I have been thinking about the structure of erotic novels. Specifically, I have been thinking about the structure of an erotic novel I am in the middle of writing and how I wish I had more a blueprint for what I wanted to do with it.
There are a few models for regular novels that work well in porn. There is the three-act structure which I think works really well for romantic erotica. The first act is two potential lovers meeting, or maybe even fucking. The second act is all the reasons they can’t be together all the time, or maybe it is all the hot sex they have that must keep strictly sexual despite both wanting to take the next level. This ends with a breakup or separation and then the third act is how they get back together to fuck some more.
The other famous structure is the Hero’s Journey. Some young person gets recruited to do something. They resist, then they train, then they might resist some more, then they do a bunch of stuff and finally become a mature hero who takes care of the problem. It is such an iconic story that porn often imitates it without even consciously being aware of it because becoming hero is awfully similar to a sexual awakening. Character gets invited for hot sex, they have their doubts and are reluctant but through the teaching of their mentor, they get better and better until they achieve some loft sexual goal like being hot enough to attract the second hottest character in the book.
There is a third structure in porn novels that used to be more common but not as much in world today. It is the Picaresque model where some low class person has a series of loosely connected adventures that are designed to show how clever this low class person is. Any single encounter could almost exist on its own as a short story.
The erotic equivalent is a novel where the character doesn’t really grow into a super-sex person or finally fuck someone important. They also don’t really have a lofty goal in the distance that they must struggle against like in a three act structure. They simply are and the what they are is someone who fucks in a series of encounters meant to arouse.
I feel like there has to be other structures that I am not aware. To be honest, I never studied structure much and to my knowledge, have never seen anyone try to break it down for porn novels. I am curious if anyone is aware of other novel structures in porn.