Erotic romance minus the BDSM – am I nuts?

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-sexy-woman-chain-collar-back-view-attractive-topless-handcuffs-bondage-concept-studio-shot-black-background-image31229237Hi, it’s Jennifer here. Today I wanted to discuss the topic of erotic romance and pose a question to readers – what does erotic romance mean to you? Do you automatically associate it with BDSM, and if there’s no BDSM in the story, do you still see it as an erotic romance?

I’ve been writing in this genre for several years now – well before that book series came out! – and other than a little light bondage or a bit of back and forth power play between characters, I don’t usually have Dom/sub characters in my books.

Yet when I explain to people the type of romance I write, they laugh and say it must be all handcuffs, spanking and ben-wa balls. Porn for chicks. Um. No.

I did use a feather and a pair of handcuffs to good effect (I hope!) in SEX CLUB SECRETS, but in my upcoming release IMMORTAL SEDUCTION I have to confess there’s not a sex toy in sight. Only a Greek goddess hungry for love, and three hot firefighters in desperate need of her special brand of healing.

And ben-wa balls? As one of the few on this planet who still hasn’t read FIFTY SHADES I had to look up what they were and how to use them!

For me, erotic romance means an emotional connection between two or more characters who develop a relationship over the course of the story, in which there is high level sex and the potential for a “happy ever after” or at least a “happy for now” ending.

In IMMORTAL SEDUCTION, I’ve attempted to strip the relationship back and leave the sex toys – and the spanking – under the bed. This has given me a chance to focus more on the emotional connection that I believe is what gives erotic writing its romantic edge.

Here’s an Adults-only sample from menage a quatre romance IMMORTAL SEDUCTION, out this month:

Jennifer Lynne_Immortal SeductionA male body was behind him, the slick wet head of a cock prodding between his ass cheeks with a persistence that made him want to bend over and be fucked for the first time in his life. And then…oh, God! There were lips on his thigh. On his scar. Someone was raining tiny kisses all over the disgusting puckered flesh before dragging their moist tongue back and forth across his skin.

How could they face doing that?

His eyes flashed open. It was Hugh who had sucked him in deep, so deep that the top of his cock hit the back of his friend’s hot throat when his hips shuddered in an instinctive thrusting response. It felt so fucking good.  He couldn’t believe he’d made such a big deal about not doing this in the past.

Hugh. He wanted to laugh, and cry at the same time. Who knew?

Breath laced with a familiar whiskey smell was hot and hard against his neck, identifying Kier behind him. His buddy was busy back there, stroking his body and caressing the crease where his butt cheek met his leg, teasing his ass in the most delightful way possible.

But his senses honed in on Aphrodite. She was kneeling in front of him, side by side with Hugh, and she was touching his scar. Celebrating the mutilated flesh on his leg with her lips, and tongue, and even her fingertips.

“Aphrodite,” he whispered. And that’s when the shaking began. Real shaking, as if he had a fever of some kind and his body was no longer his own. “I don’t want…I want…” He couldn’t get his tongue around the quaking words. Couldn’t get his brain around the thoughts. “I don’t know what I want.”

Tears squeezed out of the corners of his eyes and an ache formed deep in his ears and throat as he held in a sob. Jesus. I’m better than this. I’m stronger. But he just stood there, unresisting, tears falling silently as he let them all love him.

~ Copyright Jennifer Lynne 2013

What do you think?

Given the huge popularity of the FIFTY SHADES phenomenon and the plethora of BDSM  stories on the market right now, do you think that is the new definition of erotic romance, or do you think there’s still room for all types of stories in this genre? Please let us know what you think!

For more information about Jennifer Lynne’s GODS OF LOVE series, visit her website or Amazon page. IMMORTAL SEDUCTION releases on the 27th August.

31 thoughts on “Erotic romance minus the BDSM – am I nuts?

