Imagine A World Without Condoms :)

Before you get all upset and everyone starts throwing things or smacking me around, which is not a nice thing to do anyway, I want to say upfront that this is a fun post, so don’t get your shorts (or lacy underthings) in a twist….

I call M/M romances “condom fest” because that’s what they are. Everywhere I turn in an M/M story – except for sci fi, historicals or paranormals – (more about that later) condoms are flying every which way in every colour of the rainbow. 🙂 Did I say rainbow? Sorry, that was a slip of the tongue but very appropriate.

Have you noticed that het romances don’t have many condoms (comparatively speaking) even though the hero and heroine are going at it like gangbusters and the heroine’s sexual past is just as spotty as that of a gay man’s? Is there a double standard? Of course part of the reason could be because in M/M there are usually two dicks in play, while in het romances there may only be one dick at a time, unless it’s a menage in which case there could be up to four. It is a fact that there are fewer condoms in het romances. How else can you explain why so many heroines get pregnant with the Sheikh’s baby, or the boss’s sperm finds its way up the va jay jay some starry night and a few months later, lo and behold, the secretary has a little whatever his name is.

I thought that the theme song for this post should be “Imagine” by The Beatles. Of course Larissa – damn her for being so young  – will probably ask me who the hell are these dudes, The Beatles, and whether they are a new Goth group.  🙂

“Imagine there are no condoms
It’s easy if you try
No latex between us
Above us only sky (or sheets of cum)”

……. sorry, I lost my rhythm there but I think I make a pretty OK poet 🙂

Picture an M/M book without condoms:

First: The book would be a hell of a lot shorter. Think of how much time the guys spend either putting one on, taking it off, tying it off, (yes, Virginia, they still tie them off and I have no idea why someone would want to hold those slimy f**kers long enough to tie them off  – ask the authors), wrapping them in tissues, and then aiming for the garbage cans and missing.

Second:  Many condoms would no longer go to landfill sites. Do you have any idea about the number of condoms in M/M romances? At the current rate that the protags have sex in M/M stories today, that’s at least 20 x 2 condoms per novella. So 40 condoms at minimum are used before the HEA, and if the book is novel length you have to double that number to 80. (I’m pretty good at math). 🙂 Of course authors could reduce the amount of sex in the books and this would mean less condom action, but I’m told that because these are ‘erotic’ romances the ‘rule’ is they need to have the guys in bed for at least one third to one half  of the book. hee!

Third: Publishers would lose a lot of good mojo with those readers who insist on condoms at all costs in their M/M books, even with committed couples – again, I don’t know why. It’s not as if it means anything. Remember, these stories are fantasies. Read on ……

Fourth: A lot of the dialogue and prose in these books would be eliminated. For example, Guy #1 wouldn’t have to ask Guy #2 if he was “clean” since that wouldn’t matter, and Guy #2 wouldn’t need to answer. I’m wondering, since I haven’t read many het romances recently, what do they ask in place of the much hated “Are you clean”? The other preliminary “getting to know you” stuff such as “What size do you take? I have extra, extra small to jumbo” would also not be necessary, and the protags would go at it sooner, so all you would hear would be grunts in place of full sentences. 🙂

Fifth: The guys would not need to be constantly going out for “supplies”. No condoms = no shopping, and we all know that men hate shopping. Of course they would still have to buy lube, but if they didn’t have any in the house they could always use what they did in the ‘old’ days – good old lard. 🙂 Or olive oil. If OO reminds you of cooking, what about a nice pat of butter? Sorry, there goes that cooking thingy again.

Sixth: There would be no need for all of that ribbed, fancy stuff. The guys would not have to use “girly” condoms in different colours that tough cowboys hate. After all, real cowboys who may use a condom or two just want basic white stuff.

Seventh: Think of all the money the guys would save if they didn’t have to buy all of those condoms they use in M/M romances. Who normally buys them anyway – the pitcher or the catcher?

Eighth: Gone would be the horrible taste of latex while performing oral sex. Have you noticed lately that more and more of the guys in M/M romances are using condoms for oral sex? I wonder if this happens in het romances as well?

