels can be deep and emotional.

    Dracula's Kiss -- heat level4
    Vampire Romance/Erotic/Scottish/Gothic

    Sweet Irish kiss -- heat level4
    Contemporary romance/Erotic/Irish/Chick-lit

    Rock You like a Hurricane -- heat level 4
    80s Aussie rock/wax play/public display


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