  1. I haven’t read the books either, and I do write some BDSM, though my stories are more light and playful. But as others have said, it’s just one flavor, not the whole genre. I like pecan pie, but there a whole lot of other desserts I enjoy too!
    Hot excerpt! I do really enjoy a good menage story, can’t wait to read this one!

    • I loved your book, POWER PLAY, Chellesie – it was certainly a playful take on BDSM as well as highly erotic. A good analogy about the desserts – if we had the same thing every night it would get old pretty quickly, wouldn’t it?!

  2. Ooooo, so nice to see this and all the great comments. I too am tired of everyone automatically thinking BDSM, or even M/M when I say erotic romance. Those are both fine, but there are a lot of other paths to take with this sub-genre. Thanks for posting this fabulous article!

    PS No, haven’t read 50 SOG. If anyone asks about BDSM, I have plenty of other authors to refer them to.

  3. I’ve never read 50 shades. But you bring up an interesting topic. What is considered erotic? I write erotic romance. But there’s no kink and all of my books involve two people. So is it erotic if there’s no BDSM or ménage relationship?

    • I like to think so, Shawn. My upcoming release IMMORTAL SEDUCTION is menage, but I’ve certainly written other stories that are straight M/F relationships, and I still think of them as erotic. High level sex plus romance/developing relationship is my definition. Glad to see that there are others who still share that viewpoint 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

  4. I did read the 50 Shades trilogy, and I liked it. It wasn’t well written, but something about the story got me and I read all three books, about 1600 pages, in about a week. The last two I read in a day each.

    Saying that, reading these books made me start to write erotic stories. I figured I could write something more realistic and better written. And I did.lol

    • If that series got you writing, then that is wonderful, Quanah! Being inspired is the first step to becoming a writer, and the rest (hopefully) follows on naturally from that point 🙂

  5. This is a great article. Honestly I have not read that particular book, but I know people who lane, and some Say that it doesnt fit all aspects of BDSM. tpparently the Dom doesnt act how one usually would. Now, I have read a Lot of erotica and other BDSM books, and they are totally different. BDSM is a different form of erotica, not the definition of it. dtunktlat one of the draws of assuming BDSM is the Same as erotica, is just low popular that book was. It threw the whole Concept of erotica out there so some people cant understand the difference.

  6. I didn’t read 50 Shades and never had a desire to. I’m surely in the minority, since people I’d never expect to read any sort of erotica were talking about reading it. I love good erotic romance, but I want a plot, and believable emotions and characters first and foremost. Usually if I see BDSM in the description, I’ll pass. But that’s just me. I’d rather read about a romantic guy, than a dominant one.

    • We’re both in the minority there, Jamie! But it is interesting what an effect that book series has had. On the one hand it seems to be redefining the definition of erot rom (at least from my limited perspective), but on the other it has brought the genre into the mainstream. That can only be a good thing, as long as there is still room in the eyes of readers for non BDSM stories as well. I appreciate you stopping by 🙂

  7. Great post Jen. As an author with some BDSM books, (way before THAT book) I can say that of course I love some of those elements in books that I read and write, but that’s not the only flavour of book I read and write. As some of the others have said, it’s all about the relationship and the development of the characters. The sexual journey they take enhances the plot. Each journey has its own unique flavour, and some include BDSM, and others, like IMMORTAL SEDUCTION taste differently. For me, they’re all great. So many different varieties!

    • Hi Maggie, I’ve enjoyed many BDSM stories, including your own KINKY BET and many of Roz Lee’s fabulous books too. When they are well written it really brings the romance alive. But hopefully there is still room for all types of stories within the erotic romance sub genre, and that 50 Shades hasn’t changed or limited the way people view it. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  8. Your excerpt proves that romance stories can be erotic without sex toys. I enjoy reading some BDSM stories but ultimately if the author weaves in emotions along with the sexual then I’m sold on the story, BDSM or not.

