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Old 12-14-2017, 03:11 PM   #1
kurrginatorX
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Sex vs. Story

In my ever-increasing desire to find that perfect niche here at Literotica, I pose the following question: Do readers here want story, or sex? More specifically, how much non-sex can a story contain and still be entertaining?

I am one who strongly believes in plot and character development. I ensure my serious offerings here at Literotica contain these, and that is why I like Sam Jason's stories so much, because he does a really good job of this as well.

It seems, however, that unless the pages are filled to the brim with sex, some people are not very quick to give a story a higher mark, generally settling for a 3 instead of a 4 or 5, or even adding to Favorites.

So, the question stands: Do readers just want gratuitous sex, or are they more interested in finding out why a certain something or someone is the way it is?
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:35 PM   #2
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I'm going to say that cramming a story full of sex is not necessary to have a successful story on Literotica. Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of well received stories that were driven by character and plot more than sex.

Checkout The Third Ring (4.68) by NotWise or Christmas Truce (4.70 and a contest winner) by Oggbashan as examples of high scoring stories with very little sexual content. The chapters of My Fall and Rise by MelissaBaby rank between 4.46 and 4.87 and the sex is really secondary to the plot, almost unnecessary.

You'd have to ask those authors about the number of votes/views the stories got, but the people who read them sure seemed to like them.
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:45 PM   #3
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For me personally, it is a mix of both.

If I've come online feeling frisky and looking for inspiration, I will skip to the sexual parts of a story and not read any further until later. But as an avid reader, I also agree that character development is important.

The stories that have me closing the window, or skipping ahead looking for interesting parts are the ones that have too much dialogue, for instance describing an entire conversation had over coffee that adds nothing to the story.

Character and plot development that draws a reader in, and takes them on a journey is definitely something that keeps me reading. I think there are a lot of stories that just have 'filler' paragraphs that aren't allowing you to learn more about the character, and that's where readers will want sex over the story.

Some of the most erotic stories that I have read a few times over are the ones that have the character development. Okay, he/she took a shower, but why is that being written about for two paragraphs, if not going into their thoughts, their feelings, or even their hangups about their own body?

I think, for me, story is important, but it has to be done well, and draw me more into the character's world, to be able to picture their surroundings, and put myself in their place.

For instance, "she jumped in the car and drove to the restaurant, listening to the radio. She was stuck in traffic for twenty minutes due to roadworks." It adds nothing, and doesn't tell the reader much, but add some detail, and I think it works.

"She got into the car, and started the drive to the restaurant. A song came on that reminded of her the last time she went on a date - it had been so long, and she felt nervous and uncertain of what to expect. She almost turned back and went back home, after roadworks brought traffic to a halt, but something inside her pushed her to go on. She wouldn't be afraid of dating again."

I've just made those up on the spur of the moment, but for me, the second paragraph is something more relatable, and I think helps the reader to get in sync with the emotions of the character, and will ultimately take them on the journey with her.

Just my two pence worth lol
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:52 PM   #4
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I think the answer to your question depends upon which category you are discussing.

The readers of romance, science fiction, or non-human (for instance) seem to like the long game. Plenty of world-building and a slower advance to the sex.

Erotic coupling, fetish, group sex... all want lots of sex quickly. Fuck the plot.

I would suggest setting your pace by analyzing your readers.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurrginatorX View Post
In my ever-increasing desire to find that perfect niche here at Literotica, I pose the following question: Do readers here want story, or sex? More specifically, how much non-sex can a story contain and still be entertaining?
There is no Lit "reader" that you can characterize so easily. The variations are too wide. Some don't want any significant plot or character development interrupting the porn scenario. Some like a good story and can skip the sex. A lot of people will like it one way one time, and another way at another time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kurrginatorX View Post
It seems, however, that unless the pages are filled to the brim with sex, some people are not very quick to give a story a higher mark, generally settling for a 3 instead of a 4 or 5, or even adding to Favorites.
There are those readers, but in my experience stories with a developed plot and characters tend to score better. Scoring is only one measure of success.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kurrginatorX View Post
So, the question stands: Do readers just want gratuitous sex, or are they more interested in finding out why a certain something or someone is the way it is?
People who are skimming stories looking for something hot to get them off don't care much how it gets hot. People who are looking for an adult story to entertain them may not even care if it gets hot. Readers are everywhere in between.

Decide for yourself what you want to serve up, and write that.

