WLP Rants: Condoms in Romance

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.

No Wrap. No Cat.

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”.

He’s Happy.

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.

Hmm…

I want to know, do you hate condom usage in your romance novels? Does it pull you out (HA) of a sex scene?

Comments
  • Julie June 25, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I read the other post, and I’ll say it here too… Any guy who bitches that reading about characters putting on condoms “kills the mood” is just screaming that he’s one of those guys who likely tried to convince women he didn’t need to use one. (aka Creepy Guy)

    As for my thoughts on fiction… It rarely, if ever pulls me out of reading. Writing it in, however, is tricky. There’s always that balance of making it unobtrusive and still making it sexy. I never buy when authors try to make putting it on The Sexiest Thing Ever. No. Sorry, that kills my suspension of disbelief. However, playful, goofy, perfunctory, cute, many other options… I’m all good with the protection.

    However, I also mentally default to characters using protection unless it’s specified that they don’t. My brain just assumes (unless the characters are idiots, in which case I’ll be fighting the urge to throw the book against the wall anyway) the characters are smart enough, not under the influence of drugs/magic/whatever (that was the case in the one where my characters didn’t), etc to use protection.

    Why do I think that way? Mainly because of this…
    Heroes are heroic. Heroic men aren’t douchenozzles. Only douchenozzles try to get away with not using a condom outside of a committed relationship.

    (…or unless they are under a spell. Because that shit gets everyone a free pass :P)

    • Dakota Cassidy June 25, 2012 at 12:53 am

      Yes! What you said about douchenozzles :)

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 12:54 am

      Can you use douchenozzle in your next book?

      • Dakota Cassidy June 25, 2012 at 12:59 am

        Yes–I just wrote it down as a must use for Nina. That and my new fave, dickknuckle :)

        • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

          ROTFLMAO yay, I knew someone would use it!

        • Julie June 25, 2012 at 11:56 am

          Is it pathetic that I’m uber-geeked I gave you a word for one of your books? I feel all special and pretty now. <3

  • Donna June 25, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I heartily disagree that PNR/UF characters don’t need to consider this because “they don’t exist.” There can be worldbuilding reasons why condoms/birth control are not an issue, but the fact that they’re fictional cannot be one of them. The characters in a contemporary don’t exist, either!

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 12:55 am

      I agree, I didn’t flesh out that sentence properly. It’s fixed now to explain.

    • Dakota Cassidy June 25, 2012 at 1:01 am

      I agree with this, too, Donna! If your character doesn’t at least wonder about the consequences, for me anyway, it isn’t terribly realistic. And while more than likely some very unrealistic things are occurring in the book (turning into vampires et), that doesn’t mean your characters shouldn’t have some realistic thoughts.

  • Lulu Belle June 25, 2012 at 12:47 am

    I think sex with wild abandon and no condoms is very unsexy. If you want to pull me out of the “mood”, make me worry about a pregnancy or herpes.

    The easiest, most effective way I have seen authors handle the issue is to have one or the other character indicate intent and anticipation with a mention that they have condoms. The condoms do not need to take top billing, but a simple mention just takes that worry out of my head so I can go with the scene without thinking things like, “Where is she in her cycle? Is he clean? Is SHE clean?”

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 12:56 am

      Exactly, it’s simple enough to say he had a condom. I don’t need the details, all I need to know is he had it and he used it. The end.

      • Julie June 25, 2012 at 11:59 am

        See… I’ve heard people bitch that condom use is written in but condom disposal is never mentioned. I believe “What did he do? Throw it at the wall?” were part of that particular bitch-session. *gag*

  • Dakota Cassidy June 25, 2012 at 12:51 am

    My characters, in a contemp anyway, always use condoms–no matter what. Truthfully, it never occurred to me not to have them use such because most times, when I’m writing real emotions for said character, they’re reacting in very real ways to real situations. I wouldn’t have real world sex with a new or unfamiliar partner without a condom–so neither would my characters unless the story really warranted it.

    That said, I can remember a huge flame war in regard to condom useage. It was quite some time ago, and I can’t remember who the author was, but it stayed with me. It’s hard enough to please every reader, and going into writing an MS, you have to know, you WILL NOT please every reader. But at the very least I can include the stuff that will please everyone–and that’s safe sex. I can’t think of many who don’t support that.

