Okay when it boils down to it, it really doesn't matter what I think compared to others likes and dislikes, at least to other people. But sometimes I feel the need to get stuff off my chest. That's why I'm glad I have a blog, which may or may not be read by others. I was reading a review that someone posted by a prominent and very well liked author of (erotic) romance. I found the subject matter in the book rather disgusting and disturbing.
From what I could discern, the plot centers on a man who insists that the woman in love with him accept a menage relationship with him and his brothers. He claims he loves her, but basically forces sex with him and his brothers on her. She is a virgin and goes from being a virgin to being involved sexually with more than one man at a time (oral, anal, you name it). How is that love?
Maybe I am just not open-minded enough, but I do believe in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient, love is kind, it does not boast of itself, it is not selfish, it's patient, kind, it protects. How is this so-called hero protecting and loving this woman who has given him her heart? I don't think that this book is a romance, and I don't think this should be offered up as a loving relationship. Okay, let me first say I am not trying to judge other people's lifestyles. Do what you want. If you're a consenting adult and you have another consenting adult in this relationship with you, go for. It has nothing to do with me. Additionally, I am not telling anyone what they should read, and if I go to a seller of erotic romance, read this blurb, and buy this book, I deserve what I get. But on a fundamental level, I feel offense that this is included with books that are about romantic, loving relationships between a man and a woman. This man sounds like a selfish jerk who found a young, accepting heroine who loved him enough to put up with this treatment. He didn't find a mature, sexually-experienced and explorative woman to get involved in this relationship with. So going in, I think that this couple is unequally yoked.
It's funny. Some readers won't read books that have a hero who is a so-called rapist. To each their own. That line is very thin at times. I would never condone rape, but I have read book where the hero has 'raped' the heroine. It's no right, but it's there. Maybe I sound judgemental to make a distinction here. Maybe it's the anal and the more than one guy thing that makes this too hard to swallow. I can only take so much in a so-called romance novel before I have to redesignate this is fiction and not romance. Again, I haven't read this book, but from the description in a person's very enlightening review, I would classify this hero as a rapist. He has taken this woman's choice away with emotional blackmail. And because she has orgasms during these sex acts, I surmise we're supposed to be okay with this. My question is how does she feel in the aftermath? What is the emotional state of this young woman after years of this? Will she convince herself she enjoys this lifestyle to have a man she loves deeply but clearly doesn't love her the way she deserves to be loved. (Again, my definition of love is affecting how I see this scenario). I don't even know if the author goes into this. I made a choice not to read this author a while ago, and this review really fortified me in this choice. She is clearly working out some issues that she has or maybe she just wants to push the envelope. Either way, not my cup of tea. I am glad that those who like to explore boundaries can read this type of material, but all I feel is disgusted and yucked out. I feel very sorry for this heroine, and I can't say I would go away from reading this book with the positive, almost euphoric feeling that a good romance novel gives me.
I realize that some romance readers want reality, and I mean stone-cold reality. To each their own. I like to see angst and conflict in romances, but some conflict is a bit much for a romance novel. When I read a romance novel, I want to know I'm reading a romance novel, not a fiction book that happens to have romance in it. Not erotica with a monogamous happy romantic ending. I don't want to read about adultery, children dying, menage, anal sex or any sex act involving that area, or other activites having anything that has to do with bodily functions no associated with the sex organs in a romance novel. I can't handle much bondage or any of that either, and call me a prude, but keep the sex toys to a minimum. It's just yuck to me. Again, to each their own.
The great thing is that some of these types of books are kept safe far away from mainstream romance. However they can bleed over into the mainstream. This same author that I won't name can be bought at Walmart, on the shelves next to authors that write very tame romances that the most prudish family member of your choice can read. There is no warning on the cover that says, this book has anal sex in it. Nope, the poor reader buys this book because it has a hot Navy SEAL hero, and next thing they know, they are reading about backdoor sex. Sorry, but to me that's wrong. It's like buying a movie, thinking it's a fairly tame action movie, and seeing people's heads explode and having their guts ripped out. Except movies come with a content warning.
If you are reading this blog and are thinking I need to open my mind, I can't change your opinion. I like to read romance that can be anywhere from no sex to strongly sexual but vanilla sex. Two people relationships. I will even occasionally read m/m romance stories (if the anal stuff is not a heavy part of it). But I don't read romance to explore my sexual boundaries.There is an open mind, and there is self-abuse. Reading something that involves subject matter that is offensive to me is self-abuse in my opinion. Going back to why I read romance, escapism and enjoyment, this violates my first commandment of escapist pleasure reading. I am not enjoying the experience if I read something along those lines. Anyway, I feel a little better but at the same time pretty icked out right now. But, oh well.