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Vaginal Fantasy General > Romanticization of Rape in Romance

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Pelly | 7 comments Wew if you can get past the topic title stick with me !

.....And try to stick with me through the topic, I understand it's a very sensitive subject and I will try my best to make sure that it comes across that I'm treating it with the utmost respect.

Hey all, I'm back again with another over analyzing, too serious thread!

Once again you'll have to forgive me for my lack of knowledge about romance novels in general as I haven't read very many.

Anyways what sparked this thought in me was late one night when I was watching the hangout on The Iron Duke (Does anyone else ever watch the vids in the background while they try to sleep?). They were describing a scene as 'rapey' and since I hadn't read the book (and still haven't) I decided to look through the sub-forum to read a bit more. Now I'm not really going to get into whether this is acceptable or how we should feel about that....since that's really the topic of my other thread.

What really struck me was how rape seems to be portrayed in romance novels, and how this could affect the way we perceive these 'rapey' scenes when we read them. Now I haven't extensively studied this subject, but almost everything I've ever heard about rape was that it is a crime of power, not a crime of sex. From what I've heard, rape is not primarily (I'm sure there are exceptions and like I said I haven't studied this so please feel free to correct me/educate me on any misconceptions I have) committed because one has such an overwhelming sexual attraction to another that they act on it because of desire for sex, but rather it is due to the need to dominate another individual and feel power over them. I remember reading from someone on this forum that they said many rapists don't even climax, but again this is just something I read so take it with a grain of salt.

So this leads me to how 'rapey' scenes are presented in romance novels. Almost all too often they occur between the main couple, usually instigated because of the guys insurmountable desire for the leading lady. He has the need to possess her, but at the same time the need is spurred by his overwhelming attraction to her. It's not that often that you have a romantic hero who just rapes/molests/sexually assaults every women in his path (at least not to the extent we see it happen between the main couple). Even when it's portrayed as a bad thing, it's usually portrayed as a crime of passion and overwhelming lust. It's a crime of desire, making the target so desirable that one can not control themselves around her.

The strange thing to me is that essentially, these two depictions of rape are almost opposite at their fundamental level. If we look at them side by side, you'll see they are both essentially the opposite.

Rape in real life is desiring power, and using sex as a means to that end.
Rape in (most) romantic fiction is desiring sex, and using power as a means to that end.

In romantic novels, the main guy usually desires the woman so much that he exerts power over her to get sex. Whereas from what I've heard of real rape, the ultimate goal is the power and sex is just the tool used as a way to exert it.

I suppose where I see this coming into play in romantic fiction (and many other forms of media now that I think on it) is the way that it sort of romanticizes rape, trying to make it somewhat more appealing. When we make rape a crime of lusty desire, we're therin projecting that desirability onto ourselves (in the normal course of projecting ourselves onto the female character). I mean, who doesn't somewhat like the idea of being so desirable as to make others lose their minds.....even if just in fantasy? In this way the very limited appeal of using something rapey in a story is broadened to many people....not just those who get off on power play.

I guess I really don't know how to end this other then to ask what you all think of my ideas on this. Sorry for making this so long, but I wanted to make sure I got my point across as this is certainly complicated in my head.


Michelle ☕Ndayeni☕ (Ndayeni) | 64 comments I think you have some valid points. A related point that occurs to me in reading your last few paragraphs there is that it has long been recognized that rape is a common theme in woman's sexual fantasies. It's also commonly accepted that having rape fantasies doesn't mean that a woman wants to be raped - people fantasize about all sorts of things that they wouldn't necessarily really want to do after all. The way I understand the psychologist's explanations of that is that it's a way for women who've been taught that "good girls" don't want sex, etc., to absolve themselves of responsibility for thinking about/desiring sex, because they were forced. This likely is also part of what's behind the prevalence of rape and rape-like scenes in romance novels. The reader, who presumably is identifying with the heroine, and living out the romance vicariously through the fictional character, doesn't have to take responsibility for or feel guilty for having sex with the hero, or liking sex with the hero, because he overwhelmed any resistance she might have tried to make and she couldn't stop him from doing whatever he wanted (and of course he was so handsome and so skilled that she couldn't help responding to it...) It does of course, also romanticize rape in the ways you've described, because it becomes something that is ultimately pleasurable for both parties, and not the degrading and demeaning act that it is in reality.

