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So, I was reading this romance story, and I’d got to the obligatory first sex scene.

The hero and heroine were getting all hot and heavy, sweating like nuns in a whorehouse and all, and you knew that the guy was about to do a Vesuvius any second now, and then lo and behold, he reaches into the pockets of his discarded jeans and grabs some prophylactics.

There was a some crinkling as he ripped the condom wrapper open, and then he very nimbly slid the rubber onto his penis.

This ‘always-use-condoms’ reminder only lasted about two lines, but I gotta say, it took me out of the story at that point, and I ended up skipping the whole sex scene all together. (I know, I know)

This was a completely sub-conscious act on my part and I hadn’t realised I’d done it, until much later on in the book.

I couldn’t figure out if I’d skipped the sex because of the condom adorning, or if the sex scene just muchos sucked. I’d like to think that I’d done it just because the sex scene sucked, after all, I am a woman of the noughties, thus a staunch advocate of safe sex, right?

But here’s the thing, there were other sex scenes in the book that didn’t mention the use of a rubber, and I read them ok. Sigh.

So this got me thinking, do we as readers prefer that our romance characters practice safe sex (for those of you who like secret baby plot devices, you probably don’t need to answer) or is this a little too much of the ‘real’ world being insinuated into what is, for all intents and purposes, a fantasy?

17 Comments »


  • Scott
    June 15
    10:33 am

    It is not like I read a lot of sex scenes, but the whole condom thing don’t matter to me. In some ways it does make it more “real”, especially if the guy has misplaced it. ; )

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  • Sarah McCarty
    June 15
    10:53 am

    If it’s a contemporay, it had better be there in some brief mention, otherwise it will go to characterization for me. IOW, hero and heroine will becme too stupid to live. Intelligence and common sense just have to extend throughout all areas of the book for me or I’m out of there. Having 30 somethings think, “It won’t happen to me.” just ruins the characterization

    I am wondering, however, if the placement of the condom intruduction is what took you out.(rather than the condom itself) Unless there’s a point to make, an author usually does not interrupt the high tension moments with pratctical matters.

    Sarah

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  • Jill Monroe
    June 15
    12:17 pm

    Very Interesting. In my book that came out in December, my editor mentioned my lack of condom scene in my revision letter, so I added one. The fun part was trying to come up with some new and unique way of adding it in : ) I hope I suceeded.

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  • Mel
    June 15
    3:02 pm

    I’ve never really given it any thought, it probably depends on how well the author has been able to include it in the love scene, without turning it into a big deal.

    It also depends on what genre you’re reading I guess, I agree with Sarah, it should be in contemps, however, I think the author has more of a license if it’s a historical.

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  • Anne
    June 15
    4:26 pm

    If it’s written in correctly, which I’ve seen done, it’s just the hero’s common sense and decency showing and I applaud him for it… Maybe while in the midst of foreplay she could put it on for him or something. I don’t think waiting until he’s about to erupt would be a good time to don a condom. Seriously, what guy thinks about condoms at that point? Not many. At that point all his blood has rushed out of his head and into his nether regions! LOL

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  • Eve Vaughn
    June 15
    5:52 pm

    I really think it depends on the writer. Sometimes I mention them, sometimes I don’t. Generally, I mention them in my contempories, but some authors don’t. Do I think it takes away from the story either way? Not really. They’re works of fiction. I think if the story is good, most people don’t give it a thought. I know I don’t when I’m reading for pleasure.

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  • Maven
    June 15
    7:12 pm

    If it’s a contemp, and there isn’t some mention of safer sex, it jumps out at me.

    I’ve always thought lack of a condom was a great plot device for an interrupt scene anyway…the begging, the promising to pull out, the cursing, etc…LOL!

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  • Sarah McCarty
    June 15
    9:11 pm

    I guess I look at safe sex in a contemporary the same way I look at keeping the norms for the time period in an historical. To keep the story true to the time, it needs to be there.

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  • Jill
    June 16
    12:52 am

    As a reader, I like knowing the characters thought of their safety. As a writer, it’s hard to work the whole condom-into-the-scene thing but I always try.

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  • Jaynie R
    June 16
    10:16 am

    I agree with the above – if it’s a contemporary I expect it, and if the writer is good enough – it will fit in.

    However, if it’s historical, paranormal, futuristic, fantasy or anything that isn’t a contemporary then I’m not interested in condoms.

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  • Suzanne
    June 16
    11:33 pm

    I think a mention should be made, but it should be discreet, not pulling the reader out of the scene.

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  • Angela James
    June 17
    2:40 pm

    I had a really long reply about this subject because I have rather strong feelings on it, but I realized it was so long I needed to move it to my own blog. So I did :)

    http://briannasmommy.blogspot.com

    And why don’t you have your blog set up so I can direct people to the post link rather than your whole blog, darn it?

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  • Karen Scott
    June 17
    2:47 pm

    Scott, are you telling me that you misplace your condom a lot? (g)

    Actually Sarah, I think I agree with you, in contemps, it should be there, in historicals, it generally never is, and I don’t think I have a problem with that.
    The same applies to Para’s.

    Jill M, which book?

    Mel, I think I agree damn it! (g)

    Anne, I wonder if that was why I had sucha problem with it, I might have not noticed if the author had mentioned it, before the sex scene got heavy. And you’re right, there aren’t that many men who’d be thinking about protection at the point of spillage, lol

    Eve, you’re probably right, I’m still not too sure what I thought about the book overall, so that may tell it’s own story..

    Maven, you’re a sadist (g)

    Sarah, very true.

    Jill S, I can imagine it’s quite difficult to do, without taking the reader out of the story. I believe you handled it quite well with ‘Tangling with Ty’, and ‘Bared’. (g)

    Jaynie, it seems that most people feel the same, including me probably

    Suzanne, it might have been that I wasn’t that into the book anyway (g)

    Angie, if you click on ‘previous’ posts, I believe it gives you the url for the actual blog entry (g)

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  • Monica
    June 20
    7:41 pm

    Hmmmm. With AIDS being the numero uno cause of death in black women ages 18-44, portraying getting busy sans condom is stupid. But I guess after awhile you don’t need to spell it out, but can have the application assumed and off-the-page.

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  • Karen Scott
    June 21
    2:36 pm

    Wow, this topic sure made it’s way through blogland without me even noticing, lol

    Oh well I guess I know how the majority of people feel now!!

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  • owen
    January 2
    7:48 pm

    Condoms will never achieve what is expected of them until they become an interregnal part of foreplay, and that won’t be, until they become an accepted item in daily life.
    I would suggest that they be packaged as balloons and given to children who in play will grow to accept them as natural adornment, and as a bonus, uptight adults will be acclimatized and as an added plus, when needed there will always be a condom around.

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  • Karen Scott
    April 23
    6:21 pm

    Wanker spammers!

    ReplyReply

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