Revenge Of The Condom!!!

Hello!
Hello!

Recently we discussed how book readers seem to require condoms in love scenes more than moviegoers. I watch my fair share of R-rated TV and movies, and I recall very few scenes where a passionate lovemaking session was interrupted with a public service announcement by the folks on the screen. “Hey, kids, remember: no glove, no love!”

Of course, I only had the issue at all because my new book has a lot of sex – and no condom usage.

It didn’t occur to me, because I was writing it so I was focusing on the passion, the POV, the humor (yes, it was a funny sex scene), the flow, the pace… you know, writer stuff. Some of the other things I didn’t focus on: the color of the bed sheets, whether he had bad breath from lunch, if she had showered recently. (It was set in Italy. Sorry, Euro friends – I know you bathe. We tease you because we love you.)

We understand implied.
We understand implied.

So, certain things were implied, and certain things were stated. Her breasts were described, because, come on. I’m a guy. And there were naked breasts. That never gets old. Her bra and panties matched, not because I thought of it but because I was informed that a lady who is trying to make an impression to her lover would match them. Oh, and that girls call them panties. Can you take a moment to laugh at me here? I honestly think I called her sexy, lacy panties underwear in the first draft. Cos “underwear” is soooo sexy. See how we need critique partners?

(To read more about just how valuable Critique Partners are, click HERE)

But the actual sex act was implied. There was none of the massive-anaconda-entering-the-love-nest-crap. I’m not sure I could write that with a straight face anyway. I barely did it now.

I wrote it as a funny story, and it’s very sexy, and it’s really romantic on an adult level, not a cheap porn level.

Whaaattt?
Whaaattt?

But… they didn’t use condoms.

Now, in the prior post, I gave my reasons. And as I did, and some of you agreed with me, the main driver was: plot. If it wasn’t important to the plot, then I don’t un-immerse my reader from their immersion in my story to mention “Oh by the way, the drapes weren’t closed but they were on the third floor of the hotel…”

Because the drapes weren’t closed.

And they weren’t on the third floor.

And actually, the maid was cleaning the adjacent room and could have walked in on them at any second. Oops. Why didn’t anybody catch that one?

Well, somebody did. Sort of. Because before they went at it at the hotel, they started going at it on the table in the conference room at work. And while that was supposed to show their passion overwhelming them, one reader – one very nice critique partner – actually made comments about: did they lock the door?

I really love my CPs. I do. They’re the best, to be so honest.

I can't relax! LOCK THE DAMNED DOOR!
I can’t relax!
LOCK THE DOOR!

In her world, she couldn’t relax and enjoy the scene to its fullest because the conference room door wasn’t locked. (In a later scene I actually had the MC mention the door being locked so my CP could relax, Honest.)

And that’s kind of where it dawned on me. A few CP’s – all of whom I trust completely – mentioned the condom thing, but percentage wise very few of the beta readers did. Now, my betas also didn’t comment when I messed up POV, so we can’t just skate away from a potential issue if betas don’t have it high on their radar, but I have gotten to know my CP’s. I trust them. And in the end, I went with my gut and let my MC ride bareback in his sex scenes.

But the discussion percolated, obviously, and when the post drew a few comments – both in support and against – it made something clear to me.

My premise was, books don’t need condoms in sex scenes because movies don’t.

Hmm...
Hmm…

And as a writer friend and I were discussing POV, she said – and other author friends agreed – that she doesn’t like to head hopin a book or a scene, changing POV from one character’s viewpoint to another’s. When she reads, she views the story through the eyes of a character. Most readers prefer that, so most books are written that way.

In a movie, we don’t do that. We aren’t in the scene. We watch the scene from our seats. My CP watches Maximus do battle in the coliseum in Gladiator.

In a book, she is running away from a dinosaur while reading Jurassic Park. It’s her, running and being chased, through the POV of the character.

In a movie, she watches Chrissy get eaten by the shark in Jaws.

In a book, she is Harry Potter chasing after… whoever the fuck Harry Potter chases after. I didn’t read it.

So it stands to reason that reading a book is a more personal experience than watching a movie. You watch a movie in a theater surrounded by strangers. You read a book on the couch by yourself. You pause whenever you want, laugh only where you think it’s funny and not when the others laugh because there are no others. You speed up or slow down as you need, and you stop when you want – or keep reading when you can’t stop.

So when the sex scene in the book gets ready to happen…

I bring what I bring!
I bring what I bring!

Maybe you are bringing your own concerns to it. Of course you are! All reading is intimate. When he kisses her, you’re right there in that kiss (hopefully), and you are making it faster or slower or going over it a second time (or a third) and seeing his amazing dark eyes and feeling his soft hair and warm skin. So when it comes time to go to the next level, if you need the conference room door locked, you’d ask the guy to lock it. And because you are a respectable, responsible woman, you’d push down your emotions and ask him to hold off on sexy time until he acquires some latex. (For his fine, upstanding lady who is about to knowingly bed a married man. No internal conflicts there. But I take your point.)

5th and Main. It's seven minutes round trip.
5th and Main. It’s seven minutes round trip.

And even though most guys would hate to accidentally be at the dance unprepared, most guys are thinking “Where’sthedrugstoreI’llbebackinfiveminutes.”

So…

Reading is personal.

Reading is, therefore, intimate.

I should probably take my readers into consideration when I write stuff, writing it for them but also writing it within their sensibilities.

Next time.

Cos in Poggibonsi, the MC rode bareback.

Giddyap!

.

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE

23 thoughts on “Revenge Of The Condom!!!

  1. I am all for a bit of constructive criticism, but possibly draw the line at telling us what we should include in our work. I would have liked to have been there if anyone had dared to suggest to Picasso that he should have done so and so!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry, got stuck at anaconda, holy crap. Once I got re-focused I would have to say that is precisely why more often than not people like the book better than the movie. With regard to condoms to prevent social diseases and pregnancy (sometimes)- I don’t want to read about it, I’m not in danger and the P.C. police need to stay out of my imagination, especially if there is an anaconda involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan, thanks for the post. You mention movies, and when I think of great love stories and romances, much of the passion is implied and described indirectly, which heightens the passion. I’m sure your book is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Occasionally, I’m dense. I’m thinking about what a condom looks like and what a beer (can or bottle) looks like, and I am not making the connection. Does it go underneath, like a coaster? And what good would that do? A beer holder is… like a cup holder?? The cup holders in my car are like 2″ deep. Maybe less….I’m thinking it’s what we’d call a “coozie,” a thing that you put the can or bottle into to keep it cold while you’re drinking it. We used a lot of those when we had our boat.

      That took me a while to get to! Sheesh!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That comparison between the movies and the book is so on point. But, just think, you could have worke3d some funny into that scene by having him do the “testicles, spectacles, wallet and watch” dance as he patted himself down for that all important STD prevent-er… and being a married man, he obviously isn’t going to have one.. because seriously, married men don’t just carry those around (unless he is a philanderer, at which point I think you delve into other issuers all together)?

    And then.. caution to the wind…

    Wait a second.. I can’t go giving you all my good ideas.

    Funny post though..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post! I’ve been writing/re-writing/editing quite a few intimate scenes. (Working on two novels) They’re fun! I use the condom when it’s appropriate. Other times it’s up to the readers imagination. There is a great quote of Hemingway’s that this topic reminded me of:
    “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.” 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Was I supposed to laugh, because I did……a lot, and I’ve read my fair share of erotic novels, and I must say, whether a ‘glove’ 😀 is involved or not, never deterred me from finishing the novel, only the writing will do that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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