My Sexual Fantasies Don’t Include Condoms: Prophylactics in Romantic Fiction by AJ Llewellyn, DJ Manly and Ryan Field

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A.J. Llewellyn approached me about a month ago and asked whether he and two other male authors could write a piece for this site on condoms in M/M romances. As you know, I believe that authors and readers should be able discuss topics that are important to them in a non-confrontational environment, so I indicated that I would be happy to post whatever they wrote. Whether or not you agree with their point of view AJ, DJ Manly and Ryan Field have a right to express their opinions on this hotly debated topic. I know how controversial is the issue of condoms in M/M romance, having experienced some backlash from my own post on this topic. Here’s AJ’s, DJ’s and Ryan’s post:

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AJ Llewellyn:

The issue of condoms seems to have sprung up out of nowhere in recent months. We asked Jessewave if we could, as male authors of M/M novels address the ‘controversy’ on this site and got the go-ahead.

Wave warned we would probably not get a warm reception and sent me a post she’d written several months ago which is linked here. I still think this issue needs to be discussed. Whilst I vigorously promote the use of condoms and other safe measures in the real world, I personally don’t think it’s always necessary in romantic fiction…or even plausible.

And where do we draw the line?

Will readers demand that weres and vampires or shape shifters glove-up?

Three and a half years ago, when I started writing gay erotic romance novels, I followed my publisher’s website guidelines to the letter. No golden showers, no bestiality, defecation, no rape as titillation, no incest, no sex involving minors and, an interesting point, no explicit details of a male penis.

Nothing about the mandatory use of condoms.

You won’t find that in many publishers’ guidelines…I fact I have yet to see this listed as even a suggestion for writers of romantic fiction, gay or straight.

I called my Uncle George, a pioneer of straight romantic fiction – the man churned out five hundred books under a variety of intriguing-sounding women’s names for fifteen years—for Mills and Boon (the UK equivalent of Harlequin).

“Do I need to address the issue of condoms?” I asked him.

“Darling,” he drawled from across the pond. “You’re writing fiction, romantic fiction. Nobody wants to know about that stuff.”

And they didn’t.

Until January last year, when my first Mingo McCloud book came out, I’d never had anyone say a word about my characters not using condoms, when a female reviewer chastised me for it and even sent me a link for Mingo to get free AIDS testing.

He is a fictional character!

A reviewer then chastised my high-class call boy Mio for not using rubbers in The Book and the Rose for a client who paid for it. I was floored. Evidently the reviewer is unaware that gay male prostitutes – and straight ones for that matter — are paid very well for “no glove love”.  In fact I stole this particular idea straight from the headlines of New York governor Elliot Spitzer’s spectacular downfall when it emerged that he’d been frequenting a call girl. Ashley Duprey revealed he paid extra for condomless sex.

As an author, it’s my job to get facts straight and as I have written more and more books, my stories have become more complex. I’ve had fun pushing the bar a little, such as the high-class call boy who of course finds true love and gives it all up. I’m still stunned by the critique since what I wrote is a slice of life. And that’s my point.

Rick R. Reed addresses the issue of gay men not using condoms in real life in his marvelous book, Tricks.

Gay men are aware of the necessity for safe sex. Most do, some don’t. It’s a fact of life. HIV and AIDS continue to invade the gay community. This is not the place to discuss why some men have slipped up on er…slipping on a rubber, but it’s a fantasy of many men to be able to have bareback sex.  When I think back to the countless romance novels my uncle wrote and I read out of sheer fascination, there was never a mention of the pill, menstruation, vaginal infections, or any type of STD.

As authors, we need to be mindful of trending topics, but I find it interesting that gay men don’t want to read about safe sex.

DJ Manly received an email from a male reader chastising him for mentioning condoms in his story.

“Why do you need to beat me over the head with it?” he asked DJ.

DJ was stunned. As a matter of fact, this may end up being a controversial point but I have only ever had female readers/reviewers comment on the lack of condoms in a story. 

My Uncle George says it’s because male readers know the stories are fantasy.

How many times have you been to the movies and the characters stop to glove and lube up? Not many.

I’ve read books where the presence of rubbers was simply ludicrous. In one highly-regarded crime novel, the protagonist is on the run hiding out in sleazy motel rooms being moved around by the US Marshals until he can give testimony in a trial.

His lover manages to find him and breaks into the room. They fall on the bed and begin making love…the protagonist just happens to have rubbers and lube in his nightstand.

How convenient! How utterly…stupid!

Ryan Field:

I never lie about the fact that most of my sex scenes are taken from personal experiences. So I’d like to begin with a personal story that happened to me about twelve years ago. I’d gone out to a bar with friends and met an adorable, athletic, guy, with short blond hair and huge biceps. I’d been to this particular bar in the past, and this type of guy was not their normal client. He told me he was just passing through town, on his way home from college, and decided to stop in for a drink.

Then one thing led to another, and before we knew it we were in the back seat of his car making out. He was very aggressive, and I didn’t mind in the least. Though I knew this guy wasn’t going to be the love of my life, there was a strong sexual energy between us. By the time we were both undressed, he asked me if we could do something very specific. And I asked him if he had a condom. I didn’t want to ask, I didn’t want to even bring the subject up. But I knew I had to do it. I normally have condoms in my car at all times. But I was with friends that night and didn’t even have my car. Unfortunately, this gorgeous guy didn’t have any condoms either and my heart sank.

He continued to persuade me, without being shy about it. He even said, “I’ll just pull out fast toward the end. I swear I will. I know what I’m doing.” And for a moment, I even contemplated letting him do this. I was almost ready to submit completely. It was one of those moments where you either move forward, or everything comes crashing down. He tried to coax me for another twenty minutes, and I kept refusing. I felt like the prom date that wouldn’t put out, and I didn’t want him to think I was teasing him. But it all came crashing down anyway. I even picked up a hint of annoyance in his tone when I started getting dressed. All the chemistry between us disappeared just as fast as it had appeared. He didn’t even open the door for me when it was time to get out. But I had no regrets. For me, growing up in the New York area and watching people die with HIV/AIDS, left a strong impression. And I didn’t care whether his feelings were hurt or not. I wasn’t going to have unprotected sex with anyone, and to this day, I still haven’t.

But when I started writing gay erotica and gay romance almost twenty years ago for publishers like Alyson Books and Cleis Press, I wasn’t this strict with my characters. I felt that my readers were tired of safe sex and frustrated about all the things they couldn’t do themselves. They were reading these books to escape from the real world, not be reminded of it. I didn’t think they wanted the characters to use condoms. This was fantasy, not reality. I was making it all up as I went along, thinking “what if” all the time. If there is such a thing as poetic license, I believed what I was doing benefited the reader, not the socially conscious. And, to be honest, I was enjoying what I was writing just as much. Though I’ve always used condoms, I can’t admit I’m a huge fan of them.

But I do think the world has changed in the past twenty years, with regard to being both politically correct and socially correct. Most readers nowadays don’t even know Times Square was a huge sex attraction. They have no idea what went on down at the docks in the West Village. When I go back today and read some of the things I had published almost two decades ago, I’m shocked at myself sometimes. Did I actually do that? And we were in the height of the AIDS epidemic then? In the past five years or so, I have rarely written a sex scene without condoms. I try to make it fast and get the condoms out of the way, but they are almost always there. Sometimes I try to make the condom scene sexy, but that’s often hard to do. And I’ll be honest about this; I’m always worried (concerned) that someone might get the wrong impression. I’m not as concerned about professional reviews as I am readers. I receive a lot of e-mail from young men all over the world who are just starting out and I feel a responsibility to educate them. I know we’re taught about the importance of condoms here in the US, but I’m not sure about other parts of the world. And I don’t want to assume anything.

But I don’t always write about characters who use condoms, and I still seem to get heat for this. I think I have valid reasons, but not everyone agrees. For example, I’m finishing up the third in a series of three books right now. Both main characters are in love, monogamous, and living happily as any other married straight couple. They’ve both been tested for HIV and both were negative. So it would be pointless for them to continue using condoms as a couple. I don’t know any straight married couples who use condoms, so why should gay couples be any different? And I still receive complaints about this. I’m not sure what to think. Is it so strange to think of two gay men sharing their lives the same way straight men and women share their lives? Millions of gay men all over the globe are in relationships and they are monogamous. And to suggest they need condoms is to suggest there is something flawed about their relationships, which I won’t do. 

Then I wrote about a young gay couple who were not monogamous. They were in love and they were a couple. But they had an open relationship with one important rule: whenever they fooled around with someone else they had to use condoms. These characters respected each other and trusted each other, as people in love tend to do. And they set this rule up early in their relationship so they wouldn’t have to use condoms when they were together. In other words, if they were both using condoms if and when they were with other people, they were practicing safe sex all the time. This meant they would remain HIV negative and there would be no need for condoms when they were with each other. But some readers either didn’t get this or took offense to the entire concept, and they all let me know about it without being shy. And there’s really no way to defend something like this. It is what it is. And, for the record, I know several gay couples in real life who have open relationships like this.

After that experience, I decided that if my characters weren’t going to use condoms, I’d explain why in more detail. Maybe I didn’t explain it well enough in the past? And most of my characters, in fact, do use condoms these days. But I’m not advocating this for all authors as a set rule. I do agree with those who believe many readers are reading these stories and books to escape. They want the fantasy; they want it, so to speak, raw. As a gay man, I can understand this need to escape. I still look back on the incident with that gorgeous blond guy and still kick myself for not having a condom with me. And whenever I read an erotic romance where the characters are not using condoms, I don’t take offense and I understand that this is fantasy, not reality.

