Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Wearing the Raincoat - or not

I was mentioning on a message board the other day about a book I very recently read that I quite enjoyed but one thing took me right out of it. And that was the total lack of any kind of protection use. The heroine had a reputation as being on the wild side and when it came to ‘the deed’ she told the hero not to worry, she was on the pill. I got thinking that back in my ‘salad’ days (heh heh) that answer probably would have been sufficient, but it just didn’t cut if for me in today’s age. If I had been the hero, I would have been thinking “well that’s great for not making babies and all but that’s just the tip of the iceberg”. There was no discussion about her past sex life – or his and I found that terribly irresponsible of the author. Reading contemporaries today, I have just come to expect that the hero and heroine will be use something other than just baby making preventatives.
I don’t know if this is an accurate reflection of current real life or not – this lack of communication between sex partners. I’ve been married for over 30 years now – since before aids and other STD’s were so prevalent. I trust my husband completely and the last thing I want is to have any kind of affair so this has never been an issue with us. We have two grown sons and while I’ve tried to talk to them about sex when they were younger, the conversations were always somewhat stilted. In fact my oldest son shut me up, when I brought up the subject and he said “Mom, don’t worry, I’m celibate these days.” I think it would have been much better with girls. I understand girls so much more than boys.
But the question is, has the awareness of the risks involved in sex diminished somehow? With all the medical advancements in treating aids, HIV positive and other STD’s are young people and yes older people to – this isn’t age restricted, less vigilant than they were say five years ago and is this going to be reflected in our reading? In the book I read just before reading the one in question, there was a also a scene where the hero and heroine didn’t use anything the first time But at least in the first book they had a conversation in the “weren’t we stupid, how could we have been so careless” kind of vein. I found that much more acceptable than nothing mentioned at all about it.
It’s odd how I’ve come full circle. When I first started reading contemporaries and the hero used a condom, it took me out of the story briefly – since that wasn’t an issue when I was dating – the pill was enough. Now I was really pulled out when the hero didn’t.

Of course as I said, I quite enjoyed the book anyway and stopped and got another one by the same author today - just to see if she does it again of course.

'til later


Robin said...

I totally agree with you, Kristie. I had my wild days, too, which makes me appreciate all the more when an author makes the hero suit up for the old slip and slide. I know that some readers argue that condoms take away from the fantasy or the romance of it all, but for me it's the opposite; no protection is a disruption for me, pulls me out of the story, and makes me wonder what the author was thinking. Maybe it's because condoms are so prevalent in both real life and the Romance I read that they have become the norm and therefore I expect their presence just as I expect the lovin'. Great post, Kristie. Love your son's comment to you!

Tara Marie said...

It's always a surprise when an author doesn't include a condom. So many authors add them seamlessly, why would an author not include it. Like you it's not a worry for me, but people out there dating need to be conscious of them in "the heat of the moment," shouldn't we expect the same of characters in a book.

I agree with Robin--loved your son's comment--LOL.

Rosario said...

Same here, I've become so used to condoms in love scenes that I get distracted when they aren't used. I tend to assume that "no condom" means that the author is planning a pregnancy for her heroine, and I'm right 90% of the times.

The only author I give a free pass to is Nora Roberts. I've read her for so long that I already know that, as a rule, she doesn't do surprise pregnancies, so I always assume in her love scenes that a condom is being used, just not mentioned. Probably unfair to other authors, but there it is.

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