Yes, it's awkward, but but for various reasons I do mention all according to the characters and plot. Maybe it's because I'm a nurse, but I feel all are worth an honorable mention.
I don't necessarily have a guy whip out a condom in the heat of the moment, but somewhere along the line I always let my readers know how these issues were handled,,,,,
whether it's being snagged with an empty condom packet sticking out of a back pocket or having unprotected sex once and then having the couple decide that maybe they better not continue that route and commit to birth control.
So, do you handle or ignore the topics of safe sex, birth control, or abstinence?
I'm writing a book in which the main character (a female) has perfected the art of putting condoms on her male partner because she was unable to take birth control due to a risk of seizures - so she found a way of doing it so that it would be very appealing to her boyfriend, to get beyond his argument that it doesn't "feel as good" as without. And there is an occasion where she decides to purchase the morning after pill, and in that scene, the pharmacist is very informative.
I think being more open about the reality of sex and birth control (or lack thereof) would help readers rather than just glossing over that part. When the subject is ignored - or avoided - some girls may not know what to do in certain situations with regards to condoms or birth control.
Love it! Yes, there are ways to make it "emotionally" acceptable for unwilling partners. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, but will save them for writing:)
Helpful is good, because as you say, not everyone knows how to deal with these awkward situations or is comfortable discussing them. Reading or seeing it handled will make the discussion easier for sure.
In the novel I've been working on, my protagonist reveals in the first chapter that her period is late. I haven't mentioned birth control, but have thought maybe I should just to make the character more likeable/responsible. I'm going to leave it out unless one of my readers mentions it as problematic. I've also stayed away from the issue of abortion, the character is completely in denial (though at one point her landlord says, "It's rent or the coat hanger", trying to point out that she can't afford kids. I tend to be very judgmental of people who don't use birth control responsibly so it's weird to have a protagonist who doesn't, but I feel like it's not part of the story so I'd rather not get into it.
I like that "rent or the coat hanger". Interesting, you judge irresponsible people, but choose to avoid how this character ended up this way. I don't know the plot of your story, but in real life when a single woman gets pregnant, people. especially family judge and ask questions. If she has no family around, she will chastise herself for not avoiding the pregnancy, or be happy for conceiving for whatever reason, even if it was unconscious because she's beyond her prime.,
It can be handled with humor in a way that most people will personally identify with. Also, developing the universal tensions, guilt, confusion, bad choices, etc, can lend itself to good character development and storytelling.
lol... if nothing else we can use the old standby... "Is it safe?" That always gets me laughing:)