D.J. Manly:

 What to do, what to do about a rubber? Um. Well I try to be politically correct but damn, I sometimes don’t work the rubber into a scene. What’s a poor author to do…my male readers don’t want it, and my female readers demand it! In reality, when I was a single guy, I used them religiously, but when I did, I remember not liking them much, but I got used to them…and I do go on about realism in books so….. I guess…hey, listen, I don’t write fluffy love stories…don’t want to…no matter how much they appeal to the masses… (with a few exceptions like sweet Christmas stories.) Given what I write, my readership is pretty sophisticated. I have lawyers, and doctors, and accountants that read me and write just to discuss my characters. Therefore, I guess, I need to fit the condom into the reality of the story…don’t I? But like many gay men on the prowl, doing away with the need for condom use completely  is about a dream…’sigh’…even when we’re a one man kind of guy…as promiscuous as us guys can be… (ducks) we sometimes aren’t one hundred percent sure that ‘Charlie’ was sleeping alone when we were out of town. Do we take the risk, or do we go the secure route? If we’re intelligent, we roll on the rubber when we’ve only been with the guy a week or more. You got to be pretty sure to go bareback honey.

My new policy is to put a disclaimer at the beginning of my books…if any author wants to steal this idea, feel free…just three easy payments of $29.95…kidding… I think a disclaimer which tells readers that I am a big proponent of condom use, and if you’d like to stay healthy, USE ONE… maybe….just maybe if my characters sometimes don’t use one, it doesn’t mean I’m recommending they should do that. A disclaimer might just solve the problem. Sincerely, I doubt some young virgin guy is going to read one of my books and run out and have unsafe sex…but you never know….so I will cover my butt and put a disclaimer. “Don’t try this at home, guy….even if my book made you want to go out and try these things immediately…please, use a net.”

That’s really all I can say about this topic. I don’t write commercials for rubbers, I write fiction….but I do have a social responsibility as an author to give the right messages to my readers. I love my readers. I want them to be safe and happy. So love one another, but please, cover it in rubber and do it carefully…. :)

Contact Information for AJ, DJ and Ryan

email: ajllwllyn@aol.com
website: http://www.ajllewellyn.com/site/

email: rfieldj@aol.com
website: http://ryan-field.blogspot.com/

email: dj@djmanlyfiction.com
website: http://www.djmanlyfiction.com/

118 thoughts on “My Sexual Fantasies Don’t Include Condoms: Prophylactics in Romantic Fiction by AJ Llewellyn, DJ Manly and Ryan Field

  1. Cole

    Hmm…

    You’ve all three made good points. Personally, as a male reader, I don’t mind in the least the absence of condoms — that is, unless it has any relevancy to the narrative. Not only does it depend on the type of story I’m reading, but if two characters that seem like they would really be using condoms aren’t — well, I wonder why they aren’t. Conversely, I absolutely hate when an author sticks in a mention of a condom where it has no place or relevance to the dialogue just to cover their asses (although I understand why they feel the need to do so).

    So really, it doesn’t bother me too much at all, as long as whatever does or does not happen tells me something about the characters or the story.

    BTW, Ryan mentioned the education of condom use in the US. I lived in NYC for a long time and (I believe thats where you’re from?) understand where you’re coming from. However, I’m from Oklahoma, and let me tell you, I never knew, nor do I know of any now, of people being educated in condom use for gay guys. Its a shame, but thats the problem… Its still shameful to a lot of people.

    Thanks guys, very informative!

  2. Tam

    I always say it’s a matter of realism for me. If as an author you expect me to believe these are real people with real jobs and real personalities and real friends with real problems that I would find in the world around me, then I want to read about them having real sex, which I would hope for most sexually responsible adults (of all sexual persuasions) includes a condom with someone whose sexual history you don’t know.

    If it’s fantasy, if it’s a werewolf or vampire or takes place in ancient Egypt or on another planet then bend the rules of real life all you want. I’ve already bought into the fact that this is pure fantasy so I’m not going to expect the same level of realism as a straight contemporary.

    Don’t expect me to care about “real” characters who only act like “real” people when it’s convenient and I have to ignore everything else. If I’m sitting there thinking “what kind of idiot has bareback alley sex with a stranger” I’m not thinking “that was really well written and wow, that was a funny line and I loved the description of the garbage bin.” That’s how it works for me and for every reader like me who wants to see condoms where appropriate, there is one who doesn’t give a damn or really hates to see them.

    Lucky you authors. You get to try and please us all. :-) Fun stuff.

    1. RachelT

      I didn’t know you use condoms to cover asses!

      As a female reader, I think this issue gets in the way in many books – I can see there are situations where a discussion of their use is realistic, and probably would take place in real life. But all to often it seems ponderous and even out of place – I read one book with a couple who had been together five years and had married, but still used condoms. That just pulled me out of the story.

      If the socially correct approach is to edcuate readers, what happens if they read a historical or paranormal romance?

      I think DJ’s suggestion of a disclaimer along the line of ‘Don’t try this at home’ is a good one.

  3. S.

    @Tam

    I was about to make a comment about realism, but then I saw your comment.

    Don’t expect me to care about “real” characters who only act like “real” people when it’s convenient and I have to ignore everything else. If I’m sitting there thinking “what kind of idiot has bareback alley sex with a stranger” I’m not thinking “that was really well written and wow, that was a funny line and I loved the description of the garbage bin.” That’s how it works for me and for every reader like me who wants to see condoms where appropriate, there is one who doesn’t give a damn or really hates to see them.

    That’s my thoughts exactly! If it’s a modern story, I come to expect to see safe sex – there’s just nothing sexy about unprotected sex if it’s set in modern times with two characters struggling about their sexuality or whatever they’re going through. Honestly, that condom is not going to put me off the book.

    On the other hand, if I see a character who sleeps around like a fiend ask to bareback with his bf or partner, I’m going to wonder what on earth is that person thinking. It is fiction, but fictional realism is important to me as a reader.

  4. Alex Beecroft

    I don’t really care one way or another about the presence of condoms in fiction. It’s fiction, no one’s going to catch anything unless the author wants them to, and readers aren’t so thick that they’re going to say “oh, hey, they never use them in books, so why should I?”

    On balance, I prefer not to see them in fiction. But I won’t complain if an author puts them either. In real life, I’m all about everyone being safe and healthy, but in fiction I will assume there’s no risk unless the author tells me there is.

    Having said that I don’t care either way, I’m commenting just because there’s an implication that all female readers want to see condoms and all male readers/writers don’t. I just wanted to say that, no, sorry, I’m living proof that it’s not as simple as that. (Either that or I’m weird, which is also quite possible.)

  5. Lynn G

    It’s interesting, and, of course, there’s no “right” answer.

    Ryan, I can tell you part of why you get such issues about the condom in the open relationships. As someone who was in one for years(my partner passed from cancer last April), I took all kinds of crap for us not using a condom. I came to understand it was because very few people have the kind of trust it takes to that kind of relationship. If you trust someone that much, then you also trust them to use the condom when they’re not with you. It may just be these people are annoyed that you inadvertently pointed out how much don’t trust in their own relationships.

    To all it comes back to m/m doesn’t appear to be viewed the same as m/f even by many who think they do. That’s true in reality, and in reviews. It will take time, sadly.

      1. Wave Post author

        Ryan
        The “Reply” button should work for you. It only stops when there are 4 replies to the same comment. If you are having problems in IE you might want to use Firefox to see if you have better luck. Sorry about that.

    1. The Wife

      Lynn, You’ve nailed it right on there. They can’t fathom the concept of an open relationship to begin with, and thus they don’t get the finite dimensions of that relationship.

      Tam, you’ve also nailed it — make me “feel” the story, take me INTO the story, and when I’m there, don’t throw me out of it. If there’s a condom to be had, great, but the description given of two people in an unexpected situation finding lube and condoms in a random side table? *shaking head*

      Ryan, my question is… why didn’t you spend those 20 minutes running to a convenience store and buying up some condoms, rather than trying to be convinced to go without? Why not hit a bathroom (I’m guessing on the time frame, but condom dispensers were common ~20 years ago in many bathrooms)? I’ve never, not once, “accidentally” had unprotected sex. I’ve never quite gotten the notion of people SOooooo caught up in the moment that they “forget” to use one. I have enough control over myself to wait until one is handy. And, knowing my personality, there’s usually one around somewhere. ;)

      1. Ryan Field

        At the time I wasn’t sure where the encounter would lead. More often than not quick encounters like that don’t wind up ending with intercourse. And I used to be more on the shy side when it came to those things. If a guy took control, I let him have the control…up to a certain point.

        And this was also a small gay bar that was out in NJ somewhere and neither of us knew the area. There were no stores around this place. And it was late. Back then, the only places to meet other gay men were bars or cruising areas. Most of the gay bars were at least an hour…usually more…away. Nowadays it’s very different for younger gay men. But back in the early nineties it was still gay bars and cruise spots. And unless you lived in NY or a large city, going to a gay bar involved long drives to unfamilair areas.

        I didn’t have my car that night, and he wasn’t offering to get any condoms. He just wanted to take his chances, which annoyed me.

        “never quite gotten the notion of people SOooooo caught up in the moment that they “forget” to use one.”

        I agree, which is why I was annoyed. But I’ve come cross a lot of people who don’t agree and prefer to take their chances.

  6. luci

    What annoys me is when authors have couples who are in monogamous relationships use condoms. Really?! Every time I read that I get so annoyed. I know safe sex is necessary and all that, but still there are times when not using condoms is perfectly fine.

