All Guns Blazing

All Guns Blazing

While I was in Mexico last week, a reader got her hands on a rare copy of London, (available again this Winter, 2024 at which was my second novel, and was shocked at the sex scenes. And not in a good way. She came for me all guns blazing because she saw two of them as shockingly rough, and it bothered her that I might be advocating for coercion, not consent.
Spoiler alert, I wasn’t. But I was happy to talk about it and thanked her for calling attention to it. I’m impressed that she’s looking out for those red flags in lesfic, as we all should be. Younger generations will read these stories and follow our lead, (one can hope) so let’s make sure it’s a good one.

But now that we’re all here, let’s talk about the difference between coercion and consent, and why mainstream porn is fucking sex up for all of us. I’ll forever defend your right to view it, if that’s your choice, …but I’m out and I’ve been out for a while. And I’m going to tell you why.
As usual, know that I curse like it’s the backbeat for a Def Lepard song and I’m not about to mince words around sex, so you’ve been warned. Also, if you tend to feel triggered by mentions of sexual violence, even in theory, give this a swerve.

Ready, buttercup? Let’s hit it.

Specifically, the reader in question was concerned about a scene where Jaq pulls Bronwyn into a deserted Blackpool alley and presses her body against a brick wall, holding her there with her open hand on her neck, her thumb just under her chin to control the arc of her neck like it’s a canvas for Jaq’s mouth, brushing the heat of her breath across Bronwyn’s skin. To hear it described, it sounds rough, like Jaq is controlling of every aspect of making Bronwyn come, hard, against those bricks.
Because she is.
And how do I know this?
I don’t put much of my real life into my books. I want them to be about the characters as they are, not a vanity mirror for me to gaze at my own reflection. But sex scenes by their very nature are personal and because I don’t often observe others in their natural sexual habitat, you’re going to get a lot of me by default. The way I do things, the way I treat women, my moves and what I’m like in those situations, whether I’m in love or just in love with the fact that they’re in my bed.
I tend to be in control, and the more in control someone is, no matter who they’re fucking, the more careful she should be about consent. If you’re in bed with me, you already like that energy, but I make sure the woman I’m with knows that she can stop anytime, that she doesn’t have to have a reason, and that she doesn’t even have to know why. She knows because we’ve talked about it. We already have safe words and safe touches (like a double tap on my shoulder) in place before the first button pops off that blouse and pings against the wall.
When I have my hand around someone’s neck, the move is confident but the touch itself is gentle. My hand is there so that she feels confident that I’ve got her, that she can melt underneath me and not have to direct anything…that she can just feel. It’s not there to take away her power, it’s there to remind her of mine.

Which brings me to porn. Mainstream porn.
Everyone now has an endless supply of violent, degrading porn accessible to them with a single click on their phones. Most of that violence include depictions of coercion and loss of choice, and the scariest thing is that it’s becoming commonplace to see someone’s hand on a woman’s neck to actually choke her. If there is truly consent between adults, they can do whatever they please as long as no one is getting hurt, but that’s different from constant physical coercion and violence becoming the overwhelming norm.
I get questions all the time about why my characters are so careful and constant about asking for consent, even checking in during the scene to be sure, and this is why. Because when something is common, it starts to override the awareness for consent. Let’s not let the violence and degrading behavior that’s so ubiquitous now in porn make us lose sight of the fact that the person we’re with is trusting us with the most vunerable side of themselves.

Porn exists to make money. Sex exists to connect two people in a way that can never be duplicated and is created and remembered only by them.
Let’s remember that and treat each other carefully.



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