Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fantasy vs. Safe Sex

One of the reasons I enjoy erotica so much (and there are many, I’m just going with one here) is the fantasy fulfillment aspect.
In real life, I would not have a one night stand. I would not have sex with someone I met ten minutes ago. I would not have sex with two guys at the same time… you get my drift. There are lots of things I see in erotica that I would never do, but I love reading about them. I love the fantasy.
That’s why I don’t understand the occasional uproar that occurs regarding condom use in romance.
I think we as rational adult women can all agree that in real life condoms are essential, safe sex practices should be followed, follow common sense safety precautions with people you are going on a first date with such as letting a friend know who you will be with and where you are meeting, etc.
These are all important in the real world and I am in no way disparaging them. Does this mean I wish to read about any of them in my erotica? Nope. I say again – fantasy.
Because let’s be honest here, condoms are only the beginning. Really, condoms should be used with oral sex as well as penetration. Then don’t forget dental dams. Also, condoms do not protect fully against herpes, so both characters should be tested for all STD’s before engaging in sexual activity.
I don’t see anyone saying we should be including all of that in every book. Why not? If you are arguing that characters should act responsibly in their sex play, then all of the above should be followed, plus more.
I also have to admit, there is a tiny rebellious part of my brain that fires up whenever someone tells me I must write something a certain way. No I don’t, thank you much.
And there is also the fact that not every reader feels the same way about every subject. I as reader don’t care for condoms in my erotica, that’s probably why I don’t write condoms in my sex scenes (well, that, and I write mostly on the fantasy side where it doesn’t seem to be such a hot button issue.)  So for every reader who feels condoms are essential, there is one who shoulder shrugs or actively dislikes the safe sex aspect in erotica. That’s why there are so many books out there. Something for everyone!
Will I write condoms into a scene if I feel that is what the characters would do? Absolutely! Do I want to write condoms into a scene just because that is what I’m “supposed” to do? No thank you.
Romance and erotica are not safe sex manuals. If you are reading my work, I’m assuming you are reading for the fantasy, and I’m going to write accordingly.


Tina Donahue said...

Wow - you've read my mind on this subject, Dani. Like you, I would never tumble into bed with a guy I just met, nor would I engage in a threesome, foursome, etc. But hey, that's my real life. When I'm reading a novel, I want something out of the ordinary...a fanstasy. I just assume that the hero/heroine in books are free of disease when they have sex. I don't want a lecture on it by either party before they decide to get romantic. I generally put something in my books about the heroine being protected against pregnancy, but that's as far as I go. Otherwise, it kills the romance. Women who read romance are smart, educated, and don't need to be told repeatedly what constitutes safe sex. If we're so worried about that, why aren't we also lecturing them on safe relationships? Any psychologist will tell you having sex with a guy you met an hour before isn't wise - in real life. But again, this is fantasy. This is the ideal we're all living in our heads, not in our real lives. Hell, Sex and the City wasn't exactly a slice of life, was it? Who acts like Carrie and Samantha in real life?

I've been reading romance since high school. Not once during that time did I think - hmmm, the heroine had sex with this guy four seconds after they met, didn't get a disease, didn't get pregnant, he fell in love with her and they got married and lived happily ever after - wow, think I'll try that!

I didn't practice what the characters did, nor did my friends. We giggled and swooned over the stories but we were definitely grounded in reality when it came to our lives. We knew what we were up against in the real world and we acted accordingly and responsibly.

Let's give women credit for having brains. Let's give mothers credit for teaching their daughters how to protect themselves. A story isn't going to change that. Again, as you said, it's only fantasy.

Adele Dubois said...

I really enjoyed your post. I wish more readers shared your perspective and remembered that erotic romance is written as fantasy.

Many authors have been criticized for withholding the use of condoms in their sex scenes and I've seen reviewers mark books scores down because of that. I've also seen erotica lambasted for containing too much sex. Huh? It's EROTICA.

Of course the erotic story needs a solid plot, but sex is the mainstay of the erotic romance. If the h/h don't do the deed, we can't engage in their fantasies nor call the book erotic romance.

Best of luck with your writing.


jean hart stewart said...

I agree completely... stoppping to put on a condom in a sex scene takes some of the flow of the scene away. I never do it in my erotica. Do have the heroine insert a sponge sometimes, but mostly I ignore the pregnancy issue. Except then the plot calls on the heroine to get pregnanat. Jean

Fiona McGier said...

I have to respectfully disagree here. I don't write fantasy romance, I write realistic erotic romance. I would not "fall in love" with my heroes if they weren't the kind of men to bring the subject up beforehand, or at least right afterwards...hmm, since most men don't even talk about it, I guess that is more fictional than I intend to be!
So my characters DO talk about birth control, usually before but sometimes after they "do the deed".
As for what I did or did not do in my real life escapades before I met my husband, I plead the fifth! Let's just say that while youth may be wasted on the young, I truly and thoroughly enjoyed mine!

Danielle Monsch said...


I guess my bottom line is erotica is not a safe sex manual.

If you feel compelled to include any (or all) aspects of safe sex in your stories, that is your right. I would never tell you in any way how to write your story.

What I object to is someone berating an author for not using condoms in an erotic story.

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, sub/dude said...

Would you allow me to kiss your adorable feets in Heaven? I'd greatly love to do such a marvelous, delicious, wonderfull endeavor. Meet me Upstairs, miss gorgeous. God blessa youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

Lookit 'MySoulAccomplishment' first, a story I wrote in Lawrence, KS maaany years ago about sex in Heaven. And, yes, if we have the desire, anything is possible in Heaven. So, believe, girly, and you SHALL be rewarded at The End.