    1. Tam

      I agree Luci. 6 months of a monogamous relationship and still using condoms strikes me as odd unless one of them had reason to believe that they MIGHT have an issue. But first night with a stranger, I expect it outside of a fantasy type novel. Just personal preference. Authors can’t please us all I suppose.

    2. Ryan Field

      “I can tell you part of why you get such issues about the condom in the open relationships. As someone who was in one for years(my partner passed from cancer last April), I took all kinds of crap for us not using a condom. I came to understand it was because very few people have the kind of trust it takes to that kind of relationship. If you trust someone that much, then you also trust them to use the condom when they’re not with you. It may just be these people are annoyed that you inadvertently pointed out how much don’t trust in their own relationships.”

      First, sorry to hear about your partner. That must have been rough to go through.

      Second, Excellent point!! I actually do have two friends in a non-open, so-called, monogamous relationship for almost twenty years and they didn’t use condoms, naturally.

      However, sad as this sounds, one of them did, in fact, contract the HIV virus from outside the relationship. (The other didn’t; he’s fine.) But that sort of trust issue can happen in an open relationship or one that’s not open, either gay or straight. In real life, married people often fool around on the down-low…unfortunately.

      1. The Wife

        Ryan, So right! My husband and I have NEVER “cheated” on each other (and I’ve every confidence that we never will), but of the couples I know (of any gender pairing)? There’s the same risk of cheating as in any other relationship. Personally, I think my relationship is “safer” because we are so clear on our boundaries and our needs, both in and out of bed. But each of these risks are universal to any sexual relationship, not just heterosexual, not just homosexual, nor any variation in between.

        P.S. See my question to you in my prior comment.

  7. Josephine Myles

    Really interesting post, and great to get a few different points of view!

    I’ve always thought the politics of condom use depends on the type of story and the characters – if you’re writing a contemporary and you want your characters to be believable, then you probably need to address the issue of condom use at some point, either to say they’re not using because they’re a risk taker or in a monagamous relationship, or just to include them in an unobtrusive way.

    However, in my contemporary novel I’m currently drafting, condom usage and STDs are an important plot point to show how a certain character has been affected by his past. I wouldn’t want to see this in every contemporary novel, but the moment when the characters finally go bareback has a special significance because of what has gone before.

    I don’t expect to see condoms used in all novels, especially not in erotica, but if they can be included in a way that adds to the plot then I’m all for them. I do get a bit bored of those ubiquitous reaching into the nightstand drawer moments, though!

    1. Larissa

      Hihi politics of condom use. There’s something I never thought I would here in relation to fiction! :-)

  8. Larissa

    Uhoh…this topic? It always makes me wonder how often the people who are up in arms about his have sex (laugh people, it’s meant to be funny)

    These are “romantic stories” they are not based (well most of them are not) on real life. They are not meant to be educational. They.are.fiction.

    Gah. Sometimes the overuse of condoms makes we annoyed. I wonder if people are trying to create, or want they fantasy world, to be perfect. Hmmm.

    Anyways, the use or absence or condoms should not be the main issue of either a story or a review.

    What has me a lot more interested than the condom controversy is: “no explicit details of a male penis”

    Seriously? o_O
    What the hell??? Are we talking erotica here or what? Am I missing something? Details? Yes please! ;-)

    Great post guys!! Let me know if you need some protection when the comments get nasty. I have cute medieval security knights on speed dial ;-)

  9. Missy Welsh

    Thanks for the post guys, and Wave for putting it up. I love reading these discussions.

    As an author, I’ve written once where they talked about why they weren’t going to use a condom and once where another set of characters did but broke the first one because he was that nervousness. I added “the talk” based on reader feedback and felt the breaking fit the characters and scene.

    This article, though, gives me the confidence to just do what I think is appropriate and y’all can take it or leave it :)

    1. AJ Llewelyn

      Go for it Missy. I am still shocked when I hear Ryan gets emails from readers saying his married characters should be using condoms!

      1. Ryan Field

        So am I. I know gay couples who have been together for ages and laugh about the fact they haven’t seen a condom in years. It should be a given, but with some readers it’s not.

  10. allie2

    Thank you for a thought-provoking post.

    I agree that the issue is limited to contemporary fiction of the last 25 years or so, so a suitable avoidance tactic for anyone upset either way is to read historical/sci-fi and fantasy fiction.

    As to whether it matters in contemporaries, I suspect it does. We are all formed and influenced by what we see and read, as the multi-billion advertising industry proves on a daily basis. One of my pet peeves is people saying “everyone/a majority of people take illegal drugs”. Fact is, most people don’t take illegal drugs, but saying they do gives a dangerous impression to some young people. Taking illegal drugs, like not using condoms, can have devastating life-long consequences.

    If it’s a contemporary story, then it encourages the “willing suspension of disbelief” if condoms are used/abused/not used in a way realistic to the story. Otherwise, and I do have sympathy with the “it’s fantasy, not reality” view, I like DJ’s suggestion of a disclaimer at the start.

    Bottom line is that I like happy endings, and HIV infection hasn’t been a happy ending for the people I know who are positive.

  11. L.C. Chase

    Excellent post, guys. Me personally, I don’t care if its mentioned or not. Its fiction and I’m a (relatively) balanced person. ;)

    A.J., interesting what you said about publisher’s guidelines. I’ve heard quite a few editors say the first time the characters have sex condoms should be mentioned, but after that its assumed by the reader for the remainder of the story. My editor said the same thing – I don’t think she cared one way or the other, just pointed it out with a “no condom?”. Do you, D.J. and Ryan ever get that from your editors?

    1. Ryan Field

      For me, it depends. Some say once is enough, others like it mentioned even if it’s just a few words. I almost always mention it…trying to make it as invisible as possible.

      1. Shae Connor

        I was about to add to my comment below that I kind of like the challenge of getting the condom (and lube) into the scene without making a big deal of it. I’ll often go the route of referring to it having been done without mentioning the process; something like “slicked and sheathed.” :)

    2. AJ Llewelyn

      Hi L.C. I have never EVER had an editor mention anything to do with condoms in a story and I have five publishers I work with.

  12. K D Grace

    Thanks for this!

    I’ve never included the use of condoms in my stories or my novels, and I often wonder if I should maybe put in a disclaimer. But, damn! I write FICTION! And really I’ve never heard of anyone actually fantasizing about how sexy it is to use a condom. I certainly don’t.

    K D

    1. AJ Llewelyn

      Hi KD DJ and I have discussed putting disclaimers in our books, too.
      I just read a book where the character gave head to another guy using a condom. It must have tasted horrible but it is not mentioned. In the same scene he then barebacks for the guy. A real WTF moment for me…

  13. Shae Connor

    Wow, this is fascinating.

    In the fiction I write and read (I rarely read anything but contemporaries, so assume that’s what I’m talking about here), I want things to be as realistic as possible. Yeah, okay, the men can have faster reload times, the orgasms can be more explosive, the bodies and dicks can be more perfect. But those are romanticized versions of reality, not a complete divergence from it.

    Skipping condoms for anal sex is, IMO, a complete divergence from reality, unless there’s an explanation for it. (Condoms use for other activities, like oral sex, is much less common in reality, so that doesn’t bother me.)

    Monogamous couple? Both virgins? Both tested and clean? Bareback away. But to see no condom with no explanation, discussion, regrets, or repercussions throws me right out of the story. (Conversely, a monogamous/clean couple using condoms needs an explanation, too.)

    Now, granted, I don’t want a safe sex lecture. I think some of the problem may come in the way it’s presented. There’s no need for detailed step by step unless it fits the story. (First timers figuring things out, for example.)

    I don’t know why, or if, there’s a real divide between gay men and women on the subject. I read stories written by both men and women, and I haven’t noticed a difference between them. Some use condoms, some don’t. (Most do, in my experience.)

    Having said all that, as authors, we know we aren’t going to please everyone all the time. If you want to write condom use, write it; if you don’t, don’t. Just be prepared that you may hear from disgruntled readers either way. :)

    1. Wave Post author

      Shae
      Your views are quite interesting and divergent from mine as you can see in my post several months ago on this topic linked here

      http://www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/?p=21497

      I listed 13 reasons for not using condoms in M/M romances. Of course I got my ass kicked by about 50% of the readers. This was supposed to be a funny post with some serious overtones but everyone wanted my ass, and not in a good way.

      Fact is, there is a double standard in M/M and M/F romances. The women are just as promiscuous and in the new M/F world they sometimes have more than one partner at the same time in menages, but no one screams at the authors for not including condoms all the time they have sex. Why? Are they immune to disease? Look at the number of women in M/F who end up pregnant which is favourite plot. Did all those condoms break?

      Another fact. Over 90% of NEW HIV cases in RL are among young women under 25. Maybe we need to concentrate more on teaching safe sex to women and not the men, who seem to get it.

      All of the fake places where condoms are hidden to be “found” in the nick of time in M/M romances would be amusing if they weren’t so ridiculous.

      I have said it many times, I don’t believe M/M romances or erotica are intended to be teaching aids for safe sex and the people who read these books are supposed to be able to distinguish between reality and fiction. We don’t see books about serial killers post warnings “People don’t go out and kill others because there are consequences.” We KNOW there are consequences, yet some authors treat us as if we are dumb.

      Rick Reed wrote an excellent M/M romance NEG UB2 about the dangers of not using condoms. We all ‘get’ that it’s not cool to pick up a stranger and have unprotected sex, and to be wary of the BF if we’re not sure whether he’s been fooling around, but try to tell that to all the young women who are the fastest growing HIV statistic.

