Shelley Munro | Guest Post & Giveaway! Vibrating condoms?

Good Morning! It's my pleasure to welcome back author Shelley Munro! Thank you also for very kindly donating a giveaway prize, along with the following guest post, which has sparked quite a few questions of my own! Vibrating condoms indeed! If only we could get the hot model on the front of your book Fancy Free, to come over and give us an advanced course of how they work.

Anyway, enough of my daydreaming...

For a chance to win a choice of an ebook download from Shelley Munro's Ellora's Cave or Cerridwen Press backlist, (and that is a lot of choice!) check out her guest post and the giveaway details below. Also check out the review of Fancy Free by WitchGiggles! By the way, if you'd like to leave a comment on the review, it counts as an extra entry into the competition! As does each way you promote this - just come back and let us know how! Thank you!

Condoms and the Romance Writer

Thanks for having me to visit again. Today, I’m here to tell you about one of my releases from Ellora’s Cave—Fancy Free. Fancy Free is an erotic romance about a girl who inherits a condom factory.

There’s a bit of a story behind this book. My husband and I were flying home from San Francisco aboard an Air New Zealand flight. I was browsing the in-flight magazine and an article about new products caught my attention. One of the items was a vibrating condom, and immediately my mind seized the idea and the possibilities. “Oh, look at this,” I said to my husband in a loud voice. “Let’s buy one. What a great idea for a story,” I added. My husband shushed me when I attempted further discussion because people were looking, so I went into daydream mode and by the time we landed in Auckland, I had a plot mapped out about a heroine who inherits a condom factory.

Which brings me directly back to condoms. In our personal lives, we’re told to practice safe sex. I have no problem with that. After all, who wants to pick up a nasty disease while doing the horizontal tango?

Safe sex and the surrounding issues is something that authors need to consider each time they write a love scene. Back at the start of the safe sex campaign, a lot of people went on record as saying that using a condom in a fictional love scene destroyed all the spontaneity. Personally, I’ve never understood the problem because if the scene is written properly, a condom can add an extra dimension. It says I care enough about my health to use one. It says I care enough about my partner to protect him or her. To me, writing a condom into a love scene makes plain common sense.

Over my years of writing, I’ve developed a set of rules for fictional condom use. I’ll also add here that this is my opinion and this is what I like to see. I’m not going to bash you over the head if you disagree or like to write or read something different.

1.    Contemporary romances:

My hero and heroine always use a condom in each love scene. Sometimes more than one, since I write erotic romance and they are quite active. If they don’t use a condom, I give the reader a good reason for the non-use. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, our hero and heroine might forget. Our hero and heroine might be in the middle of nowhere and desperate to the point of crazed, or they might know each other’s sexual history and oral contraception is enough.

In Fancy Free, condoms are part of the plot. My characters James and Alice make full use of their products. In Summer in the City of Sails, I even have a condom scene where the hero tells the heroine her glow-in-the-dark condoms remind him of a green ogre.

2.    Historical romance

I know from my research a form of condoms has been around since Egyptian times. During Roman times, after the gladiators fought, they scored big time with the noble ladies. These noble ladies didn’t want children from the liaisons with the gladiators, merely a night of pleasure, so they used condoms.

If I’m writing a historical, mostly my heroes and heroines don’t use condoms. This was an era where good girls remained virgins until marriage, especially the women of the nobility, so mostly the use of condoms isn’t an issue. I look at the social mores when deciding whether my characters use birth control. In my Georgian-set historical, The Second Seduction, the plot was a marriage of convenience and a condom wasn’t necessary. In Unforgettable, my World War II romance, the hero and heroine use condoms.

3.    Paranormal/futuristic romances

Sometimes my hero and heroine use condoms and sometimes they don’t. It depends on the set-up. Often in my futuristic stories, I’ll make a point of saying sexually transmitted diseases are eradicated. I did this in Sex Idol and Fallen Idol.

In my Middlemarch Mates series, condoms are used in some books and not in others, with the readers learning why condoms are absent.

