Tuesday, June 7, 2011

About condoms...




Here's the thing, I hate having to write condoms into stories. There I said it. I'm not sure if it stems from a personal dislike of them, or if it's annoyance at needing to write them seamlessly into a book. Now before you jump down my throat, I'm all for safe sex. I think it's crucial in this day and age especially if you're not in a committed relationship complete with blood tests and other forms of birth control. Even being the pro-safety gal I am, I have to admit that I can't stand rubbers. There is nothing sexy about the smell or taste of latex. Just no.

If you write paranormal or fantasy, you can get away with all sorts of things, like lack of condoms, no STD tests, etc. It's an easy fix when you have a supernatural species immune to disease. With contemporary? yeah, you can't get away with that, add kink to the equation and just try to write a story with no mention of condoms, birth control or blood tests. Some readers will not only notice, but they may even email you about it. Yes, I have author friends who have received such emails.

One of our very own authors could teach lessons on how to include condoms in your story without taking the reader out of the scene. You know who you are *cough* Annabel *cough*. I seem to have a harder time with it. I think the problem is that I never remember to include them when I'm writing. 99.99999% of the time I have to go back and add it in. And that just makes me more annoyed.

If you're a reader, are condoms necessary for you to enjoy contemporary erotica? Would it bother you to read a book without mention of a single Trojan?

If you're an author, how far do you go? Do you include condoms for intercourse as well as oral? And if you do include them for oral, are we talking dental dams too? The thought of having to write that and make it sound sexy gives me hives.

9 comments:

  1. IMO, condoms are not necessary for me to enjoy contemporary erotica, though I guess I would notice if nothing is mentioned about safety. A quick "I've been tested" and "I'm on the pill" is good enough for me. In fiction I'd believe them. Reality is a different story.

    ~ Diana

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  2. Good to see you guys back!
    I don't include condoms in my stories because I simply don't trust condoms (hello, my lovely child number #3!). In my stories though, I write under the premise that all the people have gone through blood tests and STD panels--although I'm planning on doing a better job of making that clear with the next series of stories (yeah, I got an email, too).

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  3. Like you, Fallon, I got away without them in my science fiction novel, and then had to deal with them in the contemporary one. I think I managed to integrate them without much of a hiccup, but sexy? Not really. But there was no way I could leave them out -- oral and dental dams too. I was way too far from SSC already; skipping that stuff would have had readers after me with a pitchfork!

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  4. In my mind, having unprotected sex with someone a character knows is not a virgin makes the character reckless and defines them as someone who does not value their own personal worth. Yes, there can be skillfully created exceptions to that, but in general, I can't respect someone who doesn't respect themselves enough to be safe.

    I don't want too much time spent on condoms, this is fantasy so it should be easy to write one quickly available and skillfully put on... but I do need for there to either be condoms used or for there to be some sort of conversation that explains why they aren't necessary.

    I've written couples who used them for oral sex and couples who did not. My mind isn't as set one way or the other when it comes to fantasy for oral sex safety.

    I never claimed to be entirely logical.

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  5. Heh, thanks for the mention, Fallon. :-)

    I think the reason they're so easy for me to write into my stories is because I've been such a safe sex advocate since my early 20's--yeah, since the day Magic Johnson announced he had HIV. I personally get squicked when contemporaries don't mention some kind of self protective measures, at least until they're bonded.

    But yeah, the art of it is including safe sex measures while not clubbing the reader over the head with some dry sex ed lecture. It is definitely a tight rope that contemporary authors have to walk.

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  6. Condoms are not a deal breaker for me. I've seen it done well and I've seen it done very poorly. I'm an adult and I read books to escape not to get safe sex lessons. :)

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  7. Condoms aren't a deal breaker for me either. People who feel the need to send a comment to the author about condoms kind of makes me giggle. I have recently read a few more stories where condoms were written in the scene. It kind of kills the mood for me. I guess for me, I understand this is a fantasy, even if it is contemporary slice of life.

    Personally, I'm not fond of condoms either, but I also happen to be monogamous so it doesn't even cross my mind. Having to add in the whole "being sexually responsible" is needed since I guess some people may point to a book and go, "look, they didn't do it! I didn't know I had to be safe." That goes into a whole other discussion probably best not held here.

    I do notice many of the books I read from male authors who are writing slice of life, they don't have condoms in their stories. Of course, these books aren't exactly erotic books, maybe more porn books. I wonder if these guys receive emails saying they need to add condoms. I guess I could send them questions to see if they get emails about condom usage.

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