Wednesday, September 10, 2014

thoughts on consent #2 - fictional non-consent

This is a short series of posts regarding several different aspects of consent.  In the last post I shared thoughts on consent as it related to hacked photos published on the internet. In it I discussed how I came to the realization that if underage girls could not consent to sharing photos of their naked bodies, It seemed only logical that of- age ladies should be equally protected, because they did not consent to share those pictures with the public.  

One of the reasons I started thinking about this topic was the experience, fairly recently, of an author friend of mine.  Natasha Knight is a well- respected and successful writer of hot spanking fiction. I've discussed her (and she's discussed me) before. Her most recent work was significantly darker than the typical spanking romance genre.   It's a story involving a post- apocalyptic world where most of the human population is rendered infertile but special women with the ability to breed are definitely special, are sort of revered, but sort of treated as property or slaves to be traded and used.  There are heavy themes of non-consensual spankings, whippings, and sex throughout. Originally the name of the book was His to Breed, and the cover looked like this:

But as chronicled here, Amazon gave it the dreaded adult tag and it was difficult to find on that site, which led to a slight repackaging to pass the Amazon censors. the end result was the same story, but described differently and looked like this:

See there, that's okay, you can't see her skimpy panties, and no mention of "breeding" there, right? (As another aside, here are some thoughts on reading naughty stories on your Kindle or Kindle app.)

Okay so back to thoughts on consent- I read it, and I liked it. It was pretty hot. But I kinda felt bad about liking it; felt dirty for thinking it was hot.  (Not to spoil it, but things change and you have to read to the end to feel at least a little bit better about yourself.) Still, there were definitely non-consensual scenes throughout the book. 

If we value consent, and use the lack of consent to determine that some things (e.g., naked pictures of celebrities) are off-limits, despite the fact that they may be sexually arousing... we should consider erotic fictional accounts portraying non-consent off-limits too, right? right? 

Wait a minute... there are tons of books involving BDSM and slavery. Anyone ever heard of Gorean slaves? Those books are easily accessible on Amazon, and not tagged "adult".  Oh wait, there was also that little novel called Lolita. It involved a 12-year old girl in sexual situations, even though she was definitely under the age of consent (even at the time). It's still for sale on Amazon, and in a special 50th anniversary edition. It was named one of Time magazine's top 100 novels of the twentieth century, and, along with Catch-22, was so culturally significant that it's title entered the American lexicon.  If the story of an underage girl who society has deemed too young to rationally consent to sex can lead to great literature, why can't we explore fictional non-consent? Maybe it's okay to go to a dark place in fiction, and see how that makes one feel- how would I act differently if thrust into that setting?

More thoughts coming soon, and I'm not sure I can limit this  series on consent to just three entries.


  1. I have a theory and I think its Amazon's fear of being labelled anti-feminist by selling material that celebrates "abuse." In the spanking romance novels any non-consent is glossed over by the romance aspect so they are not as carefully scrutinized. For Amazon it's all about appearances and initial impressions. Anything that infers non-consent is one of their bugbears. Hence the alteration of title and cropping the photo. I've dealt with this too. I used to feature Paula Russell drawings as covers, but no more. Amazon won't let me.

  2. Haha, and yet 'No Greater Joy' and 'To Train Up A Child' are still highly successfully sold on Amazon, despite much protest following the spanking DEATHS of children... Amazon has a double standard.