Question of the Week: Erotic v Sensual?

Welcome Declan Sands to Romance Beckons.
Declan Sands writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Declan is the award-winning author of 40+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.

Erotic or Sensual? Our Definitions Might be Changing.
I am an author of M/M paranormal and romantic suspense/mystery. I also write M/F stories under another pseudonym. What I’ve found interesting is that, where editors require authors to include a certain amount of sex in a M/F story for it to qualify as erotic fiction, a M/M story is often considered erotic by its very nature.
Is this because we consider M/M fiction slightly—just slightly—taboo? Is it because just the idea of two men kissing or having sex is so hot it makes women pick up a fan and grab a cold drink? I’m not sure what’s behind this different standard, but I don’t believe readers share publishers’ apparent belief that just the existence of a M/M relationship constitutes hotness. I give you empirical evidence to that point. One of my publishers strongly “encourages” its writers to write single-sex-scene giveaways to draw readers to their work. While I don’t generally like to do this because I don’t think it strengthens a writer’s brand, I bowed to pressure and wrote two of them for this particular publisher. It just happened that my two shorts were oral vs anal sex scenes. It wasn’t planned, that’s just the way the scenes painted themselves across my mind as I was writing. Well, the first reader reviews I received on these sexy little scenes were blasé. I could almost hear the reader yawning as she reported that the stories were “just” 69 scenes.

Alrighty then.

This little vignette supports my theory that readers have moved beyond the idea that M/M is erotic just by its nature. The predominance of fringe, kink and erotic fiction in today’s culture is creating a niche of readers who feel they’ve “read it all” and might be less enthusiastic about things that used to feel outré. These readers are slowly moving the bar between what’s erotic and what’s considered vanilla and authors, editors, and publishers need to keep up. While I’m not suggesting that we should attempt to write hotter, more risqué, more sex-laden fiction, I am saying that the way we view M/M fiction needs to change a bit. I think we can categorize M/M fiction in the same way we do M/F stories. Erotic is erotic is erotic. And sensual is sensual. It doesn’t matter the sex of the partners involved. Love still works the same way between them. And our perception of that relationship should be the same too.

Happy Reading everybody!

Answer the following question for a chance to win your choice of my backlist…
How have your perceptions of gay fiction changed since you first became aware of it?

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