Lisabet Sarai has a post up about kink erotica and responsibility, especially about a sexual assault case in NZ that involved adapting scenarios from Fifty Shades of Grey, without other kink knowledge or education. (To be clear, and serve as a trigger warning: the sexual assault involved a stalker ex who disguised himself to act out scenarios they learned from FSOG with his ex, who did not know it was him; this is described in more detail in the link.)
Sarai grapples with the question of erotica and responsibility: “Our books are not how-to manuals. We’re writing to challenge, engage, and arouse our readers, not teach them about sex. Yet clearly our readers do learn from our books – sometimes not what we intend. Should this bother us? Or should we just shrug off the people who take us literally, even when they might come to physical or emotional harm? Is it really their problem? Or is it ours?”
I’m glad we are grappling with these questions as erotica writers, and there is a public forum to discuss them.
I wrote a brief comment summarizing what I wrote at length in this post, saying that I do assume that folks might learn about kink from my erotica. I learned about kink from books first. So I take that into account when I publish erotica, and make sure that my work reflects my kink ethics and knowledge, especially around negotiation and consent.
She responded, and it’s a response I will cherish, because it is a sign that I may be accomplishing these goals in my work:
“Your stories are among the more extreme that I’ve read, but I recognize and respect your emphasis on consent. You’ve managed to crack the riddle – how to maintain the heat while still emphasizing personal responsibility and the relationship between the Dom and the sub.”
There’s the beginnings of a lively conversation on the ERWA blog on this subject. Perhaps you would like to lend your voice to it?