Ninth: Some of my fun in reading paranormals, historicals and sci fi would be watered down. I’m sure you’ve noticed that these books have no condoms. Whoever invented the excuse of why there was no need for condoms in these books (weres, vamps etc. can’t catch STD’s) is a genius. Now if only they could fix contemporary M/M. hmmmm……..

Tenth: If there were no condoms editors would be able to spend their time editing instead of checking to see whether M/M authors had the appropriate “outerwear” or “raincoats” on their guys. They won’t have to point out all the time “you missed a few dicks.” Sorry, I meant “a few spots.” 🙂

Eleventh: Those readers, publishers, editors and authors who are having heart failure right about now imagining gay men in contemporary M/M romances without condoms, take a deep breath. These books are fantasies just like paranormals, sci fi and historicals. Whenever I complain about characterizations the authors tell me that the characters are not supposed to be like real people, they are products of their imaginations. So having said that, who are the authors really doing the condom thingy for? If the protags are not real people how can they catch real people diseases? Just asking! Are we trying to educate real gay men about safe sex? Newsflash: The few real gay men who read M/M don’t really need M/M romances to teach them about safe sex. Pssst, I think they already know . 🙂 Just saying 🙂

Twelfth: Publishers’ guerilla or stealth marketing tactics will no longer generate the goodwill that they have built up in the past with the condom manufacturers.  Currently publishers could probably ink a deal with Trojan to mention condoms x number of times in each M/M book and Trojan would give them a kickback based solely on the number of “condom moments.” That promotional opportunity would be gone in a flash if condoms went the way of the do do bird.

Thirteenth: I’m still thinking about this. But while I’m thinking about another fantasy, do you think that those characters in M/M romances who are really hung (you know the ones I mean), are they available only to other guys? Okay I know they’re gay, but if they’re looking, I’m available ………. that’s my fantasy. 🙂

I hope that the authors, publishers, editors and readers of M/M romances have a sense of humour or I’m sunk. 🙂

This post is commercial free.  Tune in next week when I’ll have another episode of “As The M/M World Turns.” Next week’s episode is about fantasies. You’ll really like that one. 🙂

************

BTW Kassa I did not steal the picture of condoms on a clothesline from you. I used it first right after I stole it from JenB, another blogger friend almost 2 years ago when I did my first condom post. 🙂

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

95 comments

  • Fae
    This thread is not dead. I’m still getting emails from pissed off readers.

    Thanks for the clarification. However, I noticed that a few writers who I will not name don’t always have their guys use a condom even when other authors with the same publisher have to stick to the “must have a condom” rule. So I’m assuming that it’s either because they have been with a particular editor for a long time who is apt to overlook it, or they have some sort of stature with that publisher.

    The real question that no author has answered satisfactorily is why there are different rules for het than for M/M romances with regard to condom use. Is it that the editors and publishers consider all gay men to be “suspicious” as regards their sexual history, so they will be more likely to have some sort of STD, while women are considered safe? I used to read a lot of het romances before I switched forever 🙂 to M/M and I did notice that there was no hard and fast rule for condom use in het. All of those same readers who demand that gay men in M/M wear a condom are not as strict for het. I wonder why?

  • We had a whole discussion on the Kindle Smut group at Goodreads about the lack of condoms in Babysitting the Baumgartners where a couple seduces the babysitter. Lots of people are icked out by underage sex and tons of people were disgusted that the couple never used condoms with the teenage babysitter. I think use should be mentioned the first time and we will infer it the rest of the time.

    I have a friend that works at county hospital that tells me there are still too many AIDS patients. I have had heated discussions with friends that didn’t want to take their daughters for that anti-cancer shot. (Forget the name right now.) For some reason they think getting their daughter protection from some types of cervical cancer will turn her into a slut. (Shakes head) Some people could use a good slap to engage their brain.

    • Hi
      HIV AIDS is a deadly disease and we should all protect ourselves against it. However, what I’m talking about in this post is a fantasy that has nothing to do with reality.

      Teenage babysitters having sex without condoms is a whole different can of worms. Any show that promotes that would be totally irresponsible.

