Erotica and Social Responsibility

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Mildly Disturbing
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Thanks, guys. I was having some doubts, because a beta got back with me and said 'Wow, that second chapter was really hot," and "So the MC's love interest saw the recordings from Chapter 2, and got off on them."

I had to rewrite a bit of that later chapter to point out how disgusted the love interest was at his own reaction. It's a turning point in both MCs' relationship, and ultimately makes them stronger.
 

kuwisdelu

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There are few things that outright disgust me these days.

For most of the more extreme things, it depends mostly on what kind of mood I'm in.
 

kuwisdelu

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For the most part, I just like to have some *warning* about certain things.

Yeah. Basically. Some days I'm in the mood for netorare or tentacle rape. Some days I'm not. That's just how things go.

ETA: Well, if it's only for getting off that is. If it's part of a greater, more meaningful story that I'm overall enjoying, then a little tentacle rape when I'm not really feeling like it won't really bother me, as long there's more to it than tentacle rape.
 
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DancingMaenid

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Rape fantasies aren't terribly uncommon, so there is definitely going to be fiction out there to cater to that. In all honesty, I'm okay with rape fantasies and rape fiction AS LONG AS they are labeled as such. When a character is raped, and the reader is expected to believe it's NOT rape, or that it's somehow okay ("I know she really wants it"), then I have a problem.

That's the problem I have, too, and it's a hard balance, I think.

I have rape fantasies. My BDSM fantasies generally include unsafe elements. They're fantasies.

I think a lot of erotica straddles this awkward gap between realism and fantasy, and that can make it challenging to write, especially when it comes to stuff like kink. If I'm looking to get off, I don't really want a bunch of discussions about safe words -- it distracts me and drapes the scenario in a double layer of fantasy that isn't appealing to me. But if I'm looking for a story that feels real, then I want some realism. If the story is trying to do one thing but ends up doing the other, that gets sticky.

I think my biggest problem with unsafe BDSM and rape in BDSM erotica is that it often comes across like the author didn't really know what they were doing, or like they're trying to portray abusive practices as being normal or not that big of a deal. And that definitely pulls me out of a story.
 

DiloKeith

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...I think my biggest problem with unsafe BDSM and rape in BDSM erotica is that it often comes across like the author didn't really know what they were doing, or like they're trying to portray abusive practices as being normal or not that big of a deal...

Yes! Unfortunately, there's no direct fix. The publisher/author isn't going to label poorly done BDSM as such, and if it's selling, they have little reason to change. I've been glad to see the emergence of articles, books, and workshops on how to tell the difference.
 

Joliedupre

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On another forum, we were discussing an essential social role for erotica writers, if we choose to accept it.

Sex education programs are being cut across the US (and perhaps elsewhere). Planned Parenthood has been demonized. Religion-based belief systems are coming down like a soggy blanket over all human interactions except killing.

How are today's youngsters going to learn about sex? From Redtube or Xhamster? Graffiti? HBO? Not likely from parents, who are notoriously bad at it.

While I was growing up, sex education was something that happened on the streetcorner or at the drive-in. My father was not very clever about hiding his porn collection, so much of what I learned about sex, as an adolescent, came from cheap novels. I can't tell you how many twisted and plain wrong ideas came from porn writers who likely knew less about sex than I did.

I'm talking about the serious side of sex: simple anatomy, birth control, disease protection, the importance of female gratification, and other stuff that wasn't available at all until the 1970s. Disease control doesn't have to be a scary and dry subject, for example, it can be incorporated as a natural part of sex scenes, or even as plot seeds in their own right.

As fellow smut writers, do you feel a responsibility to educate as well as entertain?

No. I write erotica for adults, not children. Therefore, I do not feel a responsibility to educate. I also try to keep morality out of my fiction. (If I don't want to slap a condom on my character, I won't.)
 
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As fellow smut writers, do you feel a responsibility to educate as well as entertain?
No.

If parents or teachers can't be bothered educating kids about sex, they've got no right to put it on me. I'm writing for adults who should already know this shit, and if they don't, it ain't my problem. I'm nobody's mother.

And yes, I've been known to rant about rapey BDSM in erotic romance. That isn't an education issue, though. It's a matter of honesty. If a character gets raped in a book, I want to know beforehand. And I sure as hell don't want to see it labelled romance. I despise the practise of telling readers they're expected to root for a guy who rapes the heroine. So I'm not expecting authors to educate readers; I'm expecting publishers to stop coming out with this "all violence is BDSM" bullshit.
 

veinglory

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I think it is worth considering that any genre has mutliple "social responsibilities". I think the responsibilities of erotica include variously (depending on the story) allowing people a little moment of pure escapist hedonism, providing a safe place to explore taboos, and providing catharsis for impulses that should not be explored in real life.
 

txblush

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No.

If parents or teachers can't be bothered educating kids about sex, they've got no right to put it on me. I'm writing for adults who should already know this shit, and if they don't, it ain't my problem. I'm nobody's mother.

And yes, I've been known to rant about rapey BDSM in erotic romance. That isn't an education issue, though. It's a matter of honesty. If a character gets raped in a book, I want to know beforehand. And I sure as hell don't want to see it labelled romance. I despise the practise of telling readers they're expected to root for a guy who rapes the heroine. So I'm not expecting authors to educate readers; I'm expecting publishers to stop coming out with this "all violence is BDSM" bullshit.

Highlighted and agree. Also, I dislike having to put a disclaimer on something that is already labeled, 'Erotica/BDSM."
 

NicoelSuzanne

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This seems odd to me. My BF has two kids. Four and six. They have a LOT of questions and I gotta tell ya, we have discussed just about everything from soup to nuts because of this--as it comes up.
I think if you don't shirk your parenting responsibilities as they come, by six they have a pretty solid grasp on how the world turns.
Sex is only weird if you make it weird.
Wait, what was the question? LOL
No but seriously-if you start talking about sex as they have questions when they are young, they keep coming with questions and can trust they can get solid answers without sugarcoating. By the time they get to the sex ed in school they should be able to teach it.
 

Maryn

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Well, yeah, some kids are good with the knowledge of how basic sexual union works much earlier than other kids. But kids do not need to know about BDSM or other kinks, IMO.

Maryn, whose kids found out nevertheless*


* They're adults
 

thethinker42

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Well, yeah, some kids are good with the knowledge of how basic sexual union works much earlier than other kids. But kids do not need to know about BDSM or other kinks, IMO.

Maryn, whose kids found out nevertheless*


* They're adults

That raises an interesting question, actually. I'm not a parent and never will be, but out of curiosity...what *would* you (any parent reading this) tell your kids if they asked you about BDSM or some kink?
 

KimJo

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I did get a question about "tying people up" from my older daughter when she was 12. She was, shall we say, a bit too inquisitive; when people weren't paying attention, she was sneaking onto yaoi, hentai, and outright porn sites on her school-issued laptop. (She was doing this IN CLASS, mind you, and it took over a month for someone to notice.)

I just told her that different people are into different things, and for some people, being tied up or tying up someone else is arousing.
 

Maryn

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That's pretty close to what I'd have said, although by the time either of ours mentioned it, they were mid-teens and I felt able to be somewhat more frank.

Maryn, imperfect parent