noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
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Origin of erotica
Words nearby erotica
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does erotica mean?
Erotica is visual art or writing created to sexually arouse the viewer or reader. It is commonly associated with novels and internet fan fiction.
Content warning: the following content includes references to sexual activity.
Where did the term erotica come from?
Erotica, though, is even more ancient: prehistoric cave paintings from places as far flung as France, Australia, and China have long immortalized sexy times.
Erotic literature is also very old. The Song of Solomon is a sensual book of the Old Testament, but erotic poems go all the way back to a birthplace of the written word, ancient Sumer, where poetic erotica served as a how-to manual for young lovers.
While the content is old, the word erotica is younger, recorded in the 1810s. This wasn’t long before another sexy Greek-based word emerged, pornography (literally, “writing concerning prostitutes”), by the 1840s.
People have been arguing about the difference between erotica and pornography ever since. The consensus is that pornography is commercial, has no aesthetic value other than to stimulate the viewer sexually, and objectifies the subject(s).
Erotica is considered to have artistic merit besides being sexy, being made with the goal of artistic expression and not just financial gains. It humanizes the subject(s).
Now, even though museums and libraries are full of millennia of erotica, from sexy petroglyphs to giant paintings of orchids that look like lady parts, we’re pretty sure you want to know about the internet phenomenon of fan fiction erotica. Fanfic has been around since the 1880s, when Sherlock Holmes fans started clubs to write it, and erotic fanfic has been popular since people started shipping Kirk and Spock in 1970s Star Trek fan zines.
One famous example of erotic fanfic turned mainstream erotica (romance novels, but kinkier) is E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy-turned-movies, which began as Twilight fanfiction.
There are enough websites devoted to Harry Potter erotica that the topic is a black card in Cards Against Humanity. And, it’s a pretty safe bet that any media you’ve ever enjoyed has some fanfic erotica just waiting to ruin your childhood with the click of a mouse. Where there’s a fandom, there’s erotica. Isn’t that one of those rules of the internet?
In 2018, a Virginia Democratic candidate for Congress accused her Republican opponent, Denver Riggleman, of being into Bigfoot erotica. Erotica truly covers all things.
Who uses the term erotica?
Feminists in the 1970s and on have advocated for feminist erotica (sometimes called feminist porn or cliterature), which emphasizes women’s autonomy and pleasure over more male-centric, objectifying pornography.
Madonna’s 1992 album Erotica included such classics as “Justify My Love” and ushered in the pointy-bra era for the Queen of Pop.
Christian erotica (erotica about married, Christian couples having hot, steamy, church-sanctioned sexy times, not erotica about Jesus) stirred up controversy in the 2010s. Some believers feel that erotica is a God-friendly way to spice up the old marital duties, while others don’t approve one bit.
If you’re feeling guilty about your consumption of erotica, don’t! Some experts say that erotica is good for mental health and can help with depression, anxiety, and recovering from trauma.
More examples of erotica:
“After all, “erotica” is rooted in “eros” or passionate love, and thus in the idea of positive choice, free will, the yearning for a particular person.”
—Gloria Steinem, Ms., November 1978
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for erotica
Wanting to move on from comics, he wrote bad poetry, lackluster screenplays and egregious-sounding forays into erotica.‘True Believer’ tries to capture Stan Lee. It isn’t easy.|Glen David Gold|February 18, 2021|Washington Post
Don’t despair because there is a new kind of erotica that might tickle your fancy.
This desire for erotica grew his portfolio throughout the 1950s, and he carefully shared it with “anyone he thought would appreciate it” – including a publisher of a new kind of international magazine, who immediately accepted it for publication.Tom of Finland bio reveals dangers of creating erotic art|Terri Schlichenmeyer|December 14, 2020|Washington Blade
Ah yes, Fifty Shades of Grey, that classic volume of lesbian erotica.I Tried Cosmo’s Lesbian Sex Tips and They Were Terrible|Samantha Allen|July 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
More people are (sort of) aware of S&M practices thanks to the popularity of the 50 Shades series and other “mom erotica.”
Today, there are no limits when it comes to explicit language and content in self-published erotica.Monster Porn Is the Latest Wrinkle in Self-Published Smut|Lizzie Crocker|January 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Sex, along with its companion record, Erotica, earned Warner Brothers a half billion dollars in 1992 alone.
You have a number of books that are considered works of literary erotica.
Nevertheless, that is the method which the author of the Erotica Biblon adopts for portraying the morals of the Jewish people.The Satyricon, Complete|Petronius Arbiter
None of these cases have anything to do with poedophilia erotica.
By von Krafft-Ebing this state is termed pædophilia erotica.