5 ways to know you're reading good erotica | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

We can all stop pretending that we don’t know what happens in 50 Shades of Grey—or at least, what goes on in Anastasia Steele’s sexcapades. Because if I were to go by the number of people who sat in the Philippine Literary Festival’s Saturday session on sex, I can just tell how much we love it.

Not E. L. James, but sex. Good, ol’ orgasmic sex that we can read about if we can’t have it. And hey, like bad hookups, there are cringe-worthy erotica, too.
Weed out amateur fiction from legit smut with some tips from yesterday’s panelists Pammy Godoy, Bambina Olivares, and Mina V. Esguerratoday’s local authors who write about sex because they want and need to. 
#1 Know the difference between erotica and porn
When a writer gets graphic through words, it’s erotica. It’s a piece of literature or art that titillates the senses. Porn, however, is a commercial erotic product that thrives in full-frontal display.
#2 A good sex scene describes 
When is erotica well-written?
Certainly not when the author keeps using metaphors to describe coming. “Who thinks about [how “somewhere in the night, a stray rocket went off] during sex?” asks Bambina, the B. Wiser to our Sunday sex column and Making Love in Spanish, referring to a Ben Okri text that won him his first Bad Sex award.
It’s all about keeping it sexual. Sex is a bodily act, and if the writer can’t accurately express how a character’s shaft got hard without turning vague, go get another book.
#3 The sex should be both physically and emotionally fulfilling for the character (and maybe us too)
“There should be an escalation of feelings, sometimes physical, and sometimes emotional,” says Mina, author of romantic novels My Imaginary Ex and Young and ScambitiousA good romantic story for example—one that’s spiced up by sex—needs to hit you right in the gut (and someplace else, too.) After all, this ain’t badly acted porn.
#4 Don’t judge erotica by the sex of its author
If you haven’t noticed it yet—and if you were in the session with us—women dominate the genre, and are probably more interested in it. Does that say that only females can write the best erotica? Nope. Bambina even cites Henry Miller and George Sainstbury as the manly few who succeeded in this feat.
Breaking news: Men write some of the well-known erotica out there, too. And you’ll know them through their female pseudonyms. “There aren’t a lot of them but apparently, there are men who write… Look up J.A. Konrath, who wrote crime and recently came out with his female pen name. He has all these steamy stuff,” recommends Mina.
#5 It would be good if you find sex-related materials that titillate and educate
Books that tackle not only the pleasure, but also the possible consequences are worth reading.
Sex, as we should know, isn’t just some recreational hobby. It’s a procreation method. Pammy, who wrote a non-fiction book on sex, sexuality, and relationships we recently reviewed, feels that there should be an equal amount of attention to telling young (adolescents) and new (adults aged 18 to 35) adults when sex is appropriate, as much as schooling us on how it goes down.

“I think we exist in a hypersexual culture… I’m not sure that young people are getting the correct messages about sexuality. It can be quite confusing to them, actually,” says Pammy.

 “[We need to encourage them] …to evaluate whether [sex] is something that will be beneficial to them not just in the present, but also in the future,” she believes. And yes, this matters because unplanned pregnancies are far messier than Cosmo’s body-bending kama sutra.
Art by Dorothy Guya
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