Thursday, February 17, 2011

Condoms...or not?

A fellow writer and I had a short discussion yesterday about condom use in stories. She'd recently read a YA story that involved a young pregnant woman, the hero and an anal sex scene with no condom. When she reached that particular scene, the no condom issue pulled her right out of the story. I have to say, it would for me, too.

There is much discussion about the use of condoms in erotic romances. On one side are those readers/authors who believe it slows the story down. They staunchly fight for the right to have sex without one. On the other side are the readers/authors who find the lack of condom both unsexy and unsafe.

The bottom line? Unsafe sex is not sexy. And the risk of an unwanted pregnancy is really not sexy. I had four unplanned children and though I love them dearly, I must confess those pregnancies did absolutely nothing for my sex life.

Several fellow authors have complained about having to insert the condom in a sex scene. I submit there are myriad ways to do so that can add depth to the scene--another dimension than just wild monkey sex between the two characters. That extra two seconds (and really, how long can it take???) can be used to show caring, concern and maturity.

The truth? If I'm worrying about getting pregnant or contracting some life threatening disease, my mind is not on my partner or whatever else we're doing. And I'm pretty sure that's the entire point of the scene. Isn't it?

What do you think?

anny

Reminder: I'm over at Seven Sexy Scribes today discussing "trailer trash" in romance novels. Stop by HERE.

18 comments:

  1. If I read a novel and the issue of protection isn't addressed, I'm always waiting for the heroine to turn up pregnant. If I don't see it on the page, I assume it's not being used. Now in paranormal, there are sometimes alternatives--magic, high-tech implants, whatever, but I want it to be addressed.

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  2. It really doesn't take that long to add condom use. However, I can see skipping it if it's for effect or a reason, but in most scenes I think it would be a nice addition. Like you said, it shows that there are real feeling (or at least consideration) between the two.

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  3. Before I was married, condoms were always there, and we had fun with it. Now, I admit I thought we were done dealing with them, but writing erotic romances means I'm not. It means I must get creative - boohoo, not! That's my job, to write them into a scene so that the reader can focus on the lovers, not, as Cindy said above, wondering when the heroine will turn up preggers.

    Great discussion darlin' :-)

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  4. I believe write as your conscience dictates

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  5. I don't think I can recall ever seeing a condom introduced in the erotica I have read. Though if it is YA I would assume it would be better to add it in because of teens reading.

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  6. Thank you, ladies for your thoughts. I appreciate the happy additions you made to the post.

    As for my own practices...if it's a contemporary book, then I have condoms in my own erotic romances. And I usually have quite a bit of fun with them, too. :-)

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  7. Hello Crusader :)

    I have had this discussion with other writers too. I also write contemporary/realistic stuff. Sometimes I mention condoms and sometimes I don't -- it depends on the scene. I wrote a novel about a call girl, for example, and so logically, she'd be using them. But with more established, everyday couples...I didn't feel like they'd discuss their contraception with the reader. It bugs me in fantasy when everyone's shagging and nobody's getting pregnant or catching VD, though!

    (Also, with regards to my sociopath post -- it's healthier not to like them :P Say it with pride, lol. The popularity of such novels piddles all over feminism from a great height, but it's one of the reasons why I find it all so fascinating).

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  8. I think birth control and disease prevention MUST be addressed, and there are so many ways to add it creatively into a scene! Condoms can certainly be a part of the playtime, and what about adding drama if the h/h are ready to get busy and they have to hunt one up, or god forbid, run to the store?

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  9. Hey, LV! Thanks for stopping by. I agree with your psycho post. Women adore them. Just not for me. And I appreciate your thoughts on condoms.

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  10. Tessie, luv! Oh, yes. Linda Howard wrote the most wonderful, incredibly funny scene in one of her books. I'm pretty sure no one's topped it.

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  11. I'm stuck on the fact that a YA was that descriptive.

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  12. I have to admit I find that part disturbing. With a grandkid in that age group, I certainly wouldn't want her reading something like that.

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  13. I'm also more concerned about the explicit sex in YA. My granddaughter is almost 13 and loves vampire books. Her dad got her one for Christmas and it had to be taken away from her within just minutes of receipt because she was asking questions clearly not appropriate for a 12 yo. I'm talking "s**king c**k" and similar things she has no idea about and should not be exposed to in 7th grade. Rather than debate condom use (which is a no-brainer ... include it), why not talk a rating system for YA. Ages 12 through 18 span a massive developmental range. The other thing I don't get (and I don't write YA) is why writers feel they need to include graphic sexual information in books for young people. By the time my own girls were old enough to know about that stuff (say 16+) they were reading adult books anyway. Do 17 and 18 year olds really read YA? And, seriously, if a series like Harry Potter can be so popular without graphic sex, why do you feel the need to include it?

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  14. YA sex is a difficult topic. Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with sex in a book for "young adults" -- a lot of them are having it or thinking about having it (I used to foster a teenager; also used to teach in highschool) and why not offer them a positive or realistic portrayal? Better that than a stalker-esque romance, as a lot of them end up being. I don't think there's anything wrong with something particularly graphic either, so long as it is written well (I wouldn't be up for porn-esque stuff but then I find that bad taste, anyway). I think we get overly afraid of sex in books. Harry Potter might not have any sex but there's a heck of a lot of death, and which is more traumatising...?

    Not all books need sex scenes. I completely agree. I don't think that means we should never write about it, though. Sex is relevant to teens, and they want to know about it. Just because they know things doesn't mean they'll rush out and try them with just anybody; it'd be a heck of a lot easier for girls to enjoy sex and their bodies if we talk about it more, I think.

    As to who qualifies as a "young adult" -- while a parent can place their own definition on that, so can the teen in question. Everyone's situation is different and I'm not suggesting fellatio scenes in MG novels, for example.

    I can understand why you'd cringe hearing about a 13yr old talking about "sucking cock" -- I've been there (and worse). But despite the vulgar term...it's a blow job. And what's wrong with curiosity over that, really? It's a good time to say, "it's a special thing. Don't ever get pushed into it and he had better deserve it!"

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  15. Hello fellow crusader, well I'm a bit conservative in this--I'd like to see a mention of condom use. That way, if one partner has already contracted host of uncurable STDs, he or she is being responsible and not passing them on to his or her latest conquest. Teens don't realize how having a bunch of STDs can screw up their lives and make them totally unattractive in the marriage market, should they ever happen to want to settle down. At least, where I live, people with STDs are still considered a bit of a pariah, unfortunately for them.

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  16. nice post...i agree, unsafe sex, so unsexy...and it can be written in as to not disturb the flow of the scene...
    BTW, I'm a fellow crusader, dropping in and now following your blog :-)

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  17. Yep, when there's that detail there I would want to hear they've used a condom. And I agree that it can add something to the story rather than being an inconvenience.

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  18. @Susan--Thank you for stopping by. Yes, I suspect there should be a division or rating for YA books. Unfortunately though for many kids, the actual knowledge in even an erotic book is "old hat" to them by the time they're twelve. We're going to have to control far more than just the books they're reading...

    @Lucy...exactly. Most kids already know about stuff I'd never heard of until after I was married. Very sad because they lose their childhood early.

    @Catherine--STD's can totally mess up a young life. One of my family members is dealing with the possibility of cervical cancer because of an early STD. So yeah. I'm all for condoms!

    @Yves--Thank you for dropping by! Glad to see a male agree with the condom use!

    @Trisha--Hello! Yeah, I think it can add a lot of emotion to a scene if done properly! Thanks for stopping by!

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