Writing Erotica: How Much Detail is Too Much?

As a female (and a writer) I’ve never exactly liked the way romance novels, the typical cliché kind, were written. Don’t get me wrong, some of them have really good plots (and a lot don’t) but I mean the sexual and seductive aspect of them. Now, if other women, or men, or whoever is reading them likes that then that’s fine. I’m aware this is a matter of opinion and not fact. It’s a style choice beyond anything else. However, being how I am I never liked flowery euphemisms for my vagina or any other parts of my body. If anything I like the dirty and “bad” words because if I’m going to read about BDSM and kinky sex I also don’t need metaphors about throbbing “man hoods” or my “flower”.

I know that I differ from how a lot of women think when it comes to this. In fact, I have yet to come across much erotica (written by women) that overly utilizes words like ‘cunt’ or ‘cock’. They always find a way around using those words at all. Even if I don’t only use those two words I will use them in conjunction with sex scenes because it only makes sense to me and I like the way it sounds. Over my years as a writer (especially when I was presenting material for free before deciding to go the self published route) I found the readers overwhelmingly loved what I was writing. Even more surprisingly, most of my reader base was female, not male.

This left me to question why, exactly, is romance as a genre the way it is. I don’t doubt it’s popular nor do I have a problem with the soft aesthetic of a man on a horse carrying a woman away to make gentle love to her somewhere. That’s great for some people who like it and more power to them. Yet, there seems to be a huge untapped market for women who really want brutal, dirty, kinky, taboo and dark sex. It hasn’t broken into the mainstream (for some reason) but there is a demand for it. Why is that? Is it due to the morals of society saying that they cannot publish books where people are using dirty words in such a manner and have it be marketable? Is this type of content (no matter how popular) forever doomed to be found only online or in the back rooms of adult shops? It is definitely in demand, I’ve seen the analytics for myself but it is not in the spotlight.

When I write my erotica it’s almost exclusively about BDSM and the loving bond between two people that can and does form when they enter into a relationship with such values. I also aim to write realistically. Not everyone is perfect at sex all the time, not everyone knows what they are doing, sometimes safe words are called, sometimes one of the people doesn’t have as much fun as the other (but also doesn’t regret it). I include things like realistic injuries, consequences, instructions, premature orgasming, and even scenes of after care. In one of my books (Price) I go through explaining the safe process of choking (because the man in the story desperately wants to try it but never has before) and the woman who is the dominant knows how to do it safely. I try to educate and show the real side of this practice while also making it sexy and entertaining. It’s by no means an instruction manual and it fits fluidly into the plot and dialogue but it is as real as I can make it while keeping it entertaining.

I know that women as a whole love this kind of stuff. I also know that I don’t only write smut for the sake of smut. Every last sex scene and bondage scenario has it’s place within my writing. I aim to normalize this type of sexual activity within the plot of a really good and thrilling story. I do this because it’s something that I’ve always wanted to read and have not found. I am aware this isn’t for everyone, I know why people wouldn’t like it, and that’s fine too. I’m certainly not demanding people compromise their tastes or morals and read all of my work. I am saying that I think that there is far bigger audience who likes this than they will publicly admit. If you are one of these types of writers, keep going. Your niche is out there. You just have to find it.

Published by naudyvalentine

Romance and erotica author, horror and BDSM enthusiast, I write, live, and breathe variety as it is the spice of life.

One thought on “Writing Erotica: How Much Detail is Too Much?

  1. This is an interesting topic. 

    I believe the quality of the detail is more important than the quantity. In my view, tying the emotions and the thoughts of the protagonist (and yes, there should only be one protagonist, preferably in the first person) to the descriptions of the sex acts is of monumentally greater importance than page after page of repetitive descriptions of wet pussies and stiff cocks and what the characters are doing with them. 

    I believe in times past, many women (and I communicate exclusively with women in this matter) sought out romance novels as a “safe and guiltless” way of sublimating their desire for arousal. However, today, most women would much rather have stories that present raw and unequivocal descriptions of sex, but still prefer to have that erotica be a part of a relationship-based story giving substance to the characters. Actually, most men would prefer that also.

    As far as the substance of the sexual content, I personally don’t read BDSM and prefer only vanilla erotica between men and women, but with as much intimacy, feeling and emotion as sex can conjure. So, not every listing that calls itself erotica would necessarily interest even the most open and libertine reader, because of its niche audience interest and does not necessarily have to do with one’s morals or values, per se. 


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