When smut is creepy and wrong.

We all have those guilty reads. For me, I enjoy a good raunchy romp through someone’s bedroom. I really like erotica that has a good romance storyline. I like good writing as well–I want a good turn of phrase, a little poetic play on words. I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey because I have heard the writing isn’t good. There is smut and there is erotica. Today’s book is smut. Smut so wrong it boils my blood.

One of the Facebook romance book groups that I follow recommended Three Two One by JA Huss. The post made it sound fabulous: a ménage story with a twist and a dark suspense. But I have learned to be extra cautious with this group. THey seem to promote all books and all books are wonderful! Not all books are going to be wonderful. Stop trying to make them all wonderful. So I popped over and got a sample sent to my iPad. I love e-book distributors because you can get samples of books before you buy. It’s not a library, with that wonderful feel and smell, but it can do in a pinch.

Huss has a very definitive writing style. She switches viewpoints between the protagonists. The writing is lyrical, and that just helps the story to flow. The prologue had me hooked. Ark (one of the male members of the equation–male member, giggle) was being interrogated by the police. We get to know a little bit about him and we get “introduced” to Blue. I really want to know what bad thing happened to Blue!!

But then story started. And I was appalled! Simply fucking appalled! I have been seething about this book since I finished reading the sample.

I like smut. I like smut with moral ambiguity. I like the anti-hero who turns a little bit better because a woman (or man, I enjoy it all) has challenged him to be a better person. I don’t like smut that starts with rape between the ménage characters. And the two guys are fucking assholes.

Now someone may read the sample and think it is fine or that I don’t like the guys because of their professions. They are porn film makers, specifically porn made in public places. But the whole make-a-porn-in-public shtick just makes the guys sleazy. There is that moral ambiguity I enjoy. And there are plenty of stories out there with characters of sleazy professions.

Blue has just escaped with her life from some kidnapping-abuse horror. She is standing in the cold rain wearing nothing but a summer dress (which Ark comments on being inappropriate for this time of year). Ark and JD–the last of the ménage–deliberately overlook her pathetic appearance because they need a shot of public sex. She’s in desperate need of money so she agrees to kiss JD. If it had stopped with a kiss, I might have been more accepting of the story. But it goes so much further…They keep offering more money for a blowjob. And Blue needs money so she says yes.

Enter the start of my morality basic human decency issues:

  1. She is still strung out on whatever drug her kidnappers forced on her. She is in no way able to make an informed decision about sex.
  2. The guys note that she appears coming off of a high, but are perfectly okay with her decision.
  3. She tells them that she is not a druggie, just pumped full of drugs that were forced on her. THEY KNOW IS NOT CAPABLE MAKING A DECISION
  4. They group fuck her when she is barely conscious (She loses consciousness shortly after her climax)
  5. Climax does not mean that the sexual act was not a rape.

She is not a toy for these men to fight over! She is a human being in distress. They agree to give her a bath to warm her up. More opportunities for them to take advantage of a down-on-her-luck girl! Shee keeps asking for help.

  1. She is passed out. She cannot give consent! JD still strips her naked
  2. The discover scars and fresh scabs from cane and knife play (and they know she has been forced into that situation)
  3. JD still gets naked and climbs into the tub with her
  4. Ark gets a blowjob from Blue (because she is desperate for any money they are willing to give her
  5. He photographs/films the whole  rape

How I’m feeling right now:

I wish I could tell you where this was originally posted, because I so want the back story, but this is how I was reacting.

There is so much wrong with this sequence of events. I don’t want to hear “guys will be guys” or “guys will do anything for sex.” Like I said, I don’t mind an anti-hero. I mind assholes who will use a girl cyring out for help. At no point did Ark (the narrator of the chapters) stop and say, “We should help her out.” Or “We should let her get off her high before we have sex.” I get that he felt a connection and wanted to make her his. I love a good alpha-male who goes after his woman. But this is depraved…nastiness.

I can hear some people already, “This is a story–an escape. Just enjoy the story.” But how can I? There is a girl reading this horrifying novel . internalizing its message. That not only is it good that a relationship start out with rape, but that it is a good guy can be found in your rapist. I know I did the same with just regular romance novels. It wasn’t until recently, after reading a blog post about that I realized that some of these “wonderful” relationships from these novels had serious flaws of mental and emotional abuse. And I fantasized about these relationships. I compared my current relationship to these stories.

For those who think that young(er) girls would not read these stories, I once again turn to myself as an example. I read teen romances in 7th grade. By the end of 8th grade I was reading full-on romances Not erotica. I wouldn’t have been able to handle the adult relationships. And 15-17 years ago, the standards for romance were different. As a middle school librarian, I saw young African-American girls reading It’s a Thug’s Life. I knew Caucasian girls who asked about 50 Shades of Grey. We are living in a more sexually active time . At that same school, I knew of students were having sex in the 6th grade.

Stories like these enable the current rape culture that exists in American society. The rapists is innocent until proven guilty but the victim is just guilty. If we want to create a safe environment for girls and women, we need to think about the stories we write and the books we promote. Authors need to think of the impact they have upon their audiences.

Maybe the story gets better, maybe Ark and JD are redeemable. But I sure as hell won’t be buying it to find out.

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