As a reader, I’m willing to suspend disbelief and roll with what the author says as long as they give me reasons for their characters’ actions in this area.

What do you think about condoms in fiction? Should our heroes and heroines use them? Does it jerk you out of a book if condoms are absent? What rules of use do you like to apply as a reader?

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and writes erotic contemporary and paranormal romance for Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing. Shelley’s next release is The Bottom Line coming on 27 April from Samhain Publishing. You can visit Shelley at
Excerpt from Fancy Free

“Is something wrong?” James asked in a husky voice.

“I’m fine. No problem.” She barely halted the telltale shiver of bliss at the sound of his voice. As one, everyone turned to stare at her and that heightened her awareness of the wretched man. This was ridiculous. How could an almost virgin run a condom company? She had no experience to draw on. She could hardly count her one time at university as experience. The heat in her cheeks intensified even farther when she sneaked a look at the photo on top of the folder. Half expecting a voice to shout, “Off with her head,” she swallowed and wondered if they’d notice if she ran from the room. Oh dear. Her gaze wandered to the photo again without waiting for her brain to give permission.

The condom was a delicate violet color and had tiny raised dots all over the surface. It looked like an alien creature with chicken pox. There were certainly alien appendages attached. Hard to say what that round bit did. Dragging her gaze from the photo, she turned her attention to James’ run down of the product and the current state of play. Tests. Trials. Okay. She supposed that made sense. They had to know if they worked properly.
But how did they conduct the tests? Her mind went into overdrive as she visualized a typical condom trial. A man and woman naked on a huge bed while a man dressed in a white coat stood with a clipboard, snapping out pertinent questions and ticking off the questions in his survey. How did the latex feel? Did it fit to the penis correctly? Was it too thick? Too thin? Was it big enough to catch semen? Did it stand up to vigorous thrusts? Is there significant loss of sensation?
A tight band constricted Alice’s chest, affecting her breathing. Her bra felt way too tight. She furtively tugged at the underwire of her bra while a wave of heat engulfed her body. She squirmed about on her chair, warmth growing in her nether regions because of her sexual thoughts. Alice bit into her bottom lip. Questions. She had them, but nerves and uncertainty made her hesitate. A sharp inhalation did nothing to steady her. This was stupid. She had a vested interest in this condom company and had every right to ask questions. “Um, how do you conduct trials?”  
Also available in Kindle Format.  
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Provocative. Adventurous. Risque.

Giveaway Details!

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  1. I love the concept for Fancy Free. So original. Condoms are one of those items you take for granted but rarely stop to think about the person who owns the company. *g*

  2. I have no problem what so ever with them, and when I read a book where they are not mentioned, well I can always imagine they did use one. I think it is great that you actually mention things like this, and for me it sure does not take anything from the story

    blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

  3. I never have stopped to think about condoms missing from the scenes while reading,but I have noticed when the author does write them in because it's like a jerk back to reality, lol! But it's never "ruined the mood" either; if a scene is written well I'll go with the flow regardless of whether specific details like condoms are mentioned or not. I think my brain always assumes they are and that it's just not necessarily mentioned. But I love the concept of Fancy Free too! The fact that she's shy about it is so funny and cute :D

  4. woops, forgot my email:

  5. Hi ladies,

    I have no problem with them either! Obviously they are a major part of the Fancy Free story - but when condoms are not mentioned in some books, it doesn't bother me - since I ASSUME they did, or some other form of contraception was used. :)

    Of course, if it's not erotica, then I might wonder - are they being safe??? And would hope something was going to be mentioned - unless a pregnancy was part of the story! :)

  6. As a gay man, all I hear about is safe sex so, in fantasy, I would like to not have to worry about it. I think its so sexy to read of two men having sex without the worry of condoms.

    I follow the blog openly.


  7. To be honest, I don't really notice when characters use condoms. Safe sex is something that should always be practiced. ;-)

    Fancy Free sounds great, Shelley. Wishing you many sells!


