I’m not sure why, but it seems that a lot of the paranormal romances I’ve read have the same type of scene inside that really gets me upset. Sometimes I skip said scenes, and sometimes I’m reading it, with tears in my eyes. Always at the end, I feel as though something has gone wrong in this book. I no longer respect the hero. The point behind the scene is to show the hero’s strength, whether it be magical or physical. The scene? Angry Sex. Ok, we all get off on angry sex now and then. Don’t get me wrong – it’s in all kinds of books and we all like to read it. It’s hot, and it’s sexy, and we all wonder “should we piss off our husband’s just for fun?”
But in reality, what some of these books are portraying is rape. The heroine has said no, and the hero continues to push. The hero wishes to teach the heroine a “lesson” in how powerful he is. A true alpha male doesn’t prove how powerful he is using sex. Instead, he does it against villains or other males, hoping she’ll see how truly strong he is. If she can’t, then obviously they weren’t meant to be.
It’s funny, because when I first joined groups of readers, I heard how awful it was that another author had bullies for heroes. She was drawn and quartered in the public. Cries of rape and violence swept through blogs like wildfire. Interestingly, this author only had one book where the hero went a bit far, and the heroine pretty much went at him, accusing him of rape, and he realized he’d gone too far. He paid for his “crime”. Yet in these new books, there is no outcry, there is no hero realizing he went too far. And worse, there is no heroine accusing him of rape.
So where is the line? Where does “angry sex” turn into “rape”? For me, it’s when the heroine says “NO” frequently during the event. For me it’s when the hero thinks he is teaching the heroine a lesson. A lesson he can only instill with forcible big O’s, or forcible sex, whether it’s by the hero’s own hand or his magic.
I think what has surprised me is not that this makes it into books now and then, but that it seems to be coming a trend. Heroes overstep the bounds of good alpha male behavior, becoming bullies, and they force the heroine to accept them using either physical or magical strength. Oddly enough, a true alpha male never bullies, he never forces his females. A true alpha male coaxes his female to accept him, showing his strength in other ways – never against her. Ok, maybe he does, but not “Teaching her a lesson” using sex. What ultimately happens in the bedroom is always the female’s choice. So if that’s the case, why are these books so popular?
True alpha behavior: A hero might tie up his female, and while she may be uncomfortable, she trusts him enough to allow this activity, though she may struggle just a little.
Borderline behavior: A hero and heroine may fight, using their magic, and it turns into a sexual pleasure. Both are in on the “game” and enjoy themselves.
Bully behavior: A long drawn out struggle between the hero and heroine in which he “teaches her a lesson” in who’s in charge. She is actively fighting him and is scared as much as she is turned out. While the big O may be mind blowing, the fight to get there was not.
One of my favorite authors tends toward the bully behavior, or did when she first started out, and I think that’s where the trend began. Interestingly, I always skipped the scenes related to such bully behavior, as they always felt out of place in her books. Now, she has drawn back from such behavior and is as popular as ever.
Maybe it’s just that I don’t think these heroes, or even human males, are sexy when they want to “teach a lesson”. It comes too close to what is true rape. If I needed a lesson taught to me, I sure wouldn’t want it done while I fought against it in the bedroom. This is not a fantasy of mine I want to live vicariously through books. Yet I don’t have a problem with the H/h showing their strength in an argument. Just not during sex. At least, not forcibly.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not prudish enough to believe that fight sex isn’t hot. Sure it is. But teaching a lesson is not.
So what do you think? Which is it? A bully or Strong alpha hero who teaches his heroine a “lesson” using sex?