Likely I'm not explaining the idea entirely well, but mostly it boils down to the idea of fantasy rape, whether it be in private sexual fantasies or in the pages of a romance novel, is a way to enjoy sex in a way that absolves you (generic you here) of any responsibility because he wouldn't be denied and there wasn't anything you could do to stop him.

I think perhaps that as society (hopefully) evolves and women aren't so routinely fed the notion that "good girls don't do that" from early childhood and thus don't grow up with so much guilt and shame attached to the idea of wanting sex, then perhaps the need for story/fantasy mechanics such as rape to allow a woman to indulge in sexual thoughts in a guilt-free manner won't be needed.


Pelly | 7 comments Rape is clearly an awful thing, I don't think anyone would argue that (well maybe besides http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m68... ............)

I'm just bringing up something I noticed, so I hope no one is taking it to think I'm defending rape in anyway.


Pelly | 7 comments Ya I suppose I didn't really search around to see if this had been brought up before, I'm sorry I'm new to this goodreads thing.


Pelly | 7 comments Katinka wrote: "any other doubts, please see -- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

http://rainn.org/

i am personally sick of this topic and all the confusion about why women like alpha males to be sexually..."


One thing I will say about the women who feel conflicted and confused not reading fiction with rapeyness is that for a lot of women, they're conflicted because they might find some enjoyment from the writing and this confuses them because obviously they're probably not ok with rape in any form themselves.

That's why I made this topic, because to me the rape I see depicted so often in fiction is such a skewed view of what rape (from my understanding of it) is. I think for a lot of people it helps to breach these subjects though, because otherwise it can just leave you confused and frustrated.


Jess (Turpentine_Chaser) | 46 comments Prolly - you didn't offend, you made some valid points. I was more offended by the reaction some had to your post. Reading a novel that includes rape or discussing it does not mean that you condone it. It's a horrible crime, but it is discussed in many books.

I don't think that the rape topic is romantic, but I mainly read stories where the rape is separate from the romantic plot in that it is something character may be dealing with from their past, but I also read a lot of "angst" and darker themes if choosing something myself.

I agree with your point that fantasizing does not mean you would actually want the act to happen and to my knowledge a fantasy of rape deals more with the wish to be dominated than actually violated.


Vicky (vnorthw) | 479 comments Mod
Katinka wrote: "i am personally sick of this topic and all the confusion about why women like alpha males to be sexually dominant and "rapey". it's more common for women to be raped by someone they know than strangers."

I understand this is personal for you and I totally sympathize with that. I don't want this to come across as rude, but if you know you aren't comfortable with the topic or that it's going to upset you, don't read them.

This is a perfectly valid discussion to have in a group that focuses on romantic genres and I think part of the purpose of this group is to give readers a place to discuss these controversial topics. If anyone here thinks that they are going to be uncomfortable with, angered by, or otherwise unable to have an contribute rationally to an open conversation - move on to the next thread.

Pelly wrote: "Ya I suppose I didn't really search around to see if this had been brought up before, I'm sorry I'm new to this goodreads thing."

The other converstaion is here if you want to take a look, but it hasn't been posted in since early July - so don't feel bad about missing it!

I've never though about how the psychology and motive of rape is different in romantic fiction than it is in real life, but you definitely have some interesting points.

To be honest, I've read very few romance novels where I actually feel that the hero is rapey. He may be an alpha, he may be possessive, and he may come across as ravenous when it comes to his sexual desires - but there have been very few instances where I've felt that the heroine couldn't have said no if she wanted to. In both books from last month (Desperate Duchesses and Nine Rules), the heroine herself asks.

I definitely agree that the forcefulness of some heroes in romance novels is lessened and made more palatable by the fact that it has some sort of romantic intent. At the point at which it occurs the hero doesn't realize it, but as readers I think we already see the hero and heroine together as a couple so it's less jarring.


Jess (Turpentine_Chaser) | 46 comments Thank you, Vicky. I completely agree.


Nicole (LunaKaos) | 163 comments Rape and Rapey are two ever-so-slightly different things and the books are not always clear as to which side they are really sit on.