  • First off, wicked awesome post! Now you’ve got me thinking about what it would be like without condoms. I wonder if they would go back to using animal skins or parts of animals you really do not want to use.

    The dialogues would indeed be interesting. Hmmm imagine all the frustrated characters, having to wait and all that!

    I honestly can’t remember reading a book where they use any other sort of condom than the basic latex one. *thinks* Hmmmm

    Second off: me? Not know the Beatles? of course I know them! I might be in my hair band/glam rock (yum men in tight leather pants!!! who can sing reaaaaly high) phase, but I know my classics! Though I perfer the Rolling Stones *grin* And I am 27 not that young 😉

    *goes off to explain to collegues why she’s laughing so hard*

    • Hi Larissa

      I’m glad to know that you’re aware of the Beatles. I could have bet the price of a Starbucks double latte (which is not cheap) that you were too young to know. You and I think alike in terms of the Stones – they are my #1 group and I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen them in concert, they’re still great. Although I think they should stop touring now. 🙂

      I’m pleaased that you liked the post. You appear to one of the few people who realized that this was supposed to be a fun post and not to be taken seriously. The picture of the editors checking to ensure that every cock had a jacket was really hilarious. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why they don’t have time to do any actual editing, going by a couple of recent books I read. I won’t say who the publisher is but it comes back to the point you made on Val’s post today about all those editorial errors.

      Have a good day and drop by again real soon. 🙂

      • Ha now that my screen is facing the wall, that shouldn’t be a problem 😉

        How could they not see the fun? I’ve been amused all afternoon and visualized dialogues with characters about condoms. Too much fun. I also got wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much information of a colleague about his use of different condoms (man so did now want to know that, but I should have kept my mouth shut)

        I didn’t read all the comments, but I’m surprised that there are editors who are anal (yes pun intended) about the use of condoms. Almost makes me want to write a story in with some condom fun 😛 They should indeed focus more on the growing mistakes and the rise of some dubious themes like non-con with elaborate scenes. Though I have yet to make up my mind about m-preg…

        • Hi Larissa
          Sorry I didn’t see this comment earlier. There is something wrong with my “notification” system from WordPress.
          This was intended to get readers to let their hair down and have a bit of fun/. We all know about the dangers of HIV AIDS and that there is no cure and I would be the last person that would recommend barebacking but it seems that readers get all hot under the collar about condoms in M/M romances but not het romances.

          I’m glad you had fun with the post. You at least have a sense of humour. And yes, the editors make the authors add condoms whenever they forget unless they are someone of the stature of say a Josh Lanyon.

          Show your work colleague the picture of the condoms in the post. 🙂

          • Hi Wave. Not to revive a dead thread but I feel like I should comment since it was me who initially mentioned having an editor ask to add a condom. I’m not sure where the idea that it had to do with the ‘stature’ of the author came from, but that is not actually the case. It has to do with publisher house style. It depends on who you’re published with. I know NY authors who have the same issue, because the publisher’s house style requires it.

            Different publishers have different rules. It can also have to do with the editor at said publishing house. Some are more apt to bend the rules a bit and others are more strict. It has nothing to do with an author’s ‘stature’. Just to clarify.

  • Wave – I never comment, but I wanted to say that your post cracked me up. Reminded me of the “one-two-three and you’re in” post from a while back.

    I love M/M and find many aspects of the characters and situations to be very authentic, but I agree with you – much of what I read in M/M is not like real life. I grew up in SF and used to live with a bunch of gay guys. Their lives (and that of all my gay friends now) were nothing like those of the men in M/M. However, I lived in the Castro, which maybe was less representative of the norm? I mean, we had a condom dispenser (yeah, like Pez) in the hall and we’d all take turns buying the most outrageous ones we could find to sneak into the mix.

    In my M/M romance, I like to know the guys I’m reading about are safe, bit I don’t need to be reminded in EVERY scene. But that’s me, and I get that others disagree.

    Regarding the double standard in het vs. gay romance – In books, I’m seeing more condoms in het romance, but by no means is it the norm like it is in M/M. I also see a huge double standard in porn. There’s a stigma in gay porn about barebacking – several gay porn actors have blogged about being blackballed by the major studios after doing bareback. On the other hand, the heads of some major het studios (Vivid for one) are actively opposing mandatory condom rules in CA.

