The Eroticism of the Condom

I’m working on a new piece now and it’s got me thinking, yet again, about sex. Which is something I think about nearly all the time in any case, but today I am musing about so-called safe sex. In particular, how to make condoms sexy.

Most of us liberated twenty-first century women (like myself) have many memories of that awkward moment with a new partner, when you’re not really sure how to broach the topic. There’s always the tried-and-true, faux-passive question: “Do you have a condom?” And if/when he says no (as so many of them do!), well the lady of course has a package discreetly tucked away in her bedside table. Which then involves pausing in whatever fun was going on, digging in the drawer, tearing open un-sexy, slippery, perforated packaging, and watching him roll the damn thing on. Which, as we also all know, is not the most erotic moment of the evening. I think what annoys me the most about that whole scenario, though, is how often it happens that one or both partners were not really prepared. There’s no reason the condom thing should become a lengthy process. And frankly, it is not sexy to end up in bed with a guy who conveniently “forgot” to bring condoms, yet again.

Which brings me to my writing. I write erotica, so, basically, I write sex. My goal is to get my readers all hot and excited, and bring the story (and them!) to a satisfying conclusion. The easiest thing would just to let my characters have no concerns whatsoever, fuck one another as carefree as bonobos, and never worry about consequences. But that’s not realistic. Nor, I think safe. I am not about to leave condoms out of my writing because I don’t think they should be left out of the conversation about sex in the real world. Until condoms become so much a part of our sexual habits and expectations that they never need to be mentioned again – because they are a given in any casual sexual encounter – I will continue to write them.

Though I wouldn’t go to far as to say that erotica can change our society, I do believe it can be a fascinating reflection of how people wish society might be. That’s the fantasy part of it. I suppose that my fantasy is a society in which men and women respect each other to the point that, no matter who’s sucking what or where or with how any others, each individual is taking care of their partner(s) by using condoms graciously, skillfully, and (dare I say it?) sexily. By incorporating condoms into the scenes I write, making them part of the excitement, using them for seduction, I’d like to think I am contributing in some small way to making safe sex more and more the norm.

There will always be exceptions to this, of course. Monogamous husbands and wives don’t need to be bothering will all that (one of the many reasons I am so happily married now!), and naturally any kind of breeding fantasy would require there to be no condoms, and the same goes for stories set in historical or fantasy worlds. But in all my delicious stories of first dates, one-night-stands, menages-a-plusieurs, or my work in progress – an up-and-coming erotic travelogue – my readers can count on hot safe sex scenes, couples who show care for themselves and one another by cheerfully suiting up, and through it all, my sincere attempts to make condoms a sexy (and expected) part of every seduction.


A Dancer Writes; A Writer Dances

As a dancer and a writer, I am always thinking about how to improve these two passions of mine. I’ve always been a little jealous of people with one overarching passion. They can devote all their time to that one thing, and become excellent at it without feeling like other loves are left on the sidelines. But for me, a passionate person by nature (hence the erotica, of course!) this is impossible. I am a writer who dances, and a dancer who writes.

This got me thinking about the similarities between the two, and in particular the question: Is writing a craft or an art? And what about dancing?

Most people would say that dancing is art, pure and simple. But that’s not necessarily so. Good dancers put movements together into beautiful choreography that is one of the most beautiful expressive arts in the world. And yet, in order to get to that point, a dancer must spend hours drilling technique, building muscles, practicing moves over and over again until each is effortless. That’s where the craft part comes in.

Writing is the same. A finished work can be seen as art, painted with words instead of colors. But every writer knows that every short story (not to mention novel!) is the work of hours of sitting and writing, rewriting, editing, revising, rereading, re-editing, and on and on. It’s work that improves with practice, time, repetition, and effort, just the same as any craft. Woodworking, cooking, sewing, all crafts – and so is writing. And so is dance.

So after all that musing and this rather disorganized blog post, I’ve decided that I’m both. Artist and craftswoman, dancer and writer, and a hard worker at everything I do. For now, that will have to be enough.