I have been raped twice and neither time was anything like the romance novels 'rapey' scenes
Rape is very violent and there is no care taken with the victim. And yes it is more likely going to be someone you know and trust then a stranger and you can in fact be raped by a lover.

If you dream of being raped its not a desire to be raped, its symbolic of wanting someone who can take control and I guess that is the feeling they are trying to portray in the books.


Samantha | 76 comments Submission is decidedly different from rape. And if someone indulges in a "rape fantasy" it is going to have more in common with submission than actual rape, because no matter what the fantasy one is still giving permission and one is still safe.

Lots of people dream about a BDSM relationship ... heck look at that awfully written book that is insanely popular at the moment ... although to be honest that relationship is just plain unhealthy not a good bdsm relationship.

It might be more comfortable for those who have been raped if it was not referred to as rapey or rapish or some such derivation of a word that doesn't reflect what is happening at all. After all I'm not sure that female domination of a man is ever referred to as rapey. But I don't control the English language, unfortunately.

However it is also important to keep in mind that when reading fiction one is looking for escape and as such one often forgives a lot, such as patently incorrect information, atrocious writing and one dimensional characters.

I have had 33 years to get past my rape experience, I wouldn't say that I totally have but I know enough not to put myself in a situation where I am uncomfortable being submissive. Reading real rape accounts will make me have a panic attack, however fictional ones only make me uncomfortable to the point of reintroducing my nightmares ... so I generally stop reading any book that is going in that direction.

However give me a well written BDSM book and I'm there with bells on. Marketplace anyone?


Michelle ☕Ndayeni☕ (Ndayeni) | 64 comments Samantha wrote: "Submission is decidedly different from rape. And if someone indulges in a "rape fantasy" it is going to have more in common with submission than actual rape, because no matter what the fantasy one is still giving permission and one is still safe."

This is the idea I was trying to get at in my post above, though you said it much better than I did. With fantasy, be it in your head or in a book, you can enjoy a guilty (or not so guilty) pleasure by pretending that you're not the one in control and thus not the one responsible. It really is more about willing submission (you're choosing to think those thoughts or read that book after all) than it is about rape, so I'd say you raise a good point that it's the semantics that are being used that create the confusion.

I totally agree with your statement about forgiving a lot in fiction in the name of escapism. I know that I forgive, and even like, a lot of traits in fictional men that I'd never put up with in real men. And as long as a book is entertaining me, even if I recognize that it's really a pile of horse dung in terms of believability or whatever I'll happily keep reading, and probably enjoying it because it's making me laugh or whatever.


Kamil | 938 comments thank you, for posting the articles but I don't think my stomach could handle anymore


Caitlin | 210 comments Pelly wrote: "From what I've heard, rape is not primarily (I'm sure there are exceptions and like I said I haven't studied this so please feel free to correct me/educate me on any misconceptions I have) committed because one has such an overwhelming sexual attraction to another that they act on it because of desire for sex, but rather it is due to the need to dominate another individual and feel power over them."

Maybe that's the case for stranger rape. But I was under the impression that 2/3 of rapes are committed by people known to the victim, and are really just about the rapists desire to get off being much stronger than any empathy for the woman's fear and non-compliance.

I think stranger danger and "it's about power, not sex" really mislead and misinform the public.


AlbertaJenn | 7 comments I don't know if any of you have read Beyond Heaving Bosoms  The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell. If not, I highly suggest it. It's a great lil' read on the romance genre.

Anyway, in BHB, the authors talk about how rape was used in what they call "old skool romance" - that is, romance from the 70s and 80s. It was often used as a tool for the heroine to have sex without the brand of "slut" being applied (especially true in historical romance, where sex before marriage is a big no-no). Having the hero rape the heroine absolves her from wanting sex, yet also educates her about her own previous unknown sexual urges. It is sort of like a sexual wake up call, so to speak.

More modern romances (especially contemporary romances) have mainly moved away from this, as views on womens' sexuality have changed, and authors now recognize that "good girls" do like and enjoy sex.

Sorry, the ladies describe it much better in BHB. And, having said all that, I will add that rape in romance does nothing for me, and I tend to avoid it. It is one reason I do not like Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. She uses too much "almost rape" for my taste.