Oh, and thanks for the plug, LoquiSordidaAdMe.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:34 PM   #6
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There are always going to be readers just looking for sex. And often I'd rather read a well-written smut piece than a story with a poorly executed plot line. No matter what, though, I always feel like I'm getting a raw glimpse into someone's fantasies, which is what I'm really after.
I've written an incest series called Ink,Sex,Magic that's very plot intensive and I've gotten positive responses, even from people who avoid reading taboo stories. In fact, they've been so encouraging that I'm going to rework the series into a non-taboo novel/series for more mainstream publication.
As an author, you'll find the balance between pleasing your audience and expressing yourself creatively. So keep writing!

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Old 12-14-2017, 04:54 PM   #7
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LoquiSordidaAdMe, thank you for the plug for:

https://www.literotica.com/s/christmas-truce

kurrginatorX, your questions are unanswerable. Literotica is so massive and the range of readers from many countries is such a large number that almost any combination of sex, no-sex, implied sex, in-your-face sex and simple or complex story writing - will find an audience.

If you want to achieve consistently high ratings? That's a different question. High ratings are an indication of the story (or author's) popularity. You might achieve high ratings by writing for specific categories and repeating the same successful scenario over and over again. Chapter 36 that is really yet another version of Chapters 1 to 35 is likely to be rated highly. Why?

Because readers who have stayed with the author beyond Chapter 3 obviously like the premise or they would have ignored the story earlier.

If you look at my list of stories you will find many that are low rated. Some of them are in the fetish category which is very difficult. The reader either likes a particular fetish, or doesn't. The votes are either a 5 or more likely a 1 or 2 because some actively HATE that fetish.

Incest between close relations is popular and scores highly. Mother/son is good. Cousins? Not taboo enough.

But it depends what YOU want to write. Whatever you write as long as your writing is minimally competent, someone will like it.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:07 PM   #8
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I go with the flow. One chapter Iím working on will have no sex, and will need to get put into the non-erotica section. Iím fine with it because jamming sex in there will ruin the tone the chapter wants to convey.
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:34 PM   #9
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There's a market for a lot of things.

Some people are only interested in short stories to get off.

Other enjoy reading long story pieces.

Some want something in the middle, and some like all of them.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:34 PM   #10
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I think the separation of "story" and "sex" is somewhat artificial. In a good erotic story, they are integrated. The sex may be the climax of the story, but the buildup can be just as important to making it erotic and enjoyable.

I think the first thing is to figure out what kind of story it is, what role the "erotic" element will play, and what category it will go in.

Some stories in the sci fi/fantasy category are not primarily erotic stories. They're sci fi/fantasy stories with episodes of sex interspersed throughout the story. And for a lot of readers in that category, that's fine. You can have long stretches of story-telling without sex, and if the story's good readers will like it.

But if you publish a story in the exhibitionist category, you better make exhibitionism/voyeurism the centerpiece of the story. You don't need "sex", per se, but you need the story to focus on that erotic element. The "story" part should lead up to it. You don't want to make your reader slog through long stretches of story-telling that have nothing to do with exhibitionism.

It all depends on the needs of the story.
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurrginatorX View Post
In my ever-increasing desire to find that perfect niche here at Literotica, I pose the following question: Do readers here want story, or sex? More specifically, how much non-sex can a story contain and still be entertaining?

I am one who strongly believes in plot and character development. I ensure my serious offerings here at Literotica contain these, and that is why I like Sam Jason's stories so much, because he does a really good job of this as well.

It seems, however, that unless the pages are filled to the brim with sex, some people are not very quick to give a story a higher mark, generally settling for a 3 instead of a 4 or 5, or even adding to Favorites.

So, the question stands: Do readers just want gratuitous sex, or are they more interested in finding out why a certain something or someone is the way it is?
A warm welcome to chaos.
To my mind, the Story comes first - UNLESS you are writing a simple 'stroker'.
There's a readership for both !
A well-told tale, spelled right with competent grammar will get you more consistent higher scores.
One of my favourite stories has very little sex; it a long story in one piece (praise the Lord):-
'Jonas Agonistes' by Malraux.
Of course, the Quality of the sex can be important. . . .
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by LoquiSordidaAdMe View Post
I'm going to say that cramming a story full of sex is not necessary to have a successful story on Literotica. Off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of well received stories that were driven by character and plot more than sex.

Checkout The Third Ring (4.68) by NotWise or Christmas Truce (4.70 and a contest winner) by Oggbashan as examples of high scoring stories with very little sexual content. The chapters of My Fall and Rise by MelissaBaby rank between 4.46 and 4.87 and the sex is really secondary to the plot, almost unnecessary.

