06 February 2012 Post By: VV

A More Personal Take on Non-Consent in Erotic Fiction

Heidi and I have a post up about consent issues in erotic fiction over at Storm Moon Press.

This is a very volatile, tricky subject. We do, indeed, want to promote our story in the upcoming non-consent anthology, Like it Or Not. We think it's a great story. Like the rest of our stuff, it's hot and it makes you think. But it's not for everyone, and we really don't want to promote it that way.

Our post takes a neutral view of non-consent in erotic fiction. It stays mostly on the fictional level, and we don't make any absolute equivalence with real-life rape, but we don't ignore it, either; we use the opportunity to clear up some myths about rape and provide some really comprehensive links for further reading.

We don't go very personal in the post. I'm going to get personal right now, though, and explain a little of my perspective on the issue. It's under the cut.

—With a very few exceptions, I don't read erotic non-con. I don't read slavefic. I will read books with rape and slavery as plot elements, but not if they're eroticized. I will read rape role-play fantasies and BDSM (play) slavery but don't particularly seek them out.

—I don't judge people that do greatly enjoy these narratives and I don't make any assumptions about their private life or sexual background.

—When I was young, presexual and at a formative age, I was exposed to eroticized rape in fiction, both visual and textual. I don't think it damaged me, but it did affect me. Main sources: hentai, European comics like Druuna, a mainstream bodice ripper called "The Wolf and the Dove," and one of those "Fill-in-the-Blank of Gor" books.

—I grew up dealing with rape culture as a woman, but I've never been raped. I have been frequently sexually harassed, had attempts made to manipulate me into sex, been groped in public places, and experienced a few close misses, one of which involved calling 911 and going to court. I know the statistics. I don't chalk this up to any special effort on my part, because all the precautions in the world won't stop it. I've looked for sex when I was falling down drunk or high when I was a teenager, I've been to dangerous places and assorted with "the wrong kinds of men." I've worked in the sex industry. Women I know who've never done any of these things have still been raped.

—I did, in the past, enjoy straight-up rape fantasies more than I do today. I changed. Sexual desire is not set in stone. It's influenced by our upbringing, by our peers, by our beliefs and ideals. I'm not talking about anything as drastic as a switch from straight to gay. I'm talking about a teenage straight man who says he's only truly excited by young white blonde women with large breasts and small asses broadening his categories. Or a teen girl who's saving herself for Justin Bieber, and him alone, maturing into a more realistic attitude about sex. A shoe fetish moving from black leather boots to high heels. Interests in certain unrealized sexual fantasies like rape fantasies can be even more volatile, waxing and waning with stages of life, real-life events and trends in erotic and non-erotic fictional narratives.

—I do enjoy reading rough sex and several different kinds of dub-con, both heterosexual and m/m. I'll watch gangbang porn for either.

—Rape fantasies are potentially very offensive and even traumatizing to some people. I believe rape survivors should have the priority in talking about rape, and if they're disgusted by the existence of these fantasies—some are, some are not—their feelings should be respected as much as possible. They should be free to express those feelings and not told to shut them down.

—Some of it makes me uncomfortable, but I'm not personally offended or traumatized by eroticized rape of women. I just stay away from it. But what does send me into uncontrollable waves of anger and disgust are certain stereotypes of Asian women (and sometimes gay Asian men) portrayed as sexually passive playthings. These stereotypes have affected me personally in a much more clearly negative way than rape fantasies. They don't even have to be explicitly sexual, or produced by and for men, to have this effect on me. Memoirs of a Geisha is a good example. Its very existence offends me. In majority-white environments, it's not really socially allowable to speak up about it. But I'll get rude and do it anyway… up to a certain point. I'd like to speak out more about Asian fetishizing in m/m, but I do find myself self-censoring more than I'm comfortable with.

—Ultimately, I'm in the middle when it comes to that scale we talk about at the end of the post. I'm an "Anything Goes" person when it comes to fantasies, especially fantasies that will never be realized. But the production and marketing of these fantasies can have some really bad real-world effects, and I want to be mindful of that. One person's happy sex feeling is another person's shaking vomiting feeling, and the first shouldn't have automatic priority over the second.

—I've never written an erotic narrative that someone has complained about (yet). I think erotic fiction categorizes itself in such a way that people don't have to read the stuff that offends them. However, I'm a bit concerned that there's no standardized warning system, like there is, by custom, in fanfiction.

We've written dub-con before. "Salting the Earth" is our first non-con. I doubt we'll make a practice of writing more, although I don't rule out the possibility. I hope you buy the anthology... if that's your sort of thing. And if you think you might like to read a highly sexual, compelling but disturbing genderbending fairy gangbang involving mind control. It's okay if it isn't, of course, and it's okay if it is.

I'll just sign off now, wafting away on a pleasant neutral breeze.

  1. I read through both articles and found them rather fascinating.

    Without going into TMI, I've met people who have a certain fascination or even appeal with the idea of "not having consent but I really am even though I'm acting like I don't."

    The type of people who have that appeal both surprised me - and yet didn't. It's as if they had such control over so much in their life, that the pretended lack of control in something else gave them permission to let go and enjoy themselves.

    Anyway, I'm not sure I'll read the story or not (may not be my type of story), but at the same time I don't begrudge those who do. But I'll keep my eye out for the next story :).

  1. I think that kind of submissive tendency is quite common (there wouldn't be any BDSM without it). People can have intense desire for submission in parts of their sexual lives without it meaning anything at all in other parts of their lives.

    Thanks for leaving your feedback!

    We've got some intense urban fantasy plot-heavy stuff coming out, too.

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