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Belated #TeaserTuesday from Saugatuck Summer (#mmromance coming May 2014 from @RiptideBooks) inspired by a FB convo

So over on Facebook, Lisa from The Novel Approach posed this question about barebacking in m/m romance:

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?

This question keeps popping up occasion. Leta Blake has had a couple great posts about her research into why gay men bareback over on her blog, and it came up not long ago at Jessewave as well.

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.

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#TeaserTuesday from An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2)

Because I’m a big attention whore and apparently #SevenSentenceSunday isn’t enough to satiate that need, there’s this brilliant thing called #TeaserTuesday I found out about today!

At @kelly_instalove’s request, I’m going to be snippeting all three of my upcoming books.

This first one is from An Inch at a Time, the second book in a series of erotic novelette’s co-written with Heidi Belleau called The Professor’s Rule. In Giving an Inch, TPR#1, we meet James Sheridan and his one-time Dom, Professor Evander Carson, two years after their relationship ended. We give some insight into that previous relationship in Giving an Inch but we wanted to take a step back in time and explore how James and Carson started out. That’s what we address in An Inch at Time.

Evander could see the calculations written on James’ face, assessing how much time was left in the term and if he could begin to turn the class around and grasp it the way Evander described. Which was, of course, the perfect moment to make his offer.

“I can help you.” One corner of his mouth lifted in a wry smile. “I’m not at all adverse to doing some extra-curricular tutoring. If you’d be willing to entrust your academic future to the hands of a rumored deviant.”

He watched his student’s face carefully, searching for–ah, there it was. A flicker of intrigue that went beyond idle curiosity. He could almost hear James’ thoughts. Was Evander a pervert? What did that even mean? If James consented to be tutored by him, what else might happen?

Evander made no effort to deny the speculation that anything untoward would occur in the course of such tutelage. It wouldn’t do to mislead the lad, after all. Evander’s reputation wasn’t entirely unearned. For that matter, it wasn’t even mostly unearned. He could teach James, of that he had no doubt. And by the end of the term, he would have awoken in his student a passion for far more than history. The spark was there, on both the academic level and the other, even if young Mr. Sheridan didn’t realize it yet.

James cleared his throat again, looking both wary and fascinated. “Okay.”

“Excellent.” Evander jotted down an address on a sticky note and reached across the desk to lay it before James. “Be there tonight at 8 o’clock sharp. We won’t be doing this on campus.”

“Okay.” James’ voice was thick, raspy, as if he couldn’t get enough spit together to wet his tongue. But he took the sticky note and stood. Evander politely refrained from commenting on the semi-erection swelling the fly of the lad’s jeans. “Thank you, professor.”

“You’re welcome.” Evander dismissed him with a negligent wave of his hand, calling out only once James’ fingers lay on the doorknob. “And Mr. Sheridan?”

“Yes?”

“No underwear.”

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