You'd have to ask those authors about the number of votes/views the stories got, but the people who read them sure seemed to like them.
Thank you, Loqui, and by the way, thank you for your very thoughtful critique on my latest chapter.

To the OP, you have to ask yourself what you wish to achieve with your writing, and who you are writing for. If you are trying to bring in as many readers as possible, then a large amount of sexual content is probably best.But if you are here to tell stories you feel compelled to share, then the integrity of the story has primacy. In my stories, sex is the seasoning, not the meal.

For me, I am very pleased when I hear from readers who say that what I have written has given them food for thought, or that they have reread the story in order to appreciate some nuance or another, than to be told that my story got them off. Other authors may have different goals and standards, there is room here for all of us.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurrginatorX View Post
In my ever-increasing desire to find that perfect niche here at Literotica, I pose the following question: Do readers here want story, or sex? More specifically, how much non-sex can a story contain and still be entertaining?
You can't go wrong if you remember that an Erotic Story is first and foremost a Story. Even a stroker vignette will be better if you can make the cardboard cutouts likable.

Some stories need lots of sex, and others struggle to justify a "slap and tickle." Write what feels right to you and let the readers read or not as they choose.
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Old 12-15-2017, 02:29 AM   #14
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I think the answer to your question depends upon which category you are discussing.

The readers of romance, science fiction, or non-human (for instance) seem to like the long game. Plenty of world-building and a slower advance to the sex.

Erotic coupling, fetish, group sex... all want lots of sex quickly. Fuck the plot.

I would suggest setting your pace by analyzing your readers.
My thoughts exactly. Add First time to the ones that like plot and characters. And I think I would add BDSM to the plot group, too, though the stories there are a very mixed bag. However, some of my favorite stories are from that category and definitely had plot and characters and scored well.

My personal experience as a writer:

I write stories with depth/plot/characters (most of the time). My stories in First time and Romance are my higher rated ones.

For me, the jury is out where the Sci-Fi category is concerned. I was disappointed in my story posted there. It is going to be a multi-part, but the first part doesn't have sci-fi aspects in it. Still, it's a good story, and I was disappointed in the ratings. However, not sure whether that's because they didn't appreciate the story because it wasn't sci-fi (yet), whether it's because I got a few lowball scores and the readership there is abysmal, or whether the readers didn't like the sex scene with an abusive boyfriend (even though there was a caveat about it at the beginning of the story).

I do think there is something to be said for having a niche or certain categories you write in - or at least certain ones that you don't. Reject Reality has two other pen names, and a purpose for each one. He explained it to me the other day, and I thought that was a perfect idea. One name for the more plot-based stories with some romance aspects, one for the "quickies" and one specifically for Sci-Fi. That way, you don't confuse your followers when you post three super romances and then a robust nonconsent. Probably a pretty good way to lose followers, especially for a new writer.
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:19 AM   #15
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Write what you like. You're only paid in brownie points on LIT so authorship is really about self-gratification. If brownie points (views, votes, comments) gratify you, write what other people like so they can reward you. But write whatever comes into your head.

As for the content of your pieces: whatever. Good stories always draw eyes. They may be filled with sex, or it can be merely hinted. As mentioned, each category has its own feel and expectations. And each story has its own dynamics. Create a setting, fill it with players and a few plot points, set the players loose, and the story will write itself.
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Old 12-15-2017, 07:46 AM   #16
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My stories typically have a long build-up to a climatic ending. So often no sex for multiple lit-pages. But hopefully they are sexY during the build-up too.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:15 AM   #17
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I group stories in with the likes of movies. Unless one is watching a porn, the majority of movies on the big screen arenít going to dedicate much screen time to the sex scenes. I carry that ideal over into the stories I write for the most part. That being said, some of my higher rated stories are the ones without sex, containing the background elements, building the mood, and have character development that, overall, contribute to the sex scenes as they appear. Itís important for an author to find what works for them among their readers and utilize their strong points to overshadow the weaknesses in the story. For some, writing smut works well. For me, I love the background story that ties in with the sex scenes and moves the characters to other possible sex scenes. 🌹Kant👠👠👠
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:40 AM   #18
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ďLoved itĒ comments and high votes are crack to the brain and new authors, myself included way back when, check, check, check, check, check...