      Do we need to get beaten up over the head in every M/M romance every time about condom use? There are also other STD’s which don’t get a passing mention in these books. Are they no longer in vogue or maybe mentioning them spoils the mood?

      There are some publishers who could care less about condom use and I know who they are because I read a lot of their books. I think the authors should be allowed to write their books with or without condoms as they think appropriate.

      The politics of condom use is being pushed by some readers who are horrified by the thought of anal sex between two men without a condom. Maybe they should stick to other types of romances if this turns them off. Sex is not nice and tidy people – it’s messy and those warm towels that are now everywhere after sex make me laugh uncontrollably. I want a guy to bring me a warm towel. :)

      I don’t know why, or if, there’s a real divide between gay men and women on the subject

      There IS a divide and it’s mostly the women who are pushing this idea that the partners in every M/M romance must use condoms. For me, I just want to enjoy the stories and not worry about something that’s happening in a fictional world. This is why I love fantasy and paranornal stories – no worries about condiom use there. Whoever invented this idea that vamps and weres are immune to sexually transmitted disease – I love you. :)

      BTW young gay men don’t read these books to be educated – they read them to be titillated, just like the rest of us and they could care less about authors pushing safe sex in M/M romances.

      1. Alina

        I’m with you, Wave.

        I’m not against condoms, in fact I use them every time (not because I don’t trust my husband), but a story is a story and not real life. I don’t think a reader with his head on his shoulders, after reading a M/M story, will burst out of the house and have unprotected sex in the back of an alley only because the writer didn’t use the word condom in his/her book.

        Many stories are overflowing with nightstands, fumbling in drawers, the crinkle of the condom foil, the click of the cold lube tube (most of the time unnecessary mentioned) and so on.
        The same with 1, 2, 3 fingers and wet washcloths.

      2. Shae Connor

        Just a few points to address here…

        I have no problem with the “messiness” of sex without a condom. (Not like there’s no mess with one anyway!) I said that authors should write their stories the way they want. And while I didn’t address M/F sex, because the discussion was M/M, for the record, no, I wouldn’t treat M/F sex differently.

        I’ll reiterate what I said in my original comment: I think in many cases it’s less about condom use than it is about poorly written condom use. Trust me, I roll my eyes just as hard as you do when a condom magically appears from thin air at just the right moment. Just like anything else in the story, it has to make sense in context.

        Clearly you and I expect different things from fictional characters, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’m sure there are plenty of authors out there who agree with each of us, and consequently plenty of fiction for each of us to enjoy. :)

  14. SJD Peterson

    Dear AJ…. your comment
    “this may end up being a controversial point but I have only ever had female readers/reviewers comment on the lack of condoms in a story.”
    I highly doubt will be very controversial but I’m going to bet that Dear Uncle George’s comment…
    “male readers know the stories are fantasy.”
    May just wrinkle a few feathers. It is to imply that female reader don’t know the difference.

    I spent a day discussing this topic with DJ and AJ as well as many of their fans and most people who commented didn’t really care about whether condoms were used or not as long as it didn’t take away from the story that was being told or didn’t disrupt the scene.
    I’m all for the disclaimer. But in reality not to many readers bother to read warnings let alone disclaimers. I write with the assumption that my audience which should all be over 18 are smart enough to know about safe sex. I don’t need to be be reminded of it in fantasy, but if I am, I don’t stress about it either. If it’s quickly mentioned, fine. I just don’t want a long drawn out scene or a text book version of why condoms are important.

    1. AJ Llewelyn

      Hi SJD that chat we had with you led to my wanting to write this column with Ryan and DJ. Unlike you I noticed very strong opinions from some of the readers. As for ruffling feathers, heck, my 70 year old uncle said this – I was clear to point out it was HIS quote, not mine. The reality is I have never had a male reviewer or reader email me or mention condom use or lack thereof in a story. DJ had a male reader who reacted badly to him including them in a scene…hasn’t happened to me yet…:)

  15. aquina

    I am of the opinion that to use or not to use should be left to the creative control of the author.

    But if you have a character driven story, then I think one SHOULD lean toward what would your character do.

  16. Feliz

    When I first started to read m/m fiction and came across a condom, I didn’t really take note of it. But after about the twentieth or so book I read where they always used condoms I couldn’t help wondering about it. The first WTF moment came when I read about two shifters using condoms, which was simply ridiculous. Political correctness notwithstanding, but, as others mentioned above, IT IS FICTION.

    Condoms, like my favorite peeve the wet washcloth, have their time and place. Just as much as any other issues like what race a character has, what kind of education, which car and if he prefers cats or dogs. If it’s necessary for the plot, put it in. If not, why bother? It’s not fiction then, but just noise.

    1. AJ Llewelyn

      feliz, I read a book where two vampires gloved up and had the same reaction. It disturbed me to say the least.

  17. Sue Brown

    I read this with interest. Growing up in the AIDS era of the 80s in the UK it would be hard for me to write a first encounter/hook up without the couple using condoms. They are just part of the sexual encounter.

    If I wrote het I wouldn’t write about menstruation – but then, it isn’t part of sex. Neither do I want to write about any potential mess from anal sex.

    Condoms are different. They just are normal.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Sue

      Condoms are different. They just are normal.

      There is a difference between RL and fiction and “normal” should be what an author decides is “normal” for his/her characters. They should decide whether their characters should wear a condom or not, not the readers. Please see my very long response to Shae Connor in 13.1.

      Also, readers should not dictate to writers by implying that they won’t buy their books unless their protagonists wear condoms. Similarly a reviewer should not downgrade the rating of a book just because she thinks the author should have had his characters “glove up”. When we write a book then and only then should we be able to make the decision whether the characters should wear condoms. If all of your characters wear condoms that is your right and no reader should be able to tell you that is wrong because those are YOUR characters. On the other hand if another writer decides to dispense with condoms
      altogether the same rules should apply.

  18. Lily

    Personally for me I find it strange when I’m reading a contemporary and there is no condom used, or even mentioned, between new sexual partners. I can’t imagine meeting someone, not knowing them well enough to even know what their favorite color is, and not using a condom. That applies to any couple, straight or gay. I know it’s fiction but if I’m going to care about the characters and their relationship, which I’d think is what an author is hoping for, then they have to feel ‘real’ to me. First time sex with a stranger and letting your BF have unprotected sex with someone else just doesn’t seem like a very realistic situation, imho.

    As a reader I don’t require a step by step discussion on condoms and their use. As long as I can at least infer from the scene that it was used I’m fine. Once there is trust built and/or they’re in a monogamous relationship, then by all means dispense with the condoms. I would once I reached that level.

    In other genres, such as Paranormal, Historical and Sci-fi I don’t expect condom use and in fact find it strange when it’s mentioned. LOL

  19. Bren Christopher

    I’m really glad to see this post. As a new writer, I struggled with the whole how-much-to-mention-condom use thing, too. The books I read vary widely in their approaches.
    I concluded that I would use them when it seems realistic to do so, but to minimize the mention as much as possible. And I’ll also take any excuse to abandon them, such as the two guys have been tested and haven’t been with anyone else in a long time.

    And I think the idea of the warm towel is very sweet. :) Completely unrealistic, that’s for sure. But a nice fantasy.

  20. D J Manly

    I’d like to add something here…I meant in general my female readership rides me (pardon the pun) about fogetting a condom or two…not ALL of them…just I’ve never had a male reader lecture me about it…just the reverse. I’ve even had reviewers take points off…i.e…’this would have been a five star but that scene where Joe Blow screwed…Joe Blow harder without a condom made me shudder….” Get the picture? There you go…so I’m going with a disclaimer and let the rubbers fall where they may!!!

    1. SJD Peterson

      I know this may be a little off topic but I ask out of curiosity with no real knowledge of the facts.
      Being a new writer to this genre I get a lot of advice and read opinion blogs quite often.
      In my M/M group they asked for volunteers for the welcoming committee. Every one of the numerous volunteers were females except one. 90% of the posts are from females and 3 of the 4 moderators are females. So my question is….

      Is it the fact that it’s “females” that make comments about the use of condoms all that relevant? Wouldn’t it stand to reason that given the fact that a large majority of the readers are female is the reason for this and not a true difference between readers (male and female)opinions?

      1. Wave Post author

        On this site there’s a poll which indicates the gender breakdown to date (of those who responded) as follows:

        Of 1,416 respondents – Readers: Female 81%, Male 15%, gender queer 4%.
        Of 475 respondents – M/M Writers: Female 71%, Male 21%, Genderqueer 8%

        It’s interesting to note that the number of men now writing M/M is increasing as well as the number of male readers.

        However just because there is preponderance of female writers and readers doesn’t mean that we should control the agenda.

        Even the reviewers are mostly female because men are only now starting to read this sub genre. I am fortunate that this site has 5 guest reviewers who are gay men and 7 who are women, so we get a balanced perspective in our reviews. There is nothing wrong with having only female reviewers – I am one of them, but as AJ said, he was admonished by a female reviewer and his book downgraded because there were no condoms. I guess she taught him a lesson. :( I on the other hand would only downgrade a book where the characterizations or the plot sucked or the narrative was ridiculous or I felt there was something else negative about to the story, not the lack or otherwise of condoms.

        1. SJD Peterson

          Thank you for this information Wave. It’s very interesting. I did not mean to imply nor would I ever suggest we control the agenda.
          I was curious as if the whole Condom vs. No Condom argument gave a true consensus of “people’s” opinions not just females.

          I don’t have a lot of knowledge about HET Romance since I haven’t read much but from what I am gathering from the readers, this same topic is being debated among their readers as well.

