I realised something after I read a post by Edmund White in The Guardian. In literature, well written sex combines the sublime with the grossly physical.
People are conflicted about sex. There's this basic hormonal drive - but also a desire for it to be something more. People fantasize about having sex that's a 'religious' experience. They want sex to transcend the boring, the ordinary.
Erotica doesn't work if it leans too far into poetry - the writing can lack passion and raw energy. The reader can become detached. Same problem if it's just the usual 'docking procedure' you can find in any porn book.
Something else I've realised. Pornography is just about the sex act. Erotica is mainly about fetishism. The sex act is still there, inside the erotica, but the sex is also transferred onto objects - onto what's going on outside the sex act.
Best literary sex scenes: writers' favourites | Books | The Guardian:
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