When it comes to depicting birth control in cis-het romance, readers fall in widely different camps. Some feel the very mention is a buzzkill. Others think leaving it out makes the characters too impossibly stupid to root for. And then there are those—hands up!—who find the world of romance a perfect place to explore ambivalence around fertility control, an edgy area that can be powerfully emotional and arousing. When a guaranteed happy ending can insure that no one has to worry about the effects of pregnancy or children on health, time, personal goals, or money, birth control—or the lack of it—can be a significant marker in the growth of a romantic relationship.
Sometimes it's an indicator of the increasing strength of passion, as in Jill Sorenson's Against The Wall, in which the couple are so carried away, they not only forget protection but get busy on the hood of a car, in a semi-public place. (Pregnancy is definitely not wanted, leading to a rare romance novel use of “Plan B.”) For Sam, in Shannon McKenna's In For the Kill, accidental unprotected sex feeds into his anger at Sveti's use of him for sex: