Erotica versus Purple Prose

The tricky part of writing ‘good’ erotica is walking that fine line – erotic poetry can easily get categorized into “crap” or can be too loud, either of which may spoil the effect. One should aim for the reader’s arousal and stimulation, through the use of subtle description and implication. Describe the most intimate of acts in a delicate way, to provide the impact of a more graphic description… Create a poem without letting one take umbrage over the ethics of poetry.

In other (read perfect) words, as one of our readers David M. Green mentioned on our contest post on the topic: “Erotica can be defined as beating around the bush without ever arriving at one’s stated destination”

Here’s a lovely example of erotica from the internet that we found extremely ‘satisfying’!

Basket of figs by Ellen Bass

Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me

the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.

Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still hot from your body. Empty
your basket of figs. Spill your wine.

That hard nugget of pain, I would suck it,
cradling it on my tongue like the slick
seed of pomegranate. I would lift it

tenderly, as a great animal might
carry a small one in the private
cave of the mouth.

If you’re turned on right now, get writing and participate in our ongoing Erotica contest now! You could write a piece that’s not just titillating but can attempt to also terrify us with some ghastly erotica. Blend genres, why not!?

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1 reply

  1. Frankly increasing numbers of men are getting tired of women who play games by beating around the bush and never arrive at a destination.

    Indeed the form of erotica you describe is akin to a woman who teases and flirts with abandon; with no intention what so ever of putting out.

    She’s more than willing to take her marks money but doesn’t give anything tangible or of value in return.

    On the other hand there are authors who attempt to shock and awe their readers by graphic depictions of (shall we say) exoctic and ilregular sexual practices.

    Which tend to IMHO arouse disgust more often than lust and is less than satisfying.

    Its also the primary reason I’d much rather read a straight out science fiction book without any descriptions of sex. Than to buy a so called erotic novel that never goes anywhere.

    Value is always subjective and most authors (not just erotic writers) and publisher’s over value the product they are selling.

    So the question that begs to be answered is:

    Why should I or anyone else for that matter pay for substandard erotica when I’m quite capable of writing my own?

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