Non-con

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Synonyms: Noncon (no hyphen)
See also: dub-con, Rapefic, Sex pollen, Aliens Made Them Do It, Incest, Fuck-or-Die, Slavefic
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Contents

Non-con refers to non-consensual sex in fanworks, particularly forcible seduction scenarios.

Non-Con versus Rape

Some fans who enjoy creating or consuming such fanworks make the distinction between the aesthetic of "non-con," which eroticizes elements of non-consensual sex such as aggression, helplessness, and power imbalance, and an aesthetic that treats rape more realistically.

Other fans feel this is a meaningless semantic distinction; non-con is just a dressier word for rape. They may feel that rape should always be treated realistically or that it is an inappropriate subject for fanwork (especially RPF).

The labeling issue is complicated by a subgenre of hurt/comfort fic where explicit, but non-eroticized, rape is the "hurt" event. These stories tend to warn for "rape" rather than "non-con."

For those who distinguish non-con from rape, the difference is often a matter of emotional consent vs legal consent--non-con covers some conditions that are not legally rape (forced marriage/bonding, some sex pollen stories, offering oneself to the villain, spousal sex in some places, sex with payment in some areas), and generally does not cover some conditions that legally are rape (most notably in regards to underage, but some other issues like drug/alcohol/sex pollen lowered inhibitions, prisoner seducing a guard, etc.) Non-con deals with a character's mental state; "rape" is a term describing a legal state. Non-con can be erotic; rape is not. (The two can both be present in the same story.)

From an essay by torch:

"That discussion often starts because part of the reading audience is reluctant to label forcible seduction scenarios of the X ties Y up and has sex with him and Y stops saying no and has a wonderful time type as rape stories. [...] More subtle issues-of-consent stories where force or violence usually doesn't enter into it, but seduction or blackmail or misunderstandings or external fuck-or-die threats do, are possibly my favorite kind of party game at this particular party. But they, too, frequently do not get classified as rape stories because the element of coercion is usually psychological rather than physical. And to label stories like these as being rape stories is also in some sense misleading, since there is a certain difference in how the subject is treated, and a person who is bothered by brutal rape may not have a problem with blackmail (and a person who is looking for rape trauma and recovery may be disappointed at finding that the aliens forced them to boff like bunnies and they rather liked it). So what should we call these other stories? Non-con? Forcible seduction scenarios in particular are among the stories that more frequently get labeled as non-con instead, perhaps because the word rape is so loaded."[1]

Non-Con versus Dub-Con

Non-con may be distinguished from dub-con (that is, fic which involves dubious consent) depending on how explicitly refusal is made, whether force or coercion is used, whether one or both characters is under the influence of mind-altering substances, the pre-existing nature of the characters' relationship and/or whether the issues of consent stem from an inherent power imbalance in the relationship.

Some fans feel that dub-con is a meaningless category that should be folded into non-con: consent cannot be assumed if it's not given explicitly, and sex without consent is rape. For other fans, dub-con is a useful marker for fanworks that play with the titillating nature of (fantasy) rape without the more problematic associations of non-con.

Resources

  • Issues of Consent - a rape recommendation page that was influential in defining and illustrating the non-con genre
  • Dark Rooms - an archive for X-Files non-con fanfiction which defined non-con as "a sexual act committed without consent, which is conducted in a low-violence and a non-seriously harmful manner, and/or that results in the victim actually ending up enjoying the episode, usually indicated by sexual climax [coming]."[2]
  • Force Me, Please: On Noncon and Noncon Play in Fanfic by bironic, dated May 31, 2011.

References

  1. torch. Consent (defunct), 13 December 2000.
  2. Submission Guidelines for Dark Rooms, via Wayback circa 2002. (Accessed 05 March 2011)
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