Safe sex in m/m romance

I recently read a novella I really liked. It was a classic story of two guys meeting and falling in love after some confusion about whether the other guy was gay or not since one was closeted and the other was out and proud. Of course, at one point in the story, it came down to them having sex. And that’s where it fell to pieces for me. When did it become okay to let your contemporary characters have unsafe sex?
I get that it becomes boring to write about “the talk”, especially in shorter stories. I also understand you feel you don’t want to preach, but aren’t you forgetting the fact you have to lead by example?


I have a lot of friends in the gay community. I’ve lost friends to HIV and I have friends who caught it after a one-night stand.

I also listen to (especially) the young guys being very casual about safe sex and even more casual about STD’s as if anything you can catch from a lover is dealt with by a visit to the doctor and a shot of antibiotics.


I can’t bring myself to write about the first time two guys have sex and not include a condom. It may be the fact I’m not twenty years old anymore and I lived through the eighties and nineties, when (mostly) gay men dropped like flies, but how hard is it to slip a condom into a sex scene?

I firmly believe we have to set an example by casually showing safe sex practices and I’m not alone.
Chi Chi LaRue says it so much better than I do. –>


  1. My characters always practice safe sex until they’re in a committed relationship and go to get tested, etc.

    In one of my contemporary novels, an older character patiently tells a younger man why there’s no such thing as ‘safe’ sex.

    A rather tacky reviewer condemned me for ‘preaching’.

    You can’t please every body. Sigh.

    1. I wouldn’t call it preaching until you write a whole novel as if it’s a safe-sex manual.
      Conversations like the one you describe should happen in real life as well, but all too often don’t.

    1. Thank you, Helen.
      I slip in the condom every time, sometimes with “the talk”, but often without it, because I feel it should be an automatic thing. Like ChiChi said in the video it’s our job to make safe sex sexy to the point where it does become automatic for a person to use that practice.
      It’s my very small contribution.

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