Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. I also offer virtual assistance to authors and web maintenance services. rabidreads.ca
Are You Into Safe Sex?
Unless you’re strictly a Young Adult reader, and even then there are still ‘mature’ books in this genre, you’ve probably encountered a decent amount of sex scenes in your fictional wanderings, but how many of ‘em actually mentioned contraception in some way, shape or form? It doesn’t cross my mind a lot; however there are certain occasions where I think that it should practically be a requirement. I don’t want an author to beat me over the head with it because even though some writers are capable of making condoms hot, as a general rule they aren’t, so a brief mention when two characters initially get together is sufficient in most instances.
There are certain scenarios though where its absence is incredibly noteworthy, namely novels that feature group sessions. Cassie Alexander’s THE HOUSE immediately comes to mind. In this book every room that the protagonist visits leads to a different erotic experience, yet there is absolutely NO mention of any of the characters using protection or having had to submit a clean bill of health in order to be able participate in this particular fantasy. In situations like this it’s tough not feel equal amounts disgust and arousal at the on page happenings.
New Adult / Young Adult are genres in which this subject MUST be addressed in my opinion on account of the age of the hero(in)es, and the overall target audience of these types of titles. Teen pregnancy and STI’s are not topics that should be glossed over, or disregarded entirely, and I think that authors have a responsibility to don the role model cap if they decide to include romps in their stories. I read Kate Bloomfield’s LONE GIRL this past November, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with this series, it features a student / teacher relationship. I easily accepted that the issue was omitted entirely in the first installment, but book 2 actually trivialized the practice of safe sex which was so NOT cool.
The only exception to both of the previous examples is if the characters are immortal supernaturals. It’s kinda implied that these peeps are immune to all diseases, and are more often than not sterile (i.e. vampires), so there’s no real point in them wearing a condom. The very idea of it is actually pretty silly when you think about it. However, if the protagonist is a red blooded human, then I’d prefer there to be a quick footnote. Jennifer Estep does this really well in her ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN novels with her reoccurring little white pills statement.
Have a bookish question you’d like Rabid Reads to weigh-in on? E-mail me, and be sure you include your blog URL (if you have one), so we can give you credit!