Gloving Up Like The Pro’s

September 22, 2010

Hi, I’m A.B. Gayle and I have a novella being released by Dreamspinner today called “Caught”.

But first let’s talk about something else.

When I was editing for another publisher, one of the things that annoyed authors the most was having to include condoms in a sex scene. Readers also sometimes dislike having the romance and spontaneity destroyed. It’s one aspect that doesn’t have to apply in Paranormal, Scifi and Historical m/m romances. However if you’re writing a contemporary story post 1980’s there has to be a bloody good reason not to have one.

So I thought for a laugh and inspiration, let’s look at the way the pro’s “glove up”.

There are a number of steps in the process.

First where is it? In the back pocket of the jeans now discarded on the floor, requiring a hasty scrabbling in the dark? In the ubiquitous top drawer of the night-stand? If the characters are in the wild, who remembered to pack ‘em?

“Do I have to beg?” Nic gasped, his voice muffled against the cool, cotton sheets. “Who’s teasing now? Top drawer— condom— lube— ” [Clare London, Sparks Fly]

“You know, Kabe, I ain’t got nothing here.”
“S’okay, I do.” Somehow he managed to get it out while sucking on my ear.
I snorted, couldn’t help myself, “You just carry that stuff around?” [James Buchanan, Hard Fall]

Sean Michael’s characters tend to like quick, hard sex so there’s few words:

“Condom.” The word was nearly barked out, but, fuck, he needed to sink into Dal’s heat, needed it bad. [Sean Michael, Secrets, Skin and Leather]

“Your ass and you know it, baby.” He growled a little, biting at Dal’s earlobe. “All the fucking stuff is in the bedroom.” He’d make sure that little mistake wasn’t repeated in the future. [Sean Michael, Secrets, Skin and Leather]

Sometimes the word condom itself isn’t even needed or used:

He finally couldn’t stand it any longer and rose up, quickly covering his cock before pushing into Dal’s tight hole. [Sean Michael, Secrets, Skin and Leather]

Or the adjective sheathed, protected is used, implying the finding and application. Or an alternate word:

We remove his cock from my ass only long enough for me to replace the ballooned and used rubber with a new one. [William Maltese, Love Hurts]

Then there’s the opening of the wrapper. With the teeth because the hands are slicked up with lube? Fumbling fingers?

I bit my lip as I tore open the condom, tossing the wrapper I-didn’t-give-a-shit-where. [Ethan Day, As You Are]

Or from the other point of view:

…but the sound of a condom wrapper tearing was all the reassurance he needed. [K. A. Mitchell, Collision Course]

It can be a reluctant admission of necessity without the description.

Tom rolled him onto his back, lifted Stanley’s legs in the air. There was the business with the condom. Stanley helped him fit it on, impatient to get down to business. He sighed with something that might have been relief when Tom entered him. [V.J. Banis, Deadly Slumber]

And the size factor

Jackson nervously fumbled with the package, tearing it with his teeth, then rolled it onto Booker’s cock. “I assume they’re extra large?” [D. J. Manly, The Posers]

The out of date factor is sometimes an angle used:

His lack of sexual activity resulted in completely unused supplies; he just hoped condoms didn’t expire with age. [Catt Ford, A Strong Hand]

He straightened back up, a bottle of lube in one hand and a foil packet between his sharp white teeth. He watched me watching him as he tore the top across and plucked out the contents. I was wondering how long the damned thing had been in there, because I’d not gone searching in that drawer for many months. [Clare London, Freeman]

Then there’s the application:

First the master:

Jake knelt on the mattress and slipped his condom on with a snap like a detective donning latex gloves to examine a crime scene. Not a romantic noise. [Josh Lanyon, A Dangerous Thing]

What if there are piercings?