    Anyway…your post cracked me up. And after reading all the comments, I can see where others are coming from, but still you made me laugh.

    • Hi Kel

      >>Wave – I never comment, but I wanted to say that your post cracked me up< < That was my intention - to give everyone a few laughs about seeing the other side of condoms in M/M. However I didn't realize that this was a sacred cow that no one could joke about. As I said earlier, we joke about death, religion and many other touchy subjects, but dare to joke about condoms? You take your life in your hands. >>I grew up in SF and used to live with a bunch of gay guys. Their lives (and that of all my gay friends now) were nothing like those of the men in M/M.< < I live in Toronto which has a large gay population, probably the largest outside of SF, and my gay friends crack up every time I make them read an M/M book to give me their opinions about certain situations. Books are fiction but the M/M authors keep saying that even though they ARE fiction the characters are as realistic as they can make them, yet many gay men don't find them believable.

  • Wave: I was amused 😉 but find it difficult to quell my serious thoughts on the subject. No doubt other people got a laugh from your post…but still wanted to reply to the underlying serious part, too. It’s very difficult not to (for me, anyway). But I’ll restrain myself and just say…

    …are you trying to destroy the latex industry?! So many people out of jobs if condoms weren’t used in M/M books! 😉 Why, the books where they only use condoms for fucking–not for sucking–takes money out of condom-makers’ pockets. Won’t someone please think of the condom manufacturers?!

    (But oh, I have so many serious thoughts on the topic….)

    • Hi Kendall

      >>…are you trying to destroy the latex industry?! So many people out of jobs if condoms weren’t used in M/M books! < < But think of all the condoms that would end up being recycled (no one can tell me if it's possible to recycle condoms, so I'm assuming they are recyclable) thereby creating new jobs. 🙂 Who gets the job of washing them I wonder, BEFORE they are recycled??? 🙂 >>(But oh, I have so many serious thoughts on the topic….)< < I, too, have many serious thoughts on the subject since a very good friend died from HIV AIDS about 10 years ago; I would be the last person to advocate the elimination of condom use in RL. I'm glad you could see the humour in the post. 🙂

  • I missed this post until today when Wave mentioned it in her ‘what’s ahead this week’ post. So I went back to Friday and read the post and laughed and agreed with most of what she blogged about. Then I read the replies. Wow! Some of you can’t take a joke, can you? It’s not as though m/m romance stories are about real life. It’s an escape. It’s fiction! So what if the characters use condoms or not. If the author wishes to write it in, go for it. If not, fine with me.

    I can’t believe that some of you think m/m romance should/could be a teaching guide for younger people. Really? Again, let me repeat, it’s fiction, it’s not real. Let’s look at a paranormal story and set the gay sex aside for a minute. You want them to think that reading minds, changing from man to beast, having the sex drive of a superhuman is real? You can’t take one aspect of a story and think that is a teachable moment and leave out 75% of the rest. Some of these characters are immune to death itself. Is that a ‘teachable’ moment?

    A very valid point Wave made over and over again is double standard of gay, m/m romance as compared to het romance. It is expected that the gay characters will wear condoms, but straights don’t have to? WTF!! I don’t get that mindset at all. All you m/m authors are being discriminated against. Especially if your editor is pressuring you to rewrite a scene to include condoms. Again, if you want your characters to wear them, please write it in. But if you do, please don’t have them wear a condom during oral sex. Have you ever tried sucking cock with condom on it? Ok, if you don’t have access to a real life dick to experiment on, or aren’t attracted to men, try it with a dildo. Ichy, ichy, ichy……….YUCK!!

    One other place I see this double standard plainly is in videos. If the video is not from a bareback company, then gay men fuck each other and use condoms. End of story. No argument there. But have you watched straight porn lately? How many straight men fuck these straight women with condoms? I watch very little straight porn, just sometimes to watch different guys. I can’t remember the last time I saw straight porn with condom usage. I thought condoms helped prevent disease? Do these straight porn companies care so little about their actors and actresses?

