Apparently the RWA find it impossible to define. Writers don't seem to agree on a defintion and I really don't think we should get bogged down in this. (Blogged down, maybe)
An erotic romance is a story that is both erotica, and romance. (Not necessarily equally).
It has a love story with a happy ending.
It has sex scenes that aim to sexually arouse the reader.
Oh no, some might say. There must be a literary quality. Really? You think everything out there being reasonably considered erotic romance has pretences to be literature with artistic goals and great over-arching themes? I think not.
Oh no, it must also have a plot line that intrinsically involves sex, not just sex added in. In that case at least two of my books aren't erotic romance, just romance with sex. Do we really need to make that distinction other than to suggest I am some kind of pervert?
Okay, I am some kind of pervert but that is quite beside the point. Erotic romance is both romance and erotica and I see no need to be ashamed of either aspect--or to subordinate or excuse either under veils of artistic necessity and 'the plot made me do it.'
Sure, some people don't like gratuitous sex... and some people clearly seek it out. Some come more from an erotica background, some more from a romance motivation. But if there is one thing we should have learned in the latest kerfuffle it would be this. For each of us, what we like about erotic romance, or why we write it, is not necessarily the whole of the genre. Nor does the genre need protecting from those who are a little less refined or more kinky...
let's keep the definition inclusive?