One of my fellow writers pointed out to me this afternoon that I should include a content warning on my novel to indicate that there are sex scenes that are intended for people who are 18+. I thought this was an excellent idea, and assumed that other people must have been in the same situation, so I started searching the web for information on how other people note content warnings in their works.
Interestingly, what I found was a mix of often angry opinions. Many think that content and trigger warnings are either necessary or at least acceptable, and offered suggestions on things that they might warn for, and where they would put that information. A surprising number of people, though, seemed personally offended by the idea that they should offer warnings, for reasons ranging from the idea that it would spoil their content, to rants about ‘special snowflakes’ that I’m not interested in going into.
For myself right now, I’m not worried about spoiling people. Guess what? My non-sweet romance novel has sex scenes. If that offends you, I’m not sure how you navigate the treacherous waters of romance novels. So I will shout from the rooftops that there is sex in my book, and if you don’t want it or can’t legally read it, please don’t buy it when I release it.
I’ve got to say, though, that if I ever have triggering material in my books, I’d much rather warn for it than not. Being a PTSD sufferer myself, I’m all too aware of the need for trigger warnings. Some days I just can’t handle reading about certain topics. Other days I’ll read them and be fine. So someone warning me about their content gives me the choice of when to read their work and enjoy it most. It gives others a reason to avoid them altogether. Yes, avoid them, and that’s a good thing, because you don’t want your fiction to hurt people, and you don’t want them to leave a nasty review on your work because you couldn’t be bothered to say ‘warning: domestic abuse.’
I’m curious. If you disagree with content and trigger warnings, why do you think they’re a problem, and what do you say to people who want them?