So there's been talk of late in the blogosphere as to whether a true romance hero can have sex with anyone other than the heroine within the story. And it's been covered here and here and I don't want to rehash it all right now.
But. If you are going to have a modern, contemporary heroine and a modern contemporary hero and there is apparently no glittery hoo-ha to clarify things for them so they have sex with other people on their way to figuring out that it's true love - fine. But you really need to rethink the safe sex would interfere with the storyline thing.
I know - I read plenty of books where the hero and heroine apparently live in a land without sexually transmitted infections. And I know, I said it was almost better for them to not talk about it at all than to have a half-baked conversation about it. But - if monogamy is not in the cards for you, even for the confines of the book, you need to talk. Or if talking is too difficult - you need to use condoms. Or think about using condoms. Or go get freaking tested. (And I get it. It's a difficult topic and I suck at starting the conversation too. But.)
For example - in a book I recently read we had the following match ups.
Person A in relationship with Person B
Person C is engaging in serial one night stands.
Person D is in relationship with Person E
Person F in in relationship with Person G
Person A has whoopsie-sex with Person C
Person C has one night stand with Person D
Person F has affair with Person H
So we have a bunch of people who are all having sex with each other - whether they know it or not. Fine. But, it seems that if your characters are modern enough to bed hop and have that lead them to true love they may want to at least consider the fact that they are putting themselves and each other at risk for infection. I don't need hours of discussion. In fact a few condom packets would have gone a long way to appeasing me. (I know, condoms don't protect you from everything, but they offer the highest level of protection currently available.)
I recognize that by definition books carry some artifice, they are not true representations of life. Characters rarely go to the bathroom either, and I am not concerned about that. But here's the thing, unless there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book (these people live in a fictional world with no STI's) then I wonder. I wonder if their carelessness about their own and each other's health is a sign. I wonder if it means they are silly, in denial, misguided, or what. And I don't think that's what the author wants.