The polite name for literary pornography. While stories that depict graphic fucking might be disguised within your dear mother's trash romance books, don't be fooled- some of these gems are a masturbatory dream come true.

Authors behind these works are extrodinarily varied. A story of a man and a woman going at it rabid wombat-style might have been created by a reknowned writer of romance novels, by a teenager who legally shouldn't be able to read the things he writes in the first place, or the forty-year-old sexual deviant who gets off on obscure sexual fetishes. The main difference between these items and more generic pornography is the style in which the characters, intercourse, and the story are portrayed.

Elaborate background stories and strong characterization are usually the quickest way to characterize the style of the author. Romance novels usually portray the woman struggling against overwhelming odds, due to some recent tragedy. The man emerges from her tragedy, sometimes initially appearing to be an enemy of the woman (an evil banker, a Union solder, etc), but through a series of events proves that he is the one person that can mend her heart. Universally, the two consummate their new-found lives with a wondrous episode of lovemaking (NEVER a good fuck) that touches her heart and sets them off. Most other styles of writing porn have far less depth to their characters- generally, other than their bra size and virginal status, a girl is not defined beyond whose car she took to get to the orgy, nor are the events leading to the corporate wage slave and the boss's secretary screwing one another in full view of security cameras. elaborated upon. This type fits most any truly pornographic scenarios in literature.

The light that the sexual act is viewed in is also dependant on the style of the author. The romance novelist will paint it as the ultimate act of love between the two protagonists (consummated either just prior to the heroine's abduction by the villain, after the hero rescues the heroine from the dastardly clutches of the villain, or as a closing part of the book, or will mix and match the above scenarios. The horny teenager will quite often be a bit more brutal in his description, use less flowery language, and in general resort to a number of the Erotic Fiction Cliches to get his point across. Lesbianism, threesomes, and the ubiquitous gang-bang are about as far as these go, although the range of sexual description is far greater than trash romance. Those written by the guys playing far right field, though, have no pre-set limits on what kind of stories they tell. Tales of tentacle-things out for your daughter, beastiality, necrophilia, scatophilia. Those kinds are best described when you look at ways to How to spot bad internet porn stories.

The depth of the plot is another way to interpret the author's intent (although potentially unreliable, as some people simply write good sex AND good plots). Were the aforementioned styles taken and made into movies, erotica written by a best-selling trash romance author would likely be displayed proudly on HBO as a stirring tale of forbidden love. Traditional pornographic stories can (and often do) make it onto early or late-night Skinemax, where plots are nothing more than ways to segue sex scenes to one another; the truly obscure works, though, might make it in a direct-to-video release you might find somewhere deep in the heart of Texas if your home state doesn't permit the sale of anything involving graphic sex and/or nudity, like Oklahoma does.

Erotica is a business, and it has a number of viable customers, each of which must be catered to by taste. A thirty-something mother of three is not going to buy a masturbation tool intended for use by web-savvy college student who could probably find something just as good on the Net, nor will a sixteen-year-old teenager even come close to the Romance section of the bookstore (although if he's sneaky enough, he can filch his mother's/aunt's books when she's done with them- it can be done).
There is a difference between erotic and pornographic - although it's not the one most people think about.

Some will tell you that it's all about the graphics : how much you show, how explicitly you show it, blah blah blah - there (they'll say) lies the distinction between delicate eroticism and vulgar pornography.

Blatant Hypocrisy.

The difference lies not in what is shown - it lies in the effects it has on you. Pornography is a purely technical word : it simply means showing flesh in action, period. No other meaning (either positive or negative) implied.

Eroticism is on another level (the meta level, if you like) : it's about using some degree of pornography (recisely which degree is irrelevant) to awake something obscure, something upsetting in your inner self. You know what I mean, not just a good hard-on, not that simple, joyful, bestial impulse, no, something much darker - a very deep, very poignant confusion.

You can have a better idea by 1) watching some good X-rated movie, and 2) reading (eg) Story of O.

You'll feel the difference.

Note: Any philosophical consideration aside, watching X-rated movies, or reading such a masterpiece of litterature as Story of O is never a bad idea.

Note2: Thanks to P_I for signalling that the etymological meaning of pornography is "writing about prostitutes".

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