Rin Sparrow | 9 comments I agree with Samantha that a lot of 'rapey' scenes actually have more to do with submission than rape fantasy per se. I think that's a good distinction. The info about the history of rape scenes in romance novels is very interesting as well!
I actually read and write a male-on-male romance genre and there tends to be a *lot* of rapey scenes in that genre as well. Some more BDSM and some much more forceful. I tend to veer away from the more forceful ones, but I find it interesting that it's used as a plot device in that genre as well.


Jon  | 91 comments I wonder if these scenes are the authors attempting to address what they perceive to be submission fantasies In the only way they know how?

Are most romance writers unwilling or unable to examine submission without bringing rape into it?


Rin Sparrow | 9 comments I am able to avoid it. But in the genre I write, forceful sex is a common plot device (whether you perceive it as rapey or submissive may be up to interpretation, depending on how it's written), possibly because it moves things along quickly and gives readers an exciting sex scene early on while still leaving room for the characters to grow emotionally closer over time.


message 18: by Cassandra (last edited Aug 11, 2012 03:56PM) (new)

Cassandra | 2 comments It's as though you were on a diet and a chocolate cupcake just sweetly ventured into your mouth as you giggled, "Oh no, I really shouldn't!"

That is not the same thing as an army of cupcakes forcing themselves down your throat as you cry and vomit.


Rin Sparrow | 9 comments That is an amusing and yet strangely accurate metaphor!


Jute | 238 comments I really dislike the use of the word 'rapey'. I understand it's the way that many of you designate scenes in the books that are forceful in a way you feel is non-consensual. However the word 'rape' to someone who has lived through that horror is a very charged word. Nothing I've ever read in current romances is rape. I understand no offense is meant and I'm not all up in arms or anything... just sayin' :)

I have talked about my ideas about the 'forceful males' in another thread, so I won't take time to repeat them here. I just wanted to put my two cents in about the word.


Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments This is something my friends (mostly male) and I talk about all the time, and what keeps us from enjoying a lot of romance books that are otherwise very popular. Whatever you want to call it, it doesn't work for us. We never tell others not to read it, but it's frustrating to feel marginalized for not being in with the cool kids who are into it.

One of my closest friends wants to read romance novels but as a guy, he feels like the male role is too often overly possessive, and he says ownership turns him off. He finds no romance in the idea of overpowering a woman, even if she wants to be overpowered in order to overcome societal limitations or whatever. He wants an equal partnership.

Me too. I'm lucky to have that in my marriage, and it's why I've been on about feminist romance lately...because while I hardly expect or want to read about perfectly feministic characters, the whole alpha-male/in-control male thing bores me, and BDSM is triggery for me because of my own rape history (yes yes I know proper BDSM is all about consent, but that's also part of the problem: when I stumble across it in these books, it's only vaguely consensual and my real-life BDSM-appreciating friends are endlessly frustrated by this faux presentation that's become so popular lately).

Frankly, part of what gets me going for a love story or sex scene is the guy having that longing ache that spreads through his chest and out to his arms in a way that makes him desperate to please her, hold her, love her, and be near her in all of the most beautiful ways possible. If the guy is all controlling and alpha, he doesn't have that: he has lust and power issues, and those don't turn me on. :/


Rin Sparrow | 9 comments Kimberly - let's hope that the romance genre grows and expands its horizons as times change!


Kamil | 938 comments Rin wrote: "Kimberly - let's hope that the romance genre grows and expands its horizons as times change!"

I couldn't agree more than I already do but... << that longing ache that spreads through his chest and out to his arms>> you just described the symptoms of a heart-attack


Jess | 5 comments Jute wrote: "I hardly expect or want to read about perfectly feministic characters"

I think that's a lot of the problem right there (no criticism of you Jute, it's something I've often thought myself!).

The thing I'm constantly surprised by in this genre is how little we expect from it. Don't get me wrong, I am all for easy escapism but I think it's just as easy for a skilled writer to give us that from a more empowered view point and it can be just as hot. You can still have an alpha male, a truly strong man isn't diminished by a strong woman. Sometimes I feel like we do our male characters far less justice than the female ones!

