People in the erotica industry differ on their opinions about the consequences for sex. Actually, that’s not entirely true. It’s not the consequences they’re concerned about; it’s the punishment for it. It’s the food poisoning from the apple of the tree of good and evil. I’m talking about riding bareback and suffering the punishment: STDs and pregnancy.
Some writers feel the need to address it, to be responsible and to teach responsibility. Writers don’t have the same level of responsibility as porn stars to teach safe sex, since there’s an actual chance of physical consequences from sex in those cases, whereas you can’t get gonorrhea from reading a book (unless you’re doing it wrong). However, with the lack of really good sex education out there and the constant haranguing of anyone attempting to do so, some writers feel like they have a responsibility to show safer sex, but to also show consequences (punishment), because it’s real.
Let’s get this out of the way: Unless it’s relevant to the plot, I’m not going to address prophylactics and birth control. In real life, I have a pregnancy phobia (of me being pregnant, not of pregnancy in general) and a general fear of STDs. Nothing turns me off faster when I’m writing than being in the middle of a fantasy sex scene and suddenly worrying about my female character’s pregnancy, or worrying about that one night stand’s STD status.
In my opinion, I deal with enough sexual fear in real life to let it bleed into my fantasy world. There are lots of ways in which sex can be dangerous and exciting, such as sex with a stranger, sex with BDSM elements, sex on a cliff, etc. But STDs and pregnancy scares aren’t exciting. They’re just scary to me. In the erotica world, I don’t have to justify the lack of birth control or prophylactics, nor do I have to justify my characters riding bareback. In mainstream, I do, but I shouldn’t have to here.
Of all the places in the world, I shouldn’t have to fear sex here. Erotica is where sex, even dangerous sex, is safe. It may throw some people off not to include those concerns, but I just can’t do it. It’s not that I’m unaware of reality; I’m hyperaware of it, which probably accounts for a good deal of my celibacy.
It’s just that when I’m in the fantasy, I’m not looking for that kind of reality. I’ll delve into the deepest of sexual horrors, but I won’t touch those unless I absolutely have to, as a plot point. (And not as one of those conflict-resolution-through-baby plots. Just saying.) There’s enough punishment for sex in real life; erotica should be able to transcend that.