HEA, HFN, or UE?

In romance writing parlance, HEA stands for “happily ever after” and HFN stands for “happy for now”. Both are considered approved ways to end a romantic story, and that extends to erotica as well; most erotica ends happily in some way.

But what about UE (“unhappy ending”)? (Yes, I just made that up.) Would you still read erotica even if it didn’t have a happy ending?

I’m thinking in particular about a short-story I wrote years ago called “A Very Uncomfortable Place”, about a guy who’s so unhappy in his marriage that he meets up with a guy and has sex with him. The thing is, he doesn’t really enjoy it as much as he’d hoped, and then goes home to his wife and remains unhappy with her. And that’s not the only erotica I’ve written that has an unhappy ending.

Normally stories with unhappy endings show up in more literary stories, or contemporary fiction, or even genre fiction. (I have written several stories under my real name that end unhappily, but in a satisfying fashion for the reader.) But this one… well, it is erotica. It has explicit sex, and said explicit sex is the action part of the story. It’s just that the ending is not positive.

Would you read an erotica story if you knew it didn’t have a happy ending?

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