Welcome to our Reading on the Edge (of consent) week! This week we will be taking a look at the very controversial topic of dubious consent within romance. If you are feeling a little uncomfortable at the thought, then believe me you are not alone. Dub-con is something I am also wary of and, I confess, something I haven’t read much of, but this week I am looking forward to hearing from authors who write dub-con and for those on UTC who read it, because there are certain things I want to know.
Is it something I should be afraid of? Something that encourages violence against women? Or, is it something that empowers women and gives them a safe space to explore their more taboo fantasies? Where should I start?
Should I look at dub-con books the way I look at a Kristen Ashley hero? I love his alpha-maleness in the book, but in reality I would have to commit violence on his person out of sheer irritation. Of course there’s a big difference between an annoying hero and the spectre of dubious consent.
We’ve all probably read, or at least heard of, the old 80s bodice rippers where the hero regularly practised “forced seduction”. Is dubious consent just a 21st century version of this? In the old bodice rippers, it was never addressed it was just an accepted action that all heroes could take without reprisal and was (mostly) never apologised or acknowledged. And, by using the word “seduced” it implies romanticism and a certain amount of consent on the part of the heroine, which generally just was not the case. But how have these stories come along over the years? Does the fact that we know it’s taboo make a difference? I don’t know.
However, I am intrigued to hear from the community and explore this topic from both author and reader perspective and of course, take a look at their recommendations.