I didn't explain what prompted me to make the poll in the first place, which led to some (interesting, entirely relevant) comments about alternatives to penetrative sex (Note 1). Again, thank you all.
Now here's the background: I was pootling around on Dreamwidth, checking out the Pros comms and their members' reading lists for the_safehouse's user info update when I came across this. Scroll down to the end of the page for the Pros entry. It made me go hmm... and I realised I'd been doing a lot of that (hmm-ing, I mean) lately, because there seems to be a prevalent, if not exactly dominant, opinion around in Pros fandom that having the lads fucking without some sort of lube (that isn't saliva) is unrealistic, scary to contemplate, painful etc. And that concerns me, not least because it leads to some pretty dodgy work-arounds. Those ex-girlfriends who leave their night cream on the bedside table, for example - whut? (Note 2). It also shuts out some perfectly good, not to mention hot scenarios - going to quote squeeful here, because she said it well:
Just spit? Realistic? Oh yeah. Painful? Yeah, chances are it's going to hurt, at least a little bit. But that could be what the persons involved are going for. The more the characters are worked up, the less likely I am going to cringe. Don't ignore that there's an edge of pain/discomfort; work it into the scene.
Discussion later - on with the results...
Previous post, von_gelmini generously gave some useful historical insight into the (pre-AIDS, Pros era) gay scene in San Francisco in the '70's. I think that something that isn't acknowledged often enough is that the world is a different place now - for one thing, the public health and sex educators have got more into the act, so to speak, which, y'know is great from the safer sex angle, but does mean that if you google [+"anal sex" +"without lube"] you'll find that 99% of sites preface the "without lube" part with "never".
Not all gay guys agree, at least not about the 'never' part.
...with a fluid-bonded partner, anal sex without lube can sometimes be fun too. It's a different sensation. She's totally right that it's rougher and has a greater potential for damage inside, but I'm just saying: I don't agree with this sex educator line that "anal sex without lube is nothing but painful". And my boyfriend doesn't agree with it either...
Now one of the things the health experts are good for is research. Most papers on the Internet don't look at lube use, but I found a few that did:
http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/MeetingAbstracts/ma?f=102222919.html (from the Abstract for a poster session, 1996, small cohort):
http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/MeetingAbstracts/ma?f=102240266.html (a later study, larger cohort, Latinos)
http://www.trevorhoppe.com/blog/archives/2007/11/irmwg_lube_surv.html (Latin America - the slide is also here, under the Internet survey link: http://www.rectalmicrobicides.org/community.php)
http://www.dhiverse.org.uk/_publications/GayHealthNeeds.pdf (England - finally! p15) "Respondents were also asked how often they used lubricant when having anal sex. Results showed that 75.4% said that they always used lubricant with 10.6% saying they usually did, 5.6% said that they never used lubrication with 7% saying they sometimes did. 1.4% said that they did about half the time."
Um, my point was????
If you prefer the boys having their happy times with lube, whether purpose-bought or improvised, & eschew saliva as a substitute, more power to your typing fingers. Lube is good, it can be sexy, and it's popular, as the research shows. Just don't think you have to use it and (more importantly) don't think badly of writers just because they don't. There's a ton of reasons to criticise badly written sex scenes, this isn't one of them.
That's a wrap.
1. kindkit made the point that Real Sex doesn't necessarily = anal sex. With which I heartily concur.
2. I'm always interested in creative examples of this, however.