I love Twitter. You just learn all kinds of things.
Today someone on Twitter posted this article from Mrs. Giggles about Things That Should Be Banned From Romance Novels. I’m not going to go through the whole list, but I will point out this part:
Safe sex – or why we protect ourselves during sex
If I see another author having her heroine tell the hero that it is okay if he sticks his pee-pee into her unchartered waters without a condom because she is on the Pill, I will scream. Please don’t tell me that these authors honestly believe that safe sex is only to prevent pregnancy. Actually, I once had an angry email from an author that convinced me that this could indeed be the case for some authors, shudder. They genuinely believed that the Pill is a method of protection during sex. I’m going to say this in caps because I’ve been saying this for so long, I think it should be tattooed on the forehead of these authors:
DO NOT MENTION CONDOMS OR SAFE SEX IF YOU HAVE NO INTENTION OF HAVING YOUR CHARACTERS HAVE SAFE SEX. DON’T INSULT MY INTELLIGENCE WITH THAT “OH, I’M ON THE PILL, SO THROW AWAY THAT JOHNNY AND COME ON IN!” NONSENSE. WHEN IT COMES TO SAFE SEX IN FICTION, IT’S ALL OR NOTHING – PROTECTION OR NONE AT ALL.
Okay, so I get what she’s saying. But. Let me ask this: name ONE romance novel you have read where the hero/heroine had safe (condom) sex and then later one or the other admitted they had an STD.
I can’t think of one!
Let’s get real. Safe sex in “Romance” novels is pretty much there to address the whole pregnancy issue. I can’t think of a single romance novel I’ve read where the condom sex thing was really there to prevent one or the other from getting an STD. Romance novels are fiction. In a happily ever after fiction world, STDs don’t exist. So this whole thing about the Pill vs condoms…doesn’t even register for me.
Would I want to read a romance where one or the other has an STD? Ah, no. Because that’s not a happily ever after moment for me. “Here, I love you, honey, but I have AIDS. We’ll have an HEA until I die.” (Sounds like a Nicholas Sparks book…which we all know is NOT romance.) So um, yeah. In romance novels, I really don’t have a problem with this. Obviously, because my characters have had condom sex and non condom sex. I think a conversation between the main characters addressing the issue is important, but so long as both characters are on the same page and no one’s taking advantage of the situation, I’m good with it.
Now one thing that DOES irritate me about the whole safe sex thing in romance novels is when the author makes a big deal about the characters having safe sex the first time they’re together, then never mentions it again. I’m often left thinking, “Um, wait. Now they don’t even think about it again? And no one’s using a condom, and they aren’t discussing if she can get pregnant. WTF???” If you’re going to bring up the whole safe sex thing, then carry it through and at least have them discuss it later. If you don’t want to even mention it, I’m fine there too, just so long as the author is consistent.
How about you? What’s your take on the whole safe-sex issue in romance novels?