    And one more thing, I love all you women writing this m/m romance. I used to not believe that a woman could write gay sex and make it sound believable, but you do. You have very active imaginations and you research the topic well. But you’re writing fiction. You’re not writing a gay sex manual with the appropriate chapters on safe and safer sex. I can only speak for myself, a gay man that loves m/m romance, but I’m not reading it for an education. I’m reading it for an escape. I read it the way I read Louis L’Amour or Tom Clancy.

    Thanks Wave for this topic. You’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we need to lighten up. Oh, but it’s politically incorrect to laugh about condoms……..

    • Hi John

      >>Thanks Wave for this topic. You’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we need to lighten up. Oh, but it’s politically incorrect to laugh about condoms……..< < I sure was bitch slapped about this post. Where were you on Friday my friend when I needed you? 🙂 >>Wow! Some of you can’t take a joke, can you? It’s not as though m/m romance stories are about real life. It’s an escape. It’s fiction! So what if the characters use condoms or not. If the author wishes to write it in, go for it. If not, fine with me.< < That was the point I was trying to make. When I hear that editors insist that the authors put raincoats on their guys it boggles my mind. 🙁 >>A very valid point Wave made over and over again is double standard of gay, m/m romance as compared to het romance. It is expected that the gay characters will wear condoms, but straights don’t have to? WTF!! I don’t get that mindset at all. < < I get the distinct impression that even though gay romance is 'accepted' there are certain conditions attached to that acceptance. It seems that most straight women will only read these books if the publishers ensure that the guys always wear protection. Since when are we the "condom police?" Straight erotic romance i.e. het, gets a pass because of course the characters are all "disease free" but the reverse is assumed for the gay men in M/M. Discrimination? You be the judge!! >>Again, if you want your characters to wear them, please write it in. But if you do, please don’t have them wear a condom during oral sex. Have you ever tried sucking cock with condom on it? Ok, if you don’t have access to a real life dick to experiment on, or aren’t attracted to men, try it with a dildo. Ichy, ichy, ichy……….YUCK!!< < Another valid point John. However I don't think that the editors and authors will listen and you'll see more and more of these books with characters using condoms for oral sex. >>One other place I see this double standard plainly is in videos. If the video is not from a bareback company, then gay men fuck each other and use condoms. End of story. No argument there. But have you watched straight porn lately? How many straight men fuck these straight women with condoms? < < I'm sure that these same women who demand condoms on gay men in books are not as discriminating when it comes to straight porn videos. I don't believe I have heard any complaints from other women about straight porn videos where very few condoms are used, even though many of them buy straight porn. I find it amazing that a post that I said from the outset was imaginary and fun, caused this firestorm and demonstrated that although straight women have moved the yardstick a little as regards gay men having sex in books, the prejudice against gay couples as opposed to straight couples is still alive. Why else aren't there protests about the lack of condoms in straight erotica? Thanks John. See you on Friday. 🙂

    • Hear hear!

      It’s same blame the gays thing here.

      John, I noticed the double standard of the condom in straight porn right away.
      I then came across an interview with a former porn actress and it seems very little has changed because the statistics are in epidemic proportions and also, female, so yeah.
      http://www.shelleylubben.com/
      Disclaimer, she is Christian and her site has religious content but if you can get passed the “porn is sinful” there is much information.
      The porn industry is seriously fucked up which I keep in mind when I watch straight porn, not my fav because there is so much to complain about.

      “But think of all the condoms that would end up being recycled (no one can tell me if it’s possible to recycle condoms, so I’m assuming they are recyclable) thereby creating new jobs. 🙂 Who gets the job of washing them I wonder, BEFORE they are recycled??? 🙂

      >>(But oh, I have so many serious thoughts on the topic….)< <"
      Everytime I see a condom or a pack lying around in the streets I have those thoughts and about the littering, I can’t stop myself. Especially since condoms are pretty much indestructible. Which brings me to this:
      Broken condoms, oh that’s believable. What is this, the 60’s?! XD There is a reason condoms are expensive.

