Erotica, from the Greek eros, "love", are works of art, including literature, photography, sculpture and painting, that deal substantively with erotically stimulating or arousing descriptions. Erotica is rather a modern word used to describe the portrayal of human sensuality and sexuality with high-art aspirations, differentiating such work from commercial pornography.
It has been said, ironically, that "The difference between erotica and pornography is simple. Erotica is what I like; pornography is what you like, you pervert".
While pornography popularly focuses on unadorned and unemotional lusts and the explicit depiction of sexual acts, erotica tends to define material and higher emotional content, the development of place, character and story line, or of an overall artistic theme. However, such distinctions are necessarily subjective and may say more about the critic's own tastes on erotic material than the artistic and other attributes of the material itself. In the motion picture sense, soft porn is a similar kind of commercial art form that resides in the area between erotica and hardcore pornography, although erotica, as a type of fine art, may also be highly explicit.
It is a notable trait of the strength of the human reproductive drive relative to the psyche as a whole, that unambiguous reference to sexuality, framed in a manner which the perceiver thereof finds acceptable, tends to initiate an involuntary reaction of sexual arousal, possibly building increased sexual desire, which may lead to creating or taking advantage of opportunity to engage in sexual activity. This can be true of erotica just as well as other, both more and less refined references to sex. Depictions of the human body which merely fail to conceal or disguise the secondary sexual characteristics of its particular gender may be all that is necessary to trigger arousal in a person who is attracted to that gender. For this reason, erotica is too broadly described merely in terms of the effect that it engenders in its audience, as all sexually related matter has the potential to create such an effect. For example, in the absence of the availability of pornography, some men have used clothing catalogs as a form of erotica.