|Trope · Genre|
|Synonyms:||Dubcon (no hyphen)|
|Related:||Non-con, Sex pollen, Aliens Made Them Do It, Incest, Fuck-or-Die, Mind control|
|Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom|
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"Dub-con" refers to sex involving dubious consent in fanworks. This indicates that consent is unknown or uncertain, and this is distinguished from consent being definitely absent, as in non-con or rapefic.
Often, a character involved is uncertain about whether he or she wants to participate. Unlike the real world, where "lack of yes means no" is a more-than-reasonable statement, in fiction, the author can show the character's internal thoughts, and a tangle of yes-no-maybe-Idon'tknow feelings.
Dub-con can also be used for stories from one character's point of view, in which he or she does not know for certain whether the other character is consenting. This is common in Sex pollen and similar stories, where some kind of external mechanism is requiring or forcing the characters to have sex. Dub-con can be used to explore the differences between physical pleasure and emotional enjoyment without the trauma involved in violent forced sex.
Dub-con is also used to indicate a relationship (or incident) that precludes the ability to give meaningful consent, such as student/teacher, prisoner/guard, patient/doctor, or child/adult. In these situations, the character with less authority, even if an intelligent adult, is presumed incapable of giving informed consent to a sexual relationship, because the power imbalance is too prone to abuse.
(need links to early uses of the term, fandoms where it's common, etc.)
Some fans feel that dub-con, like non-con, is a meaningless term, and should be labeled rapefic. They believe all sex without conscious consent is rape, and "non-con" and "dub-con" are just euphemisms attempting to gain public acceptance for a sharply stigmatized kink. Some claim that dub-con and non-con are harmful genres, in that they promote the idea that sex doesn't need to be consensual.