          I think people like to find fault in something no mater what and it’s hard to please everyone. I read an interesting article this morning by Jeff Erno about whether or not M/M authors (himself included) are making their men “Manly” enough. It’s all opinion. Fascinating as hell, but still just opinions.

      2. D J Manly

        True but I can tell you personally just from my friends…gay male ones…I’ve asked them …after they read a book or just casually and many say a condom ruins the fantasy. One of my friends say, “can’t we have that in a book at least?” lol…On the other hand, many of the women I know tell me that they’d like to see condoms where appropriate.

        1. SJD Peterson

          Thanks for clearing that up. I have to admit until you wrote the blog on the issue of condoms I never even knew it was…well an issue. I hadn’t read any articles on it nor had I ever read a review making a comment about it either for or against. I didn’t use condoms in any of the books I wrote, frankly I just wasn’t thinking about making sure my “Fictional” characters practiced safe sex. I was writing my fantasy and in “my” fantasy there were no condoms. But after your first article it got me thinking….Trust me that is sometimes a very scary thing :)

  21. Devon Rhodes

    Great topic and thanks for putting up a hot one, Wave!

    As a female reader, rather than being bothered if they’re missing (unless the heros are total hos, which isn’t my pick of storylines, but I digress), I find I’m more inclined to get pulled out of the story if the condoming disrupts the flow of the story or if it seems really wacky, ie the one-the-run protags who happen to have them in the nightstand. Seriously? Do you guys go rummage in your dop kit and pull out the lube and condoms and stick them in the hotel nightstand drawer first thing every time you check in to a room? Cuz that’s where they seem to be frequently found, even if, in the story, the hero wasn’t out looking for “love”, it just happened to find him…prepared, no less.

    That said, I usually write them into my own stories (but avoid the nightstand thing except in their own homes, lol), just because most of my protags are new-to-each-other couples and would, I think, logically use them. :) Logically being the operative word.

    Thanks Ryan, AJ and DJ. Hugs to my guys!

  22. Enny

    I thought it was an excellent post and I’d like to thank all three writer for sharing their thoughts with us.

    I realize that we’re talking about fiction here but as someone who was friends with some truly wonderful men in the 80s, unsafe sex freaks me out. If you’ve ever been waiting with a friend for his test results, only to learn that he was HIV- but HepC+ you’d surely understand why.

    Now that there are some meds available for keeping the HIV virus at bay, a lot of young gay men think safe sex is a drag and HIv is just an “ailment”. I read the comments about a gay soap couple on German TV who had a HIV scare and some of those comments were so ignorant they left me absolutely speechless.

    The other day I read a M/M story where the couple used a condom with petroleum jelly and I simply couldn’t go on reading that story because the writer didn’t do her homework. I can understand why male readers don’t want to read about condoms and how frustrating it is to always use a condom and that gay fiction is just FICTION but non-safe sex will never stop to freak me out but that’s just me.

    1. Wave Post author

      Enny
      I had a friend who died 12 years ago from HIV AIDS because he engaged in unsafe sex. He never read an M/M romance – he just loved to bareback. Which is why he died.

      I think to go from reading an M/M romance to HIV AIDS or HEPC+ is a huge leap. Do we do the same thing in M/F? Why are the rules different for gay men?

      I understand what it’s like to watch a friend slowly waste away to an untimely death (he was 32 when he died) yet I still believe that condom use in M/M romance should be left to the authors. Readers should not dictate when and if. When I become an author is when I get to decide whether the boys should wear a “jacket”.

      I believe that fiction is just that, fiction, and to meld fiction and the real world is certainly not logical.

      I understand what you’re saying but I can’t understand the link of HIV AIDS to M/M romance. Gay men are perfectly aware of the dangers of barebacking so why are readers policing their sexual activities in books?

      I’m also aware of what you mean about the author who used petroleum jelly as a lubricant. Obviously she didn’t do her homework or she would have known that vaseline is oil-based and oil and latex do not mix. Oil eats away at rubber, so oil-based lubes can cause condoms to break. Research, research, research.

      1. Enny

        I don’t think that M/M writers should preach about safe sex, it’s fiction and they should write about whatever they want to. I just don’t want to read a book where the characters have unsafe sex but like I said, that’s just me. I don’t have to buy the book if I don’t like it so I’m glad when something like this gets mentioned in a review.

        I don’t know a lot about HIV statistics in the US but here in Germany apparently gay men aren’t aware enough of the dangers of getting HIV. 70 % of all reported new cases last year were men having sex with men and in the last 10 years these numbers have increased by 300 %.

        1. Wave Post author

          Enny

          In North America the numbers are reversed. 90% of NEW Aids cases are young women under 25 and the next highest risk group is apparently senior citizens. Go figure.

            1. Wave Post author

              Enny

              I guess it all depends on the source of the data becuse the information I took off the Canadian equivalent showed entirely different statistics which I quoted in a post on World Aids Day linked here
              http://www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/?p=36276

              Also a lot of data I got from The Oprah Winfrey Show which, regardless how anyone feels about the show, I have to admit they have an incredible database and access to current information.

              However I guess the issue is, why is HIV AIDS now driving M/M romance? Is it because these books are about gay men and someow we feel that it’s an author’s responsibility to teach gay men about safe sex? Where is the responsibility in M/F romance if we want to be even handed about this? I just don’t get it.

  23. LadyM

    I have to break the seriousness of the discussion to say that I thought two thirds of this trio were actually women. If anything, I’m better informed now. XD

    On the serious side, I generally believe the authors have the right to write or not write whatever they want. They can never please everyone. But, I also believe that the use (or not) of condoms should depend on the story, characters and situations. I guess we can all agree that there are situations when the use of condoms is ridiculous and others when not writing them is just not realistic and can completely pull the reader out of the story. It’s just like any other choice the writer is making – it can be good and it can be bad.

  24. Dianne T.

    Interesting lunchtime reading here…….
    Hmmm If I’m having a fantasy……..there is no condom to be found!

    In what I’m reading, for me it’s all about whether condom use “fits” the characters, setting and general feel of the plot. I’ve probably more often been derailed in my enjoyment of a story by condom/lube fumbling (unless it’s meant by the author to be a comedic interlude :-) ) than by absence of a condom.

    I think we are all wise enough in “real life” to understand risk factors and act accordingly. I don’t need to be PC’d to death in my fiction and hope authors are not getting swayed off of their creative tracks by it.

    1. AJ Llewelyn

      Hi Diane,
      Very good point. This was the issue my Uncle George raised with me. women read our books over lunch, over coffee, in the brief time they get the kids to nap in the afternoon…whatever.
      My earliest books in the Phantom Lover series were in that realm of hot romance, sweet love and raunchy sex. I wanted my readers to be swept up in the passion of the MOMENT, not get irate over the use or non use of rubbers. Remember too, way back when they always ‘stopped at the bedroom door’ so in many ways we’re all still feeling our way past that open door now.
      :)

  25. AM Riley

    Obviously, everyone should be concerned about safe sex. But if the flow of a scene doesn’t demand specific attention being paid to condoms, I feel that it starts to sound like a public service announcement.

    “for the next paragraph, this storyline will pause for a politically correct announcement from the health service department…”

    Sometimes it tells a lot about a character and his/her relationship whether they use protection, whether they ask. In that case, it is a story point and important. But to stop a love scene to describe in detail the disposition of the used condom and the cleaning up process? Bleurgh.

  26. Reggie

    Hi everyone great discussion!
    I want to chime in with I would never judge an author by real world “morality” applied to fiction. For example I’ve enjoyed Tom Clancy novels that I would never dream of applying to real life- moraly, ethicaly….

    I am a healthcare professional though so there are fictional situations that are too close to my reality in a bad way. My reactions of course guide my $$$.

    For example, motorcycle riders without helmets are organ donors in my reality. Do people ride without? YES! Will I be spending my $$ to read about it? NO!

    I think I’m missing something with this PC idea of condom use. I don’t get it. Is it PC to wear a helmet? Is it PC to take insulin if you need it? Do all people do what’s healthy– no, but PC??

    Great discussion!

    1. Dianne T.

      For me I think the term “PC” has come to mean anything that the broad Public Consensus appears to be (or has been told it should be) and heaven forbid someone have a differing opinion or speak their own mind. :-).

  27. K. Z. Snow

    “…no explicit details of a male penis.”

    Like what? Name, DOB, Social Security number? What a bizarre taboo!

    Just give me a good story well told and I’ll fill in the blanks to my satisfaction. If I’m inclined to squawk about anything, it’ll be crappy writing and/or editing. (By the way, I LOVE the lack of pussyfooting in this post.)

    1. Wave Post author

      KZ

      “…no explicit details of a male penis.”

      Luckily you didn’t know about this rule or your post on the dueling penises would never have been written … and that would have been a great pity. :)

  28. KyAnn

    happily, I don’t “play” by the rules. In any combination of genders condom use can be optional. I let the story play out how it will. If condom use is required, then glove up. For me, it won’t kill the mood either way.
    I see no difference in condom use in m/m or m/f stories. Condom use is used for safe sex practices. However, I grind my teeth when I read in a m/f story that the condom isn’t needed because the heroine is on the pill. If it’s going to be mentioned, then put on a raincoat.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi KyAnn

      However, I grind my teeth when I read in a m/f story that the condom isn’t needed because the heroine is on the pill. If it’s going to be mentioned, then put on a raincoat.

      Yet another double standard. So being on the pill will prevent the heroine from contracting an STD? That is so stupid! Forget HIV for the moment … there are many other STD’s which are never mentioned in M/F romances because they kill the mood. This is the kind of stupid logic I’m talking about.

