Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not Her Cup of Tea

Elizabeth McQuillan was considering writing some erotic fiction, so she decided to do some research. She found a website that, from her description, I think I recognize. If it is the one I'm thinking of, it is a great website where adults write about adults having consensual sex, even beautiful romances. But McQuillan was disturbed by what she found.

I have to confess it was extremely alarming, and this is where I went into full reverse. What seemed like a fun idea and bit of a laugh over a glass of vino was clearly something much darker, and clarified for me that this is an area of writing that I wont be embracing.

What? What could it be? What horrors did she find?

Taking pride of place in the top 10 to 20 places in the “most popular stories” list, with each having tens of thousands (the very top stories getting hundreds of thousands) of hits, were stories featuring incest. These were stories involving fathers, uncles, mothers, sons, brothers, sisters and entire families having lusty interactions.

That’s it? Erotic fiction about consenting adults who love each other espressing that love in physical ways? That is so disturbing?

Am I just naive here? I thought incest was the ultimate taboo, reviled by the majority and possibly only ever practised in rare cases where children are unfortunate enough to be born into an abusive household? But the popularity of these stories show an interest on the subject matter on a huge and unhealthy scale.

A lot of people are interested. Some have personal experiences. How is it unhealthy, or any more unhealthy than a tale of two strangers having a one night stand?

Authors call themselves giveaway names such as Daddy’s Candy, where we can guess at the sort who might be harbouring these fantasies but it was the number of apparently female contributors that I found most shocking.

Women enjoy sex, too. Some enjoy writing about it and reading about it.

Are there a lot of people out there who are actually yearning to bed-hop with their parents, children and siblings?

There are a lot of people who want to make love with a family member or have already done so. Some are interested in bed-hopping, as she put it. Others are interested in or have had long monogamous or polyfidelity romances with family members. Some people just want to write or read about these things, not actually do them. I’m still waiting for what the problem is here.

It is concerning that the high level of interest in this sort of material may be closely related to sexual abuse in children.

The site I’m thinking of only has stories where every character is eighteen years of age or older. She might as well argue that erotica causes rape in general.

Victims often know and trust their abusers, and if they grow up in an environment where sexual relations with family members are treated as the norm from an early age, it might take some time for a child to realise they are a victim.

Unfortunately, child abusers are going to do their evil with or without erotica. But if your point is that a child knowing that dad and mom have a thing going with mom’s sister is going to make the child easier to abuse, then I guess we can’t have adults drinking, or driving (sober), or anything else that kids shouldn’t do.

She then wrote more about child abuse, even though she never demonstrated a possible connection with erotica about consenting adults. Perhaps she needs to think through the matter and get over the knee-jerk reaction that incest only means "child sexual abuse by family members." Incest can mean consensual sex between adults who never regret it.

Where sexual abuse is known to have occurred within the family, the most common perpetrator was a brother, or stepbrother:

Children are more likely to be kidnapped by someone they know than a stranger. A grown woman is more likely to be raped by someone she knows rather than a complete stranger in a dark alley. So what? Cbild abusers, kidnappers, and rapists should all be sent to prison, whether or not they are related to the victim.

What started out as an innocent foray into the possibility of writing erotic fiction, instead opened a can of worms. The overwhelming preference for incest as a subject matter clearly demonstrates what is sexually exciting great numbers of people, and the repercussions of this are very worrying.

She never explains what the problem is when consenting adults who are related enjoy sex together, let alone what the problem is that people write and read fictional erotica on the subject. That she isn’t into such things or isen repulsed by the idea doesn’t mean there’s a problem. Maybe the popularity of that niche is yet another reminder that laws that try to punish people for consanguineous sex need to be repealed, and more people would support that.
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