EDIT ME — Pet Peeve in Content

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I’ve read a lot of submissions for publishers, and one of the things that will turn me off fast is rape in erotic romance.

Before you flame me for this, read along…

A woman has been violated, she’s lived through a nightmarish hell that some people will never, ever work through even with a team of psychologists and handfuls of Xanax. Yet for some reason I have read a lot of rape victims who suddenly morph into nymphomaniacs. Not only can they not get enough sex with this new person, but their new lover heals her!

This doesn’t only go for females. I’ve read males who are victims of rape who suddenly get kinky as hell. And hallelujah! They can’t get enough.

Unfortunately in our world, rape happens, and these victims will never, ever tell you it’s sexy or easy to ‘get over’. Rape is right up there with deep political talk and graphic war. There is a place in literature for these things, but it’s not in romance, folks. Authors should skim over harsh topics.


*Adjustment to my earlier words. I DO think hard topics should be handled, but if you’re not educated enough to handle them, you might not be able to write it with the care it deserves. Please see Saranna Dewylde’s post and my reply. I don’t know jack shit about politics so I leave that to people who do. If you don’t know about rape and the aftercare necessary, and you don’t take the time to do A LOT of research, then my suggestion is to skim over it. Thanks for reading*

My two cents,



6 comments on “EDIT ME — Pet Peeve in Content

  1. I can’t believe a few years ago I came across a new release of the heroine saying “no,” but still not meaning it … all the way through the scene!

  2. I’m going to respectfully disagree that we should avoid the topic. I think it should be handled with care, but I do think it should be handled. Trauma happens to everyone. We all have darkness we have to deal with and we all would like to believe we can get a Happily Ever After. But rape is one of those transgressions where you think you’ll never be happy again. You’ll never feel safe again and even if you love again, that no one will ever love all of you, or understand what you’ve been through.

    I’m a survivor of rape. And I had sex as soon as my stitches healed. I had sex with my eyes open (yeah, literally, I kept them open so I only saw the face of the man I’d chosen) with my husband who I was separated from because he was the only one I trusted. I was determined that since sex had been a good and healthy part of my life before rape, it would be after. Even though it was painful, and uncomfortable, it was empowering for me. Everyone deals with it differently, but that’s how I dealt with my experiences. That and writing my memoir and speaking to women’s and survivor’s groups.

    I’m addressing it in my third novel for HQN. My heroine was raped by her commanding officer while she was deployed and she has PTSD. (Military Sexual Trauma and it’s an issue a lot of our service women have had to face.) She’s not a nympho, but she does choose the hero because he’s her best friend. She trusts him with her life, so why not her body? I guess her journey is very similar to mine. And I want to show other survivors that there is love, there is life, and there is happiness after trauma.

    But I do agree that it shouldn’t be used without careful thought and consideration to what that kind of violation is like.

    That’s my two cents, for what they’re worth.

    • Saranna, I agree with you. Topics like this should be handled with care, and if you can’t do that, then you should leave it to others who can. I feel similarly about the callousness in which some people write children dying. As a parent who has lost a child, I almost always find it handled poorly. Thank you for your comment and I’m glad you were able to move through that stage in your life.

  3. Too many times I’ve read books that have included rape or a traumatic experience into their stories as a way to add drama. Then the author turns around and basically skips over how the heroine heals from it. If they do say how the heroine moved on it’s usually because the hero’s love was enough.
    Being traumatized through rape or some other traumatic experience is not something that is ever easy to get passed. Even if you are lucky enough to have healed from it, it’s still something that sits in the back of your mind. It makes you second guess everything.
    I’m ok with Romance and Erotica books covering tough subjects but I’m not ok with them using it as a way to add drama.
    We put so much time into researching things for our books, trying to get the details right (locations, jobs, etc…) We even take great care in describing feelings during sex scenes. Why can’t we seem to take the time to thoroughly research these traumatic events and to accurately show what its like to come back and heal from them?
    One downside to including tough subjects in our books is that, in Romance at least, there always needs to be a “happy ending” and in life that’s not always possible.

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