      1. AJ Llewelyn

        Very interesting point. I have many friends who write M/F and they are surprised by the debate in M/M fiction…

  29. Sherry F (from the Midwest)

    For me, it’s whether mentioning the application of the condom skews the flow of the storyline. It’s kinda like when the stretching out of the bootie goes on and on AND on. I start to skip pages, thinking “…got it already!!! He didn’t just plow in!” (didn’t you have a discussion that touched on that, Wave?)

    I don’t read erotica because I think it’s a documentary… I go to PBS for that. I don’t believe vampires or werewolves really exist. If they did, the were’s would probably have eczema and arthritic issues and vamps would undoubtedly smell like copper pennies.

    I expect the stories to be entertaining and to engage my interest. It’s an escape. Surprise….many things that happen in a story didn’t, shouldn’t, and can’t happen in real life.

    Excellent posting. My remarks may not necessarily sound like it but I *did* enjoy it and all the comments! :-)

    1. Wave Post author

      Sherry

      It’s kinda like when the stretching out of the bootie goes on and on AND on. I start to skip pages, thinking “…got it already!!! He didn’t just plow in!” (didn’t you have a discussion that touched on that, Wave?)

      I know we must have touched on that and many other delicate body parts. :)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post – we love to have fun and kick the ball around. lol.

  30. Wave Post author

    I was just thinking when I was reading some of the comments how far apart many of us are, and that’s a good thing, because if we were all the same it would be a pretty boring world.

    I love these discussions because they blow out the cobwebs and we have an opportunity to say what we feel, in a non confrontational environment, and I have to compliment everyone who posted so far. Of course my good friend Buda and I will probably get out the gloves later on but that’s par for the course. ;-)

    I’m looking for someone to kick some sand in AJ’s face – where the hell is he hiding out? :)

    1. Buda

      Hi, Wave. Tam’s first post above pretty much states where I stand on this issue. Other than that, I’m going to finally take my mother’s advice and say nothing because what I want to say will be neither constructive nor nice.

      1. Wave Post author

        I know how you feel Buda and I respect that.

        But how do you feel about what Ethan said? See comment No. 38 and my response.

        Some readers are saying that M/M romances are not sending the right message about safe sex, yet no one is taking on the Internet where most young men and kids get their information about sex. A lot of young people very rarely read books and limit their literature most of the time to adult comics when they do crack open a book. Most of them probably have not ever read an M/M romance, yet now these books are a teaching aid?

        If some adults want to read books where the protagonists only engage in sex while wearing condoms that is their prerogative the same way it’s the authors’ right to write their sex scenes according to how they see their characters, with or without a jacket.

        1. Buda

          Wave, do you really want to get me started? Really really? lol Okay, and away we go!

          First, Ethan’s response was probably the most coherent thing I’ve heard out of that boy’s mouth since the “Mmmmfphmmm!” I heard the other day. :p Seriously, I can agree with what he wrote almost 100% (including that condoms can be sexy)–but I, too, happen to like the occasional well-written GFY story.

          To be honest, I think this whole thing has gone tragically wrong, starting with the original post. Not only was there too much self-righteousness in it, but the condescension was so thick I almost choked. Those are the two main reasons I’ve refrained from comment. I’ve not yet read any books by these three authors, so I can’t give any reactions to their specific books.

          You have to remember, I went through this whole debate years ago when bareback porn was beginning to rear its ugly head. I’ve heard every single argument about condoms, pro and con. At this point, I’m more than a little exhausted by the debate and the same tired excuses/rationales.

          What I will say is that comparing M/M to M/F is a red herring (or some other logical fallacy–I can never keep them straight, so to speak). What those people in M/F are doing should have nothing to do with what M/M does and vice versa. That’s all I have to say about that.

          I came of age in the 80s and 90s. I have lost more friends to HIV/AIDS than I care to count, and only one of them contracted the virus through a blood transfusion. Because he never suspected he was infected, he passed the disease along to his new wife. Now they’re both dead.

          When I read a book in which strangers (or a couple who haven’t gone through the test/wait period) don’t use condoms, I think “You stupid fuck” and it drags me right out of the story.

          Of course it’s the writer’s piranha fish if he/she wants to include them in the story. But the argument that condoms are unsexy or inconvenient when writing is as stupid as saying they’re unsexy or inconvenient in the real world. You’re a writer–use your imagination and make them sexy or alter the scene just enough to make it work! If real men can do it in real life, then why can’t the writer do it in fiction? The answer is, it can be done. I’ve seen it.

          Is it PC to include them? Who cares. Is it irresponsible to have the characters bareback? Depending on the target audience, it certainly can be (I’m thinking YA here). Will I stop reading an author who refuses to include them? Most likely not. Will I appreciate the story and the characters more if I see them giving a shit about their lives? Most definitely. (Remember, I don’t read fantasy or shifter stuff, so none of that makes a difference to me.)

          There’s my tuppence, Wave. :)

          1. Wave Post author

            Buda
            What I think I hear you saying is that this whole argument about condoms in M/M romances should be put to bed, and you’re probably right because there will never be a consensus on this subject. I’m not talking about condoms in RL just about them in books. I always keep my fiction in separate compartments than RL – I never seem to be able to link them.

            I started reading M/F erotica before M/M and therefore it’s difficult to disassociate the way condoms are treated in those books to the outcry in M/M when an author doesn’t have her characters glove up. That’s what I find so difficult to understand. The same readers who protest about the lack of condom use in M/M probably won’t raise an eyebrow at the same thing in M/F, which gives me pause. So there is some relevance.

            I haven’t read a YA romance todate where there was a lack of condoms and I have read quite a few – there’s hardly any sex in these books to begin with.

            I too have lost a close friend to HIV AIDS, but certainly not on the wholesale level that you have, so I can understand your very strong feelings on condom use. I can’t blame my friend’s untimely end to M/M romances though since he never read one. He just loved to bareback which is why he died.

            You don’t read paranormals? You need to get with some vamps and weres and demons and dragons, honeybear. They are the the hottest thing around and so sexy (and that has nothing to do with the colour jackets they wear). They are just hot. lol I’ll make it my business to send you one of my favourite paranormal books and you have to promise to read it. You don’t know what you’re missing. (I can now loan you my Kindle books for 2 weeks according to Amazon).

            As always, it’s my pleasure to get your position on topics whether or not you agree with mine. I still love you.

          2. Buda

            Aww, Wave. The things you make me say! lol Yes, to bed is exactly where this whole condom debate should go. No one will ever agree, because no one is entirely wrong. It’s a “your version, my version, and the truth” situation wherein there is no truth, only perspective.

            I’ll happily read paranormals, but not shifter/vamp stuff. I’m not a Twilight kinda guy. I have read JCP’s PsyCop series and absolutely loved them. I guess I like the ghost/psychological side of paranormal.

            As for M/F, eh, I get enough of you breeders during my work hours, I certainly don’t want to give you my leisure time, too. ;) (tongue firmly in cheek, just for clarity)

            Now I’m off to a het wedding. Wish me luck!

  31. Reggie

    Wave,

    If we had an effective/accessible vaccine for HIV and a similar ease of preg prevention would we be having this debate? Are people afraid enough of STDs that it would bounce them out of a story if condoms weren’t used?

    1. Wave Post author

      The thing is, I don’t understand why M/M romances are held to such a high standard in terms of being used as PSA’s by the readers? Is it because these stories are about gay men? Is this some form of inherent homophobia? These books are FICTION and the stories FANTASIES. Why are we holding them to different standards than other fiction?

      I read general fiction and no one CARES about whether characters use condoms (at least they don’t criticise the authors and demand that their books should be politically correct).

      I assume that people are not concerned about other STD’s because I don’t see them mentioned in these books or M/F – only HIV is targeted. Why? Many readers have said in their comments here that they are not comfortable if condoms aren’t used so I assume that they would not buy books by authors who didn’t have their characters use condoms. :(

  32. Ally Blue

    The way I look at it, I’m not a public service announcement or After School Special. I’m writing a book, that’s all. A fictional story. And I agree with the others who’ve said that I want it to be as realistic as possible (I say that as an author and as a reader, BTW). If my characters are the types to use condoms, then they’ll use them. If they’re not, or the situation is such that they wouldn’t at that particular time, then they won’t. Period.

    If there’s one thing you learn after 20+ years in nursing, it’s that even intelligent people in our ultra-well-informed modern world do not so smart things sometimes, including bareback sex. All those sexually transmitted diseases out there aren’t spread around just by prostitutes and cheating partners.

    Guys, thanks for an interesting post! Wave, you always have fabulous Friday discussions *g* I have to admit, so far no one’s written to yell at me about my guys using or not using rubbers.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hey Ally

      The way I look at it, I’m not a public service announcement or After School Special. I’m writing a book, that’s all. A fictional story

      I think that’s the hotly debated point – whether an author should be so pc that the characters seem unrealistic. Many examples have been given where finding the ‘convenient’ condom is laughable but authors still do it because some readers demand it. I just want a good story and don’t care whether the guys glove up, but I know that’s not the popular position because some readers seem to feel that M/M romances above any other should be a teaching tool. I’m so glad to see that you write what you think your characters should do, whether or not it’s popular.

      You are an author and thank heavens I’m not because my books would never sell. lol

      I have to admit, so far no one’s written to yell at me about my guys using or not using rubbers.

      After today’s post I think you might get a few emails. :)

  33. TCBlue

    Speaking solely for myself, I do tend to include condom use in stories, at first anyway.

    I read a lot and I can’t say I mind reading sex scenes in which latex is used, either. I don’t actually find it intrusive or jarring, but that’s just me.