    I try to slip it in (snort) with little ado about nothing, and so far, I’ve not had any complaints. There’s also the scorn that comes from the occasional disgruntled parent who says, “My kid read your book, why didn’t you use condoms in it?” To which we authors can always answer back, “Why is your underage kid reading my books?” For me personally, it just isn’t worth the argument. I don’t want to parent everyone’s kid, and I definitely don’t want to create a ruckus when a half sentence with my character wearing a condom can solve the problem entirely :)

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 12:58 am

      I honestly don’t remember a present day (written in the past 5 years) that didn’t mention a condom or birth control. Maybe I automatically think that they’re using one because it’s so common-place in my brain? Who knows, either way a nice little quicky (aahah) sentence about a condom, makes me feel at ease for the heroine.

  • Whitney K-E June 25, 2012 at 1:13 am

    I think it’s very important to include birth control in romances. So many people read them and you don’t want to be giving them this impression that it is ok. You don’t nesscarily have to have it in the sex scene in explicit detail, but I think its very important that it is.

  • Hillary June 25, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I think the only time I’ve noticed a condom in a contemporary romance was when one wasn’t used. Then I kind of gritted my teeth and frowned through the remainder of the scene because Holy Irresponsible, Batman!

    I am surprised by two things in that blog post (his, not yours). 1. That he’s earnestly pretending he’s the hero of the book he’s reading and that, 2. He’s so quickly and completely thrown out of this moderated fantasy by something as ordinary as a condom. What if the hero visits a town he doesn’t like? “This book was super sexy until the couple went to Pasadena. Since I hate Pasadena, I now can have no boner.”

  • glossaria June 25, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Sheesh, even the historicals I read usually have some sort of mention of safe sex, unless the heroine is trying to get pregnant (or is accidentally about to be, as a plot point). And I gave up on a contemp recently because they’d handled the subject so poorly (by general inattention to detail or poor copyediting, I don’t know)– guy has unprotected sex with girl, and then assures her for round two “don’t worry, we won’t have unprotected sex.” (Because, what, the first hit’s free, or something?) Sorry, that’s not heroic to me, that’s kind of slimy.

    If the mere suggestion of a condom kills that guy’s mood, GOOD. Maybe it’ll keep him from sticking his unprotected self anywhere it doesn’t belong.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

      I don’t read Historical but I am sure I read somewhere that condom usage within Historical’s was lacking?

      • Julie June 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm

        What little research I’ve done on the matter would have condom use as fairly rare historically. In addition until the early 1900s they were expensive. So it makes a degree of sense for it not to be included in historicals. Prior to said research, it would have completely pulled me out of a historical book if condoms were used because my brain would have automatically gone to “did they have condoms then? Did people regularly USE them?”

        • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

          See, that I totally understand. The time period kinda sorta excuses it, plus they didn’t have aids they had other issues like mortality rates and young death.

        • Jen June 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm

          Actually this is one thing that kind of puts me off many historicals. I keep looking at the heroine thinking “how can you be so irresponsible? don’t you know you could get pregnant and completely ruin your life?” It’s kind of hard for me to get past that sometimes!

          • Taryn Elliott October 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

            Especially when most of the uber-hot men in historicals are usually KNOWN rakes! As in man-whores. Hello?

  • Dhia June 25, 2012 at 1:56 am

    As a reader who heavily prefers PNR/UF it does throw me off a little when condoms are mentioned in a contemporary novel. But I can understand the necessity for it. Also I think age and marital status may come into play here. Condoms are very much in the forefront of the minds of young people especially those not in a long term relationship whereas with me being married for several years condoms are not something I think about or have to concern myself with. And yes I know that can open a whole different can of worms but I am going on the assumption that many married couples do not use condoms. On the other hand, it is really scary that anyone would be getting advice about safe sex from a romance novel. I have a daughter and it is my responsibility as a parent to educate her, not the author of a fictional book.