A couple of people have touched on it in different ways, these kinds of forceful sex scenes are a super easy plot device. They set up roles, relationship dynamics and responsibility in one fell swoop while getting straight to the steamy stuff. If you're in to that then more power to you. If not, give your money to the authors who are starting to do things differently.


message 25: by Jute (last edited Aug 13, 2012 04:48PM) (new)

Jute | 238 comments Jess wrote: "Jute wrote: "I hardly expect or want to read about perfectly feministic characters"

I think that's a lot of the problem right there (no criticism of you Jute, it's something I've often thought mys..."


I don't know where that quote supposedly by me came from, cause I never wrote it....

In your paragraph here...

"The thing I'm constantly surprised by in this genre is how little we expect from it. Don't get me wrong, I am all for easy escapism but I think it's just as easy for a skilled writer to give us that from a more empowered view point and it can be just as hot. You can still have an alpha male, a truly strong man isn't diminished by a strong woman. Sometimes I feel like we do our male characters far less justice than the female ones!"

You don't say anything that I disagree with in principal. In fact in another thread I say that I think we objectify the males as much as people complain we objectify the females.

However I will also say that I believe anyone who knows me will tell you I am a very 'strong' woman and sometimes, because throughout my life I have always had to be strong, I DO like someone who let's me step back and let them have control. Sometimes it's a relief to have someone else make the decisions and take the responsibility. And that's one of the things I see in many of the romances I like to read. The woman is not weak or pushed around...

I don't know how many of the Romance genre you have read, but I posit there are a lot of books about smart strong women and smart strong men.

Sometimes I like pure candy, sometimes I like more thought, but what I don't like is someone putting words in my mouth.


Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Rin wrote: "Kimberly - let's hope that the romance genre grows and expands its horizons as times change!"

That's pretty much why there's this now:

http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/7...


message 27: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 13, 2012 06:22PM) (new)

Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Jute wrote: "I don't know where that quote supposedly by me came from, cause I never wrote it...."

I did, a couple posts up. And I stand by it, because I personally would be bored to read perfect feminist characters. However, I desperately want a good, solid, feminist framework for the entire story as a whole. I don't expect the characters to be perfect anything but I want the "good guys" to exemplify my values as a feminist and I want those things I'm against as a feminist to be relegated to the "bad guys".

I want there to be suffering and angst, mistakes and growth, conflict and resolution. Those things can't come from perfection.

But I want the authors to be entirely well-grounded in feminist values so that all of that drama results in an overall exploration of gender roles within the context of a love story.

It's not about low expectations...quite the opposite, really. Although I do agree that generally speaking, there are very low expectations on the genre. Hence my whole push for a sub genre of feminist romance.


message 28: by Azure (last edited Aug 13, 2012 06:24PM) (new)

Azure Boone (azureboone) | 10 comments I did not read all of these responses. But one must not CONFUSE real rape and FANTASY ROLE PLAYING rape. HUUUUGE difference.

For me there's a HUGE curiosity with some of the fetishes that I read with personal disdain, meaning, I would not personally like that, but as a mature adult, I can allow others to like things that I do not. I'll read it, not because I condone it, or even like it, but to find out WHY, just like we do when reading psychological thrillers where the characters indulge in psychotic behaviors.

But to collage real rape and romance and fantasy role playing rape is simply foolish.


Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Azure wrote: "But to collage real rape and romance and fantasy role playing rape is simply foolish. "

True. But some of us who have been really raped by boyfriends who frankly would fit all too well into the standard bad-boy alpha-male role typified in some of these books get seriously triggered by these overly aggressive, barely-consensual (at least at the start) sex scenes.