But, as others have said, write what you want to write and your readers will find you. Seriously, have fun and experiment and find your voice. Donít sweat the views and votes because folks here are right when they tell you some great stories donít have a red H.
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Old 12-15-2017, 09:30 AM   #19
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This comment was left by an anon on my low rated (3.85) story:

https://www.literotica.com/s/bagged-at-the-opera

I'm impressed

I'm a married female in her 30's, currently on anti-depressants that made my sex drive go fron 55mph to maybe 5 at best. (With my husband using every trick in the book--so to speak--at once).
That was well written, imaginative, and sexy. Plus, I think someone just FLOORED the gas pedal to the metal. Thanks. I needed that. Writer? Try to publish! You can do it.


It isn't one of my best stories but it obviously worked for one person at least.

I take it as an indication that I never know how a particular story will be received.
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Old 12-15-2017, 01:43 PM   #20
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My highest rated work

Oddly enough, my highest rated story...

Three Minutes and Twenty Seconds

Has zero sex.

It also has zero negative comments.

By far this is not what I consider my best story. Nor is it the one I enjoyed writing the most. It was just a stupid idea that popped into my head one afternoon so I wrote it. It is pretty much pure plot, and like I said, has no sex. Because I wrote it faster than most of my stories, it also has a few more grammatical errors than usual, but the readers didn't seem to care.

I've also written stories with extreme sex scenes and a weak plot. Some of those have also done fairly well considering the category I was poking fun at when I wrote them.

In some of my stories I tried to balance the plot/story-line and sex. Those stories didn't score as well as I expected, but it could be due to the subject matter.
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:11 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurrginatorX View Post
It seems, however, that unless the pages are filled to the brim with sex, some people are not very quick to give a story a higher mark, generally settling for a 3 instead of a 4 or 5, or even adding to Favorites.

So, the question stands: Do readers just want gratuitous sex, or are they more interested in finding out why a certain something or someone is the way it is?
Yes. Both of those things are true, because different readers have different preferences.

Low-sex stories can do well. Every "H"-rated story I have here emphasises plot and character; the sex scenes would probably be less than 20% of the word count. One of my chapters has a rating of 4.84 with no sex at all; my two Erotic Horror pieces have only very brief scenes where the sex is barely described.
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:39 PM   #22
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I would add this to the discussion of what readers "want":

I think it's true that better-written stories, with good plots and characters, often get higher scores.

But they don't necessarily get more views. Views and scores do not correlate that well here. Story may get the score, but in many cases sex is enough to get lots of readers. Some of the most highly viewed stories here have sex but not so much story.
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Old 12-15-2017, 07:45 PM   #23
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First thing - this website is called LitEROTICA.

So it stands to reason that sex should be in there somewhere. It doesn't have to be graphic, but it should be a component.

I started out writing way more graphic sex scenes, and then started to tone it down - for a couple of reasons. The detail in a good sex scene is deep and consuming and there's lots of words, and it's weird to have an hour covered in minute detail, but the rest of the story have hours that pass with one sentence.

The second is that it's really hard to keep writing sex scenes and have them sufficiently detailed where you aren't just repeating yourself. There's only so many "Hard, pulsing man flesh thrusting hard into willing wet womanly gash" you can write before you start playing games to pass the monotony.

But that said, sex has to be a component, otherwise there's little point in publishing here.

My solution was to make sex what the stories revolve around; My Ingrams series, for example, is all about how sexual therapists are injected into unwilling / unknowing recipients lives, to help them cope with a life altering event. The entire process revolves around sex, so it's an integral part of the story.

But yeah, you can do without graphic sex and still have a great story. But good sex does grease the skids, so to speak.
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Old 12-15-2017, 07:48 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by SimonDoom View Post
I think it's true that better-written stories, with good plots and characters, often get higher scores.

But they don't necessarily get more views. Views and scores do not correlate that well here. Story may get the score, but in many cases sex is enough to get lots of readers. Some of the most highly viewed stories here have sex but not so much story.
Views without Scores tells you nothing. A story could get 99,000 views, but how do you know how many readers back-clicked after the first paragraph? From Views alone, there's no way of knowing. You need scores, faves, follows and comments to fill in the blanks.
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Old 12-15-2017, 07:54 PM   #25
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Filling in the blanks at Literotica rarely tells you anything meaningful either. What is meaningful would be detailed comments by a competent reviewer that address the aspects of the story fully and usefully. That's practically nonexistent at Literotica and isn't built into the system here anyway. Everything else agonized over here is pretty much needy vanity. You aren't being paid for this. What's the big frickin' deal?
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