Erotic Horror

What is the Erotic Horror Subgenre?

Erotic horror is the blending of two endlessly fascinating subjects: sex and scares. Each of these entices the reader to look closer, while also offering the thrill of the taboo and forbidden. Erotic horror was incredibly popular in the 1980's and 1990's. A good erotic horror tale could both turn the reader on as well as creep the reader out. Sex, in erotic horror, is always an integral part of the story, and as such, the sex is graphic and explicit to the point of being pornographic at times. Since erotic horror's heyday in the 1990's, editors and writers have opted for a more inclusive name for this subgenre, sexual horror. This is because the sex in erotic horror is often violent and also often far from pleasurable.

Although the term was abandoned in the 1990's for sexual horror, erotic horror is a term that has recently been used to describe a new type of erotic, known as monster erotica. This subgenre features sexual scenes with monsters such as Bigfoot, Frankenstein, and werewolves. This subgenre can also feature fantasy creatures such as minotaurs, leprechauns, or sometimes even dinosaurs. A related subgenre to this is vampire erotica,which features sexual encounters with vampires. This version of the erotic horror subgenre began gaining popularity in the 2010's and is largely self-published. This version of erotic horror is less violent that its earlier predecessor and could be compared to dark fantasy with sexual elements that are central to the plot.


Erotic Horror Characteristics

Level of Characterization: The level of characterization is low to moderate in erotic horror as many examples of this genre are short stories. Longer works have more room for character development, but characterization is not the main focus of this subgenre.


Level of Plot: Similarly, plot levels in this subgenre are going to be low to moderate. Again, part of the reason for this is due to the length of many of the works in erotic horror.


Level of Supernatural:  There is a moderate to high level of supernatural in erotic horror, particularly in the revival of the subgenre, which is also known as monster erotica.


Level of Scary: The level of scary in erotic horror is moderate to high. Sometimes the scary elements even overrun the arousing elements.


Level of Violence: The level of violence in erotic horror is high. Often, violence is as central to a story in this subgenre as the sexual elements.


Typical Setting: The typical setting of erotic horror is modern and urban with a dark and sexual underside.

Related Horror Subgenres

Extreme, graphic, and visceral horror are all related genres to erotic horror due to the explicit nature of all of these subgenres. Sexy horror is also a related subgenre to erotic horror, though it is less graphic in detail. Additionally, cross-genre horror, particularly paranormal romance, is also related, though the focus tends to be more on the relationship between the paranormal entity and the human protagonist than on graphic depictions of sexual encounters in paranormal romance. Finally, dark fantasy could be related to erotic horror, particularly to monster erotica, since essentially, monster erotica is dark fantasy with strong sexual elements.

Don't Read Erotic Horror If You Dislike…

Explicit and graphic sex. This is probably obvious, but a central element of erotic horror is its incredibly detailed sexual elements. That being said, another element of erotic horror is violence. So, if you don't like graphic violence, this subgenre may not be for you.

The Safety of Unknown Cities by Lucy Taylor- In this Stoker award winner, Val is constantly hungering for new thrills. She becomes obsessed with finding "The City", a place where every desire is celebrated and welcomed, but a former lover, Breen, is obsessed with finding and possessing Val.


Hot Blood: Tales of Erotic Horror by Jeff Gelb- The first in a series featuring short stories of erotic horror from some of the horror genre's brightest stars.

Dark Seductions: Tales of Erotic Horror by John Scognamiglio and Alice Alfonsi- With graphic, and not always pleasant sex, and a very high creep factor, these 14 spine-tingling tales are not for the faint of heart.


Mistress of the Dark by Sephera Giron- Told in diary form, this creepy novel chronicles Abigail Barnum's descent into a world of madness, obsession, seduction, and murder.

Love in Vein:Tales of Vampire Erotica by Poppy Z. Brite-  This collection of short stories explores the darkest hungers, and these vampires, while sexy, are also incredibly scary.


Nightwhere by John Everson- Rae is drawn to a mysterious underground sex club and disappears. Now, her husband must find her and save her before the club claims her completely.


The Darker Passions: Dracula by Amarantha Knight- A retelling of the classic horror tale with a BDSM twist.


Control Freak by Christa Faust- When a young hacker is murdered, Caitlyn McCullough sees it as an opportunity to write a best-selling true crime novel. She begins to investigate the case and is drawn into a depraved world of sex that was the hacker's personal playground.


Frankenstein's Bitch by K.J. Burkhardt- In this example of monster erotica, Emily vacations with friends in Germany and finds herself trapped with Frankenstein's monster.


The Nothingness by J.C. Stockli- Evie is just one of the many addicts in the town of Fallhaven, and when she discovers the mysterious Lucca and his friends lurking beneath the docks of the town, she is drawn inexorably to his world.

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