And it's okay for us to ask for something more. We're not saying others can't have what turns them on, but we're saying this does not work for us, and we want something else.


message 30: by Leslie (last edited Aug 13, 2012 06:59PM) (new)

Leslie | 46 comments I was actually turned off by a scene in a romance novel that I don't think most people would classify as rape, but had all the same markers with the exclusion of sex.
In "Ill Wind" when Joanne is held down by Bad Bob and his Djinn and had the demon mark forced down her throat, that was completely about taking away the main character's power and using it for Bad Bob's own ends. I also don't like the term, "rapey", surely there has to be a word that is more sensitive for people who have experienced it. Violation, perhaps. I read it as total metaphor for rape, and Joanne's journey through the country to avoid the "storm" (the physical and emotional consequences of being violated) as her attempt to deal with the violation. Then, as expected, you find that her main love interest has been spending most of the book trying to make up for participating in her violation. In the end, because he "saves her", not quite sure if being turned into a Djinn is being saved, it's somehow ok.
I mean, even the fact that he was compelled to do it has connections to, for instance, people who witness rape and do nothing to stop it, or people who feel they must participate or be punished by others who are participating in rape.
Ugh, that whole book was just a bad read for me.
There is a HUGE difference between BDSM and rape. What is foolish is trying to blur the lines like A LOT of romance (including 50 Shades of Grey) tries to do. In BDSM relationships there is agreed upon activities, and levels of consent. It is borderline contractual and each party is FULLY aware of what will occur. Rape is one person( or many) taking from another person with little regard for their wants, needs, or safety and without explicit consent.


Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Goodreads needs a +1 button so I can mash it every time Leslie posts. :)

I'm fine with the term "rapey" myself but that's because I've moved beyond my victimhood and I want to call out the barely-consensual sex for what it is to many people. But that being said, I can see that those still in the traumatized phase probably need something more sensitive. Then again, they also need to not stumble across this stuff in the guise of tender, loving romance. Because it isn't. It's a different thing. Which if you like it is fine, but it's so not cool for fans of it to slam those of us who aren't into it.

And Leslie is 100% right on the BDSM thing. While I'm not into BDSM, I know what it is, and 50 Shades and its echoes are _not BDSM_. They're barely-consensual sex with a dominant edge. I have a lot of friends into real BDSM and they're furious at their community being co-opted wrongfully. Nobody into real BDSM has to be convinced to be there, since that's pretty much antithetical to the point.

And again, fine if someone likes whatever. It's also fine not to like it and to talk about that.


Azure Boone (azureboone) | 10 comments Kimberly wrote: "Azure wrote: "But to collage real rape and romance and fantasy role playing rape is simply foolish. "

True. But some of us who have been really raped by boyfriends who frankly would fit all too w..."


And in this case, don't the books contain a warning at the beginning of the books? There are so many sub-genres of romance, one shouldn't be stuck reading one that involves content that would trigger a trauma.


Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Azure wrote: "And in this case, don't the books contain a warning at the beginning of the books? "

Not the ones I've stumbled across, no. In fact, I don't recall having seen a trigger warning in anything anyone's recommended to me yet. I just keep finding it, sighing, and learning to avoid the genre as a whole, which isn't fair to the authors who aren't including it.


Brittany (lively_psyche) | 75 comments I can't remember ever seeing a trigger warning in any of the romance novels that I've read. I think I've seen them in cheap erotic ebooks, but that's about it.


Jute | 238 comments Kimberly wrote: "Goodreads needs a +1 button so I can mash it every time Leslie posts. :)

I'm fine with the term "rapey" myself but that's because I've moved beyond my victimhood and I want to call out the barely-..."


So anyone who doesn't like the term is stuck in 'their victimhood'? If you are sensitive to the term you somehow haven't moved beyond being traumatized?

I've never said that people aren't entitled to their opinion or that you are wrong for wanting something more. Though I have to admit to confusion about why people keep reading a genre that isn't what they like.

I think the tone of this is turning into something that says I should leave this discussion.


message 36: by Kimberly (last edited Aug 13, 2012 08:33PM) (new)

Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments OMG I never said anything of the sort. I simply acknowledged that I'm okay with it but others who are still working things through might not be. I went out of my way to clarify when you'd been misquoted and now you're misquoting me? Nice.


Azure Boone (azureboone) | 10 comments Gosh let's not fight. So hard to speak our minds in font on these posts. Especially about a sensitive topic.

I can tell you that the company I write for DOES have a warning at the beginning of all their books, telling the reader what sort of sexual content they're getting. I think readers therefore must raise their voices to the companies putting it out. It's VERY easy to include a damn "this is what's in here" kind of warning to their readers. I think once they are aware of the need, they'll fill it.

