Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Consent is Sexy by Cecilia Tan

Consent is Sexy: So is Pushing the Boundaries
by Cecilia Tan

I think consent is sexy. One of the things that turns me on the most, both in a lover in my real life and in the books I like to read and write, is communication between partners. Consent is about negotiating likes, wants, needs, and boundaries between lovers. Finding out how the key fits into the lock, the magic fit between the two main characters, is the key to any romance novel and I love to see how people get there. 

In BDSM, consent--and achieving clarity between partners about consent--is so important because the power dynamic that takes place in BDSM can appear one-sided. It's really important to express clearly what you want if you're the type of person--like me--who is turned on by being overwhelmed by my lover. The fantasy of a romance heroine being swept away, ravished, held down and pleasured (or held down and tormented) is a common one. BDSM makes it possible to experience that in real life with a willing play partner. So as the one getting ravished I have to be very clear to my partners what I want  them do to me for fun.

I think it's very important to be clear that our fantasies of being overwhelmed, of being "taken," of being ravished, even of being raped, are valid fantasies to have. They're valid fantasies to use as erotic fodder for the imagination and they're valid to enjoy in fiction, whether in erotica or romance.

That said, many people struggle with the idea that fantasies of being taken by an unstoppable male erotic force is okay. I grapple with this issue in THE INCUBUS AND THE ANGEL, the third book in my Magic University series. In the book, one of the subplots is that many of the female characters are being visited in their dreams by an "incubus," a demon lover who may be "only a dream" and yet leaves many of the women feeling deeply affected. Some feel violated, others yearn for an incubus-like lover to find them in real life, and every other reaction in between. I knew it would be a bit tricky to present male desire this way in a romance novel, but I felt it was important to recognize that not all women dream of being in a historical romance novel or even a 50-shades-style power relationship.

The whole incubus subplot for me was a way to contrast the unstoppable dream lover with the way our characters conduct themselves in real life. Sexual magic is our hero Kyle's strength, and when he agrees to have magical sex with a female friend to help her with her homework, he's scrupulous at negotiating what the boundaries and rules of their interaction will be. Of course, the boundaries begin to shift as he and Lindy's feelings for each other grow... But Kyle is also strongly attracted to a male student he has performed sex magic with, a student whose boundaries are zealously guarded. I can't tell you what happens without spoiling the book, but it's all part of exploring the theme of boundaries, and what can happen when those boundaries are crossed.

Because although consent is sexy, pushing the boundaries in fiction is, too. I like to play with that ravishment trope as much as many romance writers, I just come at it from a slightly different perspective.

The Incubus and the Angel: Magic University Book Three
by Cecilia Tan
Print ISBN 978-1-62601-121-2, Digital ISBN 978-1-62601-122-9
Paperback $16.99, ebook $6.99

Buy links:

The third volume in Cecilia Tan's LGBT new adult paranormal romance series.

Since his arrival as a freshman at Veritas, the hidden magical university inside Harvard, Kyle Wadsworth has been on a quest for true love. He's had his heart broken a few times along the way, though, and now halfway through his junior year he thinks he isn't ready to love again. He has grown obsessed with studying an ancient prophecy and is still haunted by past events, even in his dreams.

But Kyle isn't the only one suffering from haunted dreams. One of his good friends, an enchantment student named Lindy Carmichael, is having uncontrollably erotic dreams and difficulty with magic. Lindy, a sexually naive young woman who, like Kyle, did not grow up in the magical world, fears she is losing her power. Kyle can't do anything about the incubus haunting her nights, but power is one thing he can provide—through erotic magic. Lindy and Kyle start "dating," first for the sake of schoolwork, but they quickly become more serious about each other.

As their romance blossoms, Kyle discovers perhaps he can do something about the incubus after all. Is Kyle the hero prophesied in the ancient texts? Whether he is or not, there is one person whose help he must enlist. The one person who wants the least to do with him. The person Kyle sees in his dreams: his old Gladius House rival, Frost.

"Cecilia Tan brought me into her world of magic with a plot that intrigued me from the start. Power comes in many forms and I found myself enthralled with the erotic nights spent between Lindy and Kyle." --Siren Book Reviews

"The Incubus and the Angel is an entertaining read that has a similar magical world structure as the Harry Potter books, though these tales of magic definitely aren't for children. Kyle is a strong hero but with a touch of femininity which helps him relate to Lindy in ways an alpha male type couldn't. He's been hurt emotionally, but willing to keep searching for his soul mate. I like that resiliency about him."--You Gotta Read Reviews

"If you want a book about students practicing magic and sex, this is definitely the one for you."
--Erotica Readers Association

About the author:
Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. Her BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (Hachette/Forever, 2013) won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance and the Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of the Romance Writers of America.

Tan is the author of many books, including the ground-breaking erotic short story collections Black Feathers (HarperCollins), White Flames (Running Press), and Edge Plays (Circlet Press), and the erotic romances Slow Surrender, Slow Seduction, and Slow Satisfaction (Hachette/Forever), The Prince’s Boy (Circlet Press), The Hot Streak (Riverdale Avenue Books), and the Magic University series (Riverdale Avenue Books). Her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Nerve, Best American Erotica, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and tons of other places. She was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010, was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association in 2004, and won the inaugural Rose & Bay Awards for Best Fiction in 2010 for her crowdfunded web fiction serial Daron’s Guitar Chronicles.

She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner corwin and three cats. Find out more at www.ceciliatan.com or follow her on Twitter at @ceciliatan

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