Consent and Its Place in Books

As a lover of books, I read voraciously. I have read books from many different genres, written by both men and women. When it comes to characters and their relationships, there is one thing that is extremely important to me. Authors should include discussions about consent in their characters’ relationships. In this current climate of rape culture, it is very important to always ask for consent from your sexual partners. Not just one time but all the time. I feel like authors should always have their characters doing the same. I have had to analyze romance novel searching for consent from the characters. You may or may not be surprised how often it appears. If you can find a character asking for consent in a novel, it is like the mythical unicorn…rare. It is disturbing to me how many times I have read a novel and the sex scene comes up and it is supposed to be sexy, romantic, and passionate but it is just cringe worthy. When you have a character who “takes what he wants”, “he pinned her against the wall before she could change her mind”, or “she jumped his bones the minute he walked in the door”, it can be a trigger for someone. Without asking for consent, it’s rape. Ask the question. Add these conversations to your novels. Authors should really consider this when they put the pen to the page. Reading these kind of scenes repeatedly in novel after novel has made me stop supporting certain authors. I am sure someone will say it’s a book and it’s not real, use your imagination, or consent is implied. If the word “yes” isn’t stated, then you took away someone’s choice. It really does not matter whether the characters are fictional or not. Readers look for reflections of themselves in books. As authors, we should want to reinforce positive behavior not perpetuate rape culture. Doing so, isn’t okay. It matters. Consent is sexy.

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