    • Dakota Cassidy June 25, 2012 at 2:40 am

      Yes, yes, yes! it isn’t up to us authors to preach the word, and it can become a bit daunting to be accused of giving someone’s underage child an idea that was intended strictly for readers 18 and over. I don’t understand how it would be my fault if an underage kid reads my book. I can’t be everywhere to be sure they don’t. But I put a condom in there anyway–cus the flack for not using one can be crazy.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

      I was born in 1980, so my life has always included the risk of aids or another funky STD.

      That said, not every married couple wants children or the woman can’t always take BC pills. I personally can’t take the pills because as a child I was hit by a car and had a blood clot, therefore my risk level is higher then the average person.

      There’s also women who smoke who can’t use BC (unless that’s changed in the past 10 years). There’s various reasons married couples still use condoms. So I can’t see it as an excuse.

  • Lynda the Guppy June 25, 2012 at 2:10 am

    In my head, everyone uses them, whether mentioned or not. What infuriates me is when they say they DON’T have them, so instead she gives him a bj and swallows…. I’ll take Morons Who Now Have Possible STDs for 200, Alex.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 9:48 am

      LMFAO!!

    • Julie June 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      See? That’s how I look at it too. One is used unless it’s specifically mentioned that it isn’t.

  • KT Grant June 25, 2012 at 7:17 am

    If the hero or heroine doesn’t use condoms in a contemporary romance, I get icked out. It’s a must in my book and doesn’t kill the mood. Not using a condom kills the mood for me.

  • Melanie June 25, 2012 at 7:26 am

    To be honest, it really does bother me either way. Using a condom doesn’t ruin the mood for me, but I don’t get upset if it is not mentioned.

  • Jill Sorenson June 25, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I’ve written scenes with and without condoms (mostly with) but I make it clear that the characters are being irresponsible if they don’t use one. It’s discussed and dealt with and acknowledged as a mistake. Authors used to get around this by having the heroine on birth control, but that always bothered me because of STDs. The time frame is short (a few days or weeks) in my books and the characters are often having sex with people they just met. So condom mention is a must even if pregnancy isn’t an issue.

    I understand why some readers prefer “bareback.” Sex feels better this way for a lot of people and everyone likes a different level of realism.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

      That I get too, but maybe in an erotica or a long established couple. A new couple doing that gives me the heebies

  • Ruth Thompson June 25, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Since I tend to read PNR/UF. I oh and ah…over condoms when they are used more especially if the heroine/hero is human because I was born in 1983 and STDs and Aids were apart of the world I grew up in. I also love Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander she handled condom/nocondom interestingly.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

      That might be it for me too, I’m a 1980 birth so aid’s has always been in my head

  • Marquetta June 25, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Condom use or some form of BC is a must for me. I get icked out when it’s not used or at least discussed afterwards. I am quick to notice in a sex scene that characters had unprotected sex and as I read through the sex scene, I’m thinking, “the author better deal with this or I’m not going to be happy.” If the author does have the characters discuss it, then I’m happy. I noticed in Nora Roberts’ Bridal Quartet series that there was no discussion or use of condoms or BC and it bothered me….a lot.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 9:54 am

      See that would irk me, just say he has a condom. No need for a big monologue!

    • Lynda the Guppy June 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      Nora Roberts has been asked about the lack of condom/bc in her scenes and she’s basically said her characters are responsible, but doesn’t believe it’s necessary to show everything. For example, she knows her characters go to the bathroom, too, but it’s not shown.

      • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm

        Hmm, responsible meaning what they use invisible condoms? LOL

  • CdnMrs June 25, 2012 at 9:16 am

    No glove (in your story) no love (from me).

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

      LMFAO I was going to mention that sentence in my post but giggled too much trying.

  • McKenna Lang June 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Some mention of birth control is a must. It doesn’t need to be a big thing, but it needs to be made clear that the hero and heroine are taking care of it. As a few others have mentioned, it’s not such a big deal in PNR, but otherwise, yeah, I like to see some mention of it.

  • Penelope June 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

    There’s a reason that I don’t read a lot of contemporary romance…it’s too real. I am not reading romance for another big dose of reality. I’m reading it for escape and entertainment. The reality of STDs and unwanted pregnancies is something we all deal with in our real lives—we have to make smart and responsible sexual decisions. Unlike most of the commenters here, I don’t want to hear about birth control or condoms in my romance/erotica, unless it’s in a very cursory way. It does break the mood for me when I’m reading. I don’t need or want that level of reality in my novels.

