Erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel asks the question in a recent Salon article, Do condoms kill the mood of a book? Erotica authors don’t agree on safe sex demands–and gets an array of answers from other writers of fiction that’s meant to arouse.
Some writers say the lack of safe sex practices raises a red flag–“not out of ‘political correctness,’ but because it detracts from the reading experience,” Kramer wrote. Others point out that erotica is fantasy–god knows, enough of the ebooks on Amazon put disclaimers right at the top–and the fact that characters aren’t wearing rubbers is part of the fantasy. Why, they ask, kill the mood?
Where do I fall in the debate? Somewhere in the middle. In Upping the Ante, my main character, Alison, takes on seven horny steelworkers in a back-of-the-bar serial gangbang. To not have her use condoms struck me as absurd and a distraction for readers. So she rolls ’em on the happy guys (and I had fun writing it). But I didn’t overplay it. And later that night, when she has sex with her old fuck buddy, they don’t use a rubber.
In Making Michael Obey, a kinky MF romp between a committed, live-in couple, it never even occurred to me to have them use protection. In my gay orgy story, Welcome to the Club, it seemed natural that everyone used a condom. Again, I didn’t overplay it. Rolling one on a throbbing dick was just part of the action.
Happily, it’s not an issue with my lesbian erotica. And here’s an opportunity to plug one of my favorite erotica topics (and activities): masturbation. It’s the ultimate safe sex practice.
To me, it’s all about verisimilitude–yes, even in erotic fantasy–and not needlessly distracting the reader from the unfolding fun.