Okay, peeps, opinion:
Brand new M/M author, chapter one, first few pages, guys are already gettin’ busy. It’s their first time together, neither are virgins. They bareback, no mention at all of condoms or status.
This is a real-world contemporary, not paranormal, not fantasy.
Thoughts – irresponsible on the author’s part? Not a big deal? What?
Yesterday, people on Twitter were doing a #UnpopularOpinion thing. Well, here’s mine:
The prevalence of protected sex in m/m romance is out of proportion with reality to the point of being a rather trite.
(/me dons flame-retardant suit. Any flames on this post will be unanswered and/or deleted)
I know WHY this is. M/M romance is written primarily by straight women, and we love the gay men we write about and we want to portray them in as positive and responsible a light as possible and never show them doing things which are, in popular opinion, Bad Things.
But we as storytellers have no moral or ethical obligation to show our characters doing the perfectly correct thing all the time. We do, however, have a moral or ethical responsibility to portray minority characters as fully rounded, complete, un-stereotyped beings. And that means letting them do things that maybe aren’t politically correct.
The Perfectly Correct use of condoms is another branch of the same school of thought that says 1-finger-2-fingers-3-fingers-fuck is the only way to gear up to anal sex, and that spit isn’t lube. Except some men–and women–have anal sex without any manual prep whatsoever, and some of them are perfectly okay using spit as lube. What we assume as gospel because our genre has been preaching it as gospel Ain’t Necessarily So. When you scream “SPIT ISN’T LUBE” you are basically telling real people who use it as their lube of choice with no difficulties URDOINITRONG.
I think the insistence on the Protected Sex All The Time Unless They Have The Talk trope in m/m romance is its own form of well-intentioned homophobia. First off, because most people don’t raise nearly as much fuss–if any at all–if characters in an m/f romance have unprotected sex. This reinforces the idea that HIV/AIDS is a Gay-Only issue, and yes, it is an issue in the gay community, except maybe there are members of that community who don’t perceive it that way. Who, for whatever reason, to not consider condom usage to be an Absolute Necessity in any and all circumstances. Maybe they’ve just decided it’s their risk to take, for whatever reason they want to risk it.
Secondly, it trivializes the other issues surrounding the choice whether or not to use condoms, many of which are emotional and personal and subjective to each individual. We like to over-simplify and make it a black-or-white issue, but it ain’t.
If we as writers are going to portray characters within the gay community, we need to give visibility to all its various schools of thought and behavior.
Someday I’m going to write up a blog post about Strain and why I chose the fuck-or-die trope for it. Let’s just say a lot of it has to do with subverting the idea that fluid exchange = death. But this #TeaserTuesday segment is about Saugatuck Summer and one of the many reasons why a character might willfully, knowingly, choose not to use condoms.
And this time I’m going to put it behind a cut because this is actually from Chapter 12 and features a rather significant conflict spoiler.
It was wrong. It was wrong. Wrong in every possible, conceivable way.
At that point, the appalled part of my brain just up and dissociated, looking on in horror and revulsion at what we were doing. But it was drowned out by an unreasoning, unfathomable need that just didn’t give a Technicolor fuck about right or wrong.
So, there I was, naked on Brendan’s bed with the light of the moon that rode over the waves of Lake Michigan spilling across my skin, and Brendan’s fevered body bearing down on me.
I could have opened my mouth and said something. He would stop, I knew he would, if I told him to. And if I had, we could have backed off, found sanity again, ended this before it went from unwise to completely fucking disastrous.
I could have said stop. But I didn’t.
“Topher…” he panted against my jaw, his lips and hands trying cover every square inch of skin they could access. He was maddened, beyond restraint, a being of pure hunger trying to consume me. Sucking, biting, gripping, groping. His breath was a little sour with wine but I didn’t care. I didn’t fucking care. I met those crazed kisses with equal madness, my mouth clashing against his, my fingers raking down his back. I gripped his ass and jerked him closer and spread my thighs to let the flannel covering his cock rub against mine.
The inner voice of my conscience screamed hysterically at me, but I tuned it out and lifted my hips, grinding against him.
His hands abandoned me to shove the pajamas and boxers down his hips with frantic pushes. And he was hard and thick and silky and slick and perfect, rutting against my belly, sliding alongside my cock in the sweaty space between us.
“Topher, please…I want…I want….” His groan sounded agonized, near tears. He might have been for all I knew. God knows I was. But he was straight. He’d never been with a guy, had no clue what he was doing.
We didn’t have any condoms or lube. They were upstairs in my room. If I’d stopped to go get them, which I knew I should do, it would have been over. I could have given him a handjob, sucked him off, frotted against him until we both came. But I didn’t want that. Because he was Brendan and he was sweet and kind and he treated me well and made me feel good, made me feel like I had value.
I wanted him within me. And it was stupid but then, this whole goddamn thing was far beyond idiotic so, really, what did one more gargantuan mistake matter? If we were going to be wrong, then we might as well be fucking wrong. I was already so deep in reckless disregard for everything I knew to be right and intelligent that seriously, who the hell could keep count of all the errors?
I pushed him away and rolled to my hands and knees, then I spat on my fingers and thrust them into myself. I’d never done it that way, the way Jace had liked it, with no prep. I’d certainly never done it with so little lube. It was going to hurt like fire, which — frankly — was a pretty damned appropriate metaphor for this whole fucked-up situation, wasn’t it? He was going to split me open and it was going to hurt and I didn’t fucking care.
This excerpt is, as usual, unedited. Saugatuck Summer is coming May 2014 from Riptide.