    I appear to be the dissenter in this thread. However, I don’t need to be reminded of the repercussions of unsafe sex while reading romance/erotica novels. I hear about it in the news, in the schools, in real life discussions. I’d rather keep it out of my entertainment.

    This is just my personal opinion, of course. I have no problem with others liking that level of reality in their fiction.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 10:10 am

      Thanks for having the nerve to dissent, it makes the discussion more real ;)

  • Emma Cunningham June 25, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I’m of two minds about this one. 1) Um, use a condom. Don’t be stupid (assuming it’s appropriate, ie not a historical). But 2) I don’t necessarily need to be told every last piece of business. Sometimes it’s enough to know that Character A used the washroom – and not what type of toilet paper they used or whether or not they washed their hands. Sometimes, it’s ok just to say that characters played it safe without going into detail about the sound of the foil wrapper opening, etc.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

      I’m with you, I don’t need details its enough to know he has one.

  • Spaz June 25, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Safe Sex HAS TO BE ADDRESSED for me. I myself have called out an author in a review before for not addressing it. I don’t care how, but address that shit!

  • Ferishia June 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I mainly read PNR for escape and I don’t expect to see it mentioned. However, sometimes in PNR it is mentioned, but with the disclaimer that the character cannot give/contract diseases. It doesn’t bother me if it is or isn’t mentioned in PNR.

    I also read a lot of contemporary m/m romances. I fully expect to see condoms mentioned (along w/lube) or that they have both been recently tested for STDs or it REALLY bothers me.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 12:09 pm

      I’ve been told erotica editors WANT condom use, so thats a good thing

      • Ferishia June 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm

        Contemp Erotica should have some type of mention even if it’s brief. I’ve read a few contemp eroticas where the characters use of a putting on a condom was part of the foreplay. I don’t see why author writing those wouldn’t want to include it as such.

  • Rebe June 25, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I want the characters to practice safe sex in contemporaries! Even some historicals mention it, and frankly an unwanted pregnancy (at the least) seems a legitimate concern for heroines in historicals. One of the funniest scenes with condoms that I ever read was in Karen Hawkins’s contemporary, Talk of the Town. The heroine tries to open the condom wrapper with her mouth and then starts choking on it. So funny…

  • Dhia June 25, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I completely agree with Penelope. I read for escapism. Have I been married 15+ years? Yes. Do I use condoms with my husband? No. Nearing the end of my child bearing years, do I still have to worry about birth control pills or IUDs or unwanted pregnancy? Yes. Do I take care of my health and get regular checkups and STD testing? Hell yes. I trust my husband but I also live in the real world where real diseases and unwanted pregnancies exist and have more repercussions than what’s on a printed page. I checked out the blog that is referenced in this discussion and the guy has been married for several years, already has kids, and is past “childbearing” age. He reads the books with his wife. I can understand his POV. He’s entitled to his as we are to our own. No one would debate that safe sex practices are a life or death necessity in real life. But we are talking about fictional characters that don’t actually exist.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Saying that ” the characters don’t exist so it’s okay” isn’t cool in my opinion.

      Most contemporary romances are based in realism, so because it’s just a book & they aren’t real it’s okay? Also, a lot of people relate to characters they read about and grow to love them.

      And yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and they don’t need to feel personally attacked like you’ve made ME feel for my opinion.

    • Julie June 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      I’ve been married for 15+ years too, and maybe if the characters in the book have been in that kind of long-term committed relationship, I’d be fine with no condoms. However, most romance novels don’t deal with people who have been each others’ one and only for over a decade. They’re about people *falling* in love and into bed. Not necessarily strangers, but not exactly dedicated life-partners either.

      If RM wants to read something without condom use in order to utilize it as foreplay (or fapping material), might I point him in the direction of literotica? Lots of options there, probably even an entire section devoted to barebacking.

