Erotica has become a "big" seller in the e-marketplace. Quite a few writers have jumped on the popularity of erotic stories so they can make money. Some of these writers have probably made that decision based on dollars and haven't worked through whatever it is you have to work through to become happy/proud to be writing in the genre.
Some weeks ago I wrote a post about writing fears, here. I wasn't sure what I was writing or how to write about it. But now I think about it more, there was something I had to work through (I'm slow so it took about 20 years!) to go from writing erotica for myself, to writing erotica in a "marketplace" and accepting people's negative reactions to that information/story.
All writing shares a part of you with complete strangers. No matter what you write, a part of you ends up in the story - maybe as a character trait, maybe a theme, maybe the surroundings, the weather, an observation you made, a person you know, an experience you had. Some little part of you is shared.
As an erotic writer, this is no different. What is different is people's reaction to what is shared. I think that because details of sex and intimacy are rarely shared beyond a select group (often just the 2 people involved), there seems to be an assumption that by writing erotica, you're sharing your own experiences, rather than like any other book just a sliver of yourself.
Aussie erotic author Kate Belle talked about her experience here, where someone asked if her book depicted how she actually lost her virginity. Do people assume we have to use fact and not our imaginations because it's erotica? Or are they after a bit of gossip? Or do they think they're original and the question is funny?
I'm particularly concerned about the question Kate was asked because my story is also a loss of virginity story. And just to be clear, it's not how I lost mine. My story is based on a trip I did, which I guess could lead people to think everything in it is fact. But the trip is the sliver of me in this story. You can't give everything about yourself away in one story!
However popular erotic writing is with readers, it seems some readers like it for its voyeuristic opportunities. I guess I have to toughen up for that!
And maybe erotic writers need to let the negative criticisms wash over them. If we're happy with what we're doing, maybe we should smile secretly and make people wonder about what they're missing!