I had condoms in my back pocket, and I fished one out and ripped it open. It took a little bit of work to roll the latex over the beads of my apadravya piercing, but I’d had plenty of practice, and there was a knack to it. Top bead first, then hold the bar steady with my other thumb and slide the latex over the bottom bead, and then down my cock. [Laney Cairo, Bad Case of Loving You]

And the dom:

Owen knelt up, one hand still wrapped around Sterling’s cock until the last moment. With quick, automatic movements, the action as familiar as brushing his teeth, he rolled a condom over his erection and let a small pool of lube drizzle from the bottle into his palm. [Jane Davitt, Bound and Determined]

Some authors fade away immediately after the sex so we are spared the details, but some include it. Laney Cairo’s great book has another aspect that happens in real life but is rarely mentioned:

Oh, yeah, this was the unattractive, partly dressed man with a loaded condom dangling from his cock look. I dumped the condom and gloves into my rubbish bin and pulled my boxers and trousers up while Matthew struggled up to a sitting position. [Laney Cairo, Bad Case of Loving You]

Or the shrinking factor:

So, why does my dick immediately lose its hardness? I’m not talking a slow fade to oblivion, either. I’m talking major deflation. One minute hard, stiff and ready to pop its load from here to China, the next a spineless slug erect only because I’ve got it firmly contained within the wrap of my fingers, like Jell-O locked inside a steel mold. Its shrinking sheds its condom, like a snake sheds unwanted skin. [William Maltese, California Creamin' and other stories]

And the “did he really come” question? How about this for a priceless visual:

“Oh, I got off, all right,” he says and has to hear my sigh of thank-God relief and satisfaction. As if to prove what he says, he tugs his cock from my asshole, slides his cum-filled rubber off his studly dick, ties off the open end of his condom, and holds the results up for me to see in the mirror. “This doesn’t mean I’m going to oblige you by again playing soldier-boy any time soon.” [William Maltese, California Creamin' and other stories]

If they’re put on, do we have to witness the removal? If we do there’s the messy aftermath:

His cock slipped from Buzz’s body, and he grabbed the edge of the condom just in time to keep it from getting lost on the way out. He tied it off and, not knowing what else to do with it, tossed it on the ground, promising himself he’d pick it up later. [Ally Blue, Catching the Buzz]

I don’t know who came first, or how often, just that there came a time when my body would no longer co-operate and my cock softened, making me grab wildly for the condom as I slid out. [Laney Cairo, Bad Case of Loving You]

Joey was already relaxing around Aaron’s dick, enough that he could ease out and pull off the rubber. He forced himself up enough to make sure it made it into the trash and then flopped onto his back, wiping the sweaty hair from his eyes with the sheet that had ended up on the floor. [K. A. Mitchell, Collision Course]

Z.A. Maxfield’s guys tend to belong to the neat freak side:

He removed and tied off the condom, tossing it toward the trash, and pulled Tristan with him. [ZA Maxfield, Crossing Borders]

I left him, already asleep, and did a quick tidy up, picking up the damp towels, getting rid of the condom, turning lights off downstairs, checking the security system was on. [Laney Cairo, Bad Case of Loving You]

It was a moment that he wished could have lasted longer, but the need to ease out of Sterling led to an equally pressing need to clean them both up. Lube was useful, but it got everywhere. Owen gave Sterling a kiss that was hard to break, so difficult in fact that it turned into a series of kisses, and then reached for the box of tissues on the bedside table. [Jane Davitt, Bound and Determined]

What about the should we, when can we not aspect?

Was that a disappointed okay? A yeah-you’d-better okay? An are-you-fucking-nuts okay? Or a wish-we-didn’t-need-one okay? Aaron’s last negative test was two months ago. Joey— they hadn’t talked about it— but Joey didn’t seem like the kind of guy who wouldn’t say something if he were positive. [K. A. Mitchell, Collision Course]

“Andy, I get tested every month, and I’m clean.” I hesitated. “Umm. Do we need condoms?”
“No, baby. Like I said, I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. They’ve been swabbing me like clockwork since December. I’m good to go if you want me.” [Patric Michael, Timeless]

So much for the “only females” using the word clean instead of negative or positive – referencing Jessewave’s blog on the subject:

This post is not discounting the need for safe-sex. Far from it. You cannot fail to appreciate the risk of doing otherwise after reading “The Beauty of Men” by Andrew Holleran or gay fiction by authors like Ken Shakin who lived through the Eighties and the horror of seeing so many friends die. However, there are a variety of ways to apply them!

What are the most seamless or funniest integrations you’ve read?

33 Responses to “Gloving Up Like The Pro’s”

  1. A.B. Gayle says:

    OK, I made it here. Hi everyone. I’d love to get some input into this. Do leave your own favorites.

