Rubbers & Romance

11 May

 And yes, I’m talking about that kind of ‘rubber’ :).  

I write contemporary romance. Hot and steamy and okay, sometimes dirty contemporary romance, erotic romance if you will. I try to make it as feasible and realistic as possible while still maintaining the fantasy element and keeping the reader grounded in the story. The last thing I want to do is have a reader pulled out of the story because of an element or the handling of it. It’s why I think a lot about the use of condoms in my books and how I would incorporate it into the story. Seamlessly. It has to be seamless. The bottom line is I don’t write dumb heroines. My modern heroines are aware of the risks of being sexually activity in this day and age and they wouldn’t think to have sex with a new guy without using protection. They would at least think about it—before, during or after. Of course, there’s always the spur of the moment, ‘we’re so into it that we might  forget’ moments. It happens, right? I’m not trying to preach anything and I want my books to be as hot as possible, but I feel that if I just exclude this whole area completely, I wouldn’t be fair to my characters. Yeah, I know. I probably sound a bit nuts LOL. I don’t spend a lot of time or words on this in the actual story. It needs to be part of the action, it needs to flow and it needs to be done in a way where the reader thinks nothing of it. It can be a quick line of dialogue, a descriptive action, heck…it can even be a sexy element in and of itself and be a feature of the scene! Other sub-genres such as historical, paranormal, futuristic and sci-fi I think can get away with not dealing with this area, but it’s kinda hard with contemporary to leave it out completely. At least I think so.

In light of the blog topic, I thought I’d share an excerpt from PLAY ME that has a condom reference :). ENJOY!

 His jaw flexed and his gaze bore into hers. He took a couple deep breaths. He seemed to be weighing his options. Jeez, she didn’t want to have to twist his arm.


“Why the fuck not?” he finally muttered.

The bottom dropped right out of Lily’s stomach. Okay, not exactly the resounding response she’d been hoping for, but she could run with it, couldn’t she? If she could get her nerves under control and didn’t make a complete fool of herself, of course.

She frowned when he opened the passenger door and leaned in. His gaze was direct on hers when he straightened, a small square packet held unapologetically in his hand as if he wanted to be certain she saw it.

“Are you sure?” he rasped.

Her heart thundered, her throat was dry and the damn trembling was back. Especially when it registered he was holding more than one.

God, she hadn’t been exaggerating when she said she’d never done anything like this before and she couldn’t say why she was now exactly. Sex had always been a natural progression in the relationships she’d had. After a reasonable time, after getting to know someone, after feeling a connection that came with spending time together, but this… This was a driving, aching need, a want so powerful it drove her to seize the moment, to not let him just walk away and to hell with the fact she didn’t know a thing about him. She just wanted to learn every inch of him, run her hands over the hard body she’d felt pressed against her, feel him on her, in her. She was drawn to him, her body attuned to his, every nerve ending tingling alive for him. And after knowing she’d wasted a year and a half of her life on a one-sided relationship, a farce, well, she was done with that.

She’d never gone for the bad-boy type before either. There was definitely something savage and untamed about him, something held tightly under control. He’d come tearing in, literally guns blazing and saved her from a fate that just might have been worse than death. It was hot and arousing. He was hot with this rough and rugged appearance, there was no doubt, but there was something almost vulnerable about him as well, something that reached out to her, as if he needed someone to keep him safe too. It was ridiculous. She knew it was. He was probably the last person who’d be in need of protection. He clearly didn’t need it, wouldn’t want it and probably wouldn’t appreciate it.

Mouth dry, she nodded.

 So…what do YOU think about the use of rubbers in contemporary romance these days? Yes, no, of course, depends??

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11 Responses to “Rubbers & Romance”

  1. Heather May 11, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    I don’t know why it bothers me when protection isn’t mention but it does just a little bit. I’ve read books were two people meet for the first time and they just start going at it. No talk of birth control, no putting on a condom, not even pulling out. It doesn’t make the story better or worse but I always seem to notice stuff like that. Just like the girl is never on her period. Ya I know, a chance like that could ruin the whole story but I can’t help but notice the little things.
    Btw, great excerpt. I like how he’s just standing there holding the condom, makes a sexy and tempting picture 🙂

  2. Marilyn Campbell May 11, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Excellent blog Kaily. You definitely have found ways to blend in the protection without totally disrupting the “action”. I was relieved when EC revised the requirement so it only needed to be mentioned once. Personally I’ve relied a lot on b/c pills or tied tubes 🙂

  3. Ruthie Knox May 11, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I’m very much in the “pro” camp. I know a lot of readers think condoms kill the mood, but they don’t bother me a bit. What does bother me is when the characters don’t use them, or, worse, when they appear as if by magic — I get distracted wondering where this condom came from, who was carrying it, how it got opened, and so on.

    But what I *really* hate is when they disappear magically. Like a sex scene that segues into a second sex scene, but no one has stood up or even reached for a tissue to do something about that used rubber.

    I guess this puts me firmly in the realist camp.

  4. Jamie Wesley May 11, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Hi Kaily,

    Great topic. It kills me when condoms aren’t brought up in contemporaries. I notice every single time. It’s irresponsible not to mention it at least briefly. If they forget, I at least need the characters to say “crap” after the glow has worn off.

  5. Lauren Fraser May 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Great post, Kaily.

    I’m a big fan of the use of condoms in contemporary romance unless they are in a committed relationship. It always bothers me when I read about the first time with a virtual stranger and he says I’m clean and she just goes “oh okay then. Umm duh, of course he’s going to say I’m clean. LOL

    Guess I fall into the camp of people who like a little reality with their fantasy.

  6. Kaily Hart May 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Heather, I’m with you. It does tend to pull me out of the story in contemporary romance if it’s just not mentioend at all. I just keep wondering about it…

    Thanks, Marilyn!

    Ruthie, I don’t think condoms kill a mood at all either. It’s just a natural, integral part of sex today. It’s not unpleasant, it’s not unnatural, it just is like taking your clothes off. I guess it’s all in the treatmet of it.

    Jamie, yeah I need at least the ‘oh crap’ moment as well :).

    Lauren, guess I like a little reality with my fantasy too LOL!

  7. Dreama May 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    I have to say that this is one trend that I really agree with. First, I like that the characters are responsible. It shows readers that using protection is important as well as being tested for STDs. I think it also makes it acceptable. There’s a stigma about talking about birth control that is even bigger than talking about sex and that needs to change. Shifting our cultural acceptance to include protection will help keep people healthy and safe.

  8. Sasha Devlin May 11, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    Definitely in the pro camp. I get the swept-away-we-forgot moments, but if that’s what happens, I need the author to acknowledge it.

    I really hate when two characters who are suddenly thrown together just go at it and no mention is made of protection or even regrets because none was used. Just seems stupid and in many cases gross.

    And niiiice excerpt

  9. KJ Reed May 11, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the word “seamlessly.” There doesn’t have to be a blaring horn of ‘WHERE IS THE CONDOM DO YOU SEE HE PUT IT ON HIS PENIS THE COUPLE IS NOW PROTECTED LETS GET BACK TO SEX PEOPLE!” But a simple mention of a foil packet will suffice for me. And for what it’s worth, I tend to assume (right or wrong, but I do, as a reader) that if the couple has used protection once or twice already, that they continue to do so through the rest of the book unless otherwise mentioned.

  10. Karen C May 11, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    My response to the condom question is ‘of course’! I agree with the comments already made – nothing new to add there. I love the excerpt – hot!! Thanks.

  11. Dale Ealey May 16, 2011 at 12:24 am #

    Condoms yes! Whenever there is a scene with a first time ecounter and a condom isn’t used I always have a mental “Oh-Oh!” Your excerpt was hot and you worked in the use of protection wonderfully. And It made the story hotter. There was concern for the other person.

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