A few months back someone emailed me a link to a blog post by a male about his dislike of the use of condoms in romance novels. He goes on to say that it kills “the mood” and it pulls him out of said sex scene. Also, apparently it’s an “industry standard” that one must wear a condom. Odd, no one I spoke with has heard of such standards.
Kills the mood? Really? I don’t even know what to say to that. Last time someone asked me about a condom, it sure as hell didn’t kill MY mood.
What bothers me most about that post is the “but its not real, its fantasy” line of bullshit. Sorry, big old disagree over here. My reality and my fantasies include condoms, not an STD or a pregnancy. I read books that have a bit of realism in them, especially the contemporary subgenre. It’s all good to not use a condom in a PNR or a UF, because there are usually reasons: vampires get no diseases, some weres can’t get humans pregnant, whatever the case may be, it’s usually explained. But the chick having a one night stand sans condom, is going to have a big issue if no one mentions birth control. If it isn’t from me, it’ll be from someone else.
An author told me that she was discouraged from using a condom in her novel on grounds that it wasn’t sexy or romantic enough. Then she was told she should write more birth control into her novels. Another says that some publishers would like to see more condom usage in their novels. So basically it varies. When I asked the question on Twitter, not a single person said that seeing a condom being used in a novel bothers them. Our very own blogger Seleste, got called out because one of her characters didn’t use a condom.
In my opinion, not mentioning birth control in any form in a romance novel isn’t cool. A lot of readers learn something from what they read, and I’d rather they learn safe sex then to trust the words “I’m clean”.
RWA has a great breakdown of romance statistics and gave me some great information for this post:
Women make up 91 percent of romance book buyers, and men make up 9 percent.
I wonder how many of the hardcore buyers have an issue with seeing the use of a condom appear in their sex scenes. My guess, hardly any. Also, take note that the highest selling subgenres happen to be contemporary and romantic suspense, both are based in reality with nary a vampire to be found. Thus, those worlds have STD’s, aids and pregnancy. I don’t think most of these heroines are going to trust the “But I’m clean” line, even if they have to take two sentences to put on a condom.
It’s also interesting to note, at many conventions author swag includes condoms.
I want to know, do you hate condom usage in your romance novels? Does it pull you out (HA) of a sex scene?