Writing Consent

I’ve been writing kink for years. I’ve never published anything, only shared it with a few friends, and occasionally a sex partner. With dozens of stories written and hundreds more in my head, I’m finally exploring publishing, and I’m even about halfway through my first novel.

In writing a book, I’m attempting to write intelligent, kinky characters who practice SSC or RACK without bogging the narrative down in mundane details. It seems like a lot of kink porn is written with a disclaimer – the idea that you are supposed to assume that boundaries and limits have been negotiated beforehand, and that both parties are completely invested in and have agreed to the madness that’s about to take place. Or that, even though it’s clearly meant to titillate and entice, the graphic non-consent is purely a work of fantasy and you shouldn’t take it literally.

My problem with this is that I think it’s teaching us – and I may just mean me, I grant you – is that communication isn’t sexy. Negotiation isn’t sexy. Fuckery can’t be had if it has to be parsed out in detail beforehand. So in my writing, I’m attempting to address this. I may be getting bogged down in the details, but I want it to be sexy and funny and REAL and hot. I want you to finish reading with your hand between your legs and your brain buzzing with how the next negotiation with your top or bottom is going to go. And I want to be able to do that without having to imply that consent should be assumed.

And there’s a mea culpa here. The biggest challenge in my kink is me. I clam up when asked to talk about what turns me on. My screams turn into a whisper when I’m asked to engage in a conversation about how I’d like a scene to go. Something about being a sub or being raised in an environment where women’s voices were often suppressed causes a lot of self-censorship. And when I first discovered the world of BDSM, I was the most gullible, naive, trusting slut you could imagine. It still amazes me that I survived. So in writing, I’m not just trying to educate – I’m trying to reprogram.

I think this also parallels rape fantasy. From as long as I can remember, I was simultaneously repulsed and turned on by even what were meant to be non-erotic descriptions of rape. Being raped myself didn’t really do much to change that – or might even be part of it. I do think that rape is depicted too much in storytelling. I always ask myself if it’s necessary to tell that story, or if it’s just somehow glamorizing rape  in some way. All too often for my own comfort, I find myself turned on. This doesn’t do a lot to reframe the idea of negotiation in my head.

So I loop back, again and again, to the necessity of consent and negotiation in erotica. I try to write male characters who have respect for women, hoping that these intelligent, compassionate, feminist men actually exist somewhere in the world. I try to write intelligent, confident female characters who depend on each other, learn from each other, and back each other up, all the while I’m hoping that not only do these characters exist, but also that they are sexy, and interesting, and having amazing and sometimes funny and almost always kinky sex.

And the more I learn about consent, and rape culture, the more I go back to some of my old stories and have to ask myself what the fuck I was thinking. Where was I getting this crap, and why was I getting off on it?

I don’t have any answers – at least, I don’t have any answers that won’t take years of therapy to wade through – but I do think that I’ll take these stories, and rewrite them with consent /RACK/SSC in mind, and post them here. If nothing else, it will be interesting.

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