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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ravishment, "forced seduction", and sexual violence in erotic romance

This is a topic which came up in the comments earlier and was something I wished to talk about during the Blogathon.

There is, in my opinion, a difference which needs to be drawn between the desire to be able to let go without shame, guilt, or repercussion that which this culture often forces us to feel guilty about, and trivializing sexual assault and violence upon women. We read fiction to escape because some of us identify too heavily with the idea that being swept away by passion is a "forbidden" thing due to the way we were brought up, religious hangups, cultural hangups, and what-have-you--hence why "forced seduction" fiction can be a popular turn-on for some. It allows people to feel that they can experience feelings they normally feel shameful about and/or need to take responsibility and control for and relinquish that control in a very controlled, safe setting, namely fiction. When writing about such things, this needs to be made VERY clear, in my opinion.

Outright rape-as-titillation in fiction is what trivializes rape and sexual assault and contributes to the culture that blames victims, is convinced they enjoyed (and hence consented) to it and therefore can't "actually be raped", and overall destroys what should be a healthy expression of sexuality in regards to the fantasy world.

I think editors and publishers who understand the differences between these settings and assist authors to be clear in writing such should be applauded. Comprehending the psychology in certain kinks and sexual desires goes a long way towards writing good erotic romance and erotica.

And I would hope it would go without saying that rape in erotic romance is NEVER okay. Rape is an expression of power and enforcing control over someone and has NOTHING do to with desire let alone love.

Love & Magic,

Please Note: I am blogging on behalf of the Boston Rape Crisis Center, and if you wish to sponsor me in any dollar amount--none is too small, every bit counts!--please go here: then email me your receipt at so I can keep a running total. If you don't know what to put down for the donation, just put "Adrianne Brennan - Blogathon".


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