We have a request from Jennifer. Thanks, Jennifer!
I’m looking for recommendations for romances that contain positive consent. For context, I am a therapist, and I work with some people who have never seen or been in a relationship where positive consent has occurred. Subgenre doesn’t matter—I’d like to build a lending library of a variety of books. Any books that include sexual trauma (even as background for the characters) would need to be excluded. Thank you!
We’ve come up with some great suggestions, though we definitely noticed that the books we thought of at first didn’t meet the “no sexual trauma” rule and why the two often go hand-in-hand at times.The Princess Trap and Get A Life, Chloe Brown are two of my faves. In The Princess Trap a woman’s one-night stand with a hot stranger turns into a fake engagement with a Scandinavian prince. There’s some light power play with lots of consent checks.
One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley does a great job with enthusiastic consent too. The heroine is a barista and part-time bookstore owner who rescues an Supernatural-esque actor besieged by fans at a con. A fake relationship ensues. Yardley’s whole fandom hearts series has great consent rep.
Aarya: Just remembered Mina V. Esguerra’s Kiss and Cry and double-checked the sex scenes to confirm.
Absolutely no abuse backstory, excellent condom usage, negotiation of a relationship contract which includes sexual activities, discussion of safe words/what exactly is permitted, and frequent verbal check-ins during foreplay/sex to make sure the other person is okay. If that’s not enthusiastic consent, then I don’t know what is.Teach Me by Olivia Dade, which I reviewed for SBTB. There is enthusiastic consent and no abuse backstory (the MCs are divorced but their marriages didn’t end because of physical abuse). In addition to the below passage, they also discuss their sexual preferences and exactly what (hair-pulling, nail scratches, etc) is okay. I think it meets the request requirements perfectly.
By the bedside, he let go of her hand to cup her face and turn her molten eyes to his. “I brought condoms, but if you want to use your own, no problem. Anytime you want me to stop, I will. Anything that doesn’t feel good, tell me.” Despite his nervousness, he had to grin. “Anything that does feel good, tell me. I may be too preoccupied with not coming to notice.”
Her swollen lips curved. “Same goes. Tell me what works for you and what doesn’t, so I can make this good for both of us.”
Sarah: I have been away from my computer all afternoon and evening but Kiss and Cry would be my rec, too, for all the reasons Aarya mentioned.
Tara: Meghan O’Brien writes fabulous f/f romances that have explicit and enthusiastic consent. Her Best Friend’s Sister and Camp Rewind ( A | BN ) especially stand out. In both books, the couples regularly check in to make sure they’re on the same page and they do it in a way that amps the sexual tension between them.The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test by Helen Hoang both fit the bill and the first four books in Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series clear the bar.
The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston. ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) Morgana, the main character, took charge by making the first move the first time she had sex. Since she can’t speak, her hubby checks in by staying in tune with her responses and going slow. Their sexual connection stays positive, pleasurable for both of them, and Morgana’s inability to speak was never a barrier in this regard.
Golden Angel writes a lot of fun erotica – actually, that’s all she writes. Her super sex positive attitude and cute nerdy humour is loud and bright in her Big Bad Bunnies series. Minus the novella Night of the Wild Stags, because the ex is abusive as all fuck.
Her Stronghold Doms series ( A | BN | K | G | AB ), sans Stripping the Sub and Tempting the Domme (which doesn’t contain sexual trauma, but has a character who threatens violence, stalks, and other shitty behaviour that is likely triggering), is much the same but with a focus on bdsm smexyness.
The Seduction Hypothesis by Delphine Dryden ( A | BN | K | G | AB ) is another good one. Lindsey is very clear on what she wants in a partner and in sex, communicates that, and wouldn’t budge on it. I like it better than the first book in the series it’s in.
Charlotte B: Delphine Dryden in general is a good choice for this, I think.
Sarah: Oh yes.
Catherine: Late to the party, but I love all the suggestions above, especially Talia Hibbert. Courtney Milan’s contemporary New Adult story, Hold Me, might fit the bill – there is a very clearly negotiated sex scene there, and I like it that both the hero and the heroine ask each other up front if there is anywhere they don’t want to be touched.
What books would you add to Jennifer’s helpful lending library?