  2. Charles Edward says:

    You mentioned all my favorites already! In Missy Welsh’s “My Summer of Wes,” there were some amusing mentions of condoms, mostly because of the protagonist’s discomfort with them, as he was just coming out to himself and not ready to think about actually using them…

  3. andy says:

    You’ve just made me feel like I don’t read enough, A.B. :D

  4. Janey Chapel says:

    Hi A.B.! Wow, how long did it take you to pull together all those quotes??? You’re, um, extremely well read! ;)

    I hardly notice the mechanics in good stories — it all just feels like part of the flow!

  5. andrewgrey says:


    Just stopped in so you wouldn’t be all alone. Hope it goes well. I can tell you I liked the look of your story and I’ll be getting it the next time I order.

    All the best

  6. amy lane says:

    Those were awesome, A.B.–and I’m proud to say I’ve read more than a few. I don’t know if I have a favorite of my own, but I do have to say that part of the fun of writing paranormal or fantasy is that that is ONE thing I don’t have to deal with. (Or writing virgins, for that matter. *sigh* Of course the odds of man-virgins, in this day and age? Not so high, really…)

  7. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Andrew
    Thanks. I really enjoyed, “Love Means No Shame”. The Amish aspect was very interesting. I have a number of your books in my Wishlist. If I buy them now I won’t get any writing done. LOL

  8. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Amy
    I blush when I see how many ebooks I’ve bought in the last twelve months. And I try to stick to ones that I know are good. I’ve been concentrating on contemporary, so come across the problem often. I must check to see if you’ve written any. I know I’ve read some of your in an anthology, “A Woman’s Intro to Gay Romance” I enjoyed that one, as it wove through the others. I must see if you’ve written any others in the contemp line. Afriad to admit I’m getting jaded with paranormal and fantasy.
    Thanks for visiting

  9. Arzu says:

    Oh AB, there are really a few … just hilarious!!

  10. Amora says:

    Hi Ab *waves*

    Darn it anyway, I’ve been at work all day, and still am so I can’t come discuss with you, or even read all of that. heehee, I’m sneaking right now :)

    I did want to come say hi, and if you are still around when I get off work, I’ll be back. :) )

    Congrats again on the book my dear!

  11. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Charles
    Thanks, another book to add to my wish list.

  12. Wow, this is quite the sexy smorg of condom excerpts. Nice!

  13. A.B. Gayle says:

    That’s because you’re a good girl and do more writing! I claim it is all research. It is in a way.
    Though every now and then it depresses me as some of them are just such damn good writers. Then I figure they’ve been writing longer than me, and I should just knuckle down and do it.
    There is another reason I read them, but I think you were around when we were discussing that while writing at Haven Falls one day. If not ask me next time!

  14. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Janey
    It didn’t take too long actually. I just pulled a couple of each of my favorite authors into my reader and did a search on the word “condom”!
    There’s probably other great examples I missed. As you say we don’t notice them when we read and they really should be just another form of description that illustrates another facet of the character.

  15. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Arzu
    You still up? I thought you were going to bed! Yeah, I love the way these authors can make the inclusion a plus. It just takes a bit of effort.

  16. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Amora
    These time zones are a bitch, ain’t they? It’s so hard to find one in which Europe, US and Australia are all compos mentis at the same time. And who knows what time it is in Russia as we speak. Alex is probably tucked up safely in bed!

  17. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Phoenix
    Define “smorg” I’ve never come across that one. I like it though. have you patented it?

  18. Arzu says:

    Yeah I’m still up. Just wanted to say hi to you so you won’t feel alone but I got sidetracked by my GR groups. Unfortunately due to the different time zones I cannot stay any longer to chat with you. I have to get up in 5 hours. So bye for now!! Hugs!!

  19. A.B. Gayle says:

    One of the ones I didn’t mention are those that whip it off and drop it on the floor. My immediate reaction is, yuck. try cleaning that out of the shag pile.

