Genres & Terms

Here are the definitions of terms and genres as I use them in this blog:


These definitions are fairly arbitrary (especially in how I apply them), based on my interpretation and feeling.  I have found  while there is plenty of explicit intimacy in romance novels, I am usually struck with where the focus of the creativity and writing seems to be to me – story, sex with a weak story, sex with little story, so I make the following distinctions:
  • Story and relationship is the focus (romance);
  • There are plenty of story and relationships elements, but the sex is the real focus and strength of the piece (romantic erotica);
  • The sex dominates (with perhaps a few story and relationship elements minimally present to bolster the sex scenes).

Romance – where the plot centers on relationship of two (or more) individuals falling in love, usually with a happy ending (mostly HEA – happily ever after, sometimes HFN – happy for now); physical intimacy is alluded to “off-page” ( fade-to-black) interaction after a set-up and/or described mainly with euphemisms

Adult Romance – romance with plenty of explicit content, but where I think the story (including the relationship building and/or the setting and plot) is clearly central.  (E.g., where I see the explicit sex used to spice up or support for the broader story.)

Romantic Erotica – stories where I feel the sex is the focus and highlight of the work, but the basic elements of a full plot and/or relationship evolution are included and described.  The story writing and focus are clear and present, but take a back seat to the physical sizzle.

Erotica – where sexual interaction and fulfillment (rather than relationships) are the point of the story.  The plot, setting, and/or relationship information is often brief and only included to heighten the erotic feeling in the sex scenes.


As I use them in this blog:

BDSM– Bondage, Discipline/Domination, Sadism & Masochism – a category of kinky sexual relations where one partner dominates the other in some strong way, be it: through physical restraints/tying up (bondage); physical discipline (one has the power to punish the other – e.g. spanking); or the enjoyment of inflicting (Sadism) or receiving (Masochism) pain.  Sometimes the D is considered to stand for Domination (and D/s is often considered part of the broad BDSM community):  a Master/servant or Master/slave or Dominant top/submissive bottom type of relationship.

D/s– Domination/submission – relationship where a submissive/bottom person gives up control to another, the Dominant  (can be implemented in a multitude of manners)

HEA– Happily Ever After (romance stories usually end with the couple set for a loving, positive, long-term relationship)

HFN– Happy for Now (romance stories usually end with the couple set to have a positive short-term relationship, with the long-term unknown)

M/M– male/male interaction, as in love and/or sex between two men

MMF– male/male/female interaction, as in love and/or sex between two men and a woman, where the men interact with each other.  (Note: this label is inconsistently used by some romance and erotica sites/authors, where it can be applied to what I call “MFM” scenarios.  The reader often has to look somewhat closely at the description to determine just how the men might “relate” to each other.)

MFM– male/female/male interaction – where a woman has relationships with multiple  male partners, but the males are not intimate with each other (e.g. a woman being loved by two brothers, but the brothers are *not* committing incest)

MPREG (male pregnancy)  – paranormal or fantasy settings where some males can become pregnant; often used in some Alpha/Omega M/M stories, where the strong Alpha male can breed with the usually smaller and weaker Omega male, such as in an Omegaverse setting

Omegaverse (or Alpha/Beta/Omega dynamics)  – setting where Alphas can breed with Omegas, usually of either gender, often yielding MPREG (male pregnancy) stories; Alphas are usually dominant personalities and/or physically imposing, while Omegas are often non-aggressive, physically smaller, and/or kept in a submissive/servant/breeder slave type of position; many settings involve wolf shifters, but some simply use Alpha/Beta/Omega  as another human “gender”, e.g. Alpha male, Alpha female, Beta male, Beta female, Omega male, Omega female, etc.