oil on canvas, 1841,
National Gallery of Canada.
It's not considered politically correct to have a smoker as a Main Character in romance novels these days.
Neither is it PC -- unless it's a secret baby plot -- for MCs to have unprotected sex.
I've read earnest discussions about the tasteful insertion of condoms in sex scenes, and how the writer should demonstrate a social conscience by mentioning the use thereof specifically.
Writers are obligated to think of the children.
To set an example.To encourage responsible sex.
The cigar must be sheathed when lit up.
Some readers have declared they shun books where one or both of these social health details are not observed by impenitent, careless writers -- who should be forced wash out their irresponsible mouths with soap.
Yet the same readers have no problem with a description of oral sex as a pretty standard preliminary in the Best Sex Evah scene.
The thrust of a Feb 1 article from AP revealed that HPV -- the same sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer -- is becoming a main cause of oral cancer among men.
This rise is attributed partly to a decline in smoking and partly to an increase in oral sex.
Dear me, she said, with her tongue firmly in her cheek, have romance writers encouraged this increase?
Social mores and social morals are such tricky things.