  8. I don't really have a problem with condoms being part of a scene...I mean I think it's a smart thing to include in the story...adds more realism. I have to admit that there have been times in a story I've actually searched for the mention of condoms b/c I want the characters to be having safe sex. I know that's kind of silly to expect in a story but it certainly adds a certain level of relief in my mind b/c the story might involve characters who have just met or multiple partners who are newly involved moving to the next level of intimacy. I feel protective of the characters and I want there to be sufficient time for story development before a pregnancy (unless that's the main plot of the story) and I certainly don't want the russian roulette gambit taken on STDs. It may not necessarily be a sexy part of the story...but an author can make even rolling on the condom a sexy act between the characters.

    On the other hand, there is another aspect to it...the first time the characters have sex without a condom...that alone can be a momentous event in the story and add great sensuality to the scene so it does work both ways. I certainly find that scenario a very sexy and sensual act itself in a story.

    Happy Reading
    Anna Shah Hoque

  9. Extra Entries -

    *shared on facebook page

    *blogged about it

    *left a comment on the book review by WitchGiggles

    Happy Reading
    Anna Shah Hoque

  10. in today's disease ridden world, I look for the author's mentioning the use of condoms. Yes, it does yank me out of an erotic story if they are not mentioned as I assume that safe sex is NOT being practiced in contemporary or paranormal fiction. In historical, no it doesn't bother me as they weren't available back then and you wouldn't expect anyone to be using them.

  11. forgot my email too
    j-coverholser @

  12. Thanks, NJ. It was certainly a fun story to write.

  13. blodeuedd - you're right. At the end of the day we have to remember that each story is fiction! :)

    Bella - thanks! It's true that the appearance of a condom can stop the flow of the scene. I guess it depends on how an author approaches his or her scene.

  14. Sassy - each writer has a lot to consider, that's for sure.

  15. Jase - that's interesting. I'm writing a m/m story at present and although we haven't hit the bedroom, in this particular story my characters won't be using condoms.

  16. Hi Jaime - I hope the editing is going well!

    Anna - you sound like me. That's an excellent point about the lack of condoms building a greater intimacy between the characters. I hadn't considered that, but it's something I'll keep in mind for the future.

  17. Booksrforever - I agree, but it's interesting hearing what others are saying about the subject.

  18. When reading an erotic scene, I don't believe the mention of using a condom cools down the action. It's a fact of life or rather it should be.

  19. I like the idea of the writer taking responsibility over her characters so I definitely think that in a contemporary romance that the use of condoms should be normal. There are alot of ways ot make it sexy and it can add an extra element of heat to the story.
    In a paranormal or futuristic tale if the writer says disease has been eradicated, I'm okay with that. I think it would be out of place in a historical.

  20. Fancy Free sounds great, Shelley. I'm very conscience about condom use in stories I read/write, because I think it says a lot about character, too. Excellent post!

  21. I don't really have a problem now with condoms in the story or lack of them, as long as there is a reason that is usually addressed as part of the story line. Back in the late 90s, I did get a little frustrated with books where there was a lot of hot scenes and the issue never came up at all. No condoms, no discussion, nothing.
    You are very right, though, in saying that properly done, the use of a condom can actually enhance a scene.

    commented on the review

  22. Thanks for your great comments. It's strange how condoms are not often mentioned in m/m stories - maybe because many women think safe sex, as in 'no pregnancies'- first and foremost? Would it be off putting to even mention STD's in an erotic story?

  23. Patsy - I don't think it does either. I always think of them as part of the scene.

    Maria - it sounds as if we think alike. I'm writing a paranormal at the moment and not using condoms because pregnancy isn't an issue.

  24. Cari - hi! I've actually had editors and copy editors mention condoms when I haven't used them for some reason.

    Beth - it's something that we didn't think about ten years ago. It's interesting how changing times bring changes in our fictional worlds as well.

    Sassy - I read quite a few m/m stories. Most of the ones I read have condoms. I read mostly contemporaries though, now I think about it. That might account for the difference.

  25. This is not "my cup of tea", but my girlfriend will be really happy with this book.


  26. I love Shelley's works and look forward in reading this one.

    I am a follower.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com


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