Sex sells. It's been said countless times. The booming market for erotica certainly speaks to the number of readers who want a steamy book to read. But in erotica there's a difference in how the sex is portrayed and in good erotica, in the quality of the writing itself.
First, what is the difference in romance and erotica. In my mind, romance is about the connection of emotions, the forming of attachments, even the possibility of a happily-ever-after. The sex can be steamy, but the emphasis is on the emotion behind the sex. It isn't, in an of itself, and act for individual pleasure and release. On the otherhand, erotica can be and is usually only for the pleasure of the person with no preconceived notions of love-everlasting. Some books, especially by well-established and quality writers, do show the couple staying together, but only after many scenes of sex for the purpose of sex-only.
The difference between quality erotica and garbage sex is in the technique of the writing, the development of well-defined characters, use of a well-conceived plot and a satisfying conclusion based on bringing all primary and secondary plot lines to a suitable conclusion. Dialogue flows and isn't forced. It isn't full of cliches and trashy lines. Though graphic languge is used, it is done in context and not for the shock factor.
In order to keep your reader interested, you don't only need good writing, a great plot, interesting well-developed characters and superb dialogue, but you need to have a variety to the sex. Naturally, it's not all in the missionary position. But, the same applies to foreplay, oral sex, and the actual act itself--they should vary and include new twists. The places where sex is performed should also vary. Outside is a great location for a sex scene. Though shower scenes are cliche anymore, they still work (what can be more steamy?). However, as Emeril says, kick it up a notch.
Stormy Knight has just released her first short story through Sapphire Nights Books, www.SapphireNightsBooks.com in the launch of its new series of short satisfying reads, Naughty Bits. She is now working on a novella which she hopes to release in the near future.