It's one of the most common questions I get asked – by budding writers via email or in person during one of my (ahem) Sex Sells: Erotica Writing classes: what makes an erotic story ...erotic?
But before I answer [insert suspenseful music here] a bit of exposition is in order: there is ahuge difference in writing for yourself, such as when you are first dipping your ... toes into erotica writing, and when you've made the very brave decision to throw your work out into the professional world.
If you are writing for yourself then you really don't need to be thinking about sex (or the amount of it) at all: you're writing for your pleasure, or just as practice.
But if you do decide to send your work out you really do need to be pay close attention to where you're submitting: when a publisher or editor puts out a call for submissions they are often – or should be – quite clear about the amount of sexuality they need or want from a writer. If you're sending a story, say, to a site, anthology or whatever it's always a good idea to scope out the territory, so to speak: read what the editor has accepted before, take a gander at the site ... and so forth. That, at least, should give you a ballpark feeling of what (and how much) they are looking for.
But [insert dramatic drum roll] as far as the right, perfect, ideal, amount of sex for a story that isn't just for your own pleasure, or a very specific market, goes ... well, what's sex?