March 24, 2013

Define "Erotica"

Go on. What does the word mean for you? Is it tinged with something dark? Does it live at a higher level than smut? Or porn?

The Free Dictionary defines erotica as "literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire." And "literature or art dealing with sexual love."

I can live with that.

But Dictionary 3.0 states: "creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate desire (syn. pornography, porno, porn, smut)."

Judgmental, much?

I like smut. I mean, I ran The Smut Marathon. I have no problem with that word. Or any of the words above. (Do you remember when I asked people to send me pictures of their porn?)  It's the "no literary or artistic value" part that's slipping under my skin.

And you?



Kathleen Bradean said...

We can consider the gauntlet thrown. Has anyone written to them about their lazy definition? Not defending them, but there are many words in a dictionary and perhaps they don't review the definitions that closely for words they don't care about. If educated, they might quit being ut*ter (adj. complete, absolute) dicks (noun jerk, inexpert).

Jo said...

yeah, they're just wrong :)

t'Sade said...

It sad that people don't think there is any merit in erotica. I refuse to believe that writers in general take so much effort to write, create good characters, and develop relationships and not be considered to have artistic merits.

But, some people honestly think that (erotic) writers just splat out a couple scenes and put the minimum connective tissue to move from one scene to another, like a bad "60 scenes in an hour" VHS tape.

I know that what I write is a major turn-off for most people, but I also know that I try really hard to create interesting characters and have a plot that moved from one scene to other. Might not always succeed, might not always do it under a thousand words, but I know that I put effort into it.

(And that same effort goes into my non-erotic writing too.)

Sharon Wachsler said...

I don't tend to differentiate much when talking about my work, either. I say porn, smut, erotica. But if I'm thinking of definitions, usually when people say "porn" I think video, and when people say "erotica" I think writing. I know this is not absolute, and there is definitely erotic visual art that I wouldn't call porn. But I think erotica has become such a wide-open genre that many stories that are published as erotica would be called SF or literary or whatever if they appeared in different publications.

The "no literary merit" thing is completely ridiculous. That's just sloppy or lack of research, I think.