Responsible Smut

(Originally posted on FetLife 4/2015)

By the time my step-daughter wanted to read the Twilight series when she was in her early teens, I’d already read them. I told her she could read them on one condition – we had to have a chat first, and we’d have to have another chat before she got to the final one.

All her friends were reading it so she agreed to the chat.

Here’s the gist of what I told her:

This book makes the bad guy sexy. He wants to hurt her but he loves her. She is the ONLY one that drives him this kind of crazy and because he loves her so much he holds the whole “I want to kill you” instinct back. This is not a healthy relationship. This book will make you want that guy, and it’s okay to fantasize about that guy – but that guy is not the right guy when you start actually dating.

She said “got it” and went into reading the first book with this in mind. Of course, she developed a massive crush on Edward. We all did. But she also recognized that dating a guy who wants to kill you is not, generally speaking, a good idea.

The second chat had a lot more to do with sex and whatnot because…well, she was 14 and the book has a fairly rambunctious sex scene and then a really bloody fucking birth scene.

I never read the 50 Shades books. I didn’t have to. I’d already read “Twilight.”

But I heard a lot of the complaints about it. Whether or not they’re true, that there’s a lack of consent or whatever – I don’t know. I didn’t read them.

But I can tell you that when I write, you’ll usually find it in there. The consent. The negotiation. The aftercare. I put them in my stories, or at the very least, I acknowledge when they are lacking.

I read a post yesterday that left me …shaky. I literally had to message the author and ask about the aftercare because I couldn’t shake off the unsettled feeling until I knew it had happened.

It had, and as soon as I got confirmation I felt much better.

When I read, especially if it’s well written, I’m on that journey with the narrator. When I write, my intention is to take my reader on that journey with me. Sometimes it comes out really well. Sometimes it might miss the mark.

I write about feelings a lot and less about action. The action is there to frame the feelings, not the other way around. Like most of my fantasies, my stories make an attempt to be plausible. It’s much more fun when the thing I’m fantasizing about could actually happen.

But then I get to some darker ones that scare me a little. Because they could happen and they are hot, but I don’t necessarily want them to happen. I get worried because I put this stuff out there and I don’t want some loon to think I’m down with having a line of strangers fondle me in the dungeon and then have the dominant in the situation leave without saying goodbye, for example.

I am not down with that. It’s just a fantasy.

So, by and large, my fictional stories tend to be responsible. If the main character is weak in the beginning she is empowered in the end. Everyone gets to live. And, especially in the longer, more fully fleshed out ones, there is at least an acknowledgment of negotiation, safety protocols, and aftercare.

If you’re ever wondering if one of the stories I am writing is just a fantasy or if it’s a true experience, you can check how I categorize it. Erotica is fiction. Journal is real. Some of my journals (slutcapades) read like erotica, but they happened more or less the way I’ve written them, so I’ve classified them as Journal.

This isn’t to say that I want everyone who’s writing out there to put aftercare in their stories. Your art is yours to do whatever you like with it. I’ve been thinking about making an attempt to publish for realsies, though, and just remembering all the ruckus with the 50 Shades book about irresponsible BDSM has me thinking that if I do go down that route, I’m going to try to do the community proud by writing responsible smut.

So there you have it.

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