Sensual romance and erotica are similar, and many people, including some authors, think they are one in the same, but they’re actually quite different. Sort of like the old cliche about apples and oranges.
I write sensual romance, and sensual romance does include a few steamy love scenes. Those love scenes, however, are included to enhance the overall plot as the characters consummate their relationship. Euphemisms, such as, “manhood,” or “sweet spot,” are used instead of describing actual body parts, and the scene typically includes descriptions of the characters’ feelings and emotions during the experience. In other words, the story is about the characters’ relationship to one another, with any and all “bedroom scenes” being but one component of the overall story.
Erotica is different. In erotica, the sex is the story. It’s all about the characters having sex, and a lot of it. The descriptions are more graphic, the language less polite, the characters’ relationship to one another is of less importance, and their emotions may or may not matter.
Both sensual and erotica are considered romance sub-genres, however there is little, if any, romance in erotica. It’s really the literary equivalent of hard porn. Or, to put it a different way, sensual romance would be like an “R” rated movie, where erotica would be rated triple X. And while there are, no doubt, readers who enjoy both, they are two entirely different writing styles, written for two different audiences.