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Consent in Romance

Now, I don’t often publicize my stances on things, mostly because even if your views are different than mine, if they don’t hurt people, I’ll respect them. However, this one’s been boiling in the back of my mind for a long time, and it involves the topic of consent.

I was in the mood for a paranormal romance the other night and decided to check out a different book. Solid writing and steamy sex scenes should’ve meant I was in for a great time, but instead, I finished it feeling knots in my stomach and bile in my throat. Here’s the deal, guys. If the heroine says no, that she doesn’t want sex, and swarthy, domineering alpha male charges in and takes what he wants anyway, that’s rape. I know, I said it–the ugly word–the one that makes people start shouting feminazi from the highest hill. But seriously, this shouldn’t be a difficult concept to digest, and I have to admit that it really twists me up inside to see this in a modern day romance novel.

Now, I know the domineering thing can be a turn on. So can possessiveness, aggressiveness, and all of those charming dom traits, but at the end of the day, if a vocal ‘no, stop’ is being disregarded because daddy needs to get his rocks off, this is no longer in the realm of sexy hero–we’ve stepped into the danger zone of thinking women aren’t human beings any more. And you know what? It’s so tired, people. Obviously, we are. I’ve read tons of romances where there are submissive chicks and dom guys and they all coexist happily and sexily ever after with consent. My point? It does not need to cross over into rape territory.

I’ve heard plenty of arguments during the height of the Fifty Shades shenanigans where folks defended abusive behavior. Maybe for some people, the abuse and rape is a fantasy, however, for a hell of a lot of people it’s real, and I can almost guarantee you know at least one person who has been, whether they’re open about it or not. So yeah, I don’t like those sorts of books–let me make that abundantly clear. I’m not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t like, but I will say, that for modern day romance novels, as authors and readers, we can do better than those antiquated and outdated views.

For my readers, I promise you this: When I write two leads getting their groove on, I sure as hell guarantee that both parties will be one hundred percent on the same page.

 

 

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Author:

I split my time writing and working my day job as a massage therapist. If it’s a creative pursuit though, chances are I’ve dabbled in it. Hell, I’ve played around with soapmaking, beer brewing, cupcake baking, tea blending and everything else under the midday sun. At the end of the day, my constant is always reading, writing and editing. I’m an Aries-Taurus cusp–which to any astrology buffs should tell you plenty. I hit the East Coast convention circuit pretty hard and chances are, you can find me vending for Solstice Brews while simultaneously promoting my books.

13 thoughts on “Consent in Romance

    1. “dominating alpha males are HOT.” No they’re not. They’re pathetic, disgusting cave men that need to be set on fire. But to each her own I guess.

  1. For me, this is a tough one to sort through. Because in reality, I agree, consent is necessary for sex; no consent = rape. Yet I also think that the mind can be a weird place, and I think a lot of people have at least one fantasy that titillates them almost despite themselves? As in, the idea of it somehow makes them horny in the way that the reality of it horrifies and terrifies them. You know those dreams wherein you do and say things you would never do or say in real life, or you’re a different person, etc., and you wake up, glad that other people can’t read your dreams? I don’t want to censure people for fantasies that are other than my own, so long as they can clearly differentiate fantasy from reality.

    1. I do understand that the rape fantasy is a thing, and I agree, I don’t want to censure other’s fantasies. It’s incredibly difficult to draw the lines of what’s okay or not, but yeah, I just have some hard issues with seeing those actions lauded and rewarded.

  2. Agreed, 100%! Funnily enough, this is a major issue in my next book, and it goes both ways. Both characters have opportunities to take advantage of each other, but make it a point not to. Consent is always very, very important, but I’ve kind of made it the theme of this book! LOL Consent is crucial, and if condoms and birth control are required in a lot of romance now, I think consent should be, too. It’s all part of improving the world through art. 🙂 Anyway, a hero can be an Alpha without being rapey, and if crosses that line, then he’s no hero.

    1. Yes!!! I totally agree. I love that we’re in a position of power here to actually enact the change we want to communicate and educate about! Also, I can’t wait to read your next book : )

  3. And coerced consent is not consent! Whether the coercion is a drug in your drink, lies and seductive charm, or some form of threat or blackmail. I see forms of coercion in a lot of historical romance, and as long as it comes back to bite the coercer big-time, I don’t mind. But it is not okay to make it seem as if it is okay.

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