Soft Core or Hard Core or Does it Matter?

Originally posted on April 19, 2012

So, last night my partner had one of his buddies over and told his friend about some of his recent writing successes. Then he went on to tell him about my books. I don’t like to “advertise” or brag about my writing, and most of my friends know I write but they know I also teach college classes, and unless I make a point of showing them my writing, they only know about a few things. Truth is, while I like selling books (and, yes, I like having fans), I don’t feel the need to make a big deal out of it with people who might not care. So I think my partner likes to brag on my behalf. And that’s pretty sweet. :)

But he didn’t just tell his friend I’ve published some books. Oh, no. He just had to describe them. Now, bear in mind, he hasn’t read much of my writing. He’s read some, but I don’t let him read much (although that could change in the near future). And I don’t expect or need him to. After all, he’s a guy and guys don’t always find the same things interesting that we women do. But I digress. He was describing my books based on what I’ve told him and what others have said, and he described my books as “soft core porn.”

I objected.

Then I corrected him and said, “Excuse me. That’s erotica.”

His friend thought that was “cool,” so I guess no harm done.

But I’ve been giving it more thought since last night. Could my books be described as soft core porn? I pondered it some more and then finally did some research. Here’s what Wikipedia says about soft core porn:

Softcore pornography depicts nude and semi-nude performers engaging in casual social nudity or non-graphic representations of sexual intercourse or masturbation. Softcore porn precludes explicit depictions of vaginal or anal penetration, cunnilingus, fellatio and ejaculation.

Now, granted, Wikipedia is talking about visual media (film and photography), but I think the same ideas can apply to text. Here’s the definition from The Free Dictionary:

Being less explicit than hard-core material in depicting or describing sexual activity.

Do you see the problem here? My books are definitely not soft core, are they? In my books, you have graphic descriptions (and depictions) of the very things soft core porn shouldn’t be engaging in. For example, I’ve described at least one instance of fellatio and several instances of cunnilingus as well as vaginal penetration. Sure, there are a few things I haven’t written about (and maybe never will), but as I read these descriptions, I thought, “Oh, hell. Soft core doesn’t even scratch the surface!”

I think I’m okay with that. And I think maybe I remembered another reason why I don’t brag to everyone I know about the stuff I write. A few of them might have heart attacks!

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