    I also grew up during the dark time when many of my gay friends were dying from AIDS, so to me condoms just seem like a normal thing. In fact, one of the reasons I like m/m so much more than m/f (aside from the character issues and TSTL women in het) is the more realistic use of condoms.

    This is yet another thing that may be just me, but while it is erotic romance, I actually do find it romantic that a couple would want to look out for each other by being safe until they’re sure they’re right together and want to stay that way. I find it romantic when they get tested together and then (assuming all is well) make the decidion to stop using rubbers. It’s a sign of their committment for me, in a strange sort of way.

    That said, do I get bent out of shape when reading characters who don’t play it safe? Well, that depends on the characters and their situations, really.

    I would certainly never stop reading a great story because there aren’t condoms being used. Just like I would never keep reading a horrible on just because the characters practiced safe sex.

    Very interesting post here from the guys, and I agree that yes, it’s all fiction. That being so, I think there’s room for all types. *grins*

    ~Tis *fence-sitting, as usual*

    1. Wave Post author

      Tis
      The thing is, you should do whatever you think is right for your characters. If you want them to wear condoms after however long they are together, they are your characters and you should be able to have them wear those rainjackets forever. lol.

      I’m not telling any author that their characters should wear condoms or not, but it seems that some readers find it distasteful if the guys don’t use a condom. Whether they decide not to read books by certain authors that’s the readers’ choice, but I don’t make a habit of indicating in my reviews whether or not condoms are used, although for a couple of posts I mentioned it for a specific reason.

      I love the way you sit on the fence – it looks good on you Tis. :)

  34. Angelia Sparrow

    I’m a birth control militant, so all my contemporary/futuristic couples (m/m, m/f, etc) use SOMETHING and even my historical ones often do. And 1890s and 1920s condoms were significantly less pleasant than todays, just as a note.
    (‘m also a married woman who used them as primary birth control for 7 years)

    Contemporary couples will always use them, either just part of the normal rhythm, or they will play with them. “Mmm, grape, my favorite.”

    Historical couples will use them when appropriate.

    Futuristic couple…will have either condoms or an equivalent or take the consequences. I like barrier foam from one of my universes. Lubricant and protection in one.

    When reading, I expect condoms, or an explanation of why not, in contemporaries. In paranormals…depends. Vamps unneeded (unless you count spattering blood everywhere) Two weres doing it in human shape? yes. In wolf shape? no. In half-shifted? probably not. Demons, etc? unnecessary.

    Historicals and futuristics, fantasy and such, don’t need the condoms.

    You never know when some kid is going to use yours as the only source of information. I’d have saved a lot of pain if I’d had better fiction in my teens.

    1. Wave Post author

      Angel

      I’m a birth control militant, so all my contemporary/futuristic couples (m/m, m/f, etc) use SOMETHING and even my historical ones often do.

      ….. You never know when some kid is going to use yours as the only source of information. I’d have saved a lot of pain if I’d had better fiction in my teens.

      We’re talking apples and oranges. I don’t believe this discussion about condoms is in the context of birth control, except with regard to all of those babies being conceived in M/F romances.lol.

      Please see Sirius’s comment at #36 and #37 to see where kids using romances as their guide to real life could take them.

      Maybe growing up you acquired your own knowledge about sex from books, because they were the only source of information available. However, today kids learn just about everything about sex from the Internet and books hardly figure in to the equation, if at all, except for adult comics.

      Perhaps all of this energy directed at M/M romances by those who view these books and other erotica as teaching aids should be directed at the Internet instead. 20 and even 10 years ago most homes had only one computer for the entire family. Today kids can watch everything on their iPhones where there’s no parent in sight to edit their content. This is a totally different world from the one where we grew up.

      1. Angelia Sparrow

        No, I get that birth control is seldom an issue in m/m fic. (MPreg doesn’t seem to have made the leap out of fanfiction, thank goodness) But my attitude is why I expect condoms in contemporaries.

        Maybe it is a new day, with the kids getting all their info from Xtube and google.

        But, if I’m taking pains to get the kink right and the headspace right and even the street directions right, shouldn’t I get the sex right, too?

        1. Wave Post author

          Angel
          As I said in earlier comments, each author has to write his or her sex scenes the way he or she feels that the characters will behave. No one else makes those decisions but the author, and that’s my point. Readers should not be able to tell an author to put on a condom on a character or vice versa. They should limit their protest to whether or not they buy books from certain authors.

        2. Sirius11214

          But are we saying that kids will use the romances only to study sex? If they are indeed going to try and use romance as study tool, aren’t they going to imitate the whole building of the relationship? And as I said in reply to Wave, I find the idea that kids will learn how to do relationships from some of your books to be a very scary thing!

          And that does not mean that I am putting down your books. I disliked Sky rat, but for a very different reason that I think that is a bad teaching manual lol and I thought Alive on the inside was great, but not as a teaching tool either. JMO of course.

  35. Kathy B

    Hmm, do I expect condom use in m/m books? No, but I will admit that I do notice it when one is not used. Does it bother me? No. I just notice it because it is so prevalent in most books. I do notice when a committed couple is using them, and I wonder WTF?

    I wonder if authors who write the accidental pregnancy plot get blasted from their readers because the m/f stars probably weren’t using rubbers?

    I’m all about realistic plots, but whether or not the characters use condoms is not a deal breaker for me. I’m more concerned with how well the book is written.

    Great post, and I applaud y’all for your willingness to state your case in a public forum. As a reader, I love the insights from author’s perspectives,and it also gives me a different opinion to consider.

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi Kathy

      I wonder if authors who write the accidental pregnancy plot get blasted from their readers because the m/f stars probably weren’t using rubbers?

      The short answer is ‘no’ because that’s still a favourite trope and many readers eat it up. Having the sheikh’s baby? Or the boss’s baby? Are you kidding me?

      I’m all about realistic plots, but whether or not the characters use condoms is not a deal breaker for me. I’m more concerned with how well the book is written.

      Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

  36. Sirius11214

    I guess I am one of those readers who really does not give a crap as to whether characters will use condoms or not and OMG I will most certainly never downgrade a book if characters do not use a condom or call a writer on it.

    I mean, sure, if story calls for it, that’s fine, but I am also one of those who never used romances for safe sex manual and do not expect other people to.

    If characters are conscious about safe sex, sure, but as you guys said, I certainly do not need public service announcements.

    1. Wave Post author

      Sirius
      A reader that I can relate to. These books are written for adults and if an author chooses to have his/her characters use a condom, or not, that’s up to the author. M/M books are not PSA’s or safe sex manuals and are not intended for kids even though some readers are choosing to regard them as such. Kids pick up most of their information from the Internet than anywhere else, and that’s where the majority of them get their sex education – not from their parents or from books.

      1. Sirius11214

        You know, some time ago I have read elsewhere that somebody said that all she knows about relationships she picked up from romances. I reread that sentence once, twice, three times and it still boggled my mind. She was referring to m/f romances but I think the idea is pretty much the same.

        Now do not get me wrong, I have read quite a few romance books where I felt that the relationship was quite realistic while following the happy ending which while may not have been completely realistic was still believable to me(as you may know those are amongs my favourites).

        But I digress. While those books do exist, other romances also exist and um, I would never call those inferior romances, just fantasies.

        So, let’s say some kid decides that he or she will take their ideas of relationships from romances (including using them for safe sex manual of course).

        That would mean to me that such kid will learn that it is absolutely, positively totally OKAY to:

        1. Kidnap the person you want to be your partner and well, keep them without food till they see the light.

        2. Rape the person you want and well, as long as you are being nice to them eventually, they will fall in love with you anyway.

        3. It is totally okay not to listen to the person you love, because well, explanations to misunderstandings are incredibly overrated and it is better to spend years apart than let them finish the sentence.

        Do you see what I mean? I feel really really bad for the kid who decides to use romances as ANY sort of manuals and for their parents too. JMO of course.

  37. Sirius11214

    Sorry it still won’t let me edit, just want to clarify that when I referred to more or less realistic romances, I meant that I see no harm in learning to treat each other like those romance couples do, but it does not happen in all romance books and it should not IMO, because again IMO romances are not life manuals.

    1. Wave Post author

      Sirius
      You and I are totally on the same page. I don’t understand either authors or readers who regard romance books as life manuals. These are fantasies developed in the authors’ imaginations and executed as fiction. Why in the world would they assume that anyone believes this is real life? It boggles my mind.

      The examples you gave are wonderful and show how ridiculous this whole debate is.

      Thanks Sirius.

      1. Sirius11214

        Oh the list can go on and on Wave :). I mean of course there are romances, where I see so many things are done close to real life, but are authors going to put a disclaimer on every one of them stating that this one should be used as real life manual BUT only for this part of real life and god forbid you use it for this part, and this one cannot really be used as manual for anything. I just find the idea that NO romances should be used as manuals for anything in real life much simpler and much more useful.

        I mean, I am more than delighted when I read “Whispering in the Dark” by Tamara Allen and say “Shell shocked” By Angelia Sparrow since I see her participating in the thread and see what I think is very close to real life behaviour of people with PTSD. But Angelia Sparrow (and Naomi Brooks of course) also wrote “Alive on the inside”, which I think is an amazing book and “Sky rat” which I did not like, but are we seriously saying that these two books could be used for teenagers to study how to do relationships?