    • Hi Kiru, I love emotion with the sex – for me that’s what makes a great romance, whether there is BDSM involved or not. Glad you liked the excerpt and thanks for your comment 🙂

  9. Jen~
    I agree that excerpt is HAWT!
    And I have been writing erotic romance well before the creation (?) of 50 Shade. (And I, too, haven’t read the books – couldn’t get past the Amazon excerpt. *shudders*)
    However, I do enjoy reading BDSM romances, if done well. Delilah Devlin is one author in particular who brings strong emotional connections to her characters living within the “lifestyle.” One of the books I plan to release next year will be a full-length BDSM romance. My first. I’ve played around with bondage and spanking in several novellas, but for this book, I’m serious about understanding what motivated the people who live this lifestyle—I have a feeling it goes well beyond handcuffs and ben-wa balls.
    Thanks for a great post!

    • Hi Lynda, glad you like the excerpt! It sounds like you’ve really done your research for your upcoming bdsm book, and from what I understand that is really important to people in the lifestyle. When it is done well it is great erotic writing, isn’t it? I will look out for yours, and go check out Delilah Devlin. Thank you!

  10. I prefer the non-BDSM approach, simply because I don’t like the idea of anyone dominating someone else. I know it is supposed to be a mutual agreed upon thing, but I don’t like the idea of someone feeling they must submit to being degraded. Maybe that is just what is left of my human mores showing. LOL

    • Hi Guy, thanks so much for stopping by! I like reading some BDSM, but for me it has to be well-written and to be honest I prefer a fem Domme 😉 but they are more scarce in erotic romance, unfortunately. Hopefully there is room for all in the erotic romance genre – so that no matter what our taste, there is something to titillate us all 😉

  11. I don’t think it’s altogether a necessity to have it, despite the popularity of 50 Shades (which I haven’t read, it’s just not my thing), but if done well, I think there’s room for all sorts of styles of erotica still. I haven’t written any erotica…that I plan on publishing, anyway. 😉 Not that I won’t in the future, there’s no telling what may strike me, but my tastes don’t really run to the BDSM spectrum.

    So yeah, I think there’s room for all and I hope your release day is a good one. 🙂

    • Hi D.J., thanks for your comment. I thought I was the only one who hadn’t read 50 S, but it seems there are a few of us out there! I’m glad that you think there’s still room for all in the erotic romance spectrum, and I appreciate your good wishes.

  12. Hi Jen, Great topic! I think erotic romance is a broad genre and BDSM is only one facet of it. There are all types of really good erotic romance stories out there that don’t include BDSM and many that do. My take when I am writing an erotic romance is that the development of the story and the characters is key, and if that means some BDSM play to challenge or develop further, then I incorporate that. But if a third lover (menage) is a pivotal moment in the book, I work with that, or if there is mistaken identity, a rubenesque heroine, or older woman/younger man— whatever the characters need to tell their story. Thanks for putting forth a thought provoking question!

    • My pleasure, Kate. For me, a good erotic romance is all about the emotion, and that can be across any story line including BDSM. But I’ve found it interesting in recent months that the response from people I’ve spoken with about my writing seems to have changed somewhat after 50 S. Whether public perception that “erotic = BDSM” is more widespread, or whether it is just my own circles, is an interesting question. No doubt in my mind that the series in question has made erotic romance more mainstream – and I guess that’s a good thing!

  13. Awesome excerpt, Jen! I’m a big fan of non BDSM erotic romance, and your excerpt proves your point. Sometimes it’s fun, but it isn’t always necessary. Pure emotion can be just as erotic if the right author is writing it.
    Kudos. Looking forward to this one.

    • Thanks Roz! I am hoping there is still room out there for all types of erot rom, but the people I’ve been speaking to lately seem to automatically equate it with BDSM. There’s so much more to it than that! Appreciate you stopping by 🙂

  14. I have to admit that ive never read 50 shades and to be honest ive no interest in reading it.

    To me your description of erotic romance works i don’t automatically assume that erotic means BDSM. i do like both though but mostly it does depend on the storyline.

    I love your except i cant wait for the book to come out!

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