      • LOL! What have I written?!
        Beware of bad English and wording!
        That’s what happens when I try to write a comment in a rush. XD

  • This is the last general comment I will make about this post.

    It seems that many of you have lost your sense of humour on your way to outrage that I would dare suggest IN FUN that we IMAGINE a world without condoms.

    If you READ the post at all before being blinded by the word “condom” you will see that nowhere do I suggest that we seriously consider abandoning condoms in M/M books. However I did pose the question of why there was such a difference in M/M which I regard as “condomland,” and het erotic romance, where no one seems to mind that there are fewer condoms, judging by the large percentage of heroines who get pregnant. Many of you suggested that this was because “the condom broke.” This is the oldest ploy used by authors, if that was indeed the real reason why the heroines ended up pregnant. I’ve read enough of these books over the years to know that it isn’t. If that many condoms broke in real life the particular condom manufacturer would be out of business.

    We make fun of serious topics such as death, but touching a condom in M/M romances, even figuratively, seems to bring out the campaigners for safe sex. I have many gay friends and they are very aware of the need for and practice safe sex, and I would venture to say that they don’t need M/M authors to teach them about this subject. The latest statistics seem to bear out that the majority of gay men practice safe sex. Conversely the same cannot be said to be true about young women, going by these same statistics. Perhaps your vigilance is misplaced and should be directed to another sub genre of erotic books – heterosexual romances. We should all be concerned about HIV AIDS as well as other STDs, but I would venture to suggest that your target is misplaced.

    I don’t believe that M/M romances should be used for public service announcements for safe sex or advertisements for anything else. We buy these books for the stories not the ‘message,’ and I hope we read them for pleasure and relaxation. If the intent of the publishers, editors and authors is to preach about safe sex perhaps they should consider that about 95% of the readers are women, not gay men, and if they want to direct their audience to literature about safe sex there are many organizations that provide that service, both online and in person. If you’re personally offended when there’s no condom, don’t discriminate against romances between gay men, be just as vigilant if you read het romances and find that the heroines are getting pregnant with regularity.

    Just a few years ago many straight women would not admit that they read M/M romances because they felt it was something to be ashamed of. Publishers introduced menages with women to make readers feel a little bit better about reading these books because if a woman was in the mix that made it OK, and it worked as a marketing strategy. Sales went through the roof except for people like me who like my M/M without women. However it seems that many of you still feel that gay men having sex is dirty despite the fact that we read books about the topic. The word “clean” continues to be used by authors with reference to a gay man’s sero status, despite how this denigrates those same gay men they write about.

    My last point is that it is not my job to protect your children and young adults. You should use another form of protection to ensure that they don’t have access to your erotic literature – password protection. It’s very easy to use, costs nothing, and demonstrates a sense of responsibility.

    This post seems to have opened up a nerve among many of you but that won’t stop me from posting on other touchy subjects.

    *jumping off my soapbox now*

  • Chris

    >>Condoms in m/m romances are like black leather pants in paranormals and urban fantasy. Ain’t no way the supply could meet the demand< < I love this. May I use this quote sometime? 🙂 >>However, I do remember noting in a review of a Rachel Gibson romance that you’d better put your boy in double condoms before you did the deed, because the number of broken condoms in RG’s books… :O< < Isn't it incredible that het authors are still using this ploy to get their 'girl' pregnant? Another reason why I no longer read het. I would have thought that they could come up with something original by now. Thanks for reading the post. 🙂

  • Angelina,
    1.)The authors are writing for an adult audience and not for sneaking kids.
    2.)If I had 12 year old kids at home and they are able to sneak in my erotic literature I`m doing something entirely wrong.
    3.)My daughter is 18 and she knows (for years) that – despite movies,television,internet-porn,fan-fiction,slash,friends,mothers (and
    fathers )erotic literature and the existing sex-life of her parents – condoms are absolutely necessary in real life for one-night stands and new relationships to prevent her from AIDS and
    other diseases.
    Have I fulfilled my duty as a loving and caring mother ?? I think so.
    4.)Now you should read Wave`s post one more time; thoroughly ! She writes about something enterily different.

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