Pet Hate: The Rape Kiss

As I write this down now, I am uncomfortable to admit that when I was younger, this pet hate was cool and heroic. But when I recently read a particular passage of a book that included this kind of kiss, I came to the realization that "cool and heroic" is not how I would describe it at all. Ever.

Now it's downright scary.

I'm going to be as specific as possible so I won't cause confusion. There have been stories that I've read wherein the hero forces a kiss on the heroine to prove that he's interested in her, or that she's beautiful, or that they're meant to be together. The hero could know her for years, for months, for days, or worse, for less than 24 hours. But whatever the case may be, the contact is shocking and at the moment, unwanted. He may even force her mouth open and use his tongue. The heroine physically struggles against him for a time, but he will not let her go. Eventually she gives up fighting and succumbs to lust. She will then describe the kiss as mind-blowing or in some positive way, forgetting that it was forced on her.

That is not okay.

Repeating for emphasis: That is not okay.

Just because the hero's hot, doesn't mean he can rape kiss the heroine.

I don't care if the heroine is sexually attracted to him. The unfortunate implication here is that the heroine is the kind of girl who can be controlled by sexual impulses. That as long as the hero is attractive enough, there is no such thing as unwanted sexual advances. That the heroine should like being paid forceful, potentially dangerous attention from a suitor.

Yes, the hero can flirt. Yes, he can make her feel special. But he cannot just force a kiss on her, keep her from ending the kiss, and totally disregard that no, in any form of communication, means no.

Try making your hero ugly and see if the same scenario will fly. Does it? Did it even get off the ground? No, because the lines are clear: that is sexual abuse. These lines shouldn't be blurred because the hero is sexually appealing. If the heroine doesn't want to be kissed and wants to remove the hero from her person, he has no right to keep her from shoving him as far as away as she can. And she should not, no matter how much she trusts this guy with her heart and soul and mind, let him control her mouth and head and body when at that moment in time it is unwanted contact.

No means no, friends. It is not my pet peeve, it is my pet hate when writers twist an unwanted kiss into a romantic, positive experience.