I Thought You’d Never Ask: Consent in Contemporary Romance

Publication year

According to the Introduction, this essay "considers the evolution of ideas of consent in the romance genre and the larger culture."


As the flurry of the responses to [K. J.] Charles' tweet thread shows, the discourse about consent is alive and well in the wake of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements. It also reveals opportunities for greater engagement in this area of research by the academic community in the still-emerging field of romance scholarship, a field that is disproportionately smaller than the vast and diverse nature of romance readership might suggest. The readership's desire to discuss consent in romance novels and amplify its presence in the broader cultural conversation suggests an urgent and immediate need for thoughtful and immersive critical engagement in order to support rapidly changing cultural demands for comprehensive consent within literature and, more importantly, in the values of the society it reflects. (74)