      I don’t have a personal “must be mentioned” rule, but I understand that reasons why people want it there. I’m personally arachnophobic and detest spiders. Spider scene/mention in a book? I let my eyes skate right over that stuff. Pretty sure the same could be done with condoms. *shrug*

  • Donna @ Bites June 25, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I don’t read too much romance but when I do read some kind of sex scene my default setting is that a condom is being used whether it’s expressly mentioned or not. It’s kind of like pooping. I know characters (especially when they’re human) do it but I certainly don’t need to be told about it. I can assume. Is this naive of me? If it’s a promiscuous character in a reality-based world, a mention of a drawer of condoms or something would be fine. I wouldn’t need a reference for every sex scene. I’m not adverse to condoms in such scenes but I’m already assuming they’re being used. I mean how TSTL does an MC have to be to screw around and NOT use one?

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      Yeah, for some reason people are seeming to think I mean they must be mentioned with every act of intercourse, which I didn’t say at all. Once is enough, so we know they’re safe and not going to get pregnant, unless that is the desired plot.

  • Lauren June 25, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    What kills it for me is when there’s no mention of a condom. I find a man in a romance totally not hero material if he gives not even a thought to protecting the heroine. It doesn’t need to be a lecture on the page about safe sex, but like making sure she’s lubed up and ready for him, a mention, at least to establish condom use, of condoms is utterly necessary for me as a writer and a reader.

    I get the fantasy thing, but I view condoms like I’d view having the characters in my novels not drinking and driving. Again, not a big lecture, but just something they do.

    People like what they like and if they don’t like condoms in their stories that’s their preference. It’s just not mine.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Ditto me, I need condom usage because it’s engrained in me to use one.

  • Graylin Fox June 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Anyone else think the guy was just pissed because the condom part meant he had to stop fondling himself long enough to get past there and start up again?

    Graylin

  • Dhia June 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    It was not my intention to attack, provoke, or attempt to change anyone’s mind with my post. I felt I was presenting my opinion from a demographic that might or might not be present in the discussion but was somewhat similar to the original blogger. I apologize if my comments seemed otherwise. It is clear that most people agree the topic is important and a necessity. In the world we live in today that is not a bad thing. What is wonderful about fiction books in general is the wide variety. There is enough to keep everyone happy no matter their preference.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      I agree, there’s so many books out there that if one doesn’t make you happy just move on

  • Coleen B. June 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    I think it stands out more when condoms are not used. I think less of the characters when they have unsafe sex.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Same here, especially if it’s a first encounter between the two.

  • Victoria Dahl June 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I said this on Twitter, but I’ll say it here again. Yes, there is a fantasy element to romance novels. But it’s MY fantasy, and I’m the one who gets to write it. My fantasy is a big, sexy man who wouldn’t even think of waiting to be asked to use a condom. He’s a guy who cares about the heroine as a human being even if he barely knows her. He’s a man who’d never sleep with a woman who’d tell a virtual stranger that it was okay not to use a condom. And he’s definitely NOT a whiny little bitch who’d try to talk her into letting him bareback even if she didn’t want to. Man up, dude. You have no idea how gross it is to hear that. Or to quote one of my favorite female artists, PJ Harvey… “You leave me…DRY.”

    Which is not to say I believe condoms are the best feeling in the world. In case men don’t know, sex isn’t the same with them for (most) women either. But until the characters have committed to a long-term relationship, with appropriate safety precautions taken, I wouldn’t write it another way. (Unless, as Jill pointed out, it was a major screw up with discussion afterward.)

    I don’t feel I have a responsibility to teach about safe sex in my books, but I do feel…not a *responsibility*, but… Let’s say that I take JOY in portraying a sexy man as one who doesn’t take his responsibilities or his health lightly. And if I can help to convince even ONE girl that she shouldn’t put up with some dickhead trying to talk her into being unsafe, then I’ll die a happy girl.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      And I appreciate that as a reader more then you know!

    • Jen June 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      I love this! That’s exactly how I feel–if I read about a guy who doesn’t wear a condom or even a woman who doesn’t ask for one, the characters immediately lose some appeal for me. What kind of guy wouldn’t offer a condom to a woman he just met especially? Not a considerate, decent one, that’s for sure.

