About a year or more ago, I wrote about the use of protection in romance…you know condoms, birth control, withdrawal, etc. At the time I was reading a story about twin brothers and a girl they picked up at a bar. The girl was a virgin getting it on with twins, all in college. Silly, but what bothered me the most about the story was the lack of protection and not a word said about it at all. The brothers were too worried that they each wanted the girl and who would get her. On top of it the girl was a virgin, so was she on birth control? Seriously I don’t know and as many times as they had sex, she could be knocked up and have an STD.
So I posed the question is protection in romance sexy or blah? Do we expect authors to live up to the times and put some reference to each party protecting themselves? It drew a lot of discussion and some good points. Now that some time has passed, I was thinking of it again and wanted to re-discuss if those opinions are still around.
So my opinion….I want discussion or a show of protection, especially in my contemporary romances. We live in a scary age where STDs are very common, pregnancy can happen with only one sexual encounter, and not everyone tells the truth. We go to romance to escape this reality, or at least I do. It can be as sexy as watching the man slip a condom on his cock to as quick as a reference of the condom was in place. Or a big discussion between the parties on their past, medical exams, and birth control. I can take it pretty much any way as long as it is taken care of. Would this put out some of those accidental pregnancy books? Yep, but even with that, the next day there is some questions.
So when I am reading a paranormal book, I want all those kinds of things explained. This demon has a seal that can’t be broken until he meets the one woman who completes him. He can’t carry diseases because he is immortal. Etcetera etcetera. This takes care of it for me.
And while you still could get pregnant and STDs in historical romances, we tend to forgive them more. Safe sex wasn’t talked about a lot then. Nor was the woman who is a virgin, sleeping with everyone under the sun, but I do tend to wonder why there aren’t more pregnancies in historical romances.
Quote from my previous article:
When I started reading romance novels back *coughs* in the 80s, I mostly read historical romances. I don’t even think paranormal was a round, a few sci-fi and contemporary. But I dumped most genres just for historical romances. Using any type of protection was pretty much never mentioned. Yes, some forms of condoms existed but as a rule they weren’t widely available and you just didn’t mention it in the story. That is where a lot of the excitement came in historical romances. Was the dashing rake going to impregnate the damsel in distress with his gigantic cock and extremely strong swimmers? Ok, tongue in cheek, I got a little carried away there, but you get my point. It just wasn’t mentioned except for the “he pulled out and spilled all over her belly.” The 80s were rampant with sexuality and the ever-growing epidemic of AIDS. So getting lost in a historical romance where this wasn’t a big deal had lots of appeal.
So is practicing safe sex and having that protection talk sexy or do you want it all gone? What makes it sexy? What makes it blah? I am firmly in the camp of it needs to be in my contemporary books and might as well be talked about in other genres as well. I think it can as sexy as all get out, but it can also be as blah as reading about toast toasting. It is all about how the author wants to spin it.
No putting on condoms isn’t easy…or at least my experiences with them have never been easy or sexy. But heck, this is a book so I can totally believe it is easy and sexy with the right authors. I can’t climb a mountain, but some authors have made it sound exciting and fun. So why not putting on a condom?
Reading is my escape from the world and getting to enjoy some character’s life for a while. Sometimes I like to read about couples dealing with the exact same thing I am and sometimes I just want to escape that reality. But with that escape comes a responsibility to keep even our fictional characters safe. Raising children and finally getting to the age where I have to explain this to them, has made me even more aware of what we need to talk about and impart with anyone we can with our writing. I find it totally caring and loving that a hero feels enough to care about protecting the person he is with and vice versa. It shows a line of responsibility and maturity to their actions.
So what are your thoughts on this? Do you want to read that your h/h is being responsible or do you want that swept under the rug?
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