Kiss and Sell: Is There a Market for Erotica in 18- to 25-year-olds?

Annie Louise Warren


This paper proposes that there is an underserved market for published erotica in 18- to 25-year-olds. The study begins with a discussion of the definition of erotica and traces its history as a genre in conjunction with romance. It also discusses the perceived and real impact of E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey on conversations around erotica and the acceptability of women consuming sexually explicit material. The study builds on the findings of recent surveys that indicate that the average age of romance readers is in decline and that younger readers are inclined towards erotica. The research finds that 18- to 25-year-olds generally hold a negative view of erotica, which in turn has a negative effect on active readership. It also finds that while most 18- to 25-year-olds have at least some exposure to erotica, its consumption is more prevalent in women. The study concludes that there is a market for published erotica in 18- to 25-year-olds, though it faces challenges such as overcoming stigma and competing with other sexually explicit media including pornography. To appeal to this age group, erotica must be representative of a diverse range of genders, races, sexualities and sexual practices.

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