Top Ten Tuesday—Verboten Words/Topics

Warning to those under 18:  The last three items on this list refer to my literary turnoffs in erotic fiction.
Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature of The Broke and the Bookish. A full list of instructions and future themes can be found here. This week’s theme is Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make You NOT pick up a book.

1. Instalove! This trope needs to go far away. Even if the typical teen tends towards this type of thinking, it doesn’t make for a very compelling storyline. How boring would an adult romance novel be if the couple immediately fell in love and were inseparable? There’s no point to such a story.

2. Inappropriate, creepy age differences passed off as romantic or normal. I don’t think it’s a big deal at all if a couple is, say, 18 and 22, 40 and 50, 15 and 17, 30 and 35, or even 17 and 21. I’m talking about age differences that are illegal or would’ve been illegal only a short while ago, like a 15-year-old dating a 21-year-old or a 20-year-old with a 28-year-old. I would’ve been so skeeved-out if a guy more than a few years older had wanted to date me in my teens or early twenties!

3. The “rape as character development” trope. This is so vile, and made even viler by how it’s become almost cliché. Rape should never be a throwaway storyline or used just to give a female character a tragic backstory or reason she’s a really strong person.

4. Anti-adoption rhetoric or sentiment. I’ve prominently featured adoption in a number of my books. The person who raises a child is the parent, even if s/he isn’t the natural parent. Not all children are better-off with the biological family no matter what. Some birth parents really don’t want to raise a child. I’m stunned that there’s even an anti-adoption movement nowadays. Unless this book is set during the baby snatch era, I don’t want to read a story bashing adoption.

5. Predated naming trends. Seriously, this turns me off to a book even just from a synopsis. The minute I see a non-child character with a name like Caden, Braden, Madison, or Dakota, or a historical character with a name like Brittany, Kimberlin, Jace, or Ryder, I’m done.

6. Gossip Girl in period clothes. Just make your book a contemporary soap opera. Don’t dress it up in pretty dresses from the Gilded Age or 1920s and occasionally drop a few period details in. I don’t want to read about historical characters talking and acting like modern people.

7. Gratuitous violence and overly graphic language. I’m cool with a battle scene or a few well-chosen f words. I’m not cool with graphic descriptions of a maimed soldier or 20 f words every page.

The over-18 items on my list

8. Catheters. Totally not turned on when I’m reading what started off like a good erotic story and then there’s a catheter. As much as I love doctor-themed erotica, this makes me stop reading or skip over that scene so fast.

9. Excessive anal action. I’m cool with a little, but not an entire story or chapter themed around it. A little goes a long way when it comes to Greek love.

10. Enemas! This turns me off immediately and makes me stop reading or skip over that section. Enemas aren’t sexy at all. I hate reading a great doctor-themed erotic story and suddenly there’s a disgusting enema scene. Not only is that NOT realistic as to what goes on at a normal doctor visit, but it’s just gross to read. So vile and disgusting. Seriously, some of these doctor stories featuring enemas seem better-suited to some scat fetish story than normal, mainstream erotica!


13 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday—Verboten Words/Topics

  1. I clearly have not read much erotic fiction because I’ve never come across your turn-offs, and I have to say I’m glad I haven’t ;P Guess those are some things to avoid in future!

    I agree with your other dislikes as well. I had no idea there was anti-adoption stuff out there?? Or do you mean more anti the people who gave the baby up, even if it was best for said baby?


  2. Seriously? People put catheters and enemas in erotic books?! What in God’s name is sexy about either of those things? So weird – thank goodness I’ve never encountered them, and if I ever do, it’s going to be a DNF for me, hands down.

    Thanks for checking out my TTT!

    TTT @ Krista’s Dust Jacket


  3. Anti-adoption stories are horrible. I completely understand wanting to make a baby the traditional way. But adoption is fantastic for so many people. I’ve never read a book with anti-adoption sentiment but I can absolutely see why they don’t appeal.

    And I’ve never come across any catheters in erotic fiction… and I think that’s a good thing.
    Great list!


  4. The trendy names thing bugs me, too! There are so many romance novels with characters who are supposed to be in their 20s or 30s but have the names belonging to 3 year olds. It is so weird.


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