"Erotica" is a song by American singer-songwriter Madonna. It is the titular track from her fifth studio album Erotica (1992), and was released as the lead single on October 13, 1992 by Maverick Records. The song was written by Madonna, Shep Pettibone and Anthony Shimkin, while production was handled by the former two. Musically, "Erotica" contains spoken word vocals, and is an ode to S&M, with Madonna using a pseudonym called "Dita". She invites her lover to be passive while making love to her and leads him to explore boundaries between pain and pleasure.
Initially, "Erotica" received mixed reviews from music critics; it was seen as a high point of innovation in Madonna's career, while others found it scary. The song debuted at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming one of the highest debuts on the chart history at the time, eventually peaking at number three. Additionally, it became a success on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, reaching the top position. "Erotica" also found commercial success internationally, peaking in the top ten in several countries including Italy, Japan, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
The accompanying music video for the song was directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron, and featured a masked Madonna in a dominatrix costume. It also featured celebrities such as Naomi Campbell and Big Daddy Kane. The video was highly controversial, being aired by MTV a total of three times, all of these after the 10pm watershed.
DUEL of the month