Opinion: Problematic intimate scenes in romance books

I recently noticed that I have been getting annoyed at certain plot points or tropes and I’m not sure if it’s because my tastes have matured or I have less patience for certain storylines.  Am I overreacting?

I used to think certain sex scenes were so steamy and hot but I recently was reading a book which called into question the ability to consent in certain scenarios and how authors should approach this. I had never really thought about the ins and outs of consent certain scenes. I remembered whilst thinking of this that one of my fav authors and solved it in a sexy way by having the characters discuss their limits and giving blanket consent to certain scenarios and when they would be uncomfortable. I found this refreshing because the conversation was frank and natural between all parties involved.

This got me thinking, is this a genre thing? Stay with me here….in reverse harems due to the delicate balance clear communication is paramount and the limits clearly defined so that swords don’t cross if the two characters aren’t into that kind of thing. But they do this with respect and no kink shaming (we don’t kink shame). Or even in BDSM books the limits are discussed right off the bat. Consent can be sexy if done right.

Now compare to hetero romances and for some reason have stumbled onto romance books that start with rape or there is rape at some point of the relationship between the main characters but it’s not made explicit that it was rape and shouldn’t have happened because its glossed over or small thought within the female character but quickly forgotten and not mentioned. An example of this is the woman asleep or drugged at the beginning sex which MC and mafia books use a lot. They justify it by saying that they were meant to be and it’s their body to do whatever they want with. It has become a massive turn off for me and I’m not sure why its popular. (someone please tell me in the comments.)

I think it almost seems worse when the author goes to the trouble of getting the heroine to have an internal monologue on how she feels sore on waking or falls pregnant when she thinks she’s never had sex or hasn’t had it recently and then it all gets swept under the rug after the hero says a possessive sentence which always relates to her anatomy and him owning it….ugh

If I’m warned beforehand that there is questionable consent  then I’m ready and understand that it is part of the story that the author wants to tell, and I respect that.

To be honest, maybe I’m weird, when I read sex scenes I sometimes envision it’s me in the heroines shoes…who doesn’t…hot guy… whose good at sex….saying dirty things into your ear…amazing right. I enjoy a good sex scene as much as the next gal but if the sex scene annoys  me it takes out all the enjoyment and taints my opinion of the book and the hero that I’m supposed to be rooting for.

To bring an end to this ramble, I understand that romance stories come in all shades, the characters go  through interesting storylines and growth and I don’t want stories to become too PC, inauthentic and boring. I guess I just wanted to get this off my chest. This wasn’t written maliciously or to show hate towards authors.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I love morally grey characters, they make for an interesting story /character but when certain issues such as murder, drug running and kidnapping are at least commented on I expect rape to also be commented on.

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