There is a meme going around amongst some SFF writers, where they share exerpts from their work to illustrate that explicit verbal negotiations of consent don’t “ruin the mood” of a sex scene or make it “unsexy”. (They are calling it Consent is Sexy, which is a loaded complex name for it.) It’s a complex thing to try to intervene in, this idea that explicit negotiation is not needed in erotic fiction writing, or in life. As someone who reads and writes kinky erotic fiction, I personally am invested in illustrating consent to the reader, because I want the reader to know that consent is there. That said, I don’t always have the characters verbally negotiate before they play or fuck, particularly when the story takes place within the context of a long term ongoing relationship, where the scene and the dynamic have been negotiated prior to the story’s beginning–the characters clearly know they are consenting, even if they explicitly discussed that consent prior to the beginning of the story. But I do make an effort to give the reader that context, for two main reasons. I find it deeply disruptive to my own erotic engagement as a reader when there is no clear consent or quasi consent, and read that as real world violence, and I don’t want to create that experience for the reader. And, I value consent deeply, in many aspects of life, not just sex and kink, and take it seriously that the culture I create in my work has the potential to influence people’s erotic lives.
So, it is not suprising that I believe illustrating explicit verbal negotiation of sex is a useful aspect of writing sex scenes to illuminate. So, I am gathering the posts on this here.
So, far, I’ve found five examples posted:
(TW: these examples describe sex, including sex with power exchange)
Here is an illustration from my own work. (As a heads up, this scene includes power exchange, descriptions of sadism, and knife play.)
I chose a vampire story to keep with the SFF theme of the other work I linked to above. This is from my story “Willing” which is about to be reprinted in Coming Together: In Vein, and can be found in these collections: Leathermen: Gay Erotic Stories, edited by Simon Sheppard, Blood Sacraments, edited by Todd Gregory, and Men at Noon, Monsters after Midnight edited by Christopher Pierce.
I pull out my blade and show it to him. His eyes widen and he whispers, “My safeword is chocolate.” I am surprised. Most who frequent the fetish scene know nothing about real BDSM. That these are the first words out of his mouth shows that there may be more to this boy than I thought. I stand still, watching him. He is older than I had first surmised, at least 24. The little leather he wears is well kept, his belt clearly conditioned and his boots cared for by a loving hand. He is motionless, knees slightly bent, shoulders back, offering me his chest. His pulse is not rapid, but his eyes eat up the knife and his lips are slightly parted, as if all he wanted was to take my blade down his throat.
His brown eyes stay fixed on the knife as I move toward him. I tease his lip with the tip of it and then speak softly.
“How black do you flag?”
His eyes stay on the blade. He swallows.
“Very black, on the right, Sir.”
“Is there anything I need to know?”
“I am healthy and strong. My limits are animals, children, suspension and humiliation, Sir.”
“And blood, hmmm?” I am teasing. I know the answer. It is why I found him here, and not at the Lure.
“Oh please, Sir. I would gladly offer my blood.”
He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes a moment, and then opens them. The pulse in his throat starts racing, but his voice is calm, and matter-of-fact. I tease my blade against his neck.
“I have been watching you a long time, Sir. I have seen how you play. I see the beast inside you. I know what is missing. Those boys at The Lure don’t know how to give you what you really need. They don’t see that they are barely feeding your craving, and not touching your hunger. The boys here don’t see you. They just see their own fantasy. They are simply food. I am strong, Sir. Strong enough for you. I can be yours. My blood, my flesh, my sex, my service. Yours to take however you choose, for as long as you want. To slake your hunger. I would be honored, Sir.”
I take a deep breath, stunned, studying him. This boy who would offer what I never really thought was possible. He has surprised me again. That alone shows this boy is more than a meal. He just might be able to be all that he has offered.
I almost leave him there. I am ready to walk away. Fear creeps along my spine. With the centuries I have lived and the things I have seen, this boy is what scares me. There is nothing more terrifying than hope. I rake my eyes over him. He is standing quietly. He looks like he could stand in that position for hours. He has said his piece; he is content to wait for my response. Oh he is more than food, this one. What a gift to offer a vampire. Can I refuse this offering when it’s laid out before me? I step back, looking him over, and decide.
I breathe in possibility, watching the pulse in his throat. My senses heighten further as I focus my hunger on him, noticing the minute changes in breath, scenting him. I want to see him tremble. I want to smell his fear. I want to devour his pain, without holding back. Forget this public arena. If there is even a possibility that I might truly let go and move with the beast inside my skin, his growl on my lips and his claws grasping prey, I know exactly where I need to take this boy.