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Sean Connolly

Five Fantastical Contraceptives (and Why We Need More)

Fantasy has evolved from the days of Tolkien and and Lewis. We’re largely passed the era of true good versus true evil, wading into the perilous landscape of moral ambiguity. We still have elves and goblins, but sometimes the former are the bad ones and the latter are the good ones. And, in a shift that Tolkien with his refined Catholic sensibilities would doubtless disapprove of, it has become increasingly acceptable to have sex scenes in fantasy novels.

In the decades since Lord of the Rings, as people began to actually talk about—and write about—sexuality more and more frankly, fantasy authors have had to face an interesting challenge. Writers often insert a modern view of sexuality into their novels, and today we live in a world in which many people have relatively easy access to contraception—while still far from universal, access is greater than at any other time—which radically changes the ways we think about and engage in sex. But most fantasy worlds don’t have condoms or birth control pills, so authors have to come up with creative solutions. Some of these have real historical precedents, and some are unabashedly fantastical.

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