Wednesday, August 3, 2011

To condom or not to condom?

To condom or not to condom is a tricky question. Many readers say they hate the stopping of the action while the hero grabs the latex. Other readers say if there is no condom they are basically waiting for the baby to arrive.
Some authors make rolling the rubber down an erection part of the foreplay. Others use ribbed, colored, flavored or otherwise unusual condoms to add to the action.
Many publishing houses insist on condom usage unless there are specific reasons why one is irrelevant, such as vampire or werewolf heroes who cannot get the heroine pregnant nor carry human diseases.
I write for several houses that require condoms to be used and mostly this suits me. I certainly don’t want an unplanned pregnancy entering the action and it’s pretty much a given in an erotic romance, that with lots of sex happening, pregnancy is very likely.
Then there is the disease issue. None of my characters are virgins so realistically, with them all having had several partners, disease is an issue that ought to be considered. So yes, condoms work for my characters.
In my books for publishers that don’t insist on condoms I’ve done various things, usually whatever the characters have wanted. Committed couples/triads often don’t use condoms. Since they’ve been together for a while and are faithful, it’s reasonable to assume they’re taking suitable precautions. But in naughtier books they seem to prefer protection.
What about you? Where do you fall in the hate condoms/prefer condoms spectrum?

Meanwhile, here’s a taste of my latest release for you.
“Rock Hard” blurb:
A series of naked, well-endowed statues in the local park encourage lovers Fleur, Ricky, and Heath to indulge in some hot, naughty public sex. But is there more to these statues than rock-hard abs?
Lily and Flynn have been trapped inside a statue since last Halloween. When a mischievous God with a love of all things sexual swaps them for the trio of lovers, can the strength of their love set them all free?

“Rock Hard” Excerpt. WARNING PG13.
Heath was staring up at a statue of a woman wearing nothing much, with one huge breast exposed.
“Climb up and kiss it, Heath and I’ll take your photo,” called Fleur.
Heath shrugged the backpack off his shoulders and took a run up to the statue, catching hold of her elbows and kissing the breast, before dropping back to the ground.
The three laughed over the rather blurry photo on Fleur’s phone then Heath picked up his backpack and they continued walking around the little path, which took another turn.
“We seem to be walking around this never-ending hedge-thing. I wonder what it is,” commented Fleur.
Still another turn took them to the opening in the hedge and a sign.
“It’s a maze! Oh awesome, come, on,” called Fleur running inside. “Right or left?”
Ricky scanned the sign, but there was no key to the maze there. “Likely we’ll be stuck here for a hundred years, slowly starving and turning into skeletons,” he wailed in as mournful a voice as he could manage.
“Our bones will be found by archeologists on a dig in the year 2100,” added Heath in a sepulchral tone.
But Fleur just laughed, turning right and left as they meandered through the maze.
After half a dozen dead-ends, and just when Ricky was getting tired of the game, they found themselves in the center of the maze. There was a cluster of benches to sit on, and a fountain.
Predictably, in the middle of the fountain was a statue of a man and a woman, dressed in long cloaks and very little else, in a clinch.
“You know, people say art today is pornographic, but when you look at statues like the ones in the Gardens here, they’re definitely anatomically correct,” said Heath.
“Oh yes. Just think of all the famous paintings we studied in school. Most of them were naked too. And David,” added Fleur, licking her lips.”
“David who?” Ricky wasn’t following her conversation.
“Michelangelo’s David. Now he’s mighty easy on the eyes.”
“Didn’t the museum hang a fig leaf over his cock or something so ladies wouldn’t be shocked?” asked Ricky.
“Yeah because he’s not circumcised.”
“So what?”
“The real David would have been circumcised, but the sculpture is from the Renaissance and European men weren’t circumcised then, so I guess Michelangelo sculpted what he saw,” added Fleur.
They talked about art for a while, the conversation rambling as it does among good friends. That was something else Ricky loved about his partners, actually how they’d begun their relationship. The easy way they could share about pretty much anything at all. Finally Ricky stood up. “Better keep moving. We’re a long way from the bus stop.”
After a few false starts they found their way out of the maze, Ricky having taken pains to memorize the directions they took. They kept walking on the little path, deciding that it circumnavigated the maze and would bring them back to the main path.
“Oh look, another statue,” said Fleur, jogging ahead to look at it. Then she shrieked, “Oh my God, Ricky, this one looks exactly like you.”
Heath punched him lightly on the shoulder. “Your turn for a photo opportunity, my friend.”
Curious, Ulric lengthened his stride until he stopped in front of the statue. Well, damn if Fleur hadn’t been right. She’d mentioned this statue. It was a huge wolf, his head raised scenting the air. Ricky stepped up on the base, then launched himself up to clamber onto the wolf’s back while Heath snapped a picture of him.
As soon as he was back on the ground, Fleur grabbed both men’s arms. “It’s a sign. We should fuck here.”

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Berengaria Brown


My 2 Cents said...

Condoms blow the whole fantasy for me. It's a FANTASY, not real life.

I don't know why publishers force Romance authors to use them. No one forces male writers to use condoms. Never seen one in a male-written story, so they're staying out of my books. There are too many publishers to be forced into writing what you don't want to write. If you don't care, then I guess it's a nonissue for you.

There's nothing more believable than 5 men putting on condoms to bang one chick. Or that they'd be faithful. Oh, yeah, FANTASY.

Liz said...

I have done both, making condom failure a central stressor for my heroine at in one WiP. plus the "oh hell I don't WANT to use a condom because my carnal need to impregnate is too strong" meme is intriguing.
And the committed couples I have written don't use them. But my most recent short story acceptance is a quick, hot, moment where the condoms don't even enter the conversation. I make it part of the story, if possible, 'cause while fantasy is part of the romance writing reality the hard fact is many publishers just require them.

Harlie Reader said...

I think that the first time they have sex they should use a one but after that, it should be mentioned after the fact. Everyone reading knows about safe sex so I don't think making a big production out of it is exciting.

Now in the world of paranormals, anything goes. Some writers have their heroe's being able to reproduce and some don't. Not an issue with me in paranormal books.

Berengaria Brown said...

My 2 cents your last paragraph is awesome! Yes it's fantasy and we all love the fantasy.
Yes, Liz, using it in the plot can work very well.
Good point, Harlie. The first time shows they are sensible, and after that the reader can make up their own mind.
Thank you all for visiting.

Kaye Spencer said...

My preferred genre to write is historical, so safe sex practices among the characters is challenging to incorporate into the story. I absolutely love that aspect of writing historicals. it stretches me keep the heroine "un-pregnant" lololol.


Berengaria Brown said...

Hi Kaye,
Casanova apparently used condoms he tied on with a ribbon. But yes, I'm not sure how well that would have worked!

hotcha12 said...


Berengaria Brown said...

He is yummy!