Like I said, Loose Id does this with their books. They're an EROM publisher and are professional, they know that everything they offer isn't suitable to all reading audiences, and by offering the reader that information, they allow them to guard against the content they consider offensive.


Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Azure wrote: "I can tell you that the company I write for DOES have a warning at the beginning of all..."

Then I wholly applaud that. It's one of the things I've listed as a preference before and someone told me off for wanting it. I made it clear that I didn't expect a big neon sign on the cover, but that somewhere in the description/blurb a small note or hint at the very least would be appreciated. My own book's description says the heroine has undergone "unspeakable torture" in her past, it's always listed as 18+/adult when a store offers me that choice, and the website has a warning about sex, violence, and swearing. Because if any of that offends people, I don't want them to buy it and get mad at me.


Azure Boone (azureboone) | 10 comments Yes, Kimberly, it makes just as much, maybe even more sense, to put the RATING and WHY it's rated that! I don't understand why the lag in this respect. It's going to be one of those things that doesn't happen unless enough readers DEMAND it.


Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Azure wrote: "Yes, Kimberly, it makes just as much, maybe even more sense, to put the RATING and WHY it's rated that! I don't understand why the lag in this respect. It's going to be one of those things that doe..."

I suspect that eventually we're going to see some standardized tags across ebooks, and that'll help enormously, as long as they're done right. That way I can search for what I want and put in a -bdsm -alphamale string and someone else can include those and all can be happy.


message 41: by Leslie (last edited Aug 13, 2012 09:23PM) (new)

Leslie | 46 comments For myself, I just don't feel comfortable with the term because, and I cannot tell you how sad this makes me, I have been fortunate enough to be one of the few women who hasn't suffered abuse, sexual or otherwise. What is up with us as a species that 54% of us should expect to be violated at some point in our lives as a realistic assessment of our experiences? Terrible. That said, I don't believe that I can really relate to someone who has been brutalized. It's a horror to me, but I don't really understand how it feels enough to not treat it with anything other than kid gloves.
Others, who have unfortunately experienced abuse have a right to use whatever terminology they feel is appropriate. I don't have those rights though, and I'm perfectly fine "staying in my place" as far as that is concerned.


Azure Boone (azureboone) | 10 comments Pelly wrote: "Wew if you can get past the topic title stick with me !

.....And try to stick with me through the topic, I understand it's a very sensitive subject and I will try my best to make sure that it come..."


And we have to realize that not all rape is about using sex for power, a lot of times, it's the sex they want and they too use their power over the weaker vessel to attain it. There are different breeds of rapists, just like there are different breeds of molesters and different types of alcoholics, each person is different and may not rape for the same reason, it can't be narrowed down to either or, I don't think.

As far as the "possessive" power of male over female in books, this too is varied in degree. Consensual rape is not rape at all and many many of these BDSM are that. There is a pretense of "realness" but it's like a set on a movie, if one of the other isn't having fun, they can say "stop" or they have safe words. People who indulge in these types of fantasies are supposed to be responsible and play by those rules.

Do they have pple who break the rules? I think that's a no brainer. But let's not confuse controlled BDSM with rule breakers. We can't use them as the standard, if they're breaking the rules. If they're breaking the rules, then it's rape. Rape in the literal sense is illegal and should not be tolerated in any book. Rape is taking something by force, even pleasure for that matter. It's taking something when the other person is not willing or wanting to give it.

Seductive persuasion can be used as long as it isn't raped from her, I think. But for me, if the hero and the heroine are in love and we know they are, and they have a fight and he uses seductive persuasion and a little force, I can dig that. But only if i'm secure in knowing they love each other and knowing he's only forcing her to receive pleasure. To me, I like that, that's arousing to me. To others maybe not.

Either way, ratings are required to suit the needs of all readers of all types. Plain and simple.


Jute | 238 comments Kimberly wrote: "OMG I never said anything of the sort. I simply acknowledged that I'm okay with it but others who are still working things through might not be. I went out of my way to clarify when you'd been mi..."

If you feel misquoted, I do apologize. My takeaway from your post seems to further indicate I shouldn't post here more. I'm only posting now since my friend pointed this out and I don't want to make this into an angry thing...so once again sorry!


Jess | 5 comments Jute and Kimberley sorry about the misquote, clearly I can't be trusted with a mouse without my coffee!

