There’s been a lot of media attention on this particular subject. Non-consensual, reluctant, dubious consent – and people are talking. In my mind, however, non-consensual is getting a lot of bad press.
There are some fantastic romance/erotica writers out there who deal with the subject of non-consensual romance and sex and they make a fortune from doing so. Joanna Lindsey is one of my favourites, Anne Rice is another. There are many, many more, very famous authors who take on the subject and turn it into mass market best seller books.
Why is non consensual romance/erotica enticing for the reader?
It’s exciting, that’s why. Having the heroine at complete odds with the hero, puts lots of lovely drama into a story. The sizzlingly hot sex scenes where the star of the story doesn’t want to give her body to the big bad wolf, but can’t resist his wonderful bedroom prowess and meandering fingers are electric. The odd fight with clawing fingers, slaps and struggles will also immerse the reader into a world of fire and passion.
Is non consensual romance/erotica popular?
Very. Pop the word ‘non-consensual romance’ into Amazon.com’s search engine and the top title is currently ranked the #3,807 most popular book purchased on Amazon. That’s a good rank.
Historical romances in particular deal with a lot of non-consensual romance and there’s a good reason for it. That was the way things happened years ago. Parent’s pushed females and males, for that matter, into matches that they wouldn’t have chosen for themselves. There were many factors: money, greed, power, good standing in society… the list goes on. It still happens today in Western Society, although I suspect the word ‘coercion’ would be a softer way to phrase it. We all know that arranged marriages are still popular in Middle Eastern cultures.
There’s a lot of non-consensual things that happen in everyday life, too. When your boss asks you to stay late for work and threatens that you might not have a job if you refuse, you don’t really have much choice in the matter. I’m sure we could all think of hundreds of examples where we’ve been pushed into things that we don’t really want to do.
Why has non-consensual erotica managed to get a bad name for itself?
I think people sometimes associate non-consensual erotica with the word ‘rape.’ In some cases, markedly very few, this may be the case. For the most part, erotica writers will never touch on the subject of rape for a very good reason: it’s not erotic! The last thing most readers want to read about is the horror of rape. Non-consensual erotica is generally about taking the heroine (often a spoilt, bratty type of character) down a peg or two by the means of clever control and sex by the hero of the story. The ending is nine times out of ten, a very happy one.
The bottom line
Non consensual erotica is written as a fantasy. Much like horror or indeed the fantasy genre itself, it does not condone or indeed imply that you go out there and start trying to subjugate women. Readers of horror do not go out and begin murdering people and readers of fantasy do not throw themselves off buildings and expect to fly.
Erotica is a genre that should only been seen or bought by 18+ individuals, so in theory, it should require less policing than a lot of other genres with questionable content. If retailers are adamant that want restrictions in place, then they need to make these clear and offer guidelines to respective authors.
- PUBLISHED EROTICA – Now Being Refused by Amazon (christinamandara.com)
- The War Against Erotica (victoriadougherty.wordpress.com)
- Kobo Takes Action to Quell Self-Published Erotica Titles (goodereader.com)
- Title Availability and Erotica Ban (sarahdaltry.com)