        I would never forbid child to read them, if he will so desire, but oh boy if he would bother sharing with me that he wants to read it, I would try to have a long talk with him, to explain to him that raping person you love is NOT Okay, under any circumstances in real life and if nothing else would land him in prison for a very long time. But more than anything I would have hoped that I brought up my child in a way that he would have a good sense to KNOW and understand the difference between reality and fiction and would not want to imitate what is happening in romances. And if he is reading romance where people are exhibiting close to real life behavior, I would hope that he is brought up in a way that he simply realizes that, but is not trying to copy that either since he would ALREADY know for example that he should use condoms when he is having sex with new person.

        Yeah, as you can see I am not big on romances as life teaching tools, no matter how realistic they could be in some ways.

  38. Ethan Day

    As usual I’m a day late and likely a dollar short, but I wanted to say a couple of things on the topic. First of which, I actually like condoms…I think they’re sexy and they kinda turn me on. I know, I’m most likely on an island all alone on this one. I don’t even know what it is, except maybe having a few minutes more where the anticipation continues to build? Like I said…probably all alone here. : )

    That being said, as a writer, one of the most basic rules is being true to the character you’ve created. It’s our job to create these people, to know them backwards and forwards so we can write their story and know what they will or won’t do in any given situation without needing to stop and think about it. The so called rules from the genre of fiction we’re writing should never supersede who that character is or determine the choices that they make. It’s the character that makes the story unique.

    Personally, I don’t like love with conditions. I think everyone has a right to it, whether they use condoms or not. I also understand there are a lot of readers who don’t feel that way. I realize that the book I write where one character goes off to chase after another guy 3/4 of the way into the book might not sell as many copies as the one where two guys meet and fall in love while never doing anything horrible to one another. As an author I get this. I would venture to guess most other authors do as well. You have the right to not like a book – you have the right to even say why…though if you’re complaining about a prostitute who takes money in exchange for no-glove-love, I worry for you. Seriously…it might be time to medicate. At the same time, no one has the right to dictate what I can or cannot write. That’s my choice as author to make, not anyone else’s. For my own personal tastes, I don’t like ‘gay for you’ stories. I think that story line is the BIGGEST fantasy of all time. I understand why women love them – it’s been explained to me. : ) I’d even venture to guess that there are plenty of gay men who like them. But for ME (just me – not speaking for anyone else), it’s so far out of the realm of my reality that I just can’t make the leap. I don’t however, go around berating authors who write them or readers who like to read them. Why? Because it would be a silly thing to do and it’s rude. And at the end of the day, it’s only my opinion…which I don’t expect everyone else in the world to share. : )

    Sheesh!! Why can’t we all just along!?! : )

    1. Wave Post author

      Ethan

      I don’t like ‘gay for you’ stories. I think that story line is the BIGGEST fantasy of all time. I understand why women love them – it’s been explained to me. : ) I’d even venture to guess that there are plenty of gay men who like them. But for ME (just me – not speaking for anyone else), it’s so far out of the realm of my reality that I just can’t make the leap. I don’t however, go around berating authors who write them or readers who like to read them. Why? Because it would be a silly thing to do and it’s rude. And at the end of the day, it’s only my opinion…which I don’t expect everyone else in the world to share. : )

      I just want to out myself here …. I like the occasional GFY, so there. lol.

      I have said many times that the authors should write their books, with or without condoms, and let the sperm fly where it wants. :) Unfortunately in our politically correct world M/M romance is being held to a different standard it seems than it’s sister across the hall, M/F.

      Why is M/M romance being linked to HIV AIDS? Every time someone comments about using condoms in M/M romance it’s usually in the context of spreading the HIV virus. Don’t straight men spread this virus too? Ask the many women now infected by AIDS where they got it. They will tell you it’s from their husbands or BF’s. Are readers obsessed about condom use in M/M because the stories are about gay men? Do readers feel that we have to cover up that gay penis just on the off chance it might spread disease? I don’t get it!!!

      Writers should write what they want as long as it’s not against the law – like pedophilia. (I guess they can write it but I won’t read it and they could get arrested). Of course readers also have the right to buy books they feel are appropriate to their taste.

      ….as a writer, one of the most basic rules is being true to the character you’ve created. It’s our job to create these people, to know them backwards and forwards so we can write their story and know what they will or won’t do in any given situation without needing to stop and think about it. The so called rules from the genre of fiction we’re writing should never supersede who that character is or determine the choices that they make. It’s the character that makes the story unique.

      You have to stop making sense Ethan. :)

      1. D J Manly

        Here here Wave….I totally agree. This doesn’t seem to be an issue in straight romance. We all know that straight people are all “safe” so guess they don’t need one.

        :)

  39. D J Manly

    I’m sticking with my disclaimer at the beginning of the book from now on…try to use them where appropriate without ruinging anyones pleasure.
    I do believe authors have some social responsibility but on the other hand, we are not public service announcements.

    I am in awe at how many comments this post got. Wow…when I started a blog about this a while back, I never knew that it would invite so much participation. That’s great!

    I love all my fans, the ones who write to me to chastise me over a condom…or not…too.
    xxx

    1. AJ Llewelyn

      DJ and I agree – how cool lol! I am thrilled by the response this got. We received a lot of emails privately and on FB about this as well as the comments here so clearly some people don’t think the issue needs to be put to bed. Some people have been afraid to address it – fearing a public backlash.
      Thank you to everyone for your opinions – much appreciated :)

  40. orannia

    I haven’t worked my way through all of the comments yet, but I thought I’d add my two cents in :)

    Regardless of whether the book is m/m or m/f, if it has a contemporary setting then I expect condems to make an appearance. If the setting is fantasy, historical or paranormal (and in the latter it is mentioned said ‘whatevers’ [e.g. shapeshifters, vampires] can’t contract or transmit STDs) then I’m fine without the mention. If the couple (or trio :) have been together for a while, agree to be monogamous and have been tested for HIV (and in the case of m/f other STDs) then I agree condoms aren’t necessary.

    Why do I believe all this? It’s like Tam said, realism. And nothing throws me out of a story more than characters playing Russian Roulette with their health.

    And when I say an appearance I don’t mean a song & dance…or public service announcement :) In fact, in the recent books I have read it’s not actually discussed, the condoms just appear and are used. Very matter of fact. Part of the furniture almost :)

    But saying all that, I respect the an author’s right to choose :)

  41. Teddypig

    I went over my thoughts on this in a post…

    http://www.teddypig.com/2009/11/little-boxes-all-the-same/

    I still feel the same way about it.

    If you are cutting and pasting in condom scenes as some sort of public service announcement then why are you doing it really because it’s just boring and I will skim over it for the same reasons.

    Little boxes on the hillside,
    Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
    Little boxes, little boxes,
    Little boxes, all the same.
    There’s a green one and a pink one
    And a blue one and a yellow one
    And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
    And they all look just the same

    1. Wave Post author

      Hi TP
      How I wish that you had joined the discussion earlier.

      I read your post and the comments, which were all very interesting. I wish I had seen it when you posted it because I would have given my two cents which probably would have been worth 1 cent. :(

      Rick Reed wrote NEG UB2 about a character who picked up the HIV virus from his BF (he thinks), but neither is sure who gave it to whom and that’s the way the story ends. It’s a really interesting conundrum – which came first, the chicken or the egg? Many readers didn’t want to read about a character who had the HIV virus because it was too realistic. Go figure.

      Condom use in M/M romances is a hugely divisive topic because some readers insist that condom use must reflect RL, and the rest us treat it like anything else in books – IT’S FICTION, NOT RL. So with that I will not be posting anything else about condom use in the forseeable future.

  42. William Maltese

    I began writing in the days before AIDS, no condoms. I wrote when AIDS became a big thing and writing safe-sex became mandatory; using condoms, even in fiction, required. Yes, AIDS is still out there but I believe fiction is fiction and should be recognized as such, and I don’t bother with condoms,any more, in my fiction, because putting one on and off I find an interruption “in the flow” (in one way or another), in real life and/in fiction.

    I’ll leave my comment at that, since I think all of the pros and cons have been discussed, here. I just follow the line of reasoning that says fiction, by definition, isn’t real, and for people to expect it to be seems a tad ludicrous to me.

  43. Erica Pike

    I actually prefer no-condom books, because it just gets in the way and makes the whole seem less intimate. To me, reading (and writing) is fantasy and in my fantasies condoms are not necessary. I do, however, write them in my books, but only because I’m a chicken who doesn’t want to be fried at the next take-out for not being realistic about condom usage. Of course if the character is the wild type who will have sex with anyone (like one of my characters is), then I think it’s only realistic to have him use condoms.

    I like the idea of a disclaimer – I think I might use that for the ones where the condom is absent ^.^

  44. Kandy Braley

    I honesly do not read romance novels at least not in the sence of realistic romance. I like fantasy (elves ext ext) romance though. That is the point of a romance novel to enoy the fantasies within your mind. I honestly would not want to read a book and come acrossa “His hands shook as he tried to rip the condom package open. Finaly flustrated he tore the package open with his teeth. He sliped the wet bundle of rubber and sliped it onto his pulsing cock” or something along those lines. Total TURN OFF. Romance is suposed to be unrestrained and filled with passion. Passion takes over logic many of the times. These books are to allow the mind to excape the mundane and “safe” ways. anyways those are my two cents. Oh and one last thing for these women to think about. Do you complain about no condoms in stright books? Most of the strigt books I have read do not contain condoms.

  45. http://tinyurl.com/kegolegg53265

    “My Sexual Fantasies Don’t Include Condoms:
    Prophylactics in Romantic Fiction by AJ Llewellyn, DJ Manly
    and Ryan Field | Reviews by Jessewave” was in fact a terrific article.
    In case it had alot more pictures it could be perhaps even better.
    Take care -Ivey

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