I certainly wasn't trying to imply either of you aren't strong women, I don't think the genres people enjoy reading are any kind of reflection on them personally.

I still think these pseudo rape scenes are just lazy writing. They aren't about addressing rape in any meaningful way. They turn me off but I know a hell of a lot of people like them and that's fine.


Rin Sparrow | 9 comments Kimberly wrote: "Rin wrote: "Kimberly - let's hope that the romance genre grows and expands its horizons as times change!"

That's pretty much why there's this now:

http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/7......"


Thanks! I'll try to join that one! ;)


Nancy-Elizabeth Townsend (dotNET) | 74 comments Whoa. Tough topic to get through with the first coffee of the morning. Just have to throw in my two cents. After reading all of your responses, I think the best, summarizing quote on the matter is Cassandra's:

Cassandra wrote: "It's as though you were on a diet and a chocolate cupcake just sweetly ventured into your mouth as you giggled, "Oh no, I really shouldn't!"

That is not the same thing as an army of cupcakes forcing themselves down your throat as you cry and vomit. "


I am fortunate enough not to have any real life experience on this matter, but it does definitely turn me off in any way, shape or form. The diet-cupcake theory of a guy being pushy on an inexperienced lass who eventually gives in because she, in fact, desires him as well but has been raised to find sex icky <-- that I can UNDERSTAND to appeal. Sexual awakenings are an integral part of human nature, and it is entertaining to explore this from different perspectives.

What I really dislike is when authors support the "no means yes" female stereotype. In Desperate Duchesses, I found the couple to a refreshing mix of the typical innocent lady, but informed and respectful enough of one another to go about their dirty business without any extreme breaches of basic rights.

Terror (not to be confused with nervousness) and sex, in my opinion, should never mix...except for "we may die tomorrow" sex, spurred from completely different events.

On another note, I find semi-forced sex scenes to not only be unappealing for their rape connotations, but because what's romantic about a guy needing to 'convince' the lady to have sex with him? If their relationship is the central plot device, shouldn't it include a strong, mutual attraction that eventually explodes in a flurry of passion naturally?

To use Cassandra's example: I prefer my heroine not to giggle as she eats the diet-breaking cupcake. I want her to stare at it, long and hard, for hours. Before finally she cannot take it any more. It is devoured, shamelessly. And it is delicious. Totally worth it.


Kimberly Chapman | 83 comments Nancy-Elizabeth wrote: "To use Cassandra's example: I prefer my heroine not to giggle as she eats the diet-breaking cupcake. I want her to stare at it, long and hard, for hours. Before finally she cannot take it any more. It is devoured, shamelessly. And it is delicious. Totally worth it.
"


^^^^ THIS. Oh this and this and this in spades.


Kamil | 938 comments Nancy-Elizabeth wrote: "The diet-cupcake theory of a guy being pushy on an inexperienced lass who eventually gives in"

That's the only part of your post I'm questioning.... shouldn't the guy in question be more caring, patient and 'altruistic' ?


Nancy-Elizabeth Townsend (dotNET) | 74 comments Oh a hero definitely SHOULD be all of those things. The end of my sentence there is that "I UNDERSTAND the appeal" of such a fantastical relationship, but I find it immature and personally unappealing.

The ultimate conversation here is if it is considered rape and therefore bad and shame inducing for all the readers? As Cassandra so greatly described with her "oh I really shouldn't, but it's delicious!" cupcake-diet metaphor, I agree in saying no, hesitation is not rape. As long as there is consent before any actual acts occur. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if it were revealed that a high proportion of real-life virginity stories began with "so my boyfriend begged me, and I loved him so I let him."

It's normal. It happens. I just don't find it sexy. Even if she ends up "cumming rainbows" (someone else wrote this...forgot where. Sorry!) by the end of it. Which, let's face it, is highly improbable.


Kamil | 938 comments Nancy-Elizabeth wrote: "Oh a hero definitely SHOULD be all of those things. The end of my sentence there is that "I UNDERSTAND the appeal" of such a fantastical relationship, but I find it immature and personally unappeal..."

And no one should find it sexy


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Books mentioned in this topic

Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Kresley Cole (other topics)