  • Samantha June 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    After biking my butt 545 miles across California…twice!…to help fight HIV/AIDS and seeing the effect it has on all walks of life, ages, demographic, sex, short term relationships, long term relationships(!), etc… responsible and protected sex depicted on the pages of a book is very important to me. And yes, many women cannot use BC. I have a friend where most forms of oral contraception or even the shots is extremely extremely dangerous for her take. Do I need to the nitty gritty details in sentences about the “unwrapping of the condom” the “application of the condom” when reading? No. But I like to know it is happening or at least established on scene for the first time the characters are together. After that I don’t need to “be told” every single time.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Amen! Once is enough and I really feel its warranted when its an I just met you situation, hell in most situations! And in case I didn’t say it YAY YOU for this years bike ride, you rock Samantha!

  • Mark Henry June 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    You know what “spoils the mood”? Surprise terlit baby. Condoms are way sexy in comparison!

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      100% agree! And you totally had to say terlit babies.

  • Irene Preston June 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    For the people talking about ‘fictional characters that don’t really exist’ – maybe you weren’t around a couple of decades ago when it became a Big Deal because there were no condoms in romance. HIV/AIDS was becoming an issue and the lack of condoms was seen as promoting un-safe sex. I’m not saying condoms must or must not be in every sex scene – but most writers can handle them with enough grace that it shouldn’t pull you out of the story. (Unless you are, yes, a douchnozzle).

    BTW: I have a book out now with no condoms – but my protags are married. In the one I’m writing, you can bet they will be there. If the gentleman argues against, I can only assume that he is ignorant and uncaring about his partner’s health as well as his own.

  • Evangeline Holland June 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    In the current whipping post within Romancelandia (*coughfiftyshadescough*), there is liberal condom use and constant discussion over safe sex. In fact, CG blows a gasket with A when she does not take care of her birth control. In fact, the hated book actually made the use of condoms quite sexy, since the need to stop and pull one intensified the sex scenes. *g*

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      I totally agree, I like that he was all on her about seeing the gyn.

  • SM Johnson June 25, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Two of my characters unexpectedly had sex and didn’t use a condom. It wasn’t conscious on my part, at all. And later, when she found out she was pregnant, I was just as surprised as everyone else. LMAO! Obviously the back corner of my brain was aware that a condom hadn’t been used.

  • SM Johnson June 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Oh, I have to add another thought – it kind of annoys me when the female character goes on for two pages about her method of birth control. It just seems cheesy to me. Like in 50 Shades of Grey when Ana talked about the whole exam and what kind of pill and practically what dosage, and how the female Dr. made a housecall for the exam – Aaaarrggghhh! Enough already. I mean, “I started on the pill” would have been PLENTY of info.

    Condoms – I assume they are there. A mention that she has a couple in her purse, or he pulls a foil packet out of his pocket and sets it on the night stand – that’s all I need.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      I liked that CG was on her about going to see the dr, yeah a little overboard but really I didn’t expect anything different from that novel.

  • Isabel V. June 26, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I actually think it’s kinda hot, especially if it’s the girl putting one on him..lol!! It’s ignorant to say that it’s a turn off. Yes books are a fantasy but in order for the fantasy to be as real as possible. It’s only natural that you would like to protect yourself.

  • synde June 26, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    really well thought out smart post… I 100% agree.. Kudo’s Nat! My boy V wears one, and I love the J.R added that detail… more writers should..
    I think Stace had Terrible using one too.

  • Vicki June 29, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I don’t understand how a condom could kill a mood. It’s a part of sex and I think it can be very sexy when I girl helps put it on or just skipping the forplay, slapping it on and just diving in. It takes a sentence if you really don’t want to write it in but safe sex is not some forbidden, boring fruit; books are reality.

  • Denise Z October 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    After all the years I have been reading romance, I still find new experiences in the fantasy. I do not think I am alone in this. I do not think the use of a condom kills the mood, but rather is responsible and mature decision making on the part of the characters. I do not think I have ever read one where there were giant letters screaming ok put condom on here LOL. If the writing is well done it gives us a treat of a read that also says its okay to have fun and be safe. Stepping down from my soapbox now ;)

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  • […] Wicked Lil Pixie rants about condoms in romance.  This is something that I always like to note in books.  Do they or don’t they?  Honestly, I think BC needs to be addressed in any book that involves sex. […]

     
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