    Then there are the tying off and bin tossers. I helped Clancy Nacht edit her great short story, “Tricky”, and she came up with some beauties with two guys who used to be on the same basketball team:
    “He slipped his condom off and tied it off at the end. He peered around the room to find a place to dispose of it. I was touched by his consideration for my furniture, but I was impatient. Grabbing the condom from his hand, I tossed it in the direction of a trash can.
    Missed. Reflexively, I looked at him to see if he noticed. He’d have made the same shot with ease.”
    But then next time they have sex:
    “But he said nothing. He just pulled off his condom, kept me within his arms as he tied it off behind my back and tossed it towards the wastebasket. He made the shot, damn him.”
    As I said, use the situation to add something to the characterisation and you have a plus.

  20. Kei Chan says:

    That made me think, “Oh crap!” I went back and did a “condom” search on Perfect Fit. Only one reference – the make up sex. And I know that there were two more scenes. I read to make sure that there was no problem. Thank heavens no penetration in the last two. The boys are still safe! But you made me sweat it for a few minutes!

  21. A.B. Gayle says:

    The one I have the most trouble with is sex in the bath. I still have to be convinced that condoms work there. Of course anal penetration isn’t the only form of sex, but it’s the one most often depicted. Splash, splash.

  22. Kei Chan says:

    Hmmm… Water washes away lube and does the squeaky clean thing. Not a good place to try penetration. No penetration, no condom. Unless you are one of those people who think that oral sex needs them. Yuck! I guess that is what the flavored ones are for.

  23. Clancy Nacht says:

    It always helps to have a fabulous editor cheering you on.

  24. A.B. Gayle says:

    LOL, Clancy, I just steered you in the right direction and you did the work.
    Actually if we switch to the humor and m/m romance topic, I shuld have mentioned your “A Certain Pressure in the Pipes” that really left a smile on my face.

  25. I’m always wondering whether to be politically correct and include a condom, or proceed, letting fiction be fiction, and pretend like we’re back in the good old days when AIDS didn’t still loom on the horizon. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. In real life of course, I always do. Great blog for discussion, though.

  26. A.B. Gayle says:

    Thanks, William. On occasion I read online forums just to see what guys are “really” thinking and doing and sometimes I get a disquieting feeling that a slackness is creeping in about this. Some of the younger generation who haven’t seen their friends die seem to feel the danger is past or doesn’t concern them.
    I’m glad you play safe.

  27. Charles Edward says:

    Okay, now I gotta read “Tricky.”

  28. A.B. Gayle says:

    You’ll enjoy it, Charles.
    Clancy doesn’t “do” easy either and her characters aren’t exactly squeaky clean, but they are believable.

  29. Hi A.B.

    Great post!

    I think condoms and how/whether they are used can tell us a lot about the characters and their world even in SF.

    I’m a big fan of non-penetrative sex, so condoms don’t always come into the equation for that reason (unless it’s to cut down on the clean-up), but when they are used (in SF), it’s a way to get across what advances have(n’t) been made in healthcare and disease prevention (and contraception in m/f!) across the universe and how that might differ in the particular place the characters are. I like world-building where advances don’t apply across the board and the characters may find themselves in a place where condoms are necessary even if that’s not true for more advanced parts of this future universe.

    I think I need to write a post of my own on the subject ;-)

  30. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Stevie
    Let me know if you do a blog post on the subject. I know when you beta’d my m/f scifi for me, the question came up about what would have advanced and what wouldn’t have in forty years. It’s just so hard to predict. I have the advantage of being able to remember what the world was like 40 years ago and it’s amazing how many things haven’t changed. While in other fields, like being able to blog and chat over the internet with people on the opposite side of the world it’s beyond imagination.

    I’ve read some really hot scenes with non-penetrative sex and I think that’s one area where female m/m writers may not be as attuned to reality as they could be. Thanks for posting

  31. Hi A.B., fascinating read. I’m always on the hunt for new ways to say the same thing. Whether M/F or M/M the need is still there. Thanks – and it was a pleasure to meet some of your readers, too!

  32. A.B. Gayle says:

    Hi Margie
    Yeah, there are probably good snippets in m/f too, but it is definitely something that resonated with my readers.
    I think it’s best to just think of condoms and their applications as just another element of descriptive action, and make surethe process reflects the character’s personality. How would he do it? A.B.

  33. Kei Chan says:

    Another first for me. I just used a condom as a plot device. Who would have thought that little thing could further the story line?

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