Belly button gazing time.
It occurs to me that both I do a lot of writing about non-consent, and that I think this both bugs people and somewhat sets my writing apart from a lot of the other badly written, self indulgent porn. For example this well meaning, distressed person scolded me, after reading the first two chapter of Catamite.
You make us feel and sympathize for Phillip, and then you decide to destroy him w/o any chance of vengeance or retribution (b/c we ALL know you aren’t about to punish the female). It’s kind of like watching a puppy beaten for kicks.
There’s nothing wrong with having a thing for pain/nonconsent/femdom themes, but there’s a line you cross once you start adding depth to your characters that you’ve obviously failed to learn.
There’s a lot to unpack there, and it’s not the first time I’ve gotten that response. I’ve also had people earnestly write to me to tell me that “a man does not submit to evil” and that they’re otherwise bothered by the character of Annette.
I think one of the things people don’t like is that it’s not a clear story of good ‘punishing’ evil, but when you get down to it that’s actually something that squicks me. There’s a lot of non-consent stuff where the victim is introduced, usually off stage and without any evidence other than the narrative voice of god, as adulterous, a thief or some other petty crime. That sets up a dilemma for me: first of all I don’t think torture is actually a good punishment in real life and second of all, for my sexuality I like the idea of my ‘victim’ being worthy. I’m one of those people who cringes when other people talk slaveringly about prison rape for pedos, and not just because I know that most prison rape is guard-on-prisoner (even though the fantasy of Bubba in Cell Block B is that it’s simply a side effect of being in proximity to evil) and treating it like part of the prison experience is creepy, but also I just can’t mentally do the ‘not worthy’ thing for any sub guy I’d connect with.
So, back to writing criticisms and non-consent. It’s actually kind of flattering that the people who try to reach me do so intelligently and as if they’re only speaking up because this troubled them rather than an incoherent cry that I’m sick, sick, sick.
If you write BDSM, the regular publishing houses, and even many of the freebie erotica publishing areas of the internet are very careful about rape and undesired torture. A lot of them ban it outright. Literotica, for example allows a category of ‘non-consent’ but turns a but queasy at the word rape. Fetlife’s giant erotica group specifically bans rape and non-consent violence in the same category of illegal nonos as bestiality and minors.
On the other hand the stuff that’s okay, is in-itself a head trip for feminist sensibilities. A small sampling of stories picked at random from literotica’s non-consent/reluctant shows a lot of ‘reluctant’ where it’s rape, but it’s okay because the female victim is being sorted out and goes from stuck up to liking it. Or her rape is a sexual awakening that concludes with her consensually screwing everything in sight and/or loving her first magic cocked rapist.
I can’t defend Annette’s actions in my story from my moral perspective. It’s not supposed to be ‘okay’. But I haven’t the foggiest how her being ‘punished’ somewhere over the course of the story would make it okay. He’s still going to be raped even if he turns around and rapes her. Mostly I’m just going to keep writing fiction that suits me (because it’s my fetishes and fantasies and you’re not paying me) but unless we were all writing about pan-gendered utopic informed consent sex (“May I touch you?” Zie breathed huskily and held back, hir hands hovering. “Yes, you may!” Zie moaned in response, “Treat me like an equal! Respect me! Oh YES! I want this! I am speaking with a clear mind and no social biases! YES!”) there’s always gonna be the ‘Ewwwwww’ moment, and at least my icky-no-bad-wrong doesn’t need to hide under retribution or justice.