Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Do you want some consent with that?

Punishment, discipline, non-consent... these are the kinks most likely to bring people to my books. I'm not knocking it: these are three of my kinks as well. The concept of being taken to task by a strong disciplinarian who will hold me down if necessary and dispense justice as he/she sees fit?


Fucking sign me up.

However (and it's a really big however), writing non-consent scenarios within the concept of a love story is something I really struggle with. Why? Because - to put it bluntly - I think people who hit other people without their consent are total dicks. Like, complete abusive arseholes. Like seriously, it's not ok.

But... but... the fantasy of it is hot. I get that (hell, I feel that). So my big question to myself when I decided to write in this genre was 'how can I write stories that are hot but don't glamourise abusive relationships?'. Because I've seen those places on the internet - anti-feminist (or y'know just old plain misogynist) places - where the consensus is that this kind of non-consensual M/f relationship is exactly what women need / secretly want and the thought of inadvertantly adding fuel to that hideous fire is the only part of this novelling malarkey that has genuinely given me sleepless nights.

So... how has it been working out so far? Well, I've gone for full-on, enthusiastic consent from the start (Troublemaker), initially curious consent leading to full-on enthusiasm (The Soldier's Girl), consensual non-consent within a trusting, communicative relationship (all of them, eventually) and - the closest I've edged to my own personal 'not ok' line - non-consensual discipline which fits within a specific historical context (Claimed by the Captain and my current WIP). The historical thing just about works in my head, as back then an otherwise very lovely and kind 'non-abusive' person might have genuinely seen dispensing discipline in this way as the 'right thing to do' (and likewise the recipient).

Whether or not I have successfully answered my own question to myself, I don't know. The act of writing brings me so close to the story and to the characters that it is difficult to look at any of them objectively. So while I know that everyone involved is having a fine old kinky time, feels safe and loved, and is in no way traumatised by what is happening, I don't know that every reader is seeing it this way.

I guess the thing to remember is that this kind of fiction is a fantasy and often bears little resemblance to a real life D/s relationship (where consent, limits and, y'know, breakfast preferences are discussed in detail before any spanking happens (or was that just me?!), and safewords are firmly in place from the start). Stories give us the chance to put aside real-life concerns and disappear into pure heart-thumping, leg-wobbling fantasy... and I understand that, I really do.

But... but...


You know, Mr M says I tend to over-think things...

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