I wrote this to a friend in a recent e-mail:
“Sometimes its not even erotica, its baiting (suggests sex but the writer never writes the sex!–frustrating, they just hint at it). I don’t like reading hints; I like reading tasteful, well-written, striking intimacy, which oftentimes includes sex that is of the same written quality.”
Even when I was younger, I had certain tastes in romance and the type of sexual/sensual/erotic language and patterns I preferred. Outside of Robin Schone (and even her work is lacking) I can’t find a single author who captures my intellect, my heart, my sense of high adventure, my longings, my imagination, and my loins.
Subtlety is not necessarily my thing. But once you peel away the degrees of subtlety, that’s when you start straying into the pornographic or worse. It takes a lot of control, patience, imagination, and skill to craft really engaging erotica and romantica.
What turns me off more than anything is probably racial exotification, typecasting, and stereotyping in erotic literature. Why does “erotic” have to mean exotifying the brownness (or rather ‘darkness’ to most white writers/people *rolls eyes*) of Black people’s skins and body parts and fetishizing slavery and servitude? Obviously, the people over at Ellora’s Cave think that this all cool and okay; and, obviously they’re making money off of it.
So consider your own tastes and preferences when reading and be aware of them. When writing, well